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in very deed the power and strength of the empire did consist. For by these horns the Roman empire did not only push down other nations: but especially does against the church, and as it were cruelly gore the sides thereof, Rev. xvii. 1. . .,
Now then we see that the Roman em perors, both in horns and heads, were like their father the devil, or the dragon. •
By the ten crowns upon his ten horns, are meant his great and manifold victories over other countries and kingdoms., '
The horns of the beast are said to be crowned, and not his heads, because the Roman empire hath always more prevailed by power than by policy, by strength than by subtilty. But the dragon hath his heads crowned, and not his horns, because he hath always done more hurt by-policy, than' power; by subtilty, than strength. One thing in all this greatly to be minded is, that the Holy Ghoit in this chapter doth fpecially speak of the Roman monarchy, as the Popes were heads thereof; or as it was under the dominion of the Popes in their pride, when as the emperors were almost trodden under foot; and not simply and solely as the emperors were heads. thereof.
Moreover, it is said, that upon the seven heads of this beast was written the.' "name of blaspheniy. For, besides the blasphemies of Caligula, Nero, Domitian, Dioclesian, Julianus, and the other old heathenish and perfecuting emperors, which have arrogated unto themselves divine honour, we shall afterwards hear of the surpassing - blasphemies of the Popes against God and all goodness, Rev. xiii. 4, 5.
,! And the beast which I saw was like a .. leopard, and his feet like a bears, and his
mouth as the mouth of a -lion, and the 'dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority,' Rev. xiii. 2.
Here the Roman empire is, described of the likelihood of qualities which it had with the other three empires going before it. For first, it is compared to a leopard
for swiftness to prey upon others; and also · for fierceness and subtilty, as did the Greek
monarchy. ' : Secondly, It is compared to a bear for rapine and ravening, as the monarchy of the Medes and Persians. · Thirdly, It is compared to a lion for pride and insolence, as the monarchy of the Chaldeans. So then, by this description it is very clear, that this beast signifieth the Roman monarchy, because it containeth in it the whole power of the three other empi res: and is here described as a compoun d of divers beasts, yea, as a very mon. fter of monsters, having the body of a leo.. pard, the feet of a bear, and the mouth of a lion.
Moreover, it is said that the dragon • gave his power, and his throne, and great
authority, Rev. xvii. 8. Which plainly sheweth, that the power and authority of the Roman empire is of the devil, in respect of the evil quality thereof; that is, fraud, rapine, and oppression. In which respect it is faid to ascend out of the bottomless pit, as was declared before. But the substance of it, and the government itself was of God. • For the powers that be arę ordained of * God,' Rom. xii. 2..
"And I saw one of his heads, as it were wounded unto death: but his deadly
wound was healed, and all the world • wondered, and followed the beast,' Rev.
Here John, in a vision, seeth one of the feven heads of the beast almost wounded unto death. There be divers and differing
opinions of the learned touching this . wound of the empire, both when it should
be, and how, and by whom. Some understand it of the death of Julius Cæsar; fome; of Nero; fome of the oppression of the Goths and Vandals; fome of the great prevailing of John Hufse, and Jerome of Prague, in the greatelt part of Bohemia.
But to let all these pafs, if we do wisely consider and weigh with ourselves, that by a beast in this place, is not meant any law. ful administration of government, but a tyrannical power in perfecuting the church, we shall find that a head of the beast was then wounded, when Constantine the Great flew Maxentius and Licinius the two last persecuting emperors, set up true religion, and brought peace to the churches. For hereby the Roman empire was greatly "wounded, as touching the tyranny of it.
The Holy Ghost doth not set down which of the seven heads were thus wounded, but in general, faith one of ther. Now it is very probable that he meaneth the sixth head: For we do not read of any such wound in the former five which were past. Neither can it be understood of the seventh head, which was the Papacy, because it received no such wound as yet. It followeth then that the wound was in the sixth "head;' that is, in the empire. But we read of no einperor that did so wound the beast, as did Constantine the Great. And therefore it is very probable, nay, a hundred to one, that the Holy Ghost here pointeth at him.
But it followeth, that this deadly wound was healed, to wit, by these wicked emperors which succeeded Constantine, as Con
ftantius, Julianus, Valentius, and others, which afresh did set up idolatry, and persecuted the church. Now upon the healing of this wound, it is said, that all the world wondered, and followed the beast; that is, many nations, or the greatest part of the world, did submit themselves to the Roman tyranny. For sure it is, some kingdoms were never subject to the empire of Rome, as some part of Asia, and some part of Africa,
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 war with him?" Rev. xiii. 4.
Now is thewed how all the subjects of the Roman empire did worship the dragon: that is, they maintained that worship which he liked and loved; that is, the worship of idols, which the apostle calleth the wor, • ship of devils,' i Cor. X. 20,31. And it is faid also, they worshipped the beast:' that is, they did all with one accord submit themselves both to the religion and au thority of the beast; that is, to the Popes, : as they were the seventh head of the em. pire: for, as I said before, fo I sayagain, the Holy Ghost here speaketh of the empire, when it was in the greatest glory and exaltation; yea, when all the world won.