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« Were you to tell us that you saw a man of such a description, and then add, and I saw another min, describing bim by marks entirely different; and were we to contend [that you meant to convey to us an idea of ibe Jame man, and not of anotber, would you not conclude that we were deranged in our understandings, or had lost the meaning universally affixed to the word anorber? How ihen can you expect that mankind can receive a construction so contrary to th: ir settled ideas? Some apology might be made for your predeceffors in this 'mischii vous' error, which has thrown the Apocalypse into great confusion, as they wrote before the second beast had come ;' and might incautiously conclude that no other enemy but the Church of Rome was to come. But for you, who have heard his [i, e, the second beast's) ravings and denunciations against the Church of Chrift, and seen the dreadful progress (which] he has made towards its deftru&ion, to be not only filent, but the first to censure with severity all those who have thought it their duty to warn Chriftians against its [his, the second beait's] seduction, no apology can be made.” (P. xliv.)
We come now to the author's “ prophetic history of the Church of Rome,” which he considers as contained in the eleven first verses of the thirteenth chapter of the Revelation. Our readers will remember with what vehemence Mr. G. in his Commentaries, contended that the second beast of St. John is not descriptive of the Church of Rome. On reading the tract before us, it struck us that he was afraid of the imputaation of favouring that Church; and that for the purpose, chiefly, of warding off such imputation the tract was composed. But, whatever might be the author's motive for writing it, the essay itself is a poor production, which displays neither learning, nor judgment, nor consistency. It consists of a minute, continued, cominentary,on the eleven verses above mentioned. In his introduction to it, Mr. G. observes that " hitherto commentators upon the Apocalypse feen to have done more harm to the cause of christianity than good." To the truth of the observation we most readily aslent; and we are sorry to add that, in our opinion, the labours of our author on this difficult book will never be confi. dered as forming an exception to it. Of the elucidations contained in the differtation before us we shall proceed to present our readers with some specimens.
Mr. G. begins with some singular remarks on the nature of beasts. " A beast,” he says " is an animal whose natural properties are strength, cruelty, and a gratification of its lust.” (P. 2.) This is no defcription of beasts in general. The author, indeed, seems to have had wild beafts particularly in his mind; for he immediately adds “ fuch are those of a tyger, a bear, and a lion ;' but the “gratification of luft” is not peculiar to a beast, not even to a wild beast. The four great empires, however, he contends, “ are designated by Daniel by four beasts,' on account of their filthy, and lustful idolatry, and their bloody and destructive wars.". It is evidently the latter only of these two circumstances which is shadowed out by the name of beast. The name he thinks, is peculiarly applicable to the Church of Rome, which “ perfectly,” he says,"sesembles a beast." In proof of this we are favoured with
the following sentence, which is perfeally in this author's style of writing,
2$ should not be able to punish them ? This, we really think, approaches
We have likewise a philosophical account why the beast was like I. a leopard (v. 2.). It is because “ the ground of the leopard's skin is
of a light yellow colour, a shade darker than pure white, mixed also with spots black as jet." Hence this animal is employed to represent " a power which had already faded or fallen from the pure truths of the gospel into errors; and was from that state to fall into the black blasphemy of heathen idolatry." (P. 12.) But why were the beast's feet « as the feet of a bear?" Nothing can be more plain. The bear " with his feet, gathers its food and seizes its prey, and when within the grasp of its paws, embraces it to his bosom, and crushes it to death." (P. 13) This “ beautiful figure properly represents the your original clerical orders of the church of Rome; the orders of Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons ; those faithful inftruinenis ever devoted to her will." (Ibid.) It is a little unfortunate for our author's beautiful figure that Cardinals never were A CLERICAL ; ORDER . .
The prophet (v. 3.) saw one of the heads of the beast " as it were, wounded to death." Many commentators, and Mr. W. among the reft, refer this to the civil head. But our author refers it to the Pontifex máximus, or religious head, which was wounded to death by the conversion of Constantine and his successors to the gospel. The « deadly wound, however, was healed," when Pope Boniface, having been made universal Bishop, or High Priest, over all the Christian Churches, consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the worship of the images of the dead martyrs, and saints. ' " Then all the world wondered after the beast.' Not satisfied with embracing Europe, he propagated his idolatry,” says our author, “ in Asia and Africa, the other two quarters of the world only then known; and since the discovery of America, even to its most distant regions.” (P. 19.) From this last clause it appears that, since writing the “ Commentaries,” Mr. Gi’s sentiments had undergone a very considerable' alteration. (See AntiJac. Rev. Vol. XVII. p. 406.)
Our readers, we presume, will easily excuse us from following: Mr. G. with particular exactness, through the rest of this Commentary. But the expofition of the words, and all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him," (v. 8.) furnishes such a specimen of critical (or, to speak more properly, nonfenfical) interpretation as will hardly, we think, be met with twice in a century. It is proper, therefore, that it should remain on record. .
« The earth is a dark body in the natural world, which will not receive, but rejects the light of the sun, and therefore is an accurate symbol of that state of human darkness and degeneracy, that will not receive the light of the revealed love of God." Mr. Go's philofophical tenets, with regard to the earth, remained unaltered to the last. See our 17th Vol. Pp. 235, 395.] " St. John uses it in this sense: 'He that is of the earth is earthly;' fo St. Paul, when speaking of the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.' And St. James, when speaking of earthly wisdom, tells us, 'this wifdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish;' and it is evident from the context, that the phrase them that dwell upon the earth,' alludes to those who lived in that state of schismatic degeneracy and dark. ness, which so grnerally prevailed arnong the professors of Christianity, before and in the beginning of the 7th century, when the church of Rome reared her idolatrous head. Here the prophet asserts that them (they] that dwell,' that REST OR RELY UPON THOSE FALSE AND MYSTERIOUS DOCTRINES, INCONSISTENT WITH THE DOCTRINES OF CHRIST, should worshi; the beast.' And what he asserts is (trialy come to pass : for it was those professors of Christianity, who had tortured and perverted the true and plain word of God into strange and unintelligible doctrines, to answer their earthly and fensual purposes; and who thus prepared, were ready to worship the Beast, by embracing his idolatry; yet more mysterious, earthly, and sensual.” (Pp. 38, 39.)
This reasoning puts us strongly in mind of that of the writer who, in jest, we suppose, and in ridicule of such baseless interpretations, finds BUONAPARTE in the number of the Beast. (See Vol. XIX. p. 205.) We must take leave of this treatise after pointing out one other glara ing instance of our author's inconsistency. “There is,” he says, 's the strongest of all presumptive evidence that the Popes of Rome, during many centuries past, have been led into the horrid captivity of AtheISM by Satan himself; and that, at least, the generality of them have believed neither in a future fate of rewards and punishments, nor any God to beflow and infli&t them.” (P.46.) And again: “Looking at their actions, do they, not demonstrate that they have neither believed in a state of future rewards and punishments, nor in a God; but have been led into captivity by "a strong delusion,' according to St. Paul,
that they should believe a lie,' the lie of Atheism, THAT THERE IS No God.” (P. 48.) Supposing all this true, who could possibly expect what we are going to transcribe? "In the days of their authom. rity and influence, they (the Popes) began their mysterious and iniquitous frauds, and have been constantly adding to them, age after age, ever since, until the apostasy itself, fickened with their blasphemous. presumptions, have cast them up, but unfortunately to prepare the stomach for a more deadly draught, the poison of French atheism. (P. 49.) It is, surely, not unreasonable to ask why French atheism should be a more deadly draught than the atheism of the Popes.
We proceed to take some notice of the “ Pill for the Atheist and Infidel." And, first of all we must observe that here the author, for what reason we know not, begins to number his pages anew, which enumeration is, however, regularly continued, through the three remaining treatises, to the end of the book. The “ Pill” is ushered in by an Introduction, in the opening of which Mr. G. observes as follows: "that the Apocalypse was written in the end of the first century, and that, though its language was then obsolete, mysterious, and confessedly unintelligible, the Antient Fathers and Elders of the Church, the immediate successors of the Apostles, received it into their churches, as canonical, and of divine authority, are truths which have been often proved, and never denied.” We know not what our
author means by saying that the language of this book, at the time · of its publication, was obsolete. But in the third century, he says, some persons arose who denied its inspiration, contending that it is “obscure, unintelligible, and inconsistent.” This slander continued, in some degree, till it was overcome, “ by the general prevalence of truth, in the 4ih, 5th, and 6th centuries,” which Mr. G. departing widely from the common opinion, calls “those brighter ages of Christianity.” During the eight or nine next centuries, the Apocalypse, as well as the rest of the Scriptures, were, our author remarks, almost forgotten. · And when, at the Reformation, the attention of men was excited to study the sacred records of truth, Mr. G. coma plains that this interesting portion of them was generally neglected, Neither Wickcliffe, nor Luther, nor Calvin attempted to vindicate its