By Alexander Hislop
The next great enemy introduced to our notice is the Beast from the Sea
(Rev 13:1): "I stood," says John, "upon the sand of the
sea-shore, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea." The seven heads
and ten horns on this beast, as on the great dragon, show that this power
is essentially the same beast, but that it has undergone a circumstantial
change. In the old Babylonian system, after the worship of the god of
fire, there speedily followed the worship of the god of water or the sea.
As the world formerly was in danger of being burnt up, so now it was in
equal danger of being drowned. In the Mexican story it is said to have
actually been so. First, say they, it was destroyed by fire, and then it
was destroyed by water. The Druidic mythology gives the same account; for
the Bards affirm that the dreadful tempest of fire that split the earth
asunder, was rapidly succeeded by the bursting of the Lake Llion, when the
waters of the abyss poured forth and "overwhelmed the whole world." In
Greece we meet with the very same story.
Diodorus Siculus tells us that, in former times, "a monster called Aegides, who vomited flames, appeared in Phrygia; hence spreading along Mount Taurus, the conflagration burnt down all the woods as far as India; then, with a retrograde course, swept the forests of Mount Lebanon, and extended as far as Egypt and Africa; at last a stop was put to it by Minerva. The Phrygians remembered well this CONFLAGRATION and the FLOOD which FOLLOWED it." Ovid, too, has a clear allusion to the same fact of the fire-worship being speedily followed by the worship of water, in his fable of the transformation of Cycnus. He represents King Cycnus, an attached friend of Phaethon, and consequently of fire-worship, as, after his friend's death, hating the fire, and taking to the contrary element that of water, through fear, and so being transformed into a swan. In India, the great deluge, which occupies so conspicuous a place in its mythology, evidently has the same symbolical meaning, although the story of Noah is mixed up with it; for it was during that deluge that "the lost Vedas," or sacred books, were recovered, by means of the great god, under the form of a FISH. The "loss of the Vedas" had evidently taken place at that very time of terrible disaster to the gods, when, according to the Purans, a great enemy of these gods, called Durgu, "abolished all religious ceremonies, the Brahmins, through fear, forsook the reading of the Veda,...fire lost its energy, and the terrified stars retired from sight"; in other words, when idolatry, fire-worship, and the worship of the host of heaven had been suppressed. When we turn to Babylon itself, we find there also substantially the same account.
In Berosus, the deluge is represented as coming after the time of Alorus, or the "god of fire," that is, Nimrod, which shows that there, too, this deluge was symbolical. Now, out of this deluge emerged Dagon, the fish-god, or god of the sea. The origin of the worship of Dagon, as shown by Berosus, was founded upon a legend, that, at a remote period of the past, when men were sunk in barbarism, there came up a BEAST CALLED OANNES FROM THE RED SEA, or Persian Gulf--half-man, half-fish--that civilised the Babylonians, taught them arts and sciences, and instructed them in politics and religion. The worship of Dagon was introduced by the very parties--Nimrod, of course, excepted--who had previously seduced the world into the worship of fire. In the secret Mysteries that were then set up, while in the first instance, no doubt, professing the greatest antipathy to the prescribed worship of fire, they sought to regain their influence and power by scenic representations of the awful scenes of the Flood, in which Noah was introduced under the name of Dagon, or the Fish-god--scenes in which the whole family of man, both from the nature of the event and their common connection with the second father of the human race, could not fail to feel a deep interest. The concocters of these Mysteries saw that if they could only bring men back again to idolatry in any shape, they could soon work that idolatry so as substantially to re-establish the very system that had been put down. Thus it was, that, as soon as the way was prepared for it, Tammuz was introduced as one who had allowed himself to be slain for the good of mankind. A distinction was made between good serpents and bad serpents, one kind being represented as the serpent of Agathodaemon, or the good divinity, another as the serpent of Cacodaemon, or the evil one. *
* WILKINSON. In Egypt, the Uraeus, or the Cerastes, was the good serpent, the Apophis the evil one.
It was easy, then, to lead men on by degrees to believe that, in spite of all appearances to the contrary, Tammuz, instead of being the patron of serpent-worship in any evil sense, was in reality the grand enemy of the Apophis, or great malignant serpent that envied the happiness of mankind, and that in fact he was the very seed of the woman who was destined to bruise the serpent's head. By means of the metempsychosis, it was just as easy to identify Nimrod and Noah, and to make it appear that the great patriarch, in the person of this his favoured descendant, had graciously condescended to become incarnate anew, as Dagon, that he might bring mankind back again to the blessings they had lost when Nimrod was slain. Certain it is, that Dagon was worshipped in the Chaldean Mysteries, wherever they were established, in a character that represented both the one and the other.
In the previous system, the grand mode of purification had been by fire. Now, it was by water that men were to be purified. Then began the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, connected, as we have seen, with the passing of Noah through the waters of the Flood. Then began the reverence for holy wells, holy lakes, holy rivers, which is to be found wherever these exist on the earth; which is not only to be traced among the Parsees, who, along with the worship of fire, worship also the Zereparankard, or Caspian Sea, and among the Hindoos, who worship the purifying waters of the Ganges, and who count it the grand passport to heaven, to leave their dying relatives to be smothered in its stream; but which is seen in full force at this day in Popish Ireland, in the universal reverence for holy wells, and the annual pilgrimages to Loch Dergh, to wash away sin in its blessed waters; and which manifestly lingers also among ourselves, in the popular superstition about witches which shines out in the well-known line of Burns--
"A running stream they daurna cross."
So much for the worship of water. Along with the water-worship, however, the old worship of fire was soon incorporated again. In the Mysteries, both modes of purification were conjoined. Though water-baptism was held to regenerate, yet purification by fire was still held to be indispensable; * and, long ages after baptismal regeneration had been established, the children were still made "to pass through the fire to Moloch." This double purification both by fire and water was practised in Mexico, among the followers of Wodan. This double purification was also commonly practised among the old Pagan Romans; ** and, in course of time, almost everywhere throughout the Pagan world, both the fire-worship and serpent-worship of Nimrod, which had been put down, was re-established in a new form, with all its old and many additional abominations besides.
* The name Tammuz, as applied to Nimrod or Osiris, was equivalent to Alorus or the "god of fire," and seems to have been given to him as the great purifier by fire. Tammuz is derived from tam, "to make perfect," and muz, "fire," and signifies "Fire the perfecter," or "the perfecting fire." To this meaning of the name, as well as to the character of Nimrod as the Father of the gods, the Zoroastrian verse alludes when it says: "All things are the progeny of ONE FIRE. The Father perfected all things, and delivered them to the second mind, whom all nations of men call the first." (CORY'S Fragments) Here Fire is declared to be the Father of all; for all things are said to be its progeny, and it is also called the "perfecter of all things." The second mind is evidently the child who displaced Nimrod's image as an object of worship; but yet the agency of Nimrod, as the first of the gods, and the fire-god, was held indispensable for "perfecting" men. And hence, too, no doubt, the necessity of the fire of Purgatory to "perfect" men's souls at last, and to purge away all the sins that they have carried with them into the unseen world.
Now, this god of the sea, when his worship had been firmly re-established, and all formidable opposition had been put down, was worshipped also as the great god of war, who, though he had died for the good of mankind, now that he had risen again, was absolutely invincible. In memory of this new incarnation, the 25th of December, otherwise Christmas Day, was, as we have already seen, celebrated in Pagan Rome as "Natalis Solis invicti," "the birth-day of the Unconquered Sun." We have equally seen that the very name of the Roman god of war is just the name of Nimrod; for Mars and Mavors, the two well-known names of the Roman war-god, are evidently just the Roman forms of the Chaldee "Mar" or "Mavor," the Rebel. Thus terrible and invincible was Nimrod when he reappeared as Dagon, the beast from the sea. If the reader looks at what is said in Revelation 13:3, he will see precisely the same thing: "And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded unto death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon, which gave power unto the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?" Such, in all respects, is the analogy between the language of the prophecy and the ancient Babylonian type.
Do we find, then, anything corresponding to this in the religious history of the Roman empire after the fall of the old Paganism of that empire? Exactly in every respect. No sooner was Paganism legally abolished, the eternal fire of Vesta extinguished, and the old serpent cast down from the seat of power, where so long he had sat secure, than he tried the most vigorous means to regain his influence and authority. Finding that persecution of Christianity, as such, in the meantime would not do to destroy the church symbolised by the sun-clothed Woman, he made another tack (Rev 12:15):
"And the serpent cast out of his mouth a flood of water after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood."
The symbol here is certainly very remarkable. If this was the dragon of fire, it might have been expected that it would have been represented, according to popular myths, as vomiting fire after the woman. But it is not so. It was a flood of water that he cast out of his mouth. What could this mean? As the water came out of the mouth of the dragon--that must mean doctrine, and of course, false doctrine. But is there nothing more specific than this? A single glance at the old Babylonian type will show that the water cast out of the mouth of the serpent must be the water of baptismal regeneration. Now, it was precisely at this time, when the old Paganism was suppressed, that the doctrine of regenerating men by baptism, which had been working in the Christian Church before, threatened to spread like a deluge over the face of the Roman empire. *
* From about AD 360, to the time of the Emperor Justinian, about 550, we have evidence both of the promulgation of this doctrine, and also of the deep hold it came at last to take of professing Christians.
It was then precisely that our Lord Jesus Christ began to be popularly called Ichthys, that is, "the Fish," manifestly to identify him with Dagon. At the end of the fourth century, and from that time forward, it was taught, that he who had been washed in the baptismal font was thereby born again, and made pure as the virgin snow.
This flood issued not merely from the mouth of Satan, the old serpent, but from the mouth of him who came to be recognised by the Pagans of Rome as the visible head of the old Roman Paganism. When the Roman fire-worship was suppressed, we have seen that the office of Pontifex Maximus, the head of that Paganism, was abolished. That was "the wounding unto death" of the head of the Fiery Dragon. But scarcely had that head received its deadly wound, when it began to be healed again. Within a few years after the Pagan title of Pontifex had been abolished, it was revived, and that by the very Emperor that had abolished it, and was bestowed, with all the Pagan associations clustering around it, upon the Bishop of Rome, who, from that time forward, became the grand agent in pouring over professing Christendom, first the ruinous doctrine of baptismal regeneration, and then all the other doctrines of Paganism derived from ancient Babylon. When this Pagan title was bestowed on the Roman bishop, it was not as a mere empty title of honour it was bestowed, but as a title to which formidable power was annexed. To the authority of the Bishop of Rome in this new character, as Pontifex, when associated "with five or seven other bishops" as his counsellors, bishops, and even metropolitans of foreign churches over extensive regions of the West, in Gaul not less than in Italy, were subjected; and civil pains were attached to those who refused to submit to his pontifical decisions. Great was the danger to the cause of truth and righteousness when such power was, by imperial authority, vested in the Roman bishop, and that a bishop so willing to give himself to the propagation of false doctrine. Formidable, however, as the danger was, the true Church, the Bride, the Lamb's wife (so far as that Church was found within the bounds of the Western Empire), was wonderfully protected from it. That Church was for a time saved from the peril, not merely by the mountain fastnesses in which many of its devoted members found an asylum, as Jovinian, Vigilantius, and the Waldenses, and such-like faithful ones, in the wilderness among the Cottian Alps, and other secluded regions of Europe, but also not a little, by a signal interposition of Divine Providence in its behalf. That interposition is referred to in these words (Rev 12:16):
"The earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the flood, which the dragon cast out of his mouth."
What means the symbol of the "earth's opening its mouth"? In the natural world, when the earth opens its mouth, there is an earthquake; and an "earthquake," according to the figurative language of the Apocalypse, as all admit, just means a great political convulsion. Now, when we examine the history of the period in question, we find that the fact exactly agrees with the prefiguration; that soon after the Bishop of Rome because Pontiff, and, as Pontiff, set himself so zealously to bring in Paganism into the Church, those political convulsions began in the civil empire of Rome, which never ceased till the framework of that empire was broken up, and it was shattered to pieces. But for this the spiritual power of the Papacy might have been firmly established over all the nations of the West, long before the time it actually was so. It is clear, that immediately after Damasus, the Roman bishop, received his pontifical power, the predicted "apostacy" (1 Tim 4:3), so far as Rome was concerned, was broadly developed. Then were men "forbidden to marry," * and "commanded to abstain from meats."
* The celibacy of the clergy was enacted by Syricius, Bishop of Rome, AD 385. (GIESELER)
Then, with a factitious doctrine of sin, a factitious holiness also was inculcated, and people were led to believe that all baptised persons were necessarily regenerated. Had the Roman Empire of the West remained under one civil head, backed by that civil head, the Bishop of Rome might very soon have infected all parts of that empire with the Pagan corruption he had evidently given himself up to propagate. Considering the cruelty with which Jovinian, and all who opposed the Pagan doctrines in regard to marriage and abstinence, were treated by the Pontifex of Rome, under favour of the imperial power, it may easily be seen how serious would have been the consequences to the cause of truth in the Western Empire had this state of matters been allowed to pursue its natural course. But now the great Lord of the Church interfered. The "revolt of the Goths," and the sack of Rome by Alaric the Goth in 410, gave that shock to the Roman Empire which issued, by 476, in its complete upbreaking and the extinction of the imperial power. Although, therefore, in pursuance of the policy previously inaugurated, the Bishop of Rome was formally recognised, by an imperial edict in 445, as "Head of all the Churches of the West," all bishops being commanded "to hold and observe as a law whatever it should please the Bishop of Rome to ordain or decree"; the convulsions of the empire, and the extinction, soon thereafter, of the imperial power itself, to a large extent nullified the disastrous effects of this edict. The "earth's opening its mouth," then--in other words, the breaking up of the Roman Empire into so many independent sovereignties--was a benefit to true religion, and prevented the flood of error and corruption, that had its source in Rome, from flowing as fast and as far as it would otherwise have done.
When many different wills in the different countries were substituted for the one will of the Emperor, on which the Sovereign Pontiff leaned, the influence of that Pontiff was greatly neutralised. "Under these circumstances," says Gieseler, referring to the influence of Rome in the different kingdoms into which the empire was divided, "under these circumstances, the Popes could not directly interfere in ecclesiastical matters; and their communications with the established Church of the country depended entirely on the royal pleasure." The Papacy at last overcame the effects of the earthquake, and the kingdoms of the West were engulfed in that flood of error that came out of the mouth of the dragon. But the overthrow of the imperial power, when so zealously propping up the spiritual despotism of Rome, gave the true Church in the West a lengthened period of comparative freedom, which otherwise it could not have had. The Dark Ages would have come sooner, and the darkness would have been more intense, but for the Goths and Vandals, and the political convulsions that attended their irruptions. They were raised up to scourge an apostatising community, not to persecute the saints of the Most High, though these, too, may have occasionally suffered in the common distress. The hand of Providence may be distinctly seen, in that, at so critical a moment, the earth opened its mouth and helped the woman.
To return, however, to the memorable period when the pontifical title was bestowed on the Bishop of Rome. The circumstances in which that Pagan title was bestowed upon Pope Damasus, were such as might have been not a little trying to the faith and integrity of a much better man than he. Though Paganism was legally abolished in the Western Empire of Rome, yet in the city of the Seven Hills it was still rampant, insomuch that Jerome, who knew it well, writing of Rome at this very period, calls it "the sink of all superstitions." The consequence was, that, while everywhere else throughout the empire the Imperial edict for the abolition of Paganism was respected, in Rome itself it was, to a large extent, a dead letter.
Symmachus, the prefect of the city, and the highest patrician families, as well as the masses of the people, were fanatically devoted to the old religion; and, therefore, the Emperor found it necessary, in spite of the law, to connive at the idolatry of the Romans. How strong was the hold that Paganism had in the Imperial city, even after the fire of Vesta was extinguished, and State support was withdrawn from the Vestals, the reader may perceive from the following words of Gibbon: "The image and altar of Victory were indeed removed from the Senate-house; but the Emperor yet spared the statues of the gods which were exposed to public view; four hundred and twenty-four temples or chapels still remained to satisfy the devotion of the people, and in every quarter of Rome the delicacy of the Christians was offended by the fumes of idolatrous sacrifice." Thus strong was Paganism in Rome, even after State support was withdrawn about 376. But look forward only about fifty years, and see what has become of it. The name of Paganism has almost entirely disappeared; insomuch that the younger Theodosius, in an edict issued AD 423, uses these words: "The Pagans that remain, although now we may believe there are none." The words of Gibbon in reference to this are very striking. While fully admitting that, notwithstanding the Imperial laws made against Paganism, "no peculiar hardships" were imposed on "the sectaries who credulously received the fables of Ovid, and obstinately rejected the miracles of the Gospel," he expresses his surprise at the rapidity of the revolution that took place among the Romans from Paganism to Christianity. "The ruin of Paganism," he says--and his dates are from AD 378, the year when the Bishop of Rome was made Pontifex, to 395--"The ruin of Paganism, in the age of Theodosius, is perhaps the only example of the total extirpation of any ancient and popular superstition; and may therefore deserve to be considered as a singular event in the history of the human mind."...After referring to the hasty conversion of the senate, he thus proceeds: "The edifying example of the Anician family [in embracing Christianity] was soon imitated by the rest of the nobility...The citizens who subsisted by their own industry, and the populace who were supported by the public liberality, filled the churches of the Lateran and Vatican with an incessant throng of devout proselytes. The decrees of the senate, which proscribed the worship of idols, were ratified by the general consent of the Romans; the splendour of the capitol was defaced, and the solitary temples were abandoned to ruin and contempt. Rome submitted to the yoke of the Gospel...The generation that arose in the world, after the promulgation of Imperial laws, was ATTRACTED within the pale of the Catholic Church, and so RAPID, yet so GENTLE was the fall of Paganism, that only twenty-eight years after the death of Theodosius [the elder], the faint and minute vestiges were no longer visible to the eye of the legislator." Now, how can this great and rapid revolution be accounted for? Is it because the Word of the Lord has had free course and been glorified? Then, what means the new aspect that the Roman Church has now begun to assume? In exact proportion as Paganism has disappeared from without the Church, in the very same proportion it appears within it. Pagan dresses for the priests, Pagan festivals for the people, Pagan doctrines and ideas of all sorts, are everywhere in vogue. The testimony of the same historian, who has spoken so decisively about the rapid conversion of the Romans to the profession of the Gospel, is not less decisive on this point. In his account of the Roman Church, under the head of "Introduction of Pagan Ceremonies," he thus speaks:
"As the objects of religion were gradually reduced to the standard of the imagination, the rites and ceremonies were introduced that seemed most powerfully to effect the senses of the vulgar. If, in the beginning of the fifth century, Tertullian or Lactantius had been suddenly raised from the dead, to assist at the festival of some popular saint or martyr, they would have gazed with astonishment and indignation on the profane spectacle which had succeeded to the pure and spiritual worship of a Christian congregation. As soon as the doors of the church were thrown open, they must have been offended by the smoke of incense, the perfume of flowers, and the glare of lamps and tapers, which diffused at noon-day a gaudy, superfluous, and, in their opinion, sacrilegious light."
Gibbon has a great deal more to the same effect. Now, can any one believe that this was accidental? No. It was evidently the result of that unprincipled policy, of which, in the course of this inquiry, we have already seen such innumerable instances on the part of the Papacy. *
* Gibbon distinctly admits this. "It must ingenuously be confessed," says he, "that the ministers of the Catholic Church imitated the profane model they were so impatient to destroy."
Pope Damasus saw that, in a city pre-eminently given to idolatry, if he was to maintain the Gospel pure and entire, he must be willing to bear the cross, to encounter hatred and ill-will, to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, he could not but equally see, that if bearing the title, around which, for so many ages, all the hopes and affections of Paganism had clustered, he should give its votaries reason to believe that he was willing to act up to the original spirit of that title, he might count on popularity, aggrandisement and glory. Which alternative, then, was Damasus likely to choose? The man that came into the bishopric of Rome, as a thief and a robber, over the dead bodies of above a hundred of his opponents, could not hesitate as to the election he should make. The result shows that he had acted in character, that, in assuming the Pagan title of Pontifex, he had set himself at whatever sacrifice of truth to justify his claims to that title in the eyes of the Pagans, as the legitimate representative of their long line of pontiffs. There is no possibility of accounting for the facts on any other supposition. It is evident also that he and his successors were ACCEPTED in that character by the Pagans, who, in flocking into the Roman Church, and rallying around the new Pontiff, did not change their creed or worship, but brought both into the Church along with them. The reader has seen how complete and perfect is the copy of the old Babylonian Paganism, which, under the patronage of the Popes, has been introduced into the Roman Church. He has seen that the god whom the Papacy worships as the Son of the Highest, is not only, in spite of a Divine command, worshipped under the form of an image, made, as in the days of avowed Paganism, by art and man's device, but that attributes are ascribed to Him which are the very opposite of those which belong to the merciful Saviour, but which attributes are precisely those which were ascribed to Moloch, the fire-god, or Ala Mahozim, "the god of fortifications." He has seen that, about the very time when the Bishop of Rome was invested with the Pagan title of Pontifex, the Saviour began to be called Ichthys, or "the Fish," thereby identifying Him with Dagon, or the Fish-god; and that, ever since, advancing step by step, as circumstances would permit, what has gone under the name of the worship of Christ, has just been the worship of that same Babylonian divinity, with all its rites and pomps and ceremonies, precisely as in ancient Babylon. Lastly, he has seen that the Sovereign Pontiff of the so-called Christian Church of Rome has so wrought out the title bestowed upon him in the end of the fourth century, as to be now dignified, as for centuries he has been, with the very "names of blasphemy" originally bestowed on the old Babylonian pontiffs. *
* The reader who has seen the first edition of this work, will perceive that, in the above reasoning, I found nothing upon the formal appointment by Gratian of the Pope as Pontifex, with direct authority over the Pagans, as was done in that edition. That is not because I do not believe that such an appointment was made, but because, at the present moment, some obscurity rests on the subject. The Rev. Barcroft Boake, a very learned minister of the Church of England in Ceylon, when in this country, communicated to me his researches on the subject, which have made me hesitate to assert that there was any formal authority given to the Bishop of Rome over the Pagans by Gratian. At the same time, I am still convinced that the original statement was substantially true. The late Mr. Jones, in the Journal of Prophecy, not only referred to the Appendix to the Codex Theodosianus, in proof of such an appointment, but, in elucidation of the words of the Codex, asserted in express terms that there was a contest for the office of Pontifex, and that there were two candidates, the one a Pagan, Symmachus, who had previously been Valentinian's deputy, and the other the Bishop of Rome. (Quarterly Journal of Prophecy, Oct. 1852) I have not been able to find Mr. Jones's authority for this statement; but the statement is so circumstantial, that it cannot easily be called in question without impugning the veracity of him that made it. I have found Mr. Jones in error on divers points, but in no error of such a nature as this; and the character of the man forbids such a supposition. Moreover, the language of the Appendix cannot easily admit of any other interpretation. But, even though there were no formal appointment of Bishop Damasus to a pontificate extending over the Pagans, yet it is clear that, by the rescript of Gratian (the authenticity of which is fully admitted by the accurate Gieseler), he was made the supreme spiritual authority in the Western Empire in all religious questions. When, therefore, in the year 400, Pagan priests were, by the Christian Emperor of the West, from political motives, "acknowledged as public officers" (Cod. Theod., ad POMPEJANUM, Procons), these Pagan priests necessarily came under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, as there was then no other tribunal but his for determining all matters affecting religion. In the text, however I have made no allusion to this. The argument, as I think the reader will admit, is sufficiently decisive without it.
Now, if the circumstance in which the Pope has risen to all this height of power and blasphemous assumption, be compared with a prediction in Daniel, which, for want of the true key has never been understood, I think the reader will see how literally in the history of the Popes of Rome that prediction has been fulfilled. The prediction to which I allude is that which refers to what is commonly called the "Wilful King" as described in Daniel 11:36, and succeeding verses. That "Wilful King" is admitted on all hands to be a king that arises in Gospel times, and in Christendom, but has generally been supposed to be an Infidel Antichrist, not only opposing the truth but opposing Popery as well, and every thing that assumed the very name of Christianity. But now, let the prediction be read in the light of the facts that have passed in review before us, and it will be seen how very different is the case (v 36):
"And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the god of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all."
So far these words give an exact description of the Papacy, with its pride, its blasphemy, and forced celibacy and virginity. But the words that follow, according to any sense that the commentators have put upon them, have never hitherto been found capable of being made to agree either with the theory that the Pope was intended, or any other theory whatever. Let them, however, only be literally rendered, and compared with the Papal history, and all is clear, consistent, and harmonious. The inspired seer has declared that, in the Church of Christ, some one shall arise who shall not only aspire to a great height, but shall actually reach it, so that "he shall do according to his will"; his will shall be supreme in opposition to all law, human and Divine. Now, if this king is to be a pretended successor of the fisherman of Galilee, the question would naturally arise, How could it be possible that he should ever have the means of rising to such a height of power? The words that follow give a distinct answer to that question: "He shall not REGARD * any god, for he shall magnify himself above all. BUT, in establishing himself, shall he honour the god of fortifications (Ala Mahozim), and a god, whom his fathers knew not, shall he honour with gold and silver, and with precious stones and pleasant things. Thus shall he make into strengthening bulwarks ** [for himself] the people of a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and he shall divide the land for gain."
* The reader will observe, it is not said he shall not worship any god; the reverse is evident; but that he shall not regard any, that his own glory is his highest end.
Such is the prophecy. Now, this is exactly what the Pope did. Self-aggrandisement has ever been the grand principle of the Papacy; and, in "establishing" himself, it was just the "god of Fortifications" that he honoured. The worship of that god he introduced into the Roman Church; and, by so doing, he converted that which otherwise would have been a source of weakness to him, into the very tower of his strength--he made the very Paganism of Rome by which he was surrounded the bulwark of his power. When once it was proved that the Pope was willing to adopt Paganism under Christian names, the Pagans and Pagan priests would be his most hearty and staunch defenders. And when the Pope began to wield lordly power over the Christians, who were the men that he would recommend--that he would promote--that he would advance to honour and power? Just the very people most devoted to "the worship of the strange god" which he had introduced into the Christian Church. Gratitude and self-interest alike would conspire to this. Jovinian, and all who resisted the Pagan ideas and Pagan practices, were excommunicated and persecuted. Those only who were heartily attached to the apostacy (and none could now be more so than genuine Pagans) were favoured and advanced. Such men were sent from Rome in all directions, even as far as Britain, to restore the reign of Paganism--they were magnified with high titles, the lands were divided among them, and all to promote "the gain" of the Romish see, to bring in "Peter's pence" from the ends of the earth to the Roman Pontiff. But it is still further said, that the self-magnifying king was to "honour a god, whom his fathers knew not, with gold and silver and precious stones."
The principle on which transubstantiation was founded is unquestionably a Babylonian principle, but there is no evidence that that principle was applied in the way in which it has been by the Papacy. Certain it is, that we have evidence that no such wafer-god as the Papacy worships was ever worshipped in Pagan Rome. "Was any man ever so mad," says Cicero, who himself was a Roman augur and a priest--"was any man ever so mad as to take that which he feeds on for a god?" Cicero could not have said this if anything like wafer-worship had been established in Rome. But what was too absurd for Pagan Romans is no absurdity at all for the Pope. The host, or consecrated wafer, is the great god of the Romish Church. That host is enshrined in a box adorned with gold and silver and precious stones. And thus it is manifest that "a god" whom even the Pope's Pagan "fathers knew not," he at this day honours in the very way that the terms of the prediction imply that he would. Thus, in every respect, when the Pope was invested with the Pagan title of Pontifex, and set himself to make that title a reality, he exactly fulfilled the prediction of Daniel recorded more than 900 years before.
But to return to the Apocalyptic symbols. It was out of the mouth of the "Fiery Dragon" that "the flood of water" was discharged. The Pope, as he is now, was at the close of the fourth century the only representative of Belshazzar, or Nimrod, on the earth; for the Pagans manifestly ACCEPTED him as such. He was equally, of course, the legitimate successor of the Roman "Dragon of fire." When, therefore, on being dignified with the title of Pontifex, he set himself to propagate the old Babylonian doctrine of baptismal regeneration, that was just a direct and formal fulfilment of the Divine words, that the great Fiery Dragon should "cast out of his mouth a flood of water to carry away the Woman with the flood." He, and those who co-operated with him in this cause, paved the way for the erecting of that tremendous civil and spiritual despotism which began to stand forth full in the face of Europe in AD 606, when, amid the convulsions and confusions of the nations tossed like a tempestuous sea, the Pope of Rome was made Universal Bishop; and when the ten chief kingdoms of Europe recognised him as Christ's Vicar upon earth, the only centre of unity, the only source of stability to their thrones. Then by his own act and deed, and by the consent of the UNIVERSAL PAGANISM of Rome, he was actually the representative of Dagon; and as he bears upon his head at this day the mitre of Dagon, so there is reason to believe he did then. *
* It is from this period only that the well-known 1260 days can begin to be counted; for not before did the Pope appear as Head of the ten-horned beast, and head of the Universal Church. The reader will observe that though the beast above referred to has passed through the sea, it still retains its primitive characteristic. The head of the apostacy at first was Kronos, "The Horned One." The head of the apostacy is Kronos still, for he is the beast "with seven head and ten horns."
Could there, then, be a more exact fulfilment of chapter 13:1
"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and 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 I saw one of his heads as it had been wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed, and all the world wondered after the beast"?