Imágenes de página

dead, in which all the holy saints are invoked, and prayers are offered up, “ to hasten the day when they shall be delivered frorn the mansions of sorrow, to shorten the time of their expiation, and through the prayers and good works performed in the church, to receive them into the eternal tabernacles."*

In honour of the saints, in cure for the souls of the living, and in care for the souls of the dead, the church of Rome secured for itself an earthly possession. The king, who did according to his will, and held such an high and dark dominion, by honouring the saints and increasing their glory, still exalted himself above all, and made the saints which he created subservient to his purposes, and the instruments of his power.

And he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain. He caused them to rule over many. Under popery, not only was trust universally reposed in the merits and intercessions of many gods-protectors, but there was not a country in Europe that had not specially its patron saint.St. George for England, St. Andrew for Scotland, was the rallying cry, by which, in either country, Britain was ruled as authoritatively as subjects by a king. And what monarch's name in the sister isle ever had a charm and power over Irish catholics like that of " St. Patrick for Ireland ?” France was the fair domain of St. Dennis, though the doctors of the Sorbonne sometimes mitigated his sway. St. James had full possession of Spain, and still holds there his dark dominion. St. Mark was the dominant saint in Venice, and even the republic yielded to his authority, and subsisted in his name. St. Januarius, whose power has outlasted that of many of his compeers, still holds, by right of miracle,

[ocr errors]

his lingering reign over Naples. Each kingdom was the same, and had a saint above a monarch. Nothing but a shadow now remains of a power which, however terrible, was itself but a shade—though it long rested deeply on the minds of men. In some countries it was dissipated at the Reformation by the light of the gospel ; and infidelity has lately arisen to clear it away—but on dispelling the cloud, it shews only the unfathomable gulf. Yet to this day the liquefying of the blood of St. Januarius, may show by what simple means the saints were caused to rule over many, and how, in their name, the pope and his priesthood had a power in their hands more imperative than a sceptre. "No despotism on earth was ever like unto that which ruled over the abject mind.

The fancied protection was given to the people ; but to the saints, for behoof of the church which espoused or created them, pertained the gain no less than the honour. They were not only honoured with gold, and silver, and precious stones, and pleasant things, but the land was divided for gain. Church-plate, once a term of extensive significancy, and church-lands, are not unintelligible words, wherever popery prevailed ; and it is not an obscure or ambiguous interpretation which they give to the text. Even the tribe of Levi-itself a twelfth in Israel, and entitled to its portion-had no inheritance in the land. The tenth part of the produce was theirs ; for their labour was not to be in the field, but in the sanctuary. They were set apart for a holy priesthood unto the Lord, and all that pertained to the worship of God, or to the rites and sacrifices enjoined by the law, it was their office to fulfil. But the inmates of a monastery, in whatever land, rested not satisfied with the portion which the Levites held in Judea. Unlike to them, the popish priesthood had

atbild, and silv the land extensive cible Wordse

an inheritance in land, and divided it for gain. The most pleasant portion was selected as their own, and, with a devotion of questionable disinterestedness, they fixed the residence of the saints, the abodes of images, the seats of bishops, or any of their strongholds, in the choicest spot of a fertile plain, in the sheltered glen, or in a rich meadow by a river's side. To bishoprics, abbeys, priories, and monasteries, lands were abundantly attached. But whoever may have gifted the fairest portion of their domains for the benefit of the church and the good of their soulsor whatever may be the civil right and tenure by which they may be held, we apprehend that there is no other charter by which the 5 divine right” to them could be maintained, but the concluding words of this prophetic description—which all the subtility of a Jesuit could scarcely wrest to such a purposethat here form the crowning characteristic of papal domination.

The judgment of a bishop, and of a rector, may here be deferred to, and their testimony may not be held as either superfluous or misplaced." That the principal teachers and propagators of the worship of Mahuzzim, the bishops, and priests, and monks, and religious orders, have been honoured, and reverenced, and almost adored in former ages—that their authori. ty and jurisdiction have extended over the purses and consciences of men ; that they have been enriched with noble buildings and large endowments, and have had the choicest of the lands appropriated for church lands, are points of such notoriety that they require no proof, as they will admit of no denial."* “ The secular possessions of the pope are called St. Peter's patrimony, and Peter's pence was a tax levied from the several countries subject to the popedom.

* Bishop Newton on the Prophecies. Disser, xvi.

This, with a variety of emoluments, from the incomes of the bishops and clergy, and the disposal of the richest preferments, commonly to foreigners, were the price' or valuable consideration for which he divided the land ; and doubtless this dividing of the earth among the Mahuzzim was made a source of great gain, accruing from the several countries thus placed under the guardian care of these several saints."*


And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him : and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships ; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shalt enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown : but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries ; and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Lybians and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore (and) he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palaces between the seas in the glorious holy moun

Scott's Commentary.

tain: yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. Ver. 40 to 45.

The appointed time during which the papacy was to prosper, and the men of understanding were to be purified and made white and tried, was itself the last great period comprehended in the vision. In the sequel of the prophecy it is asked—(c. xii. 6.)— 6s How long shall it be to the end of these wonders ?” or, more literally, how long to the end of these wonders. 66 It is not the end of a period, but of the wonders,” as Mr. Cunningham judiciously remarks, " which is the object of the inquiry.” It is not the end of the time, but the time of the end. And the duration is specified-for a time, times, and a half, or for a period precisely coincident with the era of papal supremacy and persecution. In the previous vision of the Ram and the He-goat, the question is put in a similar manner-I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake-how long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, &c. ? and he said unto meunto two thousand and three hundred days, or years. Such was to be the duration of the whole vision, the last part of which is the description of the king that was to arise in the latter time of the kingdoms into which the empire of Alexander the Great was to be divided-comprehending the rise and reign of Mahometism. When Gabriel was commanded to make Daniel understand the vision—he said, Understand, O son of man, for at THE TIME OF THE END shall be the vision—or, literally, at the time of the end the vision and he said, behold I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation ; for, at the time appointed the end shall be, or at the time appointed the end. The time of the end, or the appointed time, seems here expressly and definitively to denote the duration of the time from the rise to the subversion or extinction of Mahometanism.

« AnteriorContinuar »