Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Again : the five heads, which had become extinct in the time of St. John, are simply said to have fallen ; an expression, evidently used contradistinctively to the military violence implied in an act of slaughter by the sword : and the diplomatic fall of the head, which was in actual existence when the Apostle wrote, we ourselves recently beheld in the year 1806. Hence no one of the six first heads can be the head, which is mortally wounded by the sword of foreign military violence. But, if the sword-slain head be no one of the six first heads, it can only be the seventh head.

Again : in the hieroglyphic, as presented to the eyes of St. John, the beast first lives, then dies by the sword of violence, and then revives : analogously to which, in the verbal interpretation as given by the hierophantic angel, the beast was, and is not, and yet shall be; or, in other words, first exists, then ceases to exist, and then reëxists. Hence it is evident, that the life and death and revival of the beast are explained to denote the political existence and non-existence and reëxistence of the Roman Empire. But the symbolical wildbeast, we are told, ceases to exist on the extinction of the short-lived seventh head : and rises out of the abyss to his new state of reëxistence, under the eighth king, who is identified with the seventh, and who is thence declared to be one of the preceding seven kings. Therefore, since the non-existence of the beast corresponds with his death, since he falls into non-existence on the extinction of the seventh head, and since he sinks into death by the mortal wound which is inflicted on some one of his heads by a sword : it will follow, that the sword-slain head, the slaughter of which is followed by his death, must be the short-lived seventh head, the extinction of which is followed by the period of his non-existence.

On these grounds, I think it indisputable, that the short-lived seventh head is the head which St. John beheld mortally wounded by a sword. Whence of course it will follow, that Violent slaughter by the sword is one of the characteristics of the seventh head'.

This simple statement of particulars will abundantly confute those several schemes, which would variously identify the seventh head with the Papacy or with the Exarchate of Ravenna or with the line of the Western Cesars from Honorius to Augustulus.

1. The Papacy has neither continued only a short space, nor has it hitherto at least been slain by the sword.

2. The Exarchate of Ravenna was slain, indeed, by the sword of the Lombards, and it continued only a short space : but the beast neither died upon its extinction; nor can it well be deemed a successor to the Roman Imperial head, in behalf of which it merely discharged the function of viceroyalty, and which itself did not fall until the

year

1806. 3. The line of the Western Cesars was short-lived, and was politically slain (we may say) by the Gothic sword of Odoacer: but, to omit the circumstance of this imaginary seventh head being in truth no other than the western portion of the first or regal-imperial head, it neither succeeded that head which fell in the year 1806, nor did its fall produce the political death of the Empire.

I may now, therefore, repeat with confidence, that the predicted characteristics of the seventh head are : Futurity with respect to the age of St. John ; Brevity of continuance ; Violent slaughter by the sword; and The sovereignty of the metropolitan city Rome during some portion or other of its existence.

The chronologically first head fell in the year 1806: consequently, as I have already observed, its final successor the seventh head must have arisen, either in that same year, or shortly before that same year: because, otherwise, on the fall of the first head, five of its fellows having already fallen, the beast, in consequence of the death of all his six first heads previous to the rise of his seventh head, must himself have been in a politically defunct condition; for, according to the decorum of zoölogy, no beast can live without a living head. What, then, was the polity, which succeeded the ancient Roman Kingship or Emperorship, as the manifest head of the Empire, and as the master of its seven-hilled capital ? To this question we must plainly answer, the Francic Emperorship as established by Napoleon Buonaparte.

Accordingly we shall find, that, in every particu

[ocr errors]

We must look, then, for some other very different Power, which will answer to the characteristics of the seventh head: a Power, which was not in existence at the time when our older commentators flourished; whence, in the very nature of things, it was impossible for them to give the right interpretation of this part of the prophecy.

lar, the Francic Emperorship minutely answers to the prophetic character of the seventh head.

In the May of the year 1804, Napoleon Buonapartè assumed the official title of Emperor of the French : in the March of the year 1805, he became King of Italy: in the August of the year 1806, the first Roman head fell by the abdication and abolition of the official title of Emperor of the Romans : and, in the February of the year 1810, it was decreed, that the Papal States should be united to the French Empire; that, of that Empire, ROME should henceforth rank as the second city; that the Prince Imperial should take the title of King of Rome ; and that the Emperors, after having been crowned in the church of Notre Dame at Paris, should, before the tenth year of their reign, be also crowned in that of St. Peter.

Here, then, we behold the rise of a new head, distinct in its official designation from all the preceding six heads, enjoying the sovereignty of the metropolitan city though degrading it from its old metropolitan dignity, springing up at the very time when prophecy leads us to expect its rise, and assuming the new and hitherto unknown title of Emperor of the French. With respect to its power, it may be said to have extended, either directly or indirectly, over the whole Latin Empire, with the single exception of England : and, in regard to its character as a Roman head, the industrious assumption of the eagle as its special military ensign, the affectation of its representative at

VOL. III.

P

once to play the part of Augustus and Justinian and Charlemagne, the aping with whatever success the manners and pretensions of the old Romans, and lastly the actual sovereignty of Rome itself, all serve to demonstrate that it was truly the seventh head of the Roman wild-beast.

This seventh head, however, which in the time of the Apostle was not yet come, was destined, we are told, whenever it should come, to continue only

a short space.

Such is the chronological notation of the seventh head : and such, formidable and threatening as its aspect might be, has been the fate of the Francic Emperorship. It arose in the May of the year 1804: it fell in the June of the year 1815, having subsisted no more than the brief period of eleven years. . But the seventh head was not only to be shortlived : its abolition was likewise to be eminently distinguished from the abolition of all its six predecéssors. They are described, as simply falling one after another, in consequence (as the prophet may be understood to intimate) of successive internal revolutions or regulations : it is described, as receiving a deadly wound from a sword, in consequence (as the prophet, by the rule of antithesis, must obviously be understood to intimate) of some violent external attack.

With the tenor of the prediction, the actual accomplishment of the event has been found exactly to agree. The prophecy teaches, that the short

« AnteriorContinuar »