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the most ignorant species of men that crawl on the surface of this globe. And how does the great Demiurgos make this ignorant species promote his end? By their interest, brethren. Yes! Infamous interest! For once, thou shalt be useful to mankind; by exciting the passions of these demi-gods of the age, by bidding them pillage the hoards of priests, thou shalt arm them with a destructive falchion, to cut off the race whose sacrilegious appetite and insatiate entrails were unceasingly crammed, with flesh and blood.' The reader may perhaps be ready to conjecture, that the passage which he has just perused has been written subsequent to the accomplishment of the French Revolution; and perhaps he will suspect it to be the production of a native of France, and a zealot of democracy. But it is far otherwise. The author of this invective against princes and priests was himself a sovereign and a tyrant. It is extracted from a letter, which was written by the late king of Prussia to M.,D'Alembert, and dated the 14th of July, 178115.
But though his Prussian majesty's statement be perfectly true, that the sceptered despots of Europe have, in manyinstances, seized on a large portion of the wealth of those, who plunder or tyrannise'in an ecclesiastical character; yet there are the strongest reasons for concluding, that the power of the latter will be completely demolished, and their revenues principally confiscated, not by the rapacity of monarchs, but by the authority of nations and the decrees of legislatures.
There is another prophecy of the Apocalypse, where the symbol of eating flesh is a second time introduced, which more immediately concerns the sceptured tyrants of Europe themselves. It is in ch. xix. The latter part of it there has before been occasion to quote and to explain. It was to the destruction of the antkhristian churchy as established in different parts of the European world, and to the confis
26 Posthumous Works of Frederic II. K. of Prussia, translated bv MrHolcroft, vol. XII. p. 281.
Vol. II. v
cation of its revenues, that the prophecy, which I last explained, plainly referred. The passage which follows foretells the complete destruction of the antichristian monarchies of Europe, and the confiscation of those mighty treasures and immense possessions, which the antichristian princes and their respective partisans have so diligently accumulated.
Whilst he, whose name is called the Word of God, is represented in v. 15 as treading the wine-press of the fierceness andwrath of Almighty God; in verses 17 and 18, 19 and 20, the prophet says, And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the Great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men,and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and theflesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false teacher11, who shewed before him those wonders, by which he seduced them that had received the mark of the beast, and the worshippers of his image: and both were cast alive into a lake of fire. On the decorum of the symbols themselves Dr. Lancaster may be cited. 'This destruction of them is represented, as a sacrifice to God's justice, and as such, attended with a feast3*; it being the custom of the Jews and Gentiles to feast upon the flesh of the victims offered in sacrifice. And therefore since their flesh is to be eaten, the birds of prey, who are observed to follow armies and fall upon the slain, are invited to the feast, which is called the great supper of
27 In the Common Translation it is thefalse prophet. A part of the last sentence I have given, as translated by Mr. Wakefield.
28 ' God(having decreed to destroy, and sacrifice to justice, the beast, the false prophet, and their obstinate adherents, they, and all they have, serve him to make up his feast.' Daubuz.
God, as being a perfection and completion of the j udgments of God.'
To explain, as some commentators have done, a large part of the foregoing prophecy, as signifying the slaughter of the antichristian princes of Europe1*, appears to me too literal an interpretation. It points not so much to their defeat as to the consequences of that defeat.
The false prophet, and the ten-horned beast, were cast alive into a lake of fire; i. e. the antichristian church and antichristian monarchies of Europe are to be utterly destroyed. At the same time, to use the prophetic diction, the flesh of kings, of captains, and of mighty ?nen, and of all men3°, both free and bond, both small and great, is to be eaten. 'Here,' says Dr. Lancaster, 'the destruction of the beast, and the false prophet, and their adherents, is represented as a total destruction, from which not so much as one of whatever quality or condition will escape.' 'But,' says Daubuz, 'it must be limited to the subject in question.' It is to be confined to the partisans of civil orof ecclesiastical tyranny. They are the persons, whose privileges are to be sacrificed, and whose power is to be overturned.
Any attempt to explain the symbolic import of the flesh, of horses being eaten, I do not remember to have seen. That it forms only a part of the general description, and admits not of a separate interpretation, is by no means improbable. A particular and appropriate explication of it would, however, it must be admitted, be more satisfactory. As the preceding expressions of kings, captains, and mighty men, which are introduced in a similar manner to the word horses, are, it is agreed, to be understood not symbolically, but literally; it is possible, the latter expression may signify, that those lands and possessions, which have hitherto been
* 29 That the prophecy just cited denotes 'literally great slaughter of men,' is the opinion of Dr. Priestley. Fast Serm. for Feb. 28, 1794, p. 12.
30 It is proper to acquaint the reader, that the word men is not in ths original.
employed, by princes, by nobles, by the long line of their imitators, and by all the various retainers of a modern monarchy, for the maintenance of those innumerable horses, which serve no other purpose than to mount cavalry in war, or to gratify the desires of vanity and luxurious indolence, shall be converted to other uses, and appropriated to objects of solid advantage and general utility. Certainly this is not an unimportant circumstance to the happiness of mankind. There are few countries of Europe, in which the subsistence and comforts of the mass of the people are not materially affected, and in which they are not rendered more scanty and precarious, by the crowds of horses which are unnecessarily kept; and which are maintained in consequence of the nature of the subsisting governments, the prevalence of false ideas, and the extreme inequality which exists between the different ranks of society. Even of philosophers there are, I believe, but few, who are apprised of the magnitude of the evil.
All the fowls, that fly in the midst heaven, are, says the prophet, to be gathered together to the supper of the Great God. 'As birds of prey,' says Daubuz, 'feed upon carcases, so those that take the goods of other men eat as it were their flesh; which, in the symbolic language Always signifies riches or substance. Now the symbol is in itself indifferent. The commission is that which makes the act lawful when God invites, who has a supreme power to bestow the goods of this world as he pleases; and in this case it is an act of his justice, but it is an evil to them that suffer by it. They are evil to them at least, though these birds of prey be such as do well in accepting God's offer—As heaven signifies the supreme powers,' the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven denote, 4 such as in this Revolution are, or become, of a superior condition. Or perhaps all the princes and others who shall divide the spoils are only reckoned in an inferior state and under-governors, because none is now supreme.' This statement of the accurate Daubuz, had he employed some other word, instead of princes, would, I believe, have been perfectly correct. The principal agents in the seizure and distribution of the confiscated property of the ten-horned and two horned beasts, denominated by the prophet the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, appear to denote such persons, as shall occupy official situations in the newly-erected governments, though, from the nature of those governments, none of them will be invested with supreme power.
After alleging those memorable words of the prophet, in v. 21, that all the fowls were filed with their flesh, Daubuz says,' This Great Revolution must produce a Great Change in the Secular Government, and Property of Lands, within the territories of corrupted Christendom.' That there has already been a complete change, in these two important respects, in the dominions of one of the most powerful horns of the Secular beast, every European is apprised.
I shall conclude the chapter with some striking observations of an illustrous writer. 'If,' says Sir I. Newton, 'the last age, the age of opening these things, be now approaching, as by the great successes of late interpreters it seems to be, we have more encouragement than ever to look into these things. If the general preaching of the gospel be approaching, it is, to us, and our posterity, that those words mainly belong: In the time of the end the wise shall understand, but none of the wicked shall understand. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hearil the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein31.— As the few and obscure prophecies concerning Christ's first coming were for setting up the Christian religion, which All Nations Have Since Corrupted: so the many and clear prophecies, concerning the things to be done at Chrises second coming, are not only for predicting, but also for Effecting, a recovery and re-establishment of the longlost truth, and Setting-up a kingdom wherein dwells righte
31 i. e. Says Vitringa, that understand. This, indeed, is a frequent sense of Mcaa.
32 Apoc. i. 3.