« Prev Revelation 13:14 Next »

REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 13 - Verse 14

Verse 14. And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles. Nothing could possibly be more descriptive of the Papacy than this. It has been kept up by deception and delusion, and its pretended miracles have been, and are to this day, the means by which this is done. Any one in the slightest degree acquainted with the pretended miracles practised at Rome, will see the propriety of this description as applied to the Papacy. The main fact here stated, that the Papacy would endeavour to sustain itself by pretended miracles, is confirmed by an incidental remark of Mr. Gibbon, when, speaking of the pontificate of Gregory the Great, he says, "The credulity, or the prudence of Gregory, was always disposed to confirm the truths of religion by the evidence of ghosts, miracles, and resurrections."—Dec. and Fall. iii. 210. Even within a month of the time that I am writing, (October 5, 1850,) intelligence has been received in this country of extraordinary privileges conferred on some city in Italy, because the eyes of a picture of the Virgin in that city have miraculously moved—greatly to the "confirmation of the faithful." Such things are constantly occurring; and it is by these that the supremacy of the Papacy has been and is sustained. The "Breviary" teems with examples of miracles wrought by the saints, For instance: St. Francis Xavier turned a sufficient quantity of salt water into fresh to save the lives of five hundred travellers who were dying of thirst, enough being left to allow a large exportation to different parts of the world, where it wrought astonishing cures. St. Raymond de Pennaloft laid his cloak on the sea, and sailed from Majorca to Barcelona, a distance of a hundred and sixty miles, in six hours. St. Juliana lay on her death-bed; her stomach rejected all solid food, and in consequence she was prevented from receiving the Eucharist. In compliance with her earnest solicitations, the consecrated wafer was laid on her breast; the priest prayed; the wafer vanished, and Juliana expired. Many pages might be filled with accounts of modern miracles, of the most ridiculous description, yet believed by Roman Catholics—the undoubted means by which Papal Rome "deceives the world," and keeps up its ascendency in this age. See Forsyth's Italy, ii. pp. 154-157; Rome in the Nineteenth Century, i. p. 40, 86, ii. p. 356, iii. pp. 193-201; Lady Morgan's Italy, ii. p. 306, iii. p. 189; Graham's Three Months' Residence, etc., p. 241.

Saying to them that dwell on the earth. That is, as far as its influence would extend. This implies that there would be authority, and that this authority would be exercised to secure this object.

That they should make an image to the beast. That is, something that would represent the beast, and that might be an object of worship. The word rendered imageeikwn—means properly

(a) an image, effigy, figure, as an idol image or figure;

(b) a likeness, resemblance, similitude. Here the meaning would seem to be, that, in order to secure the acknowledgment of the beast, and the homage to be rendered to him, there was something like a statue made, or that John saw in vision such a representation; that is, that a state of things existed as if such a statue were made, and men were constrained to acknowledge this. All that is stated here would be fulfilled if the old Roman civil power should become to a large extent dead, or cease to exert its influence over men, and if then the Papal spiritual power should cause a form of domination to exist, strongly resembling the former in its general character and extent, and if it should secure this result—that the world would acknowledge its sway, or render it homage as it did to the old Roman government. This would receive its fulfilment if it be supposed that the first "beast" represented the ancient Roman civil power as such; that this died away—as if the head had received a fatal wound; that it was again revived under the influence of the Papacy; and that, under that influence, a civil government strongly resembling the old Roman dominion was caused to exist, depending for its vital energy on the Papacy, and, in its turn, lending its aid to support the Papacy. All this in fact occurred in the decline of the Roman power after the time of Constantine, and its final apparent extinction, as if "wounded to death," in the exile of the last of the emperors, the son of Orestes, who assumed the names of Romulus and Augustus, names which were corrupted, the former by the Greeks into Momyllus, and the latter by the Latins "into the contemptible diminutive Augustulus." See Gibbon, ii, 381. Under him the empire ceased, until it was revived in the days of Charlemagne. In the empire which then sprung up, and which owed much of its influence to the sustaining aid of the Papacy, and which seems to have been made to sustain the Papacy, we discern the "image" of the former Roman power; the prolongation of the Roman ascendency over the world. On the exile of the feeble son of Orestes, (A.D. 476,) the government passed into the hands of Odoacer, "the first Barbarian who reigned in Italy," (Gibbon;) and then the authority was divided among the sovereignties which sprang up after the conquests of the Barbarians, until the "empire" was again restored in the time and the person of Charlemagne. See Gibbon, iii. 344, seq.

Which had the wound by a sword, and did live. Which had a wound that was naturally fatal, but whose fatal consequences were prevented by the intervention of another power. See Barnes "Re 13:3".

That is, according to the explanation given above, the Roman imperial power was "wounded with a fatal wound" by the invasions of the Northern hordes—the sword of the conquerors. Its power, however, was restored by the Papacy, giving life to that which resembled essentially the Roman civil jurisdiction—the "image" of the former beast; and that power, thus restored, asserted its dominion again, as the prolonged Roman dominion—the fourth kingdom of Daniel—over the world. See Barnes "Da 7:19"

seq.

{b} "wound" Re 13:3,12

« Prev Revelation 13:14 Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |