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a perpetual intercourse of war, of friendship, or of conquest. During the same period, Christianity was embraced by almost all the barbarians who established their kingdoms on the ruins of the western empire; the Burgundians in Gaul, the Suevi in Spain, the Vandals in Africa, the Ostrogoths in Pannonia, and the various bands of mercenaries that raised Odoacer to the throne of Italy."* “ In the course of a very few years,” says Mr. Faber, “ the religion of Christ had more or less pervaded the whole Roman empire. Succeeding events seemed to threaten if not its absolute extinction, yet, at least, its contraction within its original narrow limits. But the result was very opposite of what, by political sagacity, might reasonably have been anticipated. The religion of the conquering Goths was, in every instance, nationally abandoned ; the religion of the conquered Romans was, in every instance, nationally adopted. Some of the northern warriors might be earlier, and some might be later proselytes : but the ultimate universal concomitant of Gothic national invasion was Gothic national conversion.”
“ And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed,” &c. The course of our preceding exposition has conducted us in tracing the history of despotic and idolatrous oppression from its earliest origin down to the time of the public and incipient suppression of Paganism, A. D. 320, and for the space of one or two centuries beyond. The Dragon or the Devil was now ejected from his
* Decl, and Fall, p. 609, 610.
strongholds; he was cast from heaven to earth; but his draconic nature still remained. He was urged on by the same desperate and fiendish malignity as ever against the true sons of freedom, the inheritors of that legacy of civil and evangelic liberty which the Savior bequeathed to his followers. He was still wroth with the woman, and intent upon warring with the remnant of her seed. But it had now become necessary for him to change the mode of his warfare. The entire Roman empire, forming the principal part of the civilized world, having now assumed a Christian phasis, he felt himself compelled to modify his persecuting tactics so as to adapt them to the new circumstances in which he was placed. Accordingly, finding the Roman world become Christian, he determines to become Christian too, and under the name and semblance of Christianity to uproot the very life and being of that divine religion from the earth. He lays, therefore, one of his deepest, and foulest, and most devilish plots ; a stratagem redolent of the Serpent, and instinct with the profoundest policies of hell. This is represented as consisting in a kind of symbolical metempsychosis or transmigration, in which the Dragon becomes the actuating spirit of another scarcely less baneful power. Conscious of being forced to withdraw in his own proper person from the scene in which he had so long reigned • lord of the ascendant,' he resolves upon protruding upon the vacated stage another agent who should act as his vicegerent, and into whom he determines to transfuse the full measure of his own Satanic spirit and genius. This was no other than the seven-headed and ten-horned
Beast that arose out of the sea. It is through him as an instrument that he resolves to prosecute his war against the woman's seed. We may imagine therefore the Dragon of Paganism, when baffled in his previous designs, walking, like the hero of the Iliad, silent and thoughtful on the shore of the loud-sounding deep, or rather, perhaps, since the ó sea' in the Apocalypse is the symbol of multitudes of men in a state of commotion, as plunging into its abysses, and there secretly busying himself in getting up and sending forth this his portentous substitute, destined to supply his lack of disastrous service in working woe to the nations. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and I saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the names of blasphemy. And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat (Opovor—throne), and great authority." Here is the act of abdication on the Dragon's part, and of investiture on that of the Beast. The Beast therefore acts by a delegated power. He comes forth as the commissioned organ and agent of the prime originator of moral and political ill to the nations of Christendom. This is no other than the same Roman empire metamorphosed into a nominally Christian dominion, and subsisting in its decem-regal form, when divided and split up into ten independent sovereignties, though still preserving an ecclesiastical unity, out of which arose the present dominant kingdoms of Europe, who are said to have agreed, at an early period, to give their power to the Beast. * * Thus Horace, speaking of the Roman people, says;
• Bellua multorum es capitum.'
It would be altogether beside our present purpose to enter upon a detailed exposition of the allegorical Beast, the symbol of the collective body of the present leading European dynasties. We advert to the emblem only so far as may be necessary to illustrate the character, actions, or fortunes of his predecessor, the Dragon. It may be proper, however, to observe, that a prophetie limitation of the reign of the Beast is un. doubtedly contained in the compass of the Revelation. Those upon whom his brutal and bestial violence, his grinding and wasting oppression was specially to fall, were to be given into his hand until a time, times, and half a time, or for the space of 1260 years ;* 'and
* “ The original word which we translate a time, properly signifies any stated, fixed, or appointed time or season. It is therefore made use of, Lev. 23. 4. to denote those annual feasts which were every year fixed to one stated periodical revolution. And therefore may be understood in that place to sig. nify the time of the periodical revolutions of the annual festivals, or a year; and accordingly the prophet Daniel, ch. 4. 16. 23. 25. makes use of the expression of seven times to denote seven years. And therefore in ch. 11. 13. Daniel in order to explain it, says the king of the north shall certainly return, and shall come at the end of times, even years ; as it is in the origi. nal, though we translate it, after certain years. And Justin Martyr, in his dialogue with Trypho the Jew, remarks, that the Rabbins understood the word time to denote a year, according to the language of the prophets. So that, according to this interpretation, a time, times, and half a time, or one year added to two years and a half, will be three years and a half. And as a Jewish year is supposed to consist of twelve months; and each month of thirty days, then a time, times, and half a time, or three times and a half, will be equivalent to 1260 days; as we shall find it exactly computed to bc, when we come to though the precise epoch of the commencement of that period may be difficult to be determined, yet we cannot err very widely in fixing it between the years 450 and 600; and in a matter of this nature to come within a century of the truth may be considered a sufficient approximation for all important purposes. Consequently, that we are now actually arrived at the very borders of that period which is to be signalized by the winding up of the grand despotic drama that has been for ages enacting in transatlantic Christendom, there cannot be the shadow of a reasonable doubt. It is only in this fact that we find an adequate solution of the phenomena which are now displaying themselves on so broad a scale in the political heavens and earth of the eastern continent. These commotions are to be regarded in no other light than as an incipient fulfilment of the inspired oracles, predicting the utter downfall of every system of government and religion which wars upon the liberties of mankind. We have in the disclosures of this book a genuine clew to the recent agitations of all the monarchical states ; agitations arising solely from the efforts of the mass of the people to struggle into the assertion of their native rights, as the ancients fabled the earthquakes to be occasioned by the attempts of the imprisoned giants to throw off the superincumbent mountains heaped upon them.