CHAP. III. The Opinion of H. Grotius and Dr. Ham∣mond, touching the sense of the Angel's Words, considered, and rejected.
HAving thus acquitted my self of Bellarmin's Exposition of this pas∣sage, who may well be thought our greatest Adversary in this Argument; I cannot pretermit (tho I would feign have pretermitted it) that Exposition which Hugo Grotius, and after him the learned Dr. Hammond, (who hath ta∣ken the pains to perfect and digest the Posthumous and imperfect Notions of the former) have offered in their Com∣ments on the Revelation: to the exami∣nation Page 121of which their Exposition, I am the more obliged, because it is not on∣ly contrary to that which I have hither∣to asserted, but also the Authors and Propugners of it are Men of great e∣steem in the Reformed Churches, who cannot reasonably be thought to have invented, and asserted it in favour of the Church of Rome, but only for the evidence of the truth, which they con∣ceiv'd it carrys with it.
This Reverend Author then, in his Premonition to the Revelation, and in his Paraphrase and Annotations upon the xviith Chapter of that Book, con∣fessing the great City, situate upon se∣ven Mountains, to be Rome, does thus expound the seven Heads, which the Angel interprets to be seven Kings; These seven Kings, saies he, are eight Roman Emperors, namely, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. The five that were faln when this Vision was inter∣preted, were Claudius, Nero, Galba, O∣tho, and Vitellius. The one which was Page 122then reigning, was Vespasian; the other, not then come, who should continue but a little while, was Titus; and the Beast that was, and is not, who, as the Angel tells us, is the eighth King, and is of the seven, &c. was Domitian. The ten Horns or Kings, who, saies the An∣gel, have received no Kingdom as yet, but receive Power as Kings one hour with the Beast, were (saies Dr. Hammond) ten Kings of the Barbarous Nations bor∣dering upon the Roman Empire, viz. Goths, Vandals, &c.
But against this way of Explicating this Prophecy, there are so many and so great Reasons, that I know not where to begin, or where to make an end with them. For,
First, It is a notable prejudice against this Exposition, that this Prophecy, so punctually interpreted by the Angel, as is no other Vision in the Revelation, and having bin fulfilled in Domitian's Reign, that is, about one Thousand and six hundred years ago, should never yet have bin interpreted of Domitia•Page 123till this present age; for it is evident, that Hugo Grotius was the first disco∣verer of it.
But what then is become of that known Maxim in these cases, viz.* That Prophesies, before they come to be ful∣fil'd, are difficult and obscure, but af∣terwards they come to be familiar and intelligible? And if this Prophesie so interpreted by the Angel, has not bin understood in sixteen hundred years, that it has bin fulfilled; how can we think that any other Vision not inter∣preted hath bin understood? But Dr. Hammond speaks in general of the Book of the Revelation, that it was written for the comfort of the Christians of those times, while they were daily ex∣ercised with Persecutions. But alas! what comfort from such Prophesies, and particularly from this Vision we are now treating of, if none of those that were concerned in them, could attain their meaning? I suppose it therefore ablolutely necessary for the credit of Page 124this Exposition, that it be shewn, that in those early days of Christianity, the Church of God, which was so nearly concern'd in this Prophesie, did under∣stand it as the Doctor has explain'd it. For else indeed 'twere a great disparage∣ment to the Prophesie it self, if having bin fulfill'd these sixteen hundred years, although it be so punctually interpre∣ted by the Angel, yet all that while the Church could never understand it. But
2. If we should let this worthy Au∣thor have his way, yet when all is done, he makes so cold, so flat a story of this greatest and most noble Prophe∣cy of all the Revelation, as it seems to be by that ceremonious entrance, apt to raise ones expectation, which is prefixed to it at the beginning of the Chapter: by that magnificent description which is made of the Vision it self, in the follow∣ing Verses: and by that Divine Inter∣pretation which the Angel has subjoin∣ed to it: that I know not how his ap∣plication of it to Domitian should (I say Page 125not pass for current, but even) admit of an Excuse.
For what think we is the main thing that he affirms to have bin represented to St. John in this Vision? Nothing but Rome in great Pomp and Splendor, under that Heathen Persecuting Empe∣ror Domitian, whom he calls the Beast, wonderfully addicted to Idolatry, and drunken with the Blood of the Saints, and of the Martyrs of Jesus. And might not any Man of prudent foresight have seen as much without a Vision, living at that time, wherein he supposes this Prophe∣cy to have bin written by St. John, to wit, after that Domitian had given an experiment of his temper, while he ad∣ministred the Government for his Fa∣ther Vespasian, who was then leading an Army into Judea: might not any one in such Circumstances as these have ve∣ry probably conjectured, that Domiti∣an would have his turn again after his Father's, and his elder Brother's Death, and that he would then shew himself what he had bin before, an enemy to the Christian Faith.Page 126
As for the ten Horns that were to receive Power as Kings one hour with the Beast Domitian; he complains that he cannot make that out for want of Histories to inform him in these Parti∣culars. What was it then St. John was carried into the Wilderness for to see? The Heathen Roman Beast arayed in Scarlet? He was so before. Or that great Ctty deck'd with Jewels, and no∣torious for her Idols? When was she otherwise? Or drunken with the Blood of Saints? She had bin so in Nero's time but just before. Or went he thither to behold Domitian coming to the Throne, and Persecuting Christians? Yet all this while here is no great matter of ad∣miration, that Domitian, an Heathen Man, and a Son of the Emperor that then reigned, should come at last to that Dignity, and persecute the Christi∣an Faith. But the Angel tells us, ver. 8. that they that dwell upon the Earth should wonder, (whose names were not written in the Book of life, &c.) when they behold the Beast that was, and is not, and yet is:Page 127that is, according to the Doctor's Ex∣position, it should be matter of great astonishment to all that were not Chri∣stians, when they beheld Domiti∣an, who was in Power at Rome, while his Father went into Judea; and is not now, his Father having reassum'd it to himself, and yet is a private person. This therefore being every way so lame and short-sighted a business, as it is thus made out, we cannot in any reason think it to be the meaning of this glori∣ous Vision, here presented to our Apo∣stolical Prophet by the Ministery of an Angel. But,
3. As these Authors have ordered the matter, the Angel's Interpretation is very insignificant; because he has not noted the precise time, when this Visi∣on was interpreted: for if the seven Kings be so many single Emperors, to what purpose is it to tell us, Five are faln, one is, and the other is not yet come, &c. without assuring us which of them is that one, of whom the Angel tells us, that he is? For it is most certain, that Page 128if this Vision were not interpreted in Vespasian's Reign, of whom they inter∣pret these words of the Angel, One is, meaning that Vespasian then reigned, when this Vision was interpreted: there cannot be a word of truth, no, nor of common sense in all their Exposition. For then it cannot be said of the five that were faln, that they were Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius; of the one, that is, that he was Vespasian; or that Titus was the other, not then come, &c. Nay, if this Vision were not inter∣preted not only in Vespasian's Reign, but in that very point of it which hapned after his return from Judea, and a re∣assumption of the Government from his Son Domitian to himself: it cannot be said of Domitian, as they distinguish of him very subtilly, that he was an Em∣peror, and is not now an Emperor, and yet is a private person. Since there∣fore the knowledge of the precise time, when this Vision was interpreted, is so necessary to the certain understanding of it, according to their way of explica∣ting Page 129it; and yet the Angel amongst ma∣ny other particularities, has utterly omit∣ted this so necessary a business here, and so usual in other Prophecies, where per∣haps it is not altogether so necessary: we cannot but think that there is a greater latitude of time to be allowed in the explication of this Prophecie, and must be forced to reject this Expositi∣on as a reproach to the Angel's interpre∣tation.
But hold a little, it may be the Do∣ctor can assure us that this Vison was interpreted by the Angel, at that very point of Vespasian's Reign, which makes for his purpose, and which we have al∣ready noted. But there is no such mat∣ter. For in his Premonition to the Re∣velation he is very solicitous about this very circumstance of the time, and can find but two Opinions of the Ancients (the only competent Witnesses in this affair) concerning it; and both of them equally inconsistent with this Exposi∣tion. The one is that of Ireneus, who affirms St. John to have prophesied to∣wards Page 130the end of Domitian's Reign. And if so, it could not then be said of Domi∣tian, that he was Emperour, and is not Emperor. For if this Vision were inter∣preted in Domitian's Reign, then must Domitian be the one that is; Nerva the other not yet come; Trajan the Beast that was, and is not, &c. and Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, and Titus, the five that are faln.
But he has a prety fetch for this: for he tells us, That by the end of Domi∣tian's Reign, may be meant the end of his former Reign while he reigned for his Father Vespasian. But besides that this reflects upon the credit of Ireneus, who makes no such distinction, and therefore should in all reason be under∣stood of Domitian's Reign, while he reigned for himself: yet for once let this be granted, and let us see what can be made of it for the advantage of this Exposition. For thus also Domiti∣an cannot be the Beast, which was Em∣peror, and is not Emperor; but he must be the one that is; Vespasian (after his Page 131return) the other, not yet come, (al∣though 'tis certain that Vespasian must needs have bin come to the Imperial Dignity before he could depute Domi∣tian in his stead) and Titus must be the Beast that was, and is not, &c. And thus the Exposition cannot stand if there be any truth in the Testimony of Irenaeus, who affirms St. John to have prophesi∣ed toward the end of Domitian's Reign; whether we understand it of his former Reign for Vespasian, or of his latter for himself.
Although I cannot forbear to give the Reader notice that we have done this Exposition no small favour, when we allow Domitian's Reign simply and absolutely so called, to be interpreted of that Reign which he administred as Vespasian's Deputy, and not rather of that other while he reigned for himself. To which we may add that Domitian's Deputative authority was so short, that the beginning and the end of it are hardly distinguishable, as to this matter of St. John's Prophesying. For Vespasi∣anPage 132leaving his Son Titus to besiege Je∣rusalem, returned from his Expedition to Rome again in the first Year of his Reign. Neither is there any Author, that affirmeth St. John to have bin banished into the Isle of Patmos (where he received his Revelation, as he him∣self testifieth) at this time, or near it.
The Doctor therefore would feign take Sanctuary in the Testimony of Epiphanius, who affirms St. John to have bin banished into Patmos by the Em∣peror Claudius, and to have returned from his banishment in the Reign of the same Emperor. And he makes so much of this Testimony, that he endeavour to confirm it, and to disparage the con∣trary Testimony of Ireneus, by no les• than four Arguments. I will not here stand to examin his Arguments, but for once let us suppose them to be una•∣swerable. If then St. John receiv'd be Revelation in the Reign of Claudin• how comes the Angel to say, That sw• of the seven Kings were then faln? O• rather, How come these Authors 〈◊〉Page 133expound them of Claudius, Nero, Gal∣la, Otho, and Vitellius, none of which were then faln, and four of them not yet come? How also could Vespasian be the one, that then reigned? Or Domi∣tian be the Beast, that was Emperor, and is not Emperor? Nothing you see hits right, according to the Testimony of Epiphanius, and yet the Doctor had much rather his Testimony should be credited, than that of Ireneus, who af∣firms St. John, to have prophesied to∣wards the end of Domitian's Reign. Because, although both their Testimo∣nies be very inconsistent with his Hy∣pothesis, yet he had rather make St. John, to have prophesied of a thing to come, as it was in the Reign of Claudi∣us, than of a thing past, or present, as it must needs have bin, according to his Exposition, towards the end of Domi∣tian's Reign. For he makes the main of this Prophecy to have bin fulfilled in Domitian.
But then, how does he salve up those great Absurdities, which we have shewn Page 134to follow upon supposal of the truth of Ephiphanius's Testimony? Why thus; If St. John receiv'd his Vision in the Reign of Claudius, we may very well suppose him to have committed it to writing in the Reign of Vespasian, after his return from Judea. So that although he re∣ceiv'd the Vision before any of the Kings were faln, yet he wrote it not till the sixth of them was come. The Doctor brings no Proof of this, but such a thing he supposes possible: and if it be but possible, he will have it current.
But this which he here supposes in his Premonition, viz. That St. John re∣ceiv'd his Visions in one Emperour's Reign, and committed them to writing in another's; he seems to have forgot∣ten by that time he was arriv'd at the Exposition of the tenth Chapter of the Revelation. For there at ver. 4. we have these words of St. John, And when the seven Thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write, and I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me, Write them not. Upon which words the Doctor thus Page 135paraphraseth:
But, if you please, let us suppose that St. John wrote some Prophecies so soon as he had seen and heard them, but did not so in our present case: or that he wrote them foul, so soon as he had seen and heard them, but did not write them fair afterwards. Now then let us examin upon this supposition how well this explication will agree with those words of the Angel, which we have, Rev. xvii. 8. The Beast which thou sawest, was, and is not; and again, The Beast which was, and is not, and yet is; and again a little after, The seven Heads (saies the Angel) are seven Kings; Page 136five are faln; one is; the other is not yet come; and the Beast which was, and is not, he is the eighth, &c. That these are the very words which the Angel spake to St John, is affirmed by St. John, at ver. 7. Let us suppose then that the Angel in∣terpreted this Vision towards the end of Domitian's deputative Reign, while he reigned by Ʋespasian's Authority. But how could it then be true of Do∣mitian (for of him he understands it) what the Angel saies of the Beast, That he was, and is not, and yet is? for accor∣ding to the Doctor's Paraphrase the An∣gel's meaning must be this: Domitian was an Emperor, and is not now an Emperor, and yet is a private Person. Which words, supposing them to have been spoken towards the end of Domi∣tian's former Reign, can have neither sence, nor truth in them. For if Do∣mitian then first reigned, how could he mean of him, that he was an Emperor, and is not an Emperor, and yet is a pri∣vate Person. But if the Testimony of Epiphanius be true (which the Doctor Page 137most contends for) viz. That St. John prophesied in the Reign of Claudius, who is the first of the eight Kings; how can it be true what St. John recites as the Angel's words, at ver. 10. Five are faln, viz. Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius; one is, viz. Vespasian? So that we must be forced to admit either that the Angel did not exactly describe the time, or that St. John has not set down the Angel's words, or lastly, that this exposition of them is not good.
And indeed he saw full well, that with all that he could do, he could not make the Time agree to his Hypothe∣sis, for he as good as confesseth it in his Premonition, telling us, That in a mat∣ter of some uncertainty he may be mis∣taken as to the particularity of Time. But it is evident, that whosoever is mis∣taken in this circumstance of the Time, can make no sence at all of the Angel's words, who has so punctually designed the Times, past, present, and to come, throughout his whole Interpretation.Page 138
But it were pity to omit (and I had like to have omitted it) that excellent Artifice, which the Doctor useth as his fourth and last Argument, to prove what time this Vision was received in. For in his Premonition he proves that it was receiv'd, or at least committed to writing at such time as he would have it, because it will not else be applicable to those eight Emperors that he ex∣pounds it of. So that he takes it for granted, that this Prophecy cannot be otherwise interpreted than of those eight Kings, and therefore must have bin written at a time agreeable. Which Argument, as it is an odd illogical way of reasoning: so it can prove nothing but this, that the Doctor was so fond of this conceit, that nothing could remove him from it.
Certainly therefore he imagined that there was some extraordinary agree∣ment of it with all other circumstances of this Prophecy, that he would needs retain it in despite of all the aforementi∣oned absurdities we have prov'd it guil∣ty Page 139of. We therefore come now to en∣ter upon a further examination of par∣ticulars. And
1. From this Hypothesis the Doctor gives us no good account, why St. John was carried by the Angel into the Wil∣derness (as is said Rev. xvii. 3.) to see this Vision of the Woman. He seems to hint a Reason in his Paraphrase upon that verse, viz. That he was carried into the Wilderness, as a fit place to re∣present the Desolation that was to be expressed in this Vision. So that it seems this Desolation (as he calls it) was to be expressed in the Vision, and repre∣sented by the Wilderness. As if the place whither he was carried in Spirit to see the Vision, were intended for a Type of that which is expressed in the Vision. Now this were an excellent Reason why this Vision was represented in the Wilderness, if it could be proved that the Wilderness (for it is mentioned several times before in this Book) is used as a Type to represent a Desolation by: and why St. John, having had so many Page 140mighty Desolations represented to him both before and after this, was never called into the Wilderness to see any of them. Since therefore the Doctor has not thought fit to clear this Point, which yet is necessary for the explicating and confirming this Hypothesis, I can see no reason it should be admitted. For in∣deed we have had mention of this Wo∣man before, Chap. xii. and also of her flying into the Wilderness. If any Man thinks that, and this, two different Wo∣men, he ought to prove it: for I sup∣pose a better Reason cannot be given nor desired, why St. John was carried in∣to the Wilderness to see the Woman, than because the Woman was fled thither.
2. Upon the Doctor's Hypothesis no good Reason can be given why St. John at the sight of this Woman, is said at v. 6. to have wondered with such great ad∣miration. Did he wonder at her Bra∣very, or at her Idolatry, or at her En∣mity to the Saints? Nothing of these was in those days any strange thing at all. And St. John had seen so many Page 141strange things before, without any such expression of his admiration, that we cannot think but that there is some par∣ticular reason, why St. John is said to have bin stricken with such wonder and astonishment at this Woman only in the Vision we are treating of. The plain reason therefore is this (which, though it agrees exactly with our Ex∣position, as shall hereafter be declared more at large, yet not at all with that which the Doctor gives us) viz. That St. John wondred with great admirati∣on to see that Woman, whom before at Chap. xii. he had seen in Heaven cloathed with the Sun, and the Moon under her Feet, and upon her Head a Crown of twelve Stars, persecuted by the Dragon, and despising all worldly things, and resist∣ing unto blood for the Testimony of Jesus: to see this Woman, I say now that she is come into the Wilderness, glittering in such secular Pomp, arraied in Purple, bedecked with Jewels, sitting upon a Scarlet-coloured Beast, having se∣ven Heads and ten Horns, (the Beast Page 142that had persecuted her * not long before) become a great Idolatress, making all the Kings of the Earth drunken with the Wine of her Fornication, and her self with the blood of Saints, and with the blood of the Martyrs of Jesus. And this so great, and so supprising an alteration of this Woman, as it was the true, so it was a worthy reason of the Prophets admiration and astonishment. But,
3. If we suppose with the Doctor, that the Woman here spoken of is old Heathen Rome, there can no good ac∣count be given, why, though she were confessedly a great Idolatress, yet should here be represented as having a golden Cup in her hands full of Abominations, and filthines of her Fornication, where∣with (as is said ver. 2.) the Inhabitants of the Earth have bin made drunken. For by this it should seem, that old Heathen Rome was a great promoter of her own Idolatry amongst other Nations. Where∣as it is manifest in the Histories of those times, that Heathen Rome did rather re∣ceive Page 143her Idol-Worship from other Nations, than impose her own upon them, even on those she conquered. For it hath been observed of the an∣tient Romans, that at their laying Seige to any City, they made their first at∣tempt by solemn invocation of its tute∣lar God's, that having these propitious to them, they might obtain the easier Victory. Neither was it ever heard, that ancient Rome intoxicated any other Nation with her Cup, she having found, not made them Idol-Worshippers.
And of this we have a pregnant in∣stance in the Jewish People; who being at that time the only People that were not Idolaters, the Romans having con∣quered them, did never yet impose their Superstitions on them, but permitted them the free and quiet exercise of their own Religion. And though they went about, in meer despite to Christianity, to make the Christians sacrifice to their Idols; yet this was only an Attempt, and uneffected. So that I know not whe∣ther it may truly be affirmed of any Na∣tion Page 144under Heaven, that Heathen Rome has made them drunken with her For∣nication. This therefore the Doctor should have cleared also, if it had bin possible, and given us sufficient convicti∣ons of it (and particularly that Rome did so in Domitian's time, whom he makes the Beast she sits upon) or else his Exposition cannot stand, though Rome were otherwise never so addict∣ed to Idolatry? But,
4. It doth not well appear from the Analogy of Scripture, and the use of this word [Whore] in Scripture-Pro∣phecy, how it can be applied, (as here it is, according to this Exposition) to old Heathen Rome. For she is called at ver. 1. the great Whore that sitteth upon many Waters. But now in Scripture Prophecy, no City, that I can find i• ever called a Whore, but only God's own People, when they have faln from his Worship to Idolatry. And of these how often is it said in Scripture tha• they were a Whorish People, and tha• they had committed Whoredom wi••Page 145their Neighbour-Nations? But of no other People, no not of Babylon herself, the great Metropolis of Idolatry, we do not find the like expressions, at least we may be confident that it is no usual thing, if it be any where to be found in Scripture.
The Reason is, because God's People are in Covenant with him, and there has a kind of Conjugal Obligation past between them: which when his People break by serving other God's, they act the part of an Adulteress, who violates the Faith she plighted to her Husband. And this also is the reason which the Prophets themselves have given us of this compellation; as you may see, Ezek. xvi. 8. and again Chap. xxiii. 4. Jer. iii. 1. &c. Hos. ii. 2. Jer. iii. 20. And in many other places of holy Scripture. Since then old Heathen Rome had ne∣ver bin in Covenant with God, nor reckon'd as his peculiar People, either the holy Spirit of Prophecy is very far departed from his usual phrase, in cal∣ling Heathen Rome a Whore, or else the Page 146Doctor is very much mistaken in ap∣plying of this name to Heathen Rome. And I cannot but observe here also, that he quite forgets his usual method of in∣terpreting Scripture-difficulties, in ta∣king all he saies for granted, and not so much as offering to clear this point by any single instance how this word is used otherwise.
5. The Doctor is alike wanting to his Cause, in the Exposition of the word King, and that of Beast: which he ought to shew us from like Scripture-instances, to be applicable to single Kings apart from other of the same line and order. But this he could not do, for I have prov'd already from all the instances that we have in Scripture, that in In∣terpretations of prophetick Visions, nei∣ther of these words is so used. Only a King when he is typified by a single Horn, must signifie a single King, as we have before explain'd it. But besides that this is not applicable to our present case, which speaketh not of any single Horn or King, but of seven Kings to∣gether: Page 147it had become the Doctor's learning to have shewn us, where-ever any single King is typified by a Beast. But instead of this * he tells us how this word, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Beast, is used in Julian's Satyr against the Caesars; who introduces the Empe∣rour C. Caligula, under the notion of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, an evil Beast; and calls Domitian with a peculiar Epithet, to denote his cruelty (such as was prover∣bially observ'd in Phalaris) 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Sicilian Beast; and again, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the bloody Beast, exactly parallel (says the Doctor) to the Scarlet∣coloured Beast in this place. But to cite a passage of Julian's Satyr, to shew the meaning of a Prophetick Type, in ho∣ly Scripture, is all one as if a Man should go about to expound those words of our Saviour, I am come to send Fire on the Earth, of the natural Element of Fire; because it is so used in Aristotle's Physics. And besides we may observe how well the Doctor has improv'd that Satyr of Page 148Julian; for whereas Julian has intro∣duced Domitian only as a bloody Beast, the Doctor has so ordered the matter, that he has given him ten Horns too, and if he had quoted another Satyr for the meaning of the Horns, he would have made Domitian such a Monster as no Satyrist ever dream't of. But,
6. The Doctor has given us no good account, why his eight Emperors are typified by no more then seven Heads or Kings. Of this he seems to give us this reason in his Paraphrase upon ver. 11. The Beast (saies the Angel there) which was, and is not, he is the eighth King, and is of the seven: that is, according to the Doctor's Paraphrase, Domitian, who was Emperor, and is not Emperor, he is the eighth, and is the Son of one of the seven, to wit, of Vespasian. But then he should have shewn, 1st, How, these words, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, can signifie, He is the Son of one of the seven. And, 2dly. Why (upon supposal of this Exposition to be valid) his eight Emperors are not rather typified by six, then by seven Page 149Heads. For if Domitian be one of the seven Heads, because he was the Son of one of them: then both Titus and Do∣mitian might have bin included in but six Heads, because they were both of them the Sons of the sixth Emperor, Vespasian. Or if the reason, as the Doctor seems to intimate also, why these eight Emperors are represented in the Vision by but seven Heads or Kings, be, because Domitian had reigned for his Father, before he reigned for himself: this seems to be a Reason, why they should rather have bin represented by nine, or ten, than by seven Heads or Kings.
For by this means are made two se∣veral Reigns of Vespasian's (one before Domitian's former Reign, as the Doctor calls it, and the other after;) and two more of Domitian's, one for his Father, and the other for himself. And this is the more observable, because the Doctor drives on this Notion so far, as to in∣terpret those words of Ireneus〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, towards the end of Domitians Reign, as if it were meant of Page 150Domitian's Reign, while he reigned for his Father: Whereby either the Reigns of Vespasian and Domitian must be con∣founded; or we must make two seve∣ral Reigns of Vespasian's, and two other of Domitian's. And thus we have no good reason given us either way why these eight Emperors are typified by but seven Heads or Kings. But,
7. Why are these eight Heathen Em∣perors, singled out from among their fellows, that were both before and after them? And why must we begin to rec∣kon them from Claudius, or end them with Domitian? Or what need was there to have represented these eight Emperors in the Vision, when there is nothing purposely said of any of them, but Domitian only? Now the reason of this from our Hypothesis, is very clear: for so the seven Heads or Kings, upon the Roman Beast or Empire, represent∣ing its seven several sorts of supream Governments, five whereof were faln in St. John's time, &c. will serve for a most incomparable and exact distinction of Page 151the Roman Kingdom from all other Kingdoms in the World. And why is any Beast particularly described, as this is here said to have had seven Heads and ten Horns, but to distinguish it from other Beasts? and further, since, (as hath bin shewed) none of these Heads is concerned in this Prophecy, but the last: what can the mention of the six others signifie, but only to define this Beast, and to distinguish him from other Kingdoms? But nothing of this is ap∣plicable to the Doctor's Exposition. Only he seems to give this reason in his Paraphrase, why we should begin to reckon the eight Kings from Claudius, because he was the first of the Roman Emperors that had to do with Christi∣ans. But had Tiberius then nothing to do with Christians, in whose Reign our Saviour Christ himself was put to Death? Or was Domitian the last Ro∣man Emperor that had to do with Christians? But of this enough.
And now although the Doctor seems to me to have done the part of a very Page 152indifferent Expositor hitherto; yet, if there were no other Reason to reject his Exposition, but for the many incon∣sistances he has heaped together in his Exposition of the Mystery of the ten Horns, which now come to be consider∣ed, it could not possibly be admitted.
For, 1. He expounds these ten Horns of the Roman Empire, to be ten Kings of ten Barbarous Nations, which bor∣dered upon the Roman Empire. But it is manifest from all the Prophetick interpretations of holy Scripture, where this type is used, that it never signifies any neighbouring Kingdom, but when a Beast or Kingdom is represented with Horns, they alwayes signifie that King∣dom to be divided into so many smaller Kingdoms as the Beast had Horns. And all Men must needs acknowledge the truth of this assertion, who understand any thing of the Idiom of Prophetick Language.
2. It is said of these ten Horns at ver. 12. That they are ten Kings, which have receiv'd no Kingdom as yet, but re∣ceive Page 153power as Kings one hour with the Beast. The plain meaning of which Words is this: That although the Roman Empire be not yet divided into these ten Horns or smaller Kingdoms, yet when the Beast appears, these Horns shall rise together with him. And since by this Beast the Doctor understands Do∣mitian, his Exposition cannot possibly be true, unless the Roman Empire came to be divided into these ten Horns or smaller Kingdoms in Domitian's time. But because he was not able to give us any proof or likelihood of this, see how he wrests the meaning of that verse next before quoted, to force it to com∣ply with his Hypothesis. The ten Horns are ten Kings, which have received no Kingdom as yet, but receive power as Kings one hour with the Beast; that is, as he ex∣pounds it, They have receiv'd no King∣dom as yet within the Roman Empire, but comply for a short time with the Roman Power.
The Angel tells us, That these ten Horns receive Power as Kings one hour Page 154with the Beast. Which words the Do∣ctor thus expounds, They comply, says he, for a short time with the Roman power. He had told us all along before, that this Beast was Domitian: But now he calls it the Roman Power. And to receive Power as Kings, he interprets to be 〈◊〉complying with the Roman Power. So that it seems, to comply with the Roman Power, is to receive Power as Kings. And there∣fore not only these ten Horns here spo∣ken of, but also all the Subjects of the Roman Empire, and all Nations that were conquered by them, may equally be said to have received Power as Kings, by their complying with the Rom•• Power: So great a Dignity it was, it be subdued to the Roman Yoak. But,
3. It is further said of those to Horns, That they have one mind, an• should give their Power and Strength 〈◊〉 the Beast, ver. 13. That they should agre• and give their Kingdom unto the Be•• ver. 17. Now therefore let us hear how those ten Kings of the Barbarous Nati∣ons, whom the Doctor makes to be the•Page 155ten Horns, did give their Strength and Power, and Kingdom to Domitian. Of any Strength, or Power, or Kingdom that they gave him, he mentions not a word, but only tells us, That they per∣secuted Christians in their Territories, as the Emperor did. So that to Persecute Christians as the Emperor did, was to give their Power, and Strength, and King∣dom to him. And now any one would expect, that the Doctor having taken so vast a latitude of interpreting these Words, had bin able to make it out exceeding manifestly, That these ten Kings did persecute Christians, as Do∣mitian did. But if any Man will take the pains to consult his Annotations upon this Chapter, he shall find him hunting over all the Histories of those times, but yet not able to produce any the least proof or evidence of this mat∣ter. So he concludes at last, That there had not bin any authoritative Persecu∣tion of Christians in those Barbarous Kingdoms, till about the eighteenth year of the Reign of Dioclesian; that is, Page 156about 200 years after Domitian's time, but, saies he, tis like there was in Diocle∣sian's Reign; although for want of Hi∣stories recording the particular passages of those times, he complains he could not make it evident. But if he could, what would it signifie? For he should have proved that they persecuted Chri∣stians, not in Dioclesian's Reign, but in Domitian's, whom he makes the Beast, to whom these ten Kings should give their Power, and Strength, and Kingdom.
4. The Doctor gives us a lame ac∣count of what is said concerning these ten Horns, at ver. 17. That God had p•• in their Hearts to fulfil his Will, and to agree and give their Kingdom to the Beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. For instead of proving this Argument of theirs to give their Kingdom to Do∣mitian,* he only proves the strang∣ness of God's Judg∣ment in destroying the City of Rome, and the immediate hand of God in it But of Alaricus's (by whose Arms the Page 157City of Rome was spoiled) or of the other nine Horns agreeing to give their Kingdom to Domitian (which only the verse he comments on, doth mention) he is utterly silent. And indeed he might well be so; For Alaricus, nor any other King of his time, was hardly born within two hundred and fifty years after Domitian's Death.
Lastly, We shall dismiss the Doctor's Exposition, with this one Observation more, viz. That whereas it is said of these ten Horns at ver. 16. That they should hate the Whore, and make her deso∣late, &c. The Doctor tells us this was done when the Barbarous Nations sack∣ed Rome. But we must observe that Rome at that time, if ever, was a Chri∣stian City, and governed by a Christian Emperor. So that, what he should have proved to have bin don to Heathen Rome, whom he makes the Whore, (and that by right in Domitian's time too; for Rome is concerned no further in this Vision, than as sitting upon the Beast,) he proves to have bin done more than Page 158three hundred years after, when as Ido∣latry had bin destroyed in Rome, and she was now become a Christian City. But he seems to give some Reason of this Exposition, viz. That there were yet remaining several Monuments of I∣dolatry; that even the Christians them∣selves were very much addicted to car∣nal Lusts, and that there were many Heathens in her at that time, whom chiefly that Calamity befel. But so there were also many Monuments of Christi∣anity in Heathen Rome, and multitudes of Saints and pious Christians. So that either Rome Heathen was no Whore, who had so many excellent Christians; or else Rome Christian was no Whore, though possibly she had many Heathens in her. And let the Reader take his choice; though still we should grant, that Christian Rome when she was thus infested by the barbarous Nations, was the Whore here spoken of: yet were the Miseries which they brought upon her, too light for the accomplishment of the Desolations of this Prophecy. For it is Page 159here said of the ten Horns, that they should hate the Whore, and make her desolate and naked, and should eat her flesh, and burn her with Fire.
Upon which destruction of this great City Babylon the Spirit descants both more plainly, and more fully, Chap. xviii. 8. telling us, That her Plagues shall come in one day, Death, and Mourning, and Famine, and she shall be utterly burnt with Fire, &c. And again at ver. 14. The fruits that thy Soul lusted after, are de∣parted from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. With many other expressions to like purpose, which cannot otherwise be interpreted, but of the utter ruin and destruction of that City, and conse∣quently cannot have bin accomplished in that cursory pillage of it by Alaricus, who burnt some part indeed, and made some havock of the rest, but lest it in a very little time, and did no great, nor lasting mischief to it.
And thus much of that Exposition, Page 160which interprets the seven Kings of so many single Kings, and makes the Beast to be Domitian, and the Woman to be Heathen Rome.