HITHERTO we have considered the history of the Two Babylons chiefly in detail. Now we are to view them as organised systems, The idolatrous system of the ancient Babylon assumed different phases in different periods of its history. In the prophetic description of the modern Babylon, there is evidently also a development of different powers at different times. Do these two developments bear any typical relation to each other? Yes, they do. When we bring the religious history of the ancient Babylonian Paganism to bear on the prophetic symbols that shadow forth the organised working of idolatry in Rome, it will be found that it casts as much light on this view of the subject as on that which has hitherto engaged our attention. The powers of iniquity at work in the modern Babylon are specifically described in chapters xii. and xiii. of the Revelation; and they are as follows:--I. The Great Red Dragon; II. The Beast that comes up out of the sea; III. The Beast that ascendeth out of the earth; and IV. The Image of the Beast. * In all these respects it will be found, on inquiry, that, in regard to succession and order of development, the Paganism of the Old Testament Babylon was the exact type of the Paganism of the New.
This formidable enemy of the truth is particularly described in Rev. xii. 3: "And there appeared another wonder in heaven, a great red dragon." It is admitted on all hands that this is the first grand enemy that in Gospel times assaulted the Christian Church. If the terms in which it is described, and the deeds attributed to it, are considered, it will be found that there is a great analogy between it and the first enemy of all, that appeared against the ancient Church of God soon after the Flood. The term dragon, according to the associations currently connected with it, is somewhat apt to mislead the reader by recalling to his mind the fabulous dragons of the Dark Ages, equipped with wings.
At the time this Divine description was given, the term dragon had no such meaning among either profane or sacred writers. "The dragon of the Greeks," says Pausanias, "was only a large snake;" * and the context shows that this is the very case here; for what in the third verse is called a "dragon," in the fourteenth is simply described as a "serpent." Then the word rendered "Red" properly means "Fiery"; so that the "Red Dragon" signifies the "Fiery Serpent" or "Serpent of Fire." Exactly so does it appear to have been in the first form of idolatry, that, under the patronage of Nimrod, appeared in the ancient world. The "Serpent of Fire" in the plains of Shinar seems to have been the grand object of worship. There is the strongest evidence that apostacy among the sons of Noah began in fire-worship, and that in connection with the symbol of the serpent.
We have seen already, on different occasions, that fire was worshipped as the enlightener and the purifier. Now, it was thus at the very beginning; for Nimrod is singled out by the voice of antiquity as commencing this fire-worship. * The identity of Nimrod and Ninus has already been proved; and under the name of Ninus, also, he is represented as originating the same practice. In a fragment of Apollodorus it is said that "Ninus taught the Assyrians to worship fire." * The sun, as the great source of light and heat, was worshipped under the name of Baal. Now, the fact that the sun, under that name, was worshipped in the earliest ages of the world, shows the audacious character of these first beginnings of apostacy. Men have spoken as if the worship of the sun and of the heavenly bodies was a very excusable thing, into which the human race might very readily and very innocently fall. But how stands the fact?
According to the primitive language of mankind, the sun was called "Shemesh"--that is, "the Servant"--that name, no doubt, being divinely given, to keep the world in mind of the great truth that, however glorious was the orb of day, it was, after all, the appointed Minister of the bounty of the great unseen Creator to His creatures upon earth. Men knew this, and yet with the full knowledge of it, they put the servant in the place of the Master; and called the sun Baal--that is, the Lord--and worshipped him accordingly. What a meaning, then, in the saying of Paul, that, "when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God;" but "changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the creator, who is God over all, blessed for ever." The beginning, then, of sun-worship, and of the worship of the host of heaven, was a sin against the light--a presumptuous, heaven-daring sin. As the sun in the heavens was the great object of worship, so fire was worshipped as its earthly representative. To this primeval fire-worship Vitruvius alludes when he says that "men were first formed into sates and communities by meeting around fires." *
And this is exactly in conformity with what we have already seen(p. 117) in regard to Phoroneus, whom we have identified with Nimrod, that while he was said to be the "inventor of fire," he was also regarded as the first that "gathered mankind into communities."
Along with the sun, as the great fire-god, and, in due time, identified with him, was the serpent worshipped. * "In the mythology of the primitive world," says Owen, "the serpent is universally the symbol of the sun." * In Egypt, one of the commonest symbols of the sun, or sun-god, is a disc wit a serpent around it. * The original reason of that identification seems just to have been that, as the sun was the great enlightener of the physical world, so the serpent was held to have been the great enlightener of the spiritual, by giving mankind the "knowledge of good and evil."
This, of course, implies tremendous depravity on the part of the ringleaders in such a system, considering the period when it began; but such appears to have been the real meaning of the identification. At all events, we have evidence, both Scriptural and profane, for the fact, that the worship of the serpent began side by side with the worship of fire and the sun. The inspired statement of Paul seems decisive on the subject. It was, he says, "when men knew God, but glorified Him not as God," that they changed the glory of God, not only into an image made like to corruptible man, but into the likeness of "creeping things"--that is, of serpents (Rom. i. 23). With this profane history exactly coincides. Of profane writers, Sanchuniathon, the Phoenician, who is believed to have lived about the time of Joshua, says--"Thoth first attributed something of the divine nature to the serpent and the serpent tribe, in which he was followed by the Phoenicians and Egyptians. For this animal was esteemed by him to be the most spiritual of all the reptiles, and of a FIERY nature, inasmuch as it exhibits an incredible celerity, moving by its spirit, without either hands or feet.....Moreover, it is long-lived, and has the quality of RENEWING ITS YOUTH....as Thoth has laid down in the sacred books; upon which accounts this animal is introduced in the sacred rites and Mysteries." *
Now, Thoth, it will be remembered, was the counsellor of Thamus, that is, Nimrod. * From this statement, then, we are led to the conclusion that serpent-worship was a part of the primeval apostacy of Nimrod. The "FIERY NATURE" of the serpent, alluded to in the above extract, is continually celebrated by the heathen poets. Thus Virgil, "availing himself," as the author of Pompeii remarks, "of the divine nature attributed to serpents," * describes the sacred serpent that came from the tomb of Anchises, when his son AEneas had been sacrificing before it, in such terms as illustrate at once the language of the Phoenician, and the "Fiery Serpent" of the passage before us:--
"Scarce had he finished, when, with speckled pride,
A serpent from the tomb began to glide;
His hugy bulk on seen high volumes rolled,
Blue was his breadth of back, but streaked with scaly gold.
Thus, riding on his curls, he seemed to pass
A rolling fire along, and single the grass." *
It is not wonderful, then, that fire-worship and serpent-worship should be conjoined. The serpent, also, as "renewing its youth every year, "was plausibly represented to those who wished an excuse for idolatry as a meet emblem of the sun, the great regenerator, who every year regenerates and renews the face of nature, and who, when deified, was worshipped and the grand Regenerator of the souls of men.
In the chapter under consideration, the "great fiery serpent" is represented with all the emblems of royalty. All its heads are encircled with "crowns or diadems;" and so in Egypt, the serpent of fire, or serpent of the sun, in Greek was called the Basilisk, that is, the "royal serpent," to identify it with Moloch, which name, while it recalls the ideas both of fire and blood, properly signifies "the King." The Basilisk was always, among the Egyptians, and among many nations besides, regarded as "the very type of majesty and dominion." * As such, its image was worn affixed to the headdress of the Egyptian monarchs; and it was not lawful for any one else to wear it. * The sun identified with this serpent was called "P'ouro," * which signifies at once "the Fire" and "the King," and from this very name the epithet "Purros," the "Fiery," is given to the "Great seven-crowned serpent" of our text. *
Thus was the Sun, the Great-Fire-god, identified with the Serpent. But he had also a human representative, and that was Tammuz, for whom the daughters of Israel lamented, in other words Nimrod. We have already seen the identity of Nimrod and Zoroaster. Now, Zoroaster was not only the head of the Chaldean Mysteries, but, as all admit, the head of the fire-worshippers. * The title given to Nimrod, as the first of the Babylonian kings, by Berosus, indicates the same thing. That title is Alorus, * that is, "the god of fire." * As Nimrod, "the god of fire," was Molk-Gheber, or, "the Mighty king," inasmuch as he was the first who was called Moloch, or King, and the first who began to be "mighty" (Gheber) on the earth, we see at once how it was that the "passing through the fire to Moloch" originated, and how the god of fire among the Romans came to be called "Mulkiber." * It was only after his death, however, that he appears to have been deified.
Then, retrospectively, he was worshipped as the child of the Sun, or the Sun incarnate. In his own life-time, however, he set up no higher pretensions than that of being Bol-Khan, or Priest of Baal, from which the other name of the Roman fire-god Vulcan is evidently derived. * Everything in the history of Vulcan exactly agrees with that of Nimrod. Vulcan was "the most ugly and deformed" of all the gods. * Nimrod, over all the world, is represented with the features and complexion of a negro. Though Vulcan was so ugly, that when he sought a wife, "all the beautiful goddesses rejected him with horror;" yet "Destiny, the irrevocable, interposed, and pronounced the decree, by which [Venus] the most beautiful of the goddesses, was united to the most unsightly of the gods." * So, in spite of the black and Cushite features of Nimrod, he had for his queen Semiramis, the most beautiful of women.
The wife of Vulcan was noted for her infidelities and licentiousness; the wife of Nimrod was the very same. * Vulcan was the head and chief of the Cyclops, that is, "the kings of flame." * Nimrod was the head of the fire-worshipers. Vulcan was the forger of the thunderbolts by which such havoc was made among the enemies of the gods. Ninus, or Nimrod, in his wars with the king of Bactria, seems to have carried on the conflict in a similar way. From Arnobius we learn, that when the Assyrians under Ninus made war against the Bactrians, the warfare was waged not only by the sword and bodily strength, but by magic and by means derived from the secret instructions of the Chaldeans. *
When it is known that the historical Cyclops are, by the historian Castor, traced up tot he very time of Saturn or Belus, the first king of Babylon, * and when we learn that Jupiter (who was worshipped in the very same character as Ninus, "the child"), * when fighting against the Titans, "received from the Cyclops aid" by means of "dazzling lightnings and thunders," we may have some pretty clear idea of the magic arts derived from the Chaldean Mysteries, which Ninus employed against the Bactrian king. There is evidence that, down to a late period, the priests of the Chaldean Mysteries knew the composition of the formidable Greek fire, which burned under water, and the secret of which has been lost; * and there can be little doubt that Nimrod, in erecting his power, availed himself of such or similar scientific secrets, which he and his associates alone possessed.
In these, and other respects yet to be noticed, there is an exact coincidence between Vulcan, the god of fire of the Romans, and Nimrod, the fire-god of Babylon. In the case of the classic Vulcan, it is only in his character of the fire-god as a physical agent that he is popularly represented. But it was in his spiritual aspects, in cleansing and regenerating the souls of men, that the fire-worship told most effectually on the world. The power, the popularity, and skill of Nimrod, as well as the seductive nature of the system itself, enabled him to spread the delusive doctrine far and wide, and he was represented under the well-known name of Phaethon, * as on the point of "setting the whole world on fire," or (without the poetical metaphor) of involving all mankind in the guild of fire-worship.
The extraordinary prevalence of the worship of the fire-god in the early ages of the world, is proved by legends found over all the earth, and by facts in almost every clime. Thus, in Mexico, the natives relate, that in primeval times, just after the first age, the world was burnt up with fire. * As their history, like the Egyptian, was written in Hieroglyphics, it is plain that this must be symbolically understood. In India, they have a legend to the very same effect, though somewhat varied in its form. The Brahmins say that, in a very remote period of the past, one of the gods shone with such insufferable splendour, "inflicting distress on the universe by his effulgent beams, brighter than a thousand worlds," * that, unless another more potent god had interposed and cut off his head, the result would have been most disastrous.
In the Druidic Triads of the old British Bards, there is distinct reference to the same event. They say that in primeval times a "tempest of fire arose, which split the earth asunder to the great deep," from which none escaped buy "the select company shut up together in the enclosure with the strong door," with the great "patriarch distinguished for his integrity," * that is evidently with Shem, the leader of the faithful--who preserved their "integrity" when so many made shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. These stories all point to one and the same period, and they show how powerful had been this form of apostacy. The Papal purgatory and the fires of St. John's Eve, which we have already considered, and many other fables or practices still extant, are just so many relics of the same ancient superstition.
It will be observed, however, that the Great Red Dragon, or Great Fiery Serpent, is represented as standing before the Woman with the crown of twelve stars, that is, the true Church of God, "To devour her child as soon as it should be born." Now, this is an exact accordance with the character of the Great Head of the system of fire-worship. Nimrod, as the representative of the devouring fire to which human victims, and especially children, were offered in sacrifice, was regarded as the great child-devourer. Though, at his first deification, he was set up himself as Ninus, or the child, yet, as the first of mankind that was deified, he was, of course, the actual father of all the Babylonian gods; and, therefore, in that character he was afterwards universally regarded. * As the Father of the gods, he was, as we have seen, called Kronos; and every one knows that the classical story of Kronos was just this, that, "he devoured his sons as soon as they were born." * Such is the analogy between type and antitype.
This legend has a further and deeper meaning; but, as applied to Nimrod, or "The Horned One," * it just refers to the fact, that, as the representative of Moloch or Baal, infants were the most acceptable offerings at his altar. We have ample and melancholy evidence on this subject from the records of antiquity. "The Phenicians," says Eusebius, "every year sacrificed their beloved and only-begotten children to Kronos or Saturn, * and the Rhodians also often did the same." Diodorus Siculus states that the Carthaginians, on one occasion, when besieged by the Sicilians, and sore pressed, in order to rectify, as they supposed, their error in having somewhat departed from the ancient custom of Carthage, in this respect, hastily "chose out two hundred of the noblest of their children, and publicly sacrificed them" to this god. * There is reason to believe that the same practice obtained in our own land in the times of the Druids.
We know that they offered human sacrifices to their bloody gods. We have evidence that they made "their children pass through the fire to Moloch," and that makes it highly probable that they also offered them in sacrifice; for, from Jeremiah xxxii. 35, compared with Jeremiah xix. 5, we find that these two things were parts of one and the same system. The god whom the Druids worshipped was Baal, as the blazing Baal-fires show, and the last-cited passage proves that children were offered in sacrifice to Baal. When "the fruit of the body" was thus offered, it was "for the sin of the soul." And it was a principle of the Mosaic law, a principle no doubt derived from the patriarchal faith, that the priest must partake of whatever was offered as a sin-offering (Numbers xviii. 9, 10). Hence, the priests of Nimrod or Baal were necessarily required to eat of the human sacrifices; and thus it has come to pass that "Cahna-Bal," * the "Priest of Baal," is the established word in our own tongue for a devourer of human flesh. *
Now, the ancient traditions relate that the apostates who joined in the rebellion of Nimrod made war upon the faithful among the sons of Noah. Power and numbers were on the side of the fire-worshippers. But on the side of Shem and the faithful was the mighty power of God's Spirit. Therefore many were convinced of their sin, arrested in their evil career; and victory, as we have already seen, declared for the saints. The power of Nimrod came to an end, * and with that, for a time, the worship of the sun, and the fiery serpent associated with it. The case was exactly as stated here in regard to the antitype (Rev. xii. 9): "The great dragon," or fiery serpent, was "cast out of heaven to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" that is, the Head of the fire-worship, and all his associates and underlings, were cast down from the power and glory to which they had been raised.
Then was the time when the whole gods of the classic Pantheon of Greece were fain to flee and hid themselves from the wrath of their adversaries. * Then it was, that, in India, Indra, the king of the gods, Surya, the god of the sun, Agni, the god of fire, and all the rabble rout of the Hindu Olympus, were driven from heaven, wandered over the earth, * or hid themselves, in forests, * disconsolate, and ready to "perish of hunger." * Then it was that Phaethon, while driving the chariot of the sun, when on the point of setting the world on fire, was smitten by the Supreme God, and cast headlong to the earth, while his sitters, the daughters of the sun, inconsolably lamented him, as, "the women wept for Tammuz." Then it was, as the reader must be prepared to see, that Vulcan, or Mold-gheber, the classic "god of fire," was so ignominiously hurled down from heaven, as he himself relates in Homer, speaking of the wrath of the King of Heaven, which in this instance must mean God Most High:--
"I felt his matchless might,
Tossed all the day in raped circles round,
Nor, till the sun descended, touched the ground.
Breathless I fell, in giddy motion lost.
The Sinthians raised me on the Lemnian coast." *
The lines, in which Milton refers to this same downfall, though he gives it another application, still more beautifully describe the greatness of the overthrow:--
"In Ausonian land Men called him Mulciber;
and how he fell From heaven, they fabled.
Thrown by an angry Jove Sheer o'er the crystal battlements;
from morn To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer's day; and, with the setting sun,
Dropped from the zenith, like a falling star,
On Lemnos, the Aegean isle." *
These words very strikingly show the tremendous fall of Molk-gheber, or Nimrod, "the Mighty King," when "suddenly he was cast down from the height of his power, and was deprived at once of his kingdom and his life." * Now, to this overthrow there is very manifest allusion in the prophetic apostrophe of Isaiah to the king of Babylon, exulting over his approaching downfall: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!"
The Babylonian king pretended to be a representative of Nimrod or Phaethon; and the prophet, in these words, informs him, that, as certainly as the god in whom he gloried had been cast down from his high estate, so certainly should he. In the classic story, Phaethon is said to have been consumed with lightning (and, as we shall see by-and-by, AEsculapius also died the same death); but the lightning is a mere metaphor for the wrath of God, under which his life and his kingdom had come to an end. When the history is examined, and the figure stripped off, it turns out, as we have already seen, that he was judicially slain with the sword. *
Such is the language of the prophecy, and so exactly does it correspond with the character, and deeds, and fate of the ancient type. How does it suit the antitype? Could the power of Pagan Imperial Rome--that power that first persecuted the Church of Christ, that stood by its soldiers around the tomb of the Son of God Himself, to devour Him, if it had been possible, when He should be brought forth, as the first-begotten from the dead, *1* *2* to rule all nations--be represented by a "Fiery Serpent"?
Nothing could more lucidly show it forth. Among the lords many, and the gods many, worshipped in the imperial city, the two grand objects of worship were the "Eternal Fire," kept perpetually burning in the temple of Vesta, and the sacred Epidaurian Serpent. In Pagan Rome, this fire-worship and serpent-worship were sometimes separate, sometimes conjoined; but both occupied a pre-eminent place in Roman esteem. The fire of Vesta was regarded as one of the grand safeguards of the empire. It was pretended to have been brought from Troy by AEneas, who had it confided to his care by the shade of Hector, * and was kept with the most jealous care by the Vestal virgins, who, for their charge of it, were honoured with the highest honours. The temple where it was kept, says Augustine, "was the most sacred and most reverenced of all the temples of Rome." *
The fire that was so jealously guarded in that temple, and on which so much was believed to depend, was regarded in the very same light as by the old Babylonian fire-worshippers. It was looked upon as the purifier, and in April every year, at the Palilia, or feast of Pales, both men and cattle, for this purpose, were made to pass through the fire. * The Epidaurian snake, that the Romans worshipped along with the fire, was looked on as the divine representation of AEsculapius, the child of the Sun. *
AEsculapius, whom that sacred snake represented, was evidently, just another name for the great Babylonian god. His fate was exactly the same as that of Phaethon. He was said to have been smitten with lightning for raising the dead. * It is evident that this could never have been the case in a physical sense, nor could it easily have been believed to be so. But view it in a spiritual sense, and then the statement is just this, that he was believed to raise men who were dead in trespasses and sins to newness of life. Now, this was exactly what Phaethon was pretending to do, when he was smitten for setting the world on fire. In the Babylonian system there was a symbolical death, * that all the initiated had to pass through, before they got the new life which was implied in regeneration, and that just to declare that they had passed from death unto life. As the passing through the fire was both a purgation from sin and the means of regeneration, so it was also for raising the dead that Phaethon was smitten.
Then, as AEsculapius was the child of the Sun, so was Phaethon. * To symbolise this relationship, the head of the image of AEsculapius was generally encircled with rays. * The Pope thus encircles the heads of the pretended images of Christ; but the real source of these irradiations is patent to all acquainted either with the literature or the art of Rome. Thus speaks Virgil of Latinus:-
"And now, in pomp, the peaceful kings appear,
Four steeds the chariot of Latinus bear,
Twelve golden beams around his temples play,
To mark his lineage from the god of day." *
The "golden beams" around the head of AEsculapius were intended to mark the same, to point him out as the child of the Sun, or the Sun incarnate. The "golden beams" around the heads of pictures and images called by the name of Christ, were intended to show the Pagans that they might safely worship them, as the images of their well-known divinities, though called by a different name. Now AEsculapius, in a time of deadly pestilence, had been invited from Epidaurus to Rome. The god, under the form of a larger serpent, entered the ship that was sent to convey him to Rome, and having safely arrived in the Tiber, was solemnly inaugurated as the guardian god of the Romans. *
From that time forth, in private as well as in public, the worship of the Epidaurian snake, the serpent that represented the Sun-divinity incarnate, in other words, the "Serpent of Fire," became nearly universal. In almost every house the sacred serpent, which was a harmless sort, was to be found. "These serpents nestled about the domestic altars," says the author of Pompeii, "and came out, like dogs or cats, to be patted by the visitors, and beg for something to eat. Nay, at table, if we may build upon insulted passages, they crept about the cups of the guests, and, in hot weather, ladies would use them as live boas, and twist them round their necks for the sake of coolness....These sacred animals made war on the rats and mice, and thus kept down one species of vermin; but as they bore a charmed life, and no one laid violent hands on them, they multiplied so fast, that, like the monkeys of Benares, they became an intolerable nuisance. The frequent fires at Rome were the only things that kept them under." *
The reader will find, in the accompanying woodcut , a representation of Roman fire-worship and serpent-worship at once separate and conjoined. * The reason of the double representation of the god I cannot here enter into; but it must be evident, from the words of Virgil already quoted, that the figures in the upper compartment having their heads encircled with rays, represent the fire-god, or Sun divinity; and what is worthy of special note is, that these fire-gods are black, * the colour thereby identifying them with the Ethiopian or black Phaethon; while, as the author of Pompeii himself admits, these same black fire-gods are in the under compartment represented by two huge serpents.
Now, if this worship of the sacred serpent of the Sun, the great fire-god, was so universal in Rome, what symbol could more graphically portray the idolatrous power of Pagan Imperial Rome than the "Great Fiery Serpent"? No doubt it was to set forth this very thing that the Imperial standard itself--the standard of the Pagan Emperor of Rome, as Pontifex Maximus, Head of the great system of fire-worship and serpent worship--was a serpent elevated on a lofty pole, and so coloured, as to exhibit it as a recognised symbol of fire-worship. *
As Christianity spread in the Roman Empire, the powers of light and darkness came into collision (Rev. xii. 7,8):--"Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out;.... he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." The "great serpent of fire" was cast out, when, by the decree of Gratian, Paganism throughout the Roman empire was abolished--when the fires of Vesta were extinguished, and the revenues of the Vestal virgins were confiscated--when the Roman Emperor (who though for more than a century and a-half a professor of Christianity, had been "Pontifex Maximus," the very head of the idolatry of Rome, and such, on high occasions, appearing invested with all the idolatrous insignia of Paganism,) through force of conscience abolished his own office. *
While Nimrod was personally and literally slain by the sword, it was through the sword of the Spirit that Shem overcame the system of fire-worship, and so bowed the hearts of men, as to cause it for a time to be utterly extinguished. In like manner did the Dragon of fire, in the Roman Empire, receive a deadly wound from a sword, and that the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. There is thus far an exact analogy between the type and the antitype.
But not only is there this analogy. It turns out, when the records of history are searched to the bottom, that when the head of the Pagan idolatry of Rome was slain with the sword by the extinction of the office of Pontifex Maximus, the last Roman Pontifex Maximus was the ACTUAL, LEGITIMATE, SOLE REPRESENTATIVE OF NIMROD and his idolatrous system the existing. To make this clear, a brief glance at the Roman history is necessary.
In comma with all the earth, Rome at a very early prehistoric period, had drunk deep of Babylon's "golden cup." But above and beyond all other nations, it had had a connection with the idolatry of Babylon that put it in a position peculiar and alone. Long before the days of Romulus, a representative of the Babylonian Messiah, called by his name, had fixed his temple as a god, and his palace as a king, on one of those very heights which came to be included within the walls of that city which Remus and his brother were destined to found. On the Capitoline hill, so famed in after-days as the great high place of Roman worship, Saturnia, or the city of Saturn, the great Chaldean god, had in the days of dim and distant antiquity been erected. *
Some revolution had then taken place--the graven images of Babylon had been abolished--the erecting of any idol had been sternly prohibited, * and when the twin founders of the now world-renowned city reared its humble walls, the city and the palace of their Babylonian predecessor had long lain in ruins. The ruined state of this sacred city, even in the remote age of Evander, is alluded to by Virgil. Referring to the time when AEneas is said to have visited that ancient Italian king, thus he speaks:-
"Then saw two heaps of ruins;
once they stood Two stately towns on either side the flood;
Saturnia and Janicula's remains;
And either place the founder's name retains." *
The deadly wound, however, thus given to the Chaldean system, was destined to be healed. A colony of Etruscans, earnestly attached to the Chaldean idolatry, had migrated, some say from Asia Minor, others from Greece, and settled in the immediate neighbourhood of Rome. * They were ultimately incorporated in the Roman state, but long before this political union took place they exercised the most powerful influence on the religion of the Romans. From the very first their skill in augury, soothsaying, and all science, real or pretended, that the augurs or soothsayers monopolised, made the Romans look up to them with respect. It is admitted on all hands that the Romans derived their knowledge of augury, which occupied so prominent a place in every public transaction in which they engaged, chiefly from the Tuscans, * that is, the people of Etruria, and at first none but natives of that country were permitted to exercise the office of a Haruspex, which had respect to all the rites essentially involved in sacrifice. *
Wars and disputes arose between Rome and the Etruscans; but still the highest of the noble youths of Rome were sent to Etruria to be instructed in the sacred science which flourished there. * The consequence was, that under the influence of men whose minds were moulded by those who clung to the ancient idol-worship, the Romans were brought back again to much of that idolatry which they had formerly repudiated and cast off. Though Numa, therefore, in setting up his religious system, so far deferred to the prevailing feeling of his day and forbade image-worship, yet in consequence of the alliance subsisting between Rome and Etruria in sacred things, matters were put in train for the ultimate subversion of that prohibition. The college of Pontiffs, of which he laid the foundation, * in process of time came to be substantially an Etruscan college, and the Sovereign Pontiff that presided over that college, and that controlled all the public and private religious rites of the Roman people in all essential respects, became in spirit and in practice an Etruscan Pontiff.
Still the Sovereign Pontiff of Rome, even after the Etruscan idolatry was absorbed into the Roman system, was only an offshoot from the grand original Babylonian system. He was a devoted worshipper of the Babylonian god; but he was not the legitimate representative of that God. The true legitimate Babylonian Pontiff had his seat beyond the bounds of the Roman empire. That seat, after the death of Belshazzar, and the expulsion of the Chaldean priesthood from Babylon by the Medo-Persian kings, was at Pergamos, where afterwards was one of the seven churches of Asia. *
There, in consequence, for many centuries was "Satan's seat" (Rev. ii. 13).There, under favour of the deified * kings of Pergamos, was his favourite abode, there was the worship of AEsculapius, under the form of the serpent, celebrated with frantic orgies and excesses, that elsewhere were kept under some measure of restraint. At first, the Roman Pontiff had no immediate connection with Pergamos and the hierarchy there; yet, in course of time, the Pontificate of Rome and the Pontificate of Pergamos came to be identified. Pergamos itself became part and parcel of the Roman empire, when Attalus III., the last of its kings, at his death, left by will all his dominions to the Roman people, B.C. 133. * For some time after the kingdom of Pergamos was merged in the Roman dominions, there was no one who could set himself openly and advisedly to lay claim to all the dignity inherent in the old title of the kings of Pergamos. The original powers even of the Roman Pontiffs seem to have been by that time abridged, * but when Julius Caesar, who had previously been elected Pontifex Maximus, * became also, as Emperor, the supreme civil ruler of the Romans, then, as head of the Roman state, and head of the Roman religion, all the powers and functions of the true legitimate Babylonian Pontiff were supremely vested in him, and he found himself in a position to assert these powers.
Then he seems to have laid claim to the divine dignity of Attalus, as well as the kingdom that Attalus had been regarded. * Then, on certain occasions, in the exercise of his high pontifical office, he appeared of course in all the pomp of the Babylonian custom, as Belshazzar himself might have done, in robes of scarlet, * with the crosier of Nimrod in his hand, wearing the mitre of Dagon and bearing the keys of Janus and Cybele. * Thus did matters continue, as already stated, even under so-called Christian emperors; who, as a slave to their consciences, appointed a heathen as their substitute in the performance of the more directly idolatrous functions of the pontificate (that substitute, however, acting in their name and by their authority), until the reign of Gratian, who, as shown by Gibbon, was the first that refused to be arrayed in the idolatrous pontifical attire, or to act as Pontifex. *
Now, from all this it is evident that, when Paganism in the Roman empire was abolished, when the office of Pontifex Maximus was suppressed, and all the dignitaries of paganism were cast down from their seats of influence and of power, which they had still been allowed in some measure to retain, this was not merely the casting down of the Fiery Dragon of Rome, but the casting down of the Fiery Dragon of Babylon. It was just the enacting over again, in a symbolical sense, upon the true and sole legitimate successor of Nimrod, what have taken place upon himself, when the greatness of his downfall gave rise to the exclamation, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" 2bab031.htm
The next great enemy introduced to our notice is the Beast from the Sea (Rev. xiii. 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. * 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 been, 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 our-selves, 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 as soon incorporated again. In the Mysteries, with 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.
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 Rev. xiii. 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. xii. 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. * 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. xii. 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 became 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. iv. 3), so far as Rome was concerned, was broadly developed. Then were men "forbidden to marry," * and "commanded to abstain from meats." *
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 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 nit a little trying to the faith and integrity of a much better man that 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 A.D. 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 A.D. 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 with 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 fifty 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 throne 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. * 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 belonged 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. *
Now, if the circumstances 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 Dan. xi. 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 in 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 (ver. 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." 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 A.D. 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. * Could there, then, be a more exact fulfilment of chap. xiii. 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"! 2bab032.htm
This beast is presented to our notice (Rev. xiii. 11): "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a serpent." Though this beast is mentioned after the beast from the sea, it does not follow that he came into existence after the sea-beast. The work he did seems to show the very contrary; for it is by his instrumentality that mankind are led (ver. 12) "to worship the first beast" after that beast had received the deadly wound, which shows that he must have been in existence before. The reason that he is mentioned second, is just because, as he exercised all the powers of the first beast, and leads all men to worship him, so he called not properly be described till that beast had first appeared on the stage. Now, in ancient Chaldea there was the type, also, of this.
That god was called in Babylon Nebo, in Egypt Nub or Num, * and among the Romans Numa, for Numa Pompilius, the great priest-king of the Romans, occupied precisely the position of the Babylonian Nebo. Among the Etrurians, from whom the Romans derived the most of their rites, he was called Tages, and of this Tages it is particularly recorded, that just as John saw the beast under consideration "come up out of the earth," so Tages was a child suddenly and miraculously born out of a furrow or hole in the ground. * In Egypt, this God was represented with the head and horns of a ram . * In Etruria he seems to have been represented in a somewhat similar way; for there we find a Divine and miraculous child exhibited wearing the ram's horns . *
The name Nebo, the grand distinctive name of this god, signifies "The Prophet," and as such, he gave oracles, practised augury, pretended to miraculous powers, and was an adept in magic. He was the great wonder-worker, and answered exactly to the terms of the prophecy, when it is said (ver. 13), "he doeth great wonders, and causeth fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men." It was in this very character that the Etrurian Tages was known; for it was he who was said to have taught the Romans augury, and all the superstition and wonder-working jugglery connected therewith. * As in recent times, we hear of weeping images and winking Madonnas, and innumerable prodigies besides, continually occurring in the Romish Church, in proof of this papal dogma or that, so was it also in the system of Babylon.
There is hardly a form of "pious fraud" or saintly imposture practised at this day on the banks of the Tiber, that cannot be proved to have had its counterpart on the banks of the Euphrates, or in the systems that come from it. Has the image of the Virgin been seen to shed tears? Many a tear was shed by the pagan images. To these tender-hearted idols Lucan alludes, when, speaking of the prodigies that occurred during the civil wars, he says:-
"Tears shed by gods, our country's patrons,
And sweat from Lares, told the city's woes." *
Virgil also refers to the same, when he says:-
"The weeping statues did the wars foretell,
And holy sweat from brazen idols fell." *
When in the consulship of Appius Claudius, and Marcus Perpenna, Publius Crassus was slain in a battle with Aristonicus, Apollo's statue at Cumae shed tears for four days without intermission. *
The gods had also their merry moods, as well as their weeping fits. If Rome counts it a divine accomplishment for the sacred image of her Madonna to "wink," it was surely not less becoming in the sacred images of Paganism to relax their features into an occasional grin. That they did so, we have abundant testimony. Psellus tells us that, when the priests put forth their magic powers, "then statues laughed, and lamps were spontaneously enkindled." * When the images made merry, however, they seemed to have inspired other feelings than those of merriment into the breasts of those who beheld them. "The Theurgists," says Salverte, "caused the appearance of the gods in the air, in the midst of gaseous vapour, disengaged from fire. The Theurgis Maximus undoubtedly made use of a secret analogous to this, when, in the fumes of the incense which he burned before the statue of Hecate, the image was seen to laugh so naturally as to fill the spectators with terror." * There were times, however, when different feelings were inspired. Has the image of the Madonna been made to look benignantly upon a favoured worshipper, and send him home assured that his prayer was heard? So did the statues of the Egyptian Isis. There were so framed, that the goddess could shake the silver serpent on her forehead, and nod assent to those who had preferred their petitions in such a way as pleased her. *
We read of Romish saints that showed their miraculous powers by crossing rivers or the sea in most unlikely conveyances. Thus, of St. Raymond it is written that he was transported over the sea on his cloak. * Paganism is not a whit behind in this matter; for it is recorded of a Buddhist saint, Sura Acharya, that, when "he used to visit his flocks west of the Indus, he floated himself across the stream upon his mantle." * Nay, the gods and high priests of Paganism showed far more buoyancy than even this. There is a holy man, at this day, in the Church of Rome, somewhere on the Continent, who rejoices in the name of St. Cubertin, who so overflows with spirituality, that when he engages in his devotions there is no keeping his body down to the ground, but, spite of all the laws of gravity, it rises several feet into the air. So was it also with the renowned St. Francis of Assisi, * Petrus a Martina, * and Francis of Macerata, * some centuries ago.
But both St. Cubertin and St. Francis and his fellows are far from being original in this superhuman devotion. The priests and magicians in the Chaldean Mysteries anticipated them not merely by centuries, but by thousands of years. Coelius Rhodiginus says, "that, according to the Chaldeans, luminous rays, emanating from the soul, do sometimes divinely penetrate the body, which is then of itself raised above the earth, and that this was the case with Zoroaster." *
The disciples of Jamblichus asserted that they had often witnessed the same miracle in the case of their master, who, when he prayed was raised to the height of ten cubits from the earth. * The greatest miracle which Rome pretends to work, is when, by the repetition of five magic words, she professes to bring down the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ from heaven, to make Him really and corporeally present in the sacrament of the altar. The Chaldean priests pretended, by their magic spells, in like manner, to bring down their divinities into their statues, so that their "real presence" should be visible manifested in them. This they called "the making of gods;" * and from this no doubt comes the blasphemous saying of the Popish priests, that they have power "to create their Creator."
There is no evidence, so far as I have been able to find, that, in the Babylonian system, the thin round cake of wafer, the "unbloody sacrifice of the mass," was ever regarded in any other light than as a symbol, that ever it was held to be changed into the god whom it represented. But yet the doctrine of transubstantiation is clearly of the very essence of Magic, which pretended, on the pronunciation of a few potent words, to change one substance into another, or by a dexterous juggle, wholly to remove one substance, and to substitute another in its place. Further, the Pope, in the plenitude of his power, assumes the right of wielding the lightnings of Jehovah, and of blasting by his "fulminations" whoever offends him. Kings, and whole nations, believing in this power, have trembled and bowed before him, through fear of being scathed by his spiritual thunders. The priests of Paganism assumed the very same power; and, to enforce the belief of their spiritual power, they even attempted to bring down the literal lightnings from heaven; yea, there seems some reason to believe that they actually succeeded, and anticipated the splendid discovery of Dr. Franklin. *
Numa Pompilius is said to have done so with complete success. Tullus Hostilius, his successor, imitating his example, perished in the attempt, himself and his whole family being struck, like Professor Reichman in recent times, with the lightning he was endeavouring to draw down. * Such were the wonder-working powers attributed in the Divine Word to the beast that was to come up from the earth; and by the old Babylonian type these very powers were all pretended to be exercised.
Now, in remembrance of the birth of the god out of a "hole in the earth," the Mysteries were frequently celebrated in caves under ground. This was the case in Persia, where, just as Tages was said to be born out of the ground, Mithra was in like manner fabled to have been produced from a cave in the earth. * Numa of Rome himself pretended to get all his revelations from the Nymph Egeria, in a cave. * In these caves men were first initiated in the secret Mysteries, and by the signs and lying wonders there presented to them, they were led back, after the death of Nimrod, to the worship of that god in its new form.
This Apocalyptic beast, then, that "comes up out of the earth," agrees in all respects with that ancient god born from a "hole in the ground:" for no words could more exactly describe his doing than the words of the prediction (ver. 13): "He doeth great wonders, and causeth fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men,....and he causeth the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed." This wonder-working beast, called Nebo, or "the Prophet," as the prophet of idolatry, was, of course, the "false prophet." By comparing the passage before us with Rev. xix. 20, it will be manifest that this beast that "came up out of the earth" is expressly called by that very name: "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image." As it was the "beast from the earth" that "wrought miracles" before the first beast, this shows that "the beast from the earth" is the "false prophet;" in other words, is "Nebo."
If we examine the history of the Roman empire, we shall find that here also there is a precise accordance between type and antitype. When the deadly wound of Paganism was healed, and the old Pagan title of Pontiff was restored, it was, through means of the corrupt clergy, symbolised, as is generally believed, and justly under the image of a beast with horns, like a lamb; according to the saying of our Lord, "Beware of false prophets, that shall come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." The clergy, as a corporate body, consisted of two grand divisions--the regular and secular clergy answering to the two horns or powers of the beast, and combining also, at a very early period, both temporal and spiritual powers.
The bishops, as heads of these clergy, had large temporal powers, long before the Pope gained his temporal crown. We have the distinct evidence of both Guizot and Gibbon to this effect. After showing that before the fifth century, and clergy had not only become distinct from, but independent of the people, Guizot adds: "The Christian clergy had moreover another and very different source of influence. The bishops and priests became the principal municipal magistrates....If you open the code, either of Theodosius or Justinian, you will find numerous regulations which remit municipal affairs to the clergy and the bishops." Guizot makes several quotations. The following extract from the Justinian code is sufficient to show how ample was the civil power bestowed upon the bishops: "With respect to the yearly affairs of cities, whether they concern the ordinary revenues of the city, either from funds arising from the property of the city, or from private gifts or legacies, or from any other source; whether public works, or depots of provisions or aqueducts, or the maintenance of baths or ports, or the construction of walls or towers, or the repairing of bridges or roads, or trials, in which the city may be engaged in reference to public or private interests, we ordain as follows:--The very pious bishop, and three notables, chosen from among the first men of the city, shall meet together; they shall each year examine the works done; they shall take care that those who conduct them, or who have conducted them, shall regulate them with precision, render their accounts, and show that they have duly performed their engagements in the administration, whether of the public monuments, or of the sums appointed for provisions or baths, or of expenses in the maintenance of roads, aqueducts, or any other work." *
Here is a large list of functions laid on the spiritual shoulders of "the very pious bishop," not one of which is even hinted at in the Divine enumeration of the duties of a bishop, as contained in the Word of God. (See 1 Tim. iii. 1-7; and Tit. 1. 5-9.) How did the bishops, who were originally appointed for purely spiritual objects, contrive to grasp at such a large amount of temporal authority? From Gibbon we get light as to the real origin of what Guizot calls this "prodigious power." The author of the Decline and Fall shows, that soon after Constantine's time, "the Church" [and consequently the bishops, especially when they assumed to be a separate order from the other clergy] gained great temporal power through the right of asylum, which had belonged to the Pagan temples, being transferred by the Emperors to the Christian churches. His words are: "The fugitive, and even the guilty, were permitted to implore either the justice or mercy of the Deity and His ministers." * Thus was the foundation laid of the invasion of the rights of the civil magistrate by ecclesiastics, and thus were they encouraged to grasp at all the powers of the State. Thus, also, as a justly observed by the authoress of Rome in the 19th Century, speaking of the right of asylum, were "the altars perverted into protection towards the very crimes they were raised to banish from the world." *
This is a very striking thing, as showing how the temporal power of the Papacy, in its very first beginnings, was founded on "lawlessness," and is an additional proof to the many that might be alleged. that the Head of the Roman system, to whom all bishops are subject, is indeed ho anomos, "The Lawless One" (2 Thess. ii. 8), predicted in Scripture as the recognised Head of the "Mystery of Iniquity." All this temporal power came into the hands of men, who, while professing to be ministers of Christ, and followers of the Lamb, were seeking simply their own aggrandisement, and, to secure that aggrandisement, did not hesitate to betray the cause which they professed to serve. The spiritual power which they wielded over the souls of men, and the secular power which they gained in the affairs of the world, were both alike used in opposition to the cause of pure religion and undefiled. At first these false prophets, in leading men astray, and seeking to unite Paganism and Christianity, wrought under-ground, mining like the mole in the dark, and secretly perverting the simple, according to the saying of Paul, "The Mystery of Iniquity doth already work."
But by-and-by, towards the end of the forth century, when the minds of men had been pretty well prepared, and the aspect of things seemed to be favourable for it, the wolves in sheep's clothing appeared above ground, brought their secret doctrines and practices, by little and little, into the light of day, and century after century, as their power increased, by means of all "deceivableness of unrighteousness," and "signs and lying wonders," deluded the minds of the worldly Christians, made them believe that their anathema was equivalent to the curse of God; in other words, that they could "bring down fire from heaven," and thus "caused the earth, and them that dwelt therein, to worship the beast whose deadly wound was healed." *
When "the deadly wound" of the Pagan beast was healed, and the beast from the sea appeared, it is said that this beast from the earth became the recognised, accredited executor of the will of the great sea beast (v. 12), "And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him," literally "in his presence"--under his inspection. Considering who the first beast is, there is great force in this expression "in his presence." The beast that comes up from the sea, is "the little horn," that "has eyes like the eyes of man" (Dan. vii. 8); it is Janus Tuens, "All-seeing Janus," in other words, the Universal Bishop or "Universal Overseer," who, from his throne on the seven hills, by means of the organised system of the confessional, sees and knows all that is done, to the utmost bounds of his wide dominion. Now, it was just exactly about the time that the Pope became universal bishop, that the custom began of systematically investing the chief bishops of the Western empire with the Papal livery, the pallium, "for the purpose," says Gieseler, "of symbolising and strengthening their connection with the Church of Rome." *
That pallium, worn on the shoulders of the bishops, while on the one hand it was the livery of the Pope, and bound those who received it to act as the functionaries of Rome, deriving all their authority from him, and exercising it under his superintendence, as the "Bishop of bishops," on the other hand, was in reality the visible investiture of these wolves with the sheep's clothing. For what was the pallium of the Papal bishop? It was a dress made of wool, blessed by the Pope, taken from the holy lambs kept by the nuns of St. Agnes, and woven by their sacred hands, * that it might be bestowed on those whom the Popes delighted to honour, for the purpose, as one of themselves expressed it, of "joining them to our society in the one pastoral sheepfold." * Thus commissioned, thus ordained by the universal Bishop, they did their work effectually, and brought the earth and them that dwelt in it, "to worship the beast that received the wound by a sword and did live." This was a part of this beast's predicted work. But there was another, and not less important, which remains for consideration. 2bab033.htm
Not merely does the beast from the earth lead the world to worship the first beast, but (ver. 14) he prevails on them that dwell on the earth to make "an IMAGE to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live." In meditating for many years on what might be implied in "the image of the beast," I could never find the least satisfaction in all the theories that had ever been propounded, till I fell in with an unpretending but valuable work, which I have noticed already, entitled An Original Interpretation of the Apocalypse. That work, evidently the production of the penetrating mind deeply read in the history of the Papacy, furnished at once the solution of the difficulty.
There the image of the beast is pronounced to be the Virgin Mother, or the Madonna. * This at first sight may appear a very unlikely solution; but when it is brought into comparison with the religious history of Chaldea, the unlikelihood entirely disappears. In the old Babylonian Paganism, there was an image of the Beast from the sea; and when it is known what that image was, the question will, I think, be fairly decided. When Dagon was first set up to be worshipped, while he was represented in many different ways, and exhibited in many different characters, the favourite form in which he was worshipped, as the reader well knows, was that of a child in his mother's arms. In the natural course of events, the mother came to be worshipped along with the child, yea, to be the favourite object of worship. To justify this worship, as we have already seen, that mother, of course, must be raised to divinity, and divine powers and prerogatives ascribed to her.
Whatever dignity, therefore, the son was believed to possess a like dignity was ascribed to her. Whatever name of honour he bore, a similar name was bestowed upon her. He was called Belus, "the Lord;" she, Beltis, "My Lady." * He was called Dagon, * "the Merman;" she, Derketo, * "the Mermaid." He, as the World-king, wore the bull's horns; * she, as we have already seen, on the authority of Sanchuniathon, put on her own head a bull's head, as the ensign of royalty. * He, as the Sun-god, was called Beel-samen, "Lord of heaven;" * she, as the Moon-goddess, Melkat-ashemin, "Queen of heaven." * He was worshipped in Egypt as the "Revealer of goodness and truth;" * she, in Babylon, under the symbol of the Dove, as the goddess of gentleness and mercy, * the "Mother of gracious acceptance," * "merciful and benignant to men." * He, under the name of Mithra, was worshipped as Mesities, * or "The Mediator;" she, as Aphrodite, or the "Wrath-subduer," was called Mylitta, "the Mediatrix." * He was represented as crushing the great serpent under his heel; * she, as bruising the serpent's head in her hand. * He, under the name Janus, bore a key, as the opener and shutter of the gates of the invisible world. * She, under the name of Cybele, was invested with a like key, as an emblem of the same power. * He, as the cleanser from sin, was called the "Unpolluted god;" * she, too, had the power to wash away sin, and, though the mother of the seed, was called the "Virgin, pure and undefiled." *
He was represented as "Judge of the dead;" she was represented as standing by his side, at the judgment-seat, in the unseen world. * He, after being killed by the sword, was fabled to have risen again, * and ascended up to heaven. * She, too, though history makes her to have been killed with the sword by one of her own sons, * was nevertheless, in the myth, said to have been carried by her son bodily to heaven, * and to have been made Pambasileia, "Queen of the universe." * Finally, to clench the whole, the name by which she was now known was Semele, which, in the Babylonian language, signifies "THE IMAGE." * Thus, in every respect, to the very least jot and tittle, she became the express image of the Babylonian "beast that had the wound by a sword, and did live."
After what the reader has already seen in a previous part of this work, it is hardly necessary to say that it is this very goddess that is now worshipped in the Church of Rome under the name of Mary. Though that goddess is called by the name of the mother of our Lord, all the attributes given to her are derived simply from the Babylonian Madonna, and not from the Virgin Mother of Christ. *
There is not one line or one letter in all the Bible to countenance the idea that Mary should be worshipped, that she is the "refuge of sinners," that she was "immaculate," that she made atonement for sin when standing by the cross, and when, according to Simeon, "a sword pierced through her own soul also;" or that, after her death, she was raised from the dead and carried in glory to heaven. But in the Babylonian system all this was found; and all this is now incorporated in the system of Rome.
The "sacred heart of Mary" is exhibited as pierced through with a sword, in token, as the apostate Church teaches, that her anguish at the crucifixion was as true an atonement as the death of Christ;--for we read in the Devotional office or Service-book, adopted by the "Sodality of the sacred heart," such blasphemous words as these, "Go, then, devout client! go to the heart of Jesus, but let your way be through the heart of Mary; the sword of grief which pierced her soul opens you a passage; enter by the wound which love has made;" * --again we hear one expounder of the new faith, like M. Genoude in France, say that "Mary was the repairer of the guilt of Eve, as our Lord was the repairer of the guilt of Adam;" * and another--Professor Oswald of Paderbon--affirm that Mary was not a human creature like us, that she is "the Woman, as Christ is the Man," that "Mary is co-present in the Eucharist, and that it is indisputable that, according to the Eucharistic doctrine of the Church, this presence of Mary in the Eucharist is true and real, not merely ideal or figurative;" * and, further, we read in the Pope's decree of the Immaculate Conception, that that same Madonna, for this purpose "wounded with the sword," rose from the dead, and being assumed up on high, became Queen of Heaven.
If all this be so, who can fail to see that in the apostate community is to be found what precisely answers to the making and setting up in the heart of Christendom, of an "Image to the beast that had the wound by a sword and did live"?
If the inspired terms be consulted, it will be seen that this was to be done by some public general act of apostate Christendom; (ver. 14), "Saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast;" and they made it. Now, here is the important fact to be observed, that this never was done, and this never could have been done, till eight years ago; for this plain reason, that till then the Madonna of Rome was never recognised as combining all the characters that belonged to the Babylonian "IMAGE of the beast." Till then it was not admitted even in Rome, though this evil leaven had been long working, and that strongly, and Mary was truly immaculate, and consequently she could not be the perfect counterpart of the Babylonian Image.
What, however, had never been done before, was done in December, 1854. Then bishops from all parts of Christendom, and representatives from the ends of the earth, met in Rome; and with only four dissentient voices, it was decreed that Mary, the mother of God, who died, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, should henceforth be worshipped as the Immaculate Virgin, "conceived and born without sin." This was the formal setting up of the Image of the beast, and that by the general consent of "the men that dwell upon the earth." Now, this beast being set up, it is said, that the beast from the earth gives life and speech to the Image, implying, first, that it has neither life nor voice in itself; but that, nevertheless, through means of the beast from the earth, it is to have both life and voice, and to be an effective agent of the Papal clergy, who will make it speak exactly as they please. Since the Image has been set up, its voice has been everywhere heard throughout the Papacy. Formerly decrees ran less or more in the name of Christ. Now all things are pre-eminently done in the name of the Immaculate Virgin.
Her voice is everywhere heard--her voice is supreme. But, be it observed, when that voice is heard, it is not the voice of mercy and love, it is the voice of cruelty and terror. The decrees that come forth under the name of the Image, are to this effect (ver. 17), that "no man might be or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name," No sooner is the image set up than we see this very thing begun to be carried out. What was the Concordat in Austria, that so speedily followed, but this very thing? That concordat, through the force of unexpected events that have arisen, has not yet been carried into effect; but if it were, the results would just be what is predicted--that no man in the Austrian dominions should "by or sell" without the mark in some shape or other. And the very fact of such an intolerant concordat coming so speedily on the back of the Decree of the Immaculate Conception, should what is the natural fruit of that decree.
The events that soon thereafter took place in Spain showed the powerful working of the same persecuting spirit there also, During the last few years, the tide of spiritual despotism might have seemed to be effectually arrested; and many, no doubt, have indulged the persuasion that, crippled as the temporal sovereignty of the Papacy is, and tottering as it seems to be, that power, or its subordinates, could never persecute more. But there is an amazing vitality in the Mystery of Iniquity; and no one can ever tell beforehand what apparent impossibilities it may accomplish in the way of arresting the progress of truth and liberty, however promising the aspect of things may be.
Whatever may become of the temporal sovereignty of the Roman states, it is by no means so evident this day, as to many it seemed only a short while ago, that the overthrow of the spiritual power of the Papacy is imminent, and that its power to persecute is finally gone. I doubt not but that many, constrained by the love and mercy of God, will yet obey the heavenly voice, and flee out of the domed communion, before the vials of Divine wrath descend upon it. But if I have been right in the interpretation of this passage, then it follows that it must yet become more persecuting than ever it has been, and that that intolerance, which, immediately after the setting up of the Image, began to display itself in Austria and Spain, shall yet spread over all Europe; for it is not said that the Image of the beast should merely decree, but should "cause that as many as would not worship the Image of the best should be killed" (ver. 15).
When this takes place, that evidently is the time when the language of verse 8 is fulfilled, "And all that dwell on the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." It is impossible to get quit of this by saying, "This refers to the Dark Ages; this was fulfilled before Luther." I ask, had the men who dwelt on the earth set up the Image of the beast before Luther's days? Plainly not. The decree of the Immaculate Conception was the deed of yesterday. The prophecy, then, refers to our own times--to the period on which the Church is now entering. In other words, the slaying of the witnesses, the grand trial of the saints, IS STILL TO COME. * 2bab034.htm
Dagon and the Pope being now identified, this brings us naturally and easily to the long-sought name and number of the beast, and confirms, by entirely new evidence, the old Protestant view of the subject. The name "Lateinos" has been generally accepted by Protestant writers, as having many elements of probability to recommend it. But yet there has been always found a certain deficiency, and it has been felt that something was wanting to put it beyond all possibility of doubt. Now, looking at the subject from the Babylonian point of view, we shall find both the name and number of the beast brought home to us in such a way as leaves nothing to be desired on the point of evidence. Osiris, or Nimrod, whom the Pope represents, was called by many different titles, and therefore, as Wilkinson remarks, * he was much in the same position as his wife, who was called "Myrionymus," the goddess with "ten thousand names."
Among these innumerable names, how shall we ascertain the name at which the Spirit of God points in the enigmatical language that speaks of the name of the best, and the number of his name? If we know the Apocalyptic name of the system, that will lead us to the name of the head of the system. The name of the system is "Mystery" (Rev. xvii. 5). Here, then, we have the key that at once unlocks the enigma. We have now only inquire what was the name by which Nimrod was knows as the god of the Chaldean Mysteries. Tat name, as we have seen, was Saturn. Saturn and Mystery are both Chaldean words, and they are correlative terms. As Mystery signifies the Hidden system, so Saturn signifies the Hidden god. * To those who were initiated the god was revealed; to all else he was hidden. Now, the name Saturn in Chaldee is pronounced Satur; but, as every Chaldee scholar knows, consists only of four letters, thus--Stur. This name contains exactly the Apocalyptic number 666:--
If the Pope is, as we have seen, the legitimate representative of Saturn, the number of the Pope, as head of the Mystery of Iniquity, is just 666. But still further it turns out, as shown above, that the original name of Rome itself was Saturnia, "the city of Saturn." This is vouched alike by Ovid, * by Pliny, * and by Aurelius Victor. * Thus. then, the Pope has a double claim to the name and number of the beast. He is the only legitimate representative of the original Saturn at this day in existence, and he reigns in the very city of the seven hills where the Roman Saturn formerly reigned; and, from his residence in which, the whole of Italy was "long after called by his name," being commonly named "the Saturnian land." But what bearing, it may be said, has this upon the name Lateinos, which is commonly believed to be the "name of the beast"?
Much. It proves that the common opinion is thoroughly well-founded. Saturn and Lateinos are just synonymous, having precisely the same meaning, and belonging equally to the same god. The reader cannot have forgotten the lines of Virgil, which showed that Lateinos, to whom the Romans or Latin race traced back their lineage, was represented with a glory around his head, to show that he was a "child of the Sun." * Thus, then, it is evident that, in popular opinion, the original Lateinos had occupied the very same position as Saturn did in the Mysteries, who was equally worshipped as the "offspring of the Sun." Moreover, it is evident that the Romans knew that the name "Lateinos" signified the "Hidden One," for their antiquarians invariably affirm that Latium received its name from Saturn "lying hid" there. * On etymological grounds, then, even on the testimony of the Romans, Lateinos is equivalent tot he "Hidden One;" that is, to Saturn, the "god of Mystery." *
While Saturn, therefore, is the name of the beast, and contains the mystic number, Lateinos, which contains the same number, is just as peculiar and distinctive an appellation of the same beast. The Pope, then, as the head of the beast, is equally Lateinos or Saturn, that is, the head of the Babylonian "Mystery." When, therefore, the Pope requires all his services to be performed in the "Latin tongue," that is as much as to say that they must be performed in the language of "Mystery"; when he calls his Church the Latin Church, that is equivalent to a declaration that it is the Church of "Mystery."
Thus, by this very name of the Pope's own choosing, he has with his own hands written upon the very forehead of his apostate communion its divine Apocalyptic designation, "MYSTERY--Babylon the great." Thus, also, by a process of the purest induction, we have been led on from step to step, till we find the mystic number 666 unmistakably and "indelibly marked" on his own forehead, and that he who has his seat on the seven hills of Rome has exclusive and indefeasible claims to be regarded as the Visible head of the beast.
The reader, however, who has carefully considered the language that speaks of the name and number of the Apocalyptic beast, must have observed that, in the terms that describe that name and number, there is still an enigma that ought not to be overlooked. The words are these: "Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast--for it is the number of a man" (Rev. xiii. 18). What means the saying, that the "number of the beast is the number of a man"? Does it merely mean that he has been called by a name that has been borne by some individual man before? This is the sense in which the words have been generally understood. But surely this would be nothing very distinctive--nothing that might not equally apply to innumerable names.
But view this language in connection with the ascertained facts of the case, and what a Divine light at once beams from the expression. Saturn, the hidden god,--the god of the Mysteries, whom the Pope represents, whose secrets were revealed only to the initiated,--was identical with Janus, who was publicly known to all Rome, to the uninitiated and initiated alike, as the grand Mediator, the opener and the shutter, who had the key of the invisible world. Now, what means the name Janus? That name, as Cornificius in Macrobius shows, was properly Eanus; * and in ancient Chaldee, E-anush signifies "the Man." By that very name was the Babylonian beast from the sea called, when it first made its appearance. * The name E-anush, or "the Man," was applied to the Babylonian Messiah, as identifying him with the promised seed of the Woman. The name of "the Man," as applied to a god, was intended to designate him as the "god-man." We have seen that in India the Hindoo Shasters bear witness, that in order to enable the gods to overcome their enemies, it was needful that the Sun, the supreme divinity, should be incarnate, and born of a Woman. * The classical nations had a legend of precisely the same nature. "There was a current tradition in heaven," says Apollodorus, "that the giants could never be conquered except by the help of a man." *
That man, who was believed to have conquered the adversaries of the gods, was Janus, the god-man. In consequence of his assumed character and exploits, Janus was invested with high powers, made the keeper of the gates of heaven, and arbiter of men's eternal destinies. Of this Janus, this Babylonian "man," the Pope, as we have seen, is the legitimate representative; his key, therefore, he bears, with that of Cybele, his mother-wife; and to all his blasphemous pretensions he at this hour lays claim. The very fact, then, that the Pope founds his claim to universal homage on the possession of the keys of heaven, and that in a sense which empowers him, in defiance of every principle of Christianity, to open and shut the gates of glory, according to his mere sovereign will and pleasure, is a striking and additional proof that he is that head of the beast from the sea, whose number, as identified with Janus, is the number of a man, and amounts exactly to 666.
But there is something further still in the name of Janus or Eanus, not to be passed over. Janus, while manifestly worshipped as the Messiah or god-man, was also celebrated as "Principium Deorum," * the source and fountain of all the Pagan gods. We have already in this character traced him backward through Cush to Noah; but to make out his claim to this high character, in its proper completeness, he must be traced even further still. The Pagans knew, and could not but know, at the time the Mysteries were concocted, in the days of Shem and his brethren, who, through the Flood, had passed from the old world to the new, the whole story of Adam, and therefore it was necessary, of a deification of mankind there was to be, that his pre-eminent dignity, as the human "Father of gods and men," should not be ignored. Nor was it. The Mysteries were full of what he did, and what befel him; and the name E-anush, or, as it appeared in the Egyptian form, Ph'anesh, * "The man," was only another name for that of our great progenitor. The name of Adam in the Hebrew of Genesis almost always occurs with the article before it, implying "The Adam," or "The man."
There is the difference, however--"The Adam" refers to man unfallen, E-anush, "The man," to "fallen man." E-anush, then, as "Principium deorum," "The fountain and father of gods," is "FALLEN Adam." * The principle of Pagan idolatry went directly to exalt fallen humanity, to consecrate its lusts, to give men license to live after the flesh, and yet, after such a life, to make them sure of eternal felicity. E-anus, the "fallen man," was set up as the human Head of this system of corruption--this "Mystery of Iniquity." Now, from this we come to see the real meaning of the name, applied to the divinity commonly worshipped in Phrygia along with Cybele in the very same character as this same Janus, who was at once the Father of gods, and the Mediatorial divinity. That name was Atys, or Attis, or Attes, * and the meaning will evidently appear from the meaning of the well-known Greek word Ate, which signifies "error of sin," and is obviously derived from the Chaldean Hata, "to sin." Atys or Attes, formed from the same verb, and in a similar way, signifies "The Sinner." The reader will remember that Rhea or Cybele was worshipped in Phrygia under the name of Idaia Mater, "The mother of knowledge," and that she bore in her hand, as her symbol, the pomegranate, which we have seen reason to conclude to have been in Pagan estimation the fruit of the "forbidden tree." * Who, then, so likely to have been the contemplar divinity of that "Mother of knowledge" as Attes, "The sinner," even her own husband, whom she induced to share with her in her sin, and partake of her fatal knowledge, and who thereby became in true and proper sense, "The man of sin,"--"the man by whom sin entered the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all, because all have sinned." *
Now at Attes, this "Man of sin," after passing through those sorrows and sufferings, which his worshippers yearly commemorated, the distinguishing characteristics and glories of the Messiah were given. He was identified with the sun, * the only one god; he was identified with Adonis; and to him as thus identified, the language of the Sixteenth Psalm, predicting the triumph of our Saviour Christ over death and the grave, was in all its greatness applied: "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." It is sufficiently known that the first part of this statement was applied to Adonis; for the annual weeping of the women for Tammuz was speedily turned into rejoicings, on account of his fabled return from Hades, or the infernal regions. But it is not so well known that Paganism applied to its mediatorial god the predicted incorruption of the body of the Messiah. But that this was the fact, we learn from the distinct testimony of Pausanias. "Agdistis," that is Cybele, says he "obtained from Jupiter, that no part of the body of Attes should either become putrid or waste away." * Thus did Paganism apply to Attes "the sinner," the incommunicable honour of Christ, who came to "save His people from their sins"--as contained in the Divine language uttered by the "sweet psalmist of Israel," a thousand years before the Christian era. If, therefore, the Pope occupies, as we have seen, the very place of Janus "the man," how clear is it, that he equally occupies the place of Attes, "the sinner," and then how striking in this point of view the name "Man of sin," as divinely given by prophecy (2 Thess. ii. 3) to him who was to be the head of the Christian apostacy, and who was to concentrate in that apostacy all the corruption of Babylonian Paganism?
The Pope is thus on every ground demonstrated to be the visible head of the beast. But the beast has not only a visible, but an invisible head that governs it. That invisible head is none other than Satan, the head of the first grand apostacy that began in heaven itself. This is put beyond doubt by the language of Rev. xiii. 4: "And they worshipped the Dragon which gave power into the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" This language shows that the worship of the dragon is commensurate with the worship of the beast. That the dragon is primarily Satan, the arch-fiend himself, is plain from the statement of the previous chapter (Rev. xii. 9): "And the Dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the world." If, then, the Pope be, as we have seen, the visible head of the beast, the adherents of Rome, in worshipping the Pope, of necessity worship also the Devil.
With the Divine statement before us, there is no possibility of escaping from this. And this is expressly stated, that before Judas committed his treason, "Satan," the prince of the Devils, "entered into him," took complete and entire possession of him. From analogy, we may expect the same to have been the case here. Before the Pope could even conceive such a scheme of complicated treachery to the cause of his Lord, as his been proved against him, before he could be qualified from successfully carrying that treacherous scheme into effect, Satan himself must enter into him. The Mystery of Iniquity was to practise and prosper according "to the working"--i.e., literally, "according to the energy or mighty power of Satan" (2 Thess. ii. 9). * Therefore Satan himself, and not any subordinate spirit of hell, must preside over the whole vast system of consecrated wickedness; he must personally take possession of him who is its visible head, that the system may be guided by his diabolical subtlety, and "energised" by his super-human power. Keeping this in view, we see at once how it is that, when the followers of the Pope worship the beast, they worship also the "dragon that gave power the beast."
Thus, altogether independent of historical evidence on this point, we are brought to the irresistible conclusion that the worship of Rome is one vast system of Devil-worship. If it be once admitted that the Pope is the head of the beast from the sea, we are bound, on the mere testimony of God, without any other evidence whatever, to receive this as a fact, that, consciously or unconsciously, those who worship the Pope are actually worshipping the Devil. But, in truth, we have historical evidence, and that of a very remarkable kind, that the Pope, as head of the Chaldean Mysteries, is a directly the representative of Satan, as he is of the false Messiah of Babylon. It was long ago noticed by Irenaeus, about the end of the second century, that the name Teitan contained the Mystic number 666; and he gave it as his opinion that Teitan was "by far the most probably name" of the beast from the sea. * The grounds of his opinion, as stated by him, do not carry much weight; but the opinion itself he may have derived from others who had better and more valid reasons for their belief on this subject. Now, on inquiry, it will actually be found, that while Saturn was the name of the visible head, Teitan was the name of the invisible head of the beast.
Teitan is just the Chaldean form of Sheitan, * the very name by which Satan has been called from time immemorial by the Devil-worshippers of Kurdistan; * and from Armenia or Kurdistan, this Devil-worship embodied in the Chaldean Mysteries came westward to Asia Minor, and thence to Etruria and Rome. That Teitan was actually known by the classic nations of antiquity to be Satan, or the spirit of wickedness, and originator of moral evil, we have the following proofs: The history of Teitan and his brethren, as given in Homer and Hesiod, the two earliest of all the Greek writers, although later legends are obviously mixed up with it, is evidently the exact counterpart of the Scriptural account of Satan and his angels. Homer says, that "all the gods of Tartarus," or Hell, "were called Teitans." * Hesiod tells us how these Teitans, or "gods of hell," came to have their dwelling there. The chief of them having committed a certain act of wickedness against his father, the supreme god of heaven, with the sympathy of many others of the "sons of heaven," that father "called them all by an opprobrious name, Teitans," * pronounced a curse upon them, and then, in consequence of that curse, they were "cast down to hell," and "bound in chains of darkness" in the abyss. * While this is the earliest account of Teitan and his followers among the Greeks, we find that, in the Chaldean system, Teitan was just a synonym for Typhon, the malignant Serpent or Dragon, who was universally regarded as the Devil, or author of all wickedness.
It was Typhon, according to the Pagan version of the story, that killed Tammuz, and cut him in pieces; but Lactantius, who was thoroughly acquainted with the subject, upbraids his Pagan countrymen for "worshipping a child torn in pieces by the Teitans." * It is undeniable, then, that Teitan, in Pagan belief, was identical with the Dragon, or Satan. *
In the Mysteries, as formerly hinted, an important change took place as soon as the way was paved for it. First, Tammuz was worshipped as the bruiser of the serpent's head, meaning thereby that he was the appointed destroyer of Satan's kingdom. Then the dragon himself, or Satan, came to receive a certain measure of worship, to "console him," as the Pagans said, "for the loss of his power," and to prevent him from hurting them; * and last of all the dragon, or Teitan or Satan, became the supreme object of worship, the Titania, or rites of Teitan, occupying a prominent place in the Egyptian Mysteries, * and also in those of Greece. * How vitally important was the place that these rites of Teitan or Satan occupied, may be judged of from the fact that Pluto, the god of Hell (who, in his ultimate character, was just the grand Adversary), was looked up to with awe and dread as the great god on whom the destinies of mankind in the eternal world did mainly depend; for it was said that to Pluto it belonged "to purify souls after death." *
Purgatory having been in Paganism, as it is in Popery, the grand hinge of priestcraft and superstition, what a power did this opinion attribute to the "god of Hell"! No wonder that the serpent, the Devil's grand instrument in seducing mankind, was in all the earth worshipped with such extraordinary reverence, it being laid down in the Octateuch of Ostanes, that "serpents were the supreme of all gods and the princes of the Universe." * No wonder that it came at last to be firmly believed that the Messiah, on whom the hopes of the world depended, was Himself the "seed of the serpent"! This was manifestly the case in Greece; for the current story there came to be, that the first Bacchus was brought forth in consequence of a connexion on the part of his mother with the father of the gods, in the form of a "speckled snake." *
That "father of the gods" was manifestly "the god of hell;" for Proserpine, the mother of Bacchus, that miraculously conceived and brought forth the wondrous child--whose rape by Pluto occupied such a place in the Mysteries--was worshipped as the wife of the god of Hell, as we have already seen, under the name of the "Holy Virgin." * The story of the seduction of Eve * by the serpent is plainly imported into this legend, as Julius Firmicus and the early Christian apologists did with great force cast in the teeth of the Pagans of their day; but very different is the colouring given to it in the Pagan legend from that which it has in the Divine Word. Thus the grand Thimblerigger, by dexterously shifting the peas, through means of men who began with great professions of abhorrence of his character, got himself almost everywhere recognised as in very deed "the god of this world."
So deep and so strong was the hold that Satan had contrived to get of the ancient world in this character, that even when Christianity had been proclaimed to man, and the true light had shone from Heaven, the very doctrine we have been considering raised its head among the professed disciples of Christ. Those who held this doctrine were called Ophiani or Ophites, that is, serpent-worshippers. "These heretics," says Tertullian, "magnify the serpent to such a degree as to prefer him even to Christ Himself; for he, say they, gave us the first knowledge of good and evil. It was from a perception of his power and majesty that Moses was induced to erect the brazen serpent, to which whosoever looked was healed. Christ Himself, they affirm, in the Gospel imitates the sacred power of the serpent, when He says that, 'As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so much the Son of Man be lifted up.' * They introduced it when they bless the Eucharist."
These wicked heretics avowedly worshipped the old serpent, or Satan, as the grand benefactor of mankind, for revealing to them the knowledge of good and evil. But this doctrine they had just brought along with them from the Pagan world, from which they had come, or from the Mysteries, as they came to be received and celebrated in Rome. Though Teitan, in the days of Hesiod and in early Greece, was an "opprobrious name," yet in Rome, in the days of the Empire and before, it had become the very reverse. "The splendid or glorious Teitan" was the way in which Teitan was spoken of at orb of day and viewed as a divinity. Now, the reader has seen already that another form of the sun-divinity, or Teitan, at Rome, was the Epidaurian snake, worshipped under the name of "AEsculapius," that is, "the man-instructing serpent." *
Here, then, in Rome was Teitan, or Satan, identified with the "serpent that taught mankind," that opened their eyes (when, of course, they were blind), and gave them "the knowledge of good and evil." In Pergamos, and in all Asia Minor, from which directly Rome derived its knowledge of the Mysteries, the case was the same. In Pergamos, especially, where pre-eminently "Satan's seat was," the sun-divinity, as is well known, was worshipped under the form of a serpent and under the name of AEsculapius, "the man-instructing serpent." According to the fundamental doctrine of the Mysteries, as brought from Pergamos to Rome, the sun was the one only god. * Teitan, or Satan, then, was thus recognised as the one only god; and of that only god, Tammuz or Janus, in his character as the Son, or the woman's seed, was just an incarnation. Here, then, the grand secret of the Roman Empire is at last brought to light--viz., the real name of the tutelar divinity of Rome. That secret was most jealously guarded; insomuch that when Valerius Soranus, a man of the highest rank, and, as Cicero declared, "the most learned of the Romans," had incautiously divulged it, he was remorselessly put to death for his revelation. Now, however, it stands plainly revealed.
A symbolical representation of the worship of the Roman people, from Pompeii, strikingly confirms this deduction by evidence that appeals to the very senses. Let the reader cast his eyes on the woodcut herewith given . * We have seen already that it is admitted by the author of Pompeii, in regard to a former representation, that the serpents in the under compartment are only another way of exhibiting the dark divinities represented in the upper compartment. Let the same principle be admitted here, and it follows that the swallows, or birds pursuing the flies, represent the same thing as the serpents do below. But the serpent, of which there is a double representation, is unquestionably the serpent of AEsculapius. The fly-destroying swallow, therefore, must represent the same divinity. Now, every one knows what was the name by which "the Lord of the fly," or fly-destroying god of the Oriental world was called. It was Beel-zebub. * This name, as signifying "Lord of the Fly," to the profane meant only the power that destroying the swarms of flies when these became, as they often did in hot countries, a source of torment to the people whom they invaded. But this name, as identified with the serpent, clearly reveals itself as one of the distinctive names of Satan. And how appropriate is this name, when its mystic or esoteric meaning is penetrated. What is the real meaning of this familiar name? Baal-zebub just means "The restless Lord," * even that unhappy one who "goeth to and fro in the earth, and walketh up and down in it," who "goeth through dry places seeking rest, and finding none." From all this, the inference is unavoidable that Satan, in his own proper name, must have been the great god of their secret and mysterious worship, and this accounts for the extraordinary mystery observed on the subject. * When, therefore, Gratian abolished the legal provision for the support of the fire-worship and serpent-worship of Rome, we see how exactly the Divine prediction was fulfilled (Rev. xii. 9): "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the DEVIL, and SATAN, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." *
Now, as the Pagan Pontifex, to whose powers and prerogatives the Pope and served himself heir, was thus the High-priest of Satan, so, when the Pope entered into a league and alliance with that system of Devil-worship, and consented to occupy the very position of that Pontifex, and to bring all its abominations into the Church, as he has done, he necessarily became the Prime Minister of the Devil, and, of course, come as thoroughly under his power as ever the previous Pontiff had been. * How exact the fulfilment of the Divine statement that the coming of the Man of Sin was to be "after the working or energy of Satan." Here, then, is the grand conclusion to which we are compelled, both on historical and Scriptural grounds, to come: As the mystery of godliness is God manifest in the flesh, so the mystery of iniquity is--so far as such a thing is possible--the Devil incarnate. 2bab035.htm
I HAVE now finished the task I proposed to myself. Even yet the evidence is not nearly exhausted; but, upon the evidence which has been adduced, I appeal to the reader if I have not proved every point which I engaged to demonstrate. Is there one, who has candidly considered the proof that has been led, that now doubts that Rome is the Apocalyptic Babylon? Is there one who will venture to deny that, from the foundation to the topmost stone, it is essentially a system of Paganism? What, then, is to be the practical conclusion from all this?
1. Let every Christian henceforth and for ever treat it as an outcast from the pale of Christianity. Instead of speaking of it as a Christian Church, let it be recognised and regarded as the Mystery of Iniquity, yea, as the very Synagogue of Satan. With such overwhelming evidence of its real character, it would be folly--it would be worse--it would be treachery to the cause of Christ--to stand merely on the defensive, to parley with its priests about the lawfulness of Protestant orders, the validity of Protestant sacraments, or the possibility of salvation apart from its communion. If Rome is now to be admitted to form a portion of the Church of Christ, where is the system of Paganism that has ever existed, or that now exists, that could not put in an equal claim? On what grounds could the worshipers of the original Madonna and child in the days of old be excluded "from the commonwealth of Israel," or shown to be "strangers to the covenants of promise"? On what grounds could the worshippers of Vishnu at this day be put beyond the bounds of such wide catholicity?
The ancient Babylonians held, the modern Hindoos still hold, clear and distinct traditions of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement. Yet, who will venture to say that such nominal recognition of the cardinal articles of Divine revelation could relieve the character of either the one system or the other from the brand of the most deadly and God-dishonouring heathenism? And also in regard to Rome. True, it nominally admits Christian terms and Christian names; but all that is apparently Christian in its system is more than neutralised by the malignant Paganism that it embodies. Grand that the bread the Papacy presents to its votaries can be proved to have been originally made of the finest of the wheat; but what then, if every particle of that bread is combined with prussic acid or strychnine?
Can the excellence of the bread overcome the virus of the poison? Can there be anything but death, spiritual and eternal death, to those who continue to feed upon the poisoned food that it offers? Yes, here is the question, and let it be fairly faced. Can there be salvation in a communion in which it is declared to be a fundamental principle, that the Madonna is "our greatest hope; yea, the SOLE GROUND OF OUR HOPE"? * The time is come when charity to the perishing souls of men, hoodwinked by a Pagan priesthood, abusing the name of Christ, requires that the truth in this matter should be clearly, loudly, unflinchingly proclaimed. The beast and the image of the beast alike stand revealed in the face of all Christendom; and now the tremendous threatening of the Divine Word in regard to their worship fully applies (Rev. xiv. 9, 10): "And the third angel followed them, saying, 'If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, poured without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.'"
These words are words of awful import; and woe to the man who has already been admitted by Elliott, contain a "chronological prophecy," a prophecy not referring to the Dark Ages, but to a period not far distant from the consummation, when the Gospel should be widely diffused, and when bright light should be cast on the character and doom of the apostate Church of Rome (ver. 6-8). They come, in the Divine chronology of events, immediately after an angel has proclaimed, "BABYLON IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN." We have, as it were, with our own ears heard this predicted "Fall of Babylon" announced from the high places of Rome itself, when the seven hills of the "Eternal City" reverberated with the guns that proclaimed, not merely to the citizens of the Roman republic, but to the wide world, that "PAPACY HAD FALLEN, de facto and de jure, from the temporal throne of the Roman State." *
Now, it is in the order of the prophecy, after this fall of Babylon, that this fearful threatening comes. Can there, then, be a doubt that this threatening specially and peculiarly applies to this very time? Never till now was the real nature of the Papacy fully revealed; never till now was the Image of the beast set up. Till the Image of the beast was erected, till the blasphemous decree of the Immaculate Conception was promulged, no such apostacy had taken place, even in Rome, no such guilt had been contracted, as now lies at the door of the great Babylon. This, then, is a subject of infinite importance of the great Babylon.
This, then, is a subject of infinite importance to every one within the pale of the Church of Rome-to every one also who is looking, as so many at present are doing, towards the City of the Seven Hills. If any one can prove that the Pope does not assume all the prerogatives and bear substantially all the blasphemous titles of that Babylonian beast that "had the wound by a sword, and did live," and if it can be shown that the Madonna, that has so recently with one consent been set up, is not in every essential respect the same as the Chaldean "Image" of the beast, they may indeed afford to despise the threatening contained in these words.
But if neither the one nor the other can be proved (and I challenge the strictest scrutiny in regard to both), then every one within the pale of the Papacy may well tremble at such a threatening. Now, then, as never before, may the voice Divine, and that a voice of the tenderest love, he heard sounding from the Eternal throne to every adherent of the Mystic Babylon, "Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."
2. But if the guilt and danger of those who adhere to the Roman Church, believing it to be the only Church where salvation can be found, be so great, what must be the guilt of those who, with a Protestant profession, nevertheless uphold the doomed Babylon? The constitution of this land requires our Queen to swear, before the crown can be put up her head, before she can take her seat on the throne, that "she believes" that the essential doctrines of Rome are "idolatrous."
All the Churches of Britain, endowed and unendowed, alike with one voice declare the very same They all proclaim that the system of Rome is a system of blasphemous idolatry....And yet the members of these Churches can endow and uphold, with Protestant money, the schools, the colleges, the chaplains of that idolatrous system. If the guilt of Romanists, then, be great, the guilt of Protestants who uphold such a system must be tenfold greater. That guilt has been greatly accumulating during the last three or four years. While the King of Italy, in the very States of the Church--what but lately were the Pope's own dominions--has been suppressing the monasteries (and in the space of two years no less than fifty-four were suppressed, and their property confiscated), the British Government has been acting on a policy the very reverse, has not only been conniving at the erection of monasteries, which are prohibited by the law of the land, but has actually been bestowing endowment on these illegal institutions under the name of Reformatories.
It was only a short while ago, that it was stated, on authority of the Catholic Directory, that in the space of three years, fifty-two new convents were added to the monastic system of Great Britain, * almost the very number that the Italians had confiscated, yet Christian men and Christian Churches look on with indifference. Now, if ever there was an excuse for thinking lightly of the guilt contracted by our national support of idolatry, that excuse will no longer avail. The God of Providence, in India, has been demonstrating that He is the God of Revelation. He has been proving, to an awe-struck world, by events that made every ear to tingle, that every word of wrath, written three thousand years ago against idolatry, is in as full force at this day as when He desolated the covenanted people of Israel for their idols and sold them into the hands of their enemies. If men begin to see that it is a dangerous thing for professing Christians to uphold the Pagan idolatry of India, they must be blind indeed if they do not equally see that it must be as dangerous to uphold the Pagan idolatry of Rome. Wherein does the Paganism of Rome differ from that of Hindooism? Only in this, that the Roman Paganism is the more complete, more finished, more dangerous, more insidious Paganism of the two.
I am afraid, that after all that has been said, not a few will revolt from the above comparative estimate of Popery and undisguised Paganism. Let me, therefore, fortify my opinion by the testimonies of two distinguished writers, well qualified to pronounce on this subject. They will, at least, show that I am not singular in the estimate which I have formed. The writers to whom I refer, are Sir George Sinclair of Ulbster, and Dr. Bonar of Kelso. Few men have studied the system of Rome more thoroughly than Sir George, and in his Letters to the Protestants of Scotland he has brought all the fertility of his genius, the curiosa felicitas of his style, and the stores of his highly cultivated mind, to bear upon the elucidation of his theme.
Now, the testimony of Sir George is this: "Romanism is a refined system of Christianised heathenism, and chiefly differs from its prototype in being more treacherous, more cruel, more dangerous, more intolerant." * The mature opinion of Dr. Bonar is the very same, and that, too, expressed with the Cawnpore massacre particularly in view: "We are doing for Popery at home," says he, "what we have done for idolaters abroad, and in the end the results will be the same; nay, worse; for Popish cruelty, and thirst for the blood of the innocent, have been the most savage and merciless that the earth has seen. Cawnpore, Delhi, and Bareilly, are but dust in comparison with the demoniacal brutalities perpetrated by the Inquisition, and by the armies of Popish fanaticism." *
These are the words of truth and soberness, that no man acquainted with the history of modern Europe can dispute. There is great danger of their being overlooked at this moment. It will be a fatal error if they be. Let not the pregnant face be overlooked, that, while the Apocalyptic history runs down to the consummation of all things, in that Divine foreshadowing all the other Paganisms of the world are in a manner cast into the shade by the Paganism of Papal Rome. It is against Babylon that sits on the seven hills that the saints are forewarned; it is for worshipping the beast and his image pre-eminently, that "the vials of the wrath of God, that liveth and abideth for ever," are destined to be outpoured upon the nations.
Now, if the voice of God has been heard in the late Indian calamities, the Protestantism of Britain will rouse itself to sweep away at once and for ever all national support, alike from the idolatry of Hindostan and the still more malignant idolatry of Rome. Then, indeed, there would be a lengthening of our tranquillity, then there would be hope that Britain would be exalted, and that its power would rest on a firm and stable foundation. But if we will not "here the voice, if we receive not correction, if we refuse to return," if we persist in maintaining, at the national charge, "that image of jealousy provoking to jealousy," then, after the repeated and ever-INCREASING strokes that the justice of God has laid on us, we have very reason to fear that the calamities that have fallen so heavily upon our countrymen in India, may fall still more heavily upon ourselves, within our own borders at home; for it was when "the image of jealousy" was set up in Jerusalem by the elders of Judah, that the Lord said, "Therefore will I also deal in fury; mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity; and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them."
He who let loose the Sepoys, to whose idolatrous feelings and antisocial propensities we have pandered so much, to punish us for the guilty homage we had paid to their idolatry, can just as easily let loose the Papal Powers of Europe, to take vengeance upon us for our criminal fawning upon the Papacy.
3. But, further, if the views established in this work be correct, it is time that the Church of God were aroused. Are the witnesses still to be slain, and has the Image of the Beast only within the last year or two been set up, at whose instigation the bloody work is to be done? Is this, then, the time for indifference, for sloth, for lukewarmness in religion? Yet, alas! how few are they who are lifting up their voice like a trumpet, who are sounding the alarm in God's holy mountain--who are bestirring themselves according to the greatness of the emergency--to gather the embattled hosts of the Lord to the coming conflict? The emissaries of Rome for years have been labouring unceasingly night and day, in season and out of season, in every conceivable way, to advance their Master's cause, and largely have they succeeded.
But "the children of light" have allowed themselves to be lulled into a fatal security; they have folded their hands; they have got to sleep as soundly as if Rome had actually disappeared from the face of the earth--as if Satan himself had been bound and cast into the bottomless pit, and the pit had shut its mouth upon him, to keep him fast for a thousand years. How long shall this state of things continue? Oh, Church of God, awake, awake! Open your eyes, and see if there be not dark and lowering clouds on the horizon that indicate an approaching tempest.
Search the Scriptures for yourselves; compare them with the facts of history, and say, if there be not reason after all to suspect that there are sterner prospects before the saints than most seem to wot of. If it may turn out that the views opened up in these pages are Scriptural and well-founded, they are at least worthy of being made the subjects of earnest and prayerful inquiry. It never can tend to good to indulge an uninquiring and delusive feeling of safety, when, if they be true, the only safety is to be found in a of safety, when, if they be true, the only safety is to be found in a timely knowledge of the danger and due preparation, by all activity, all zeal, all spirituality of mind, to meet it. On the supposition that peculiar dangers are at hand, and that God in Hid prophetic Word has revealed them, His goodness is manifest.
He has made known the danger, that, being forewarned, we may be forearmed; that, knowing our own weakness, we may cast ourselves on His Almighty grace; that we may feel the necessity of a fresh baptism of the Holy Ghost; that the joy of the Lord being our strength, we may be through and decided for the Lord, and for the Lord alone, that we may work, every one in his own sphere, with increased energy and diligence, in the Lord's vineyard, and save all the souls we can, while yet opportunity lasts, and the dark predicted night has not come, wherein no man can work.
Though there be dark prospects before us, there is no room for despondency; no ground for any one to say that, with such prospects, effort is vain. The Lord can bless and prosper to His own glory, the efforts of those who truly gird themselves to fight His battles in the most hopeless circumstances; and, at the very time when the enemy cometh in like a flood, He can, by His Spirit, lift up a standard against him. Nay, not only is this a possible thing, there is reason, from the prophetic word, to believe that so it shall actually be; that the last triumph of the Man of Sin shall not be achieved without a glorious struggle first, on the part of those who are leal-hearted to Zion's King. But if we would really wish to do anything effectual in this warfare, it is indispensable that we know, and continually keep before our eyes, the stupendous character of that Mystery of Iniquity embodied in the Papacy that we have to grapple with.
Popery boasts of being the "old religion;" and truly, from what we have seen, it appears that it is ancient indeed. It can trace its lineage far beyond the era of Christianity, back over 4000 years, to near the period of the Flood and the building of the Tower of Babel. During all that period its essential elements have been nearly the same, and these elements have a peculiar adaptation to the corruption of human nature. Most seem to thing that Popery is a system merely to be scouted and laughed at; but the Spirit of God everywhere characterises it in quite a different way. Every statement in the Scripture shows that it was truly described when it was characterised as "Satan's Masterpiece"--the perfection of his policy for deluding and ensnaring the world. It is not the state-craft of politicians, the wisdom of philosophers, or the resources of human science, that can cope with the wiles and subtleties of the Papacy. Satan, who inspires it, has triumphed over all these again and again.
Why, the very nations where the worship of the Queen of Heaven, with all its attendant abominations, has flourished most in all ages, have been precisely the most civilised, the most polished, the most distinguished for arts and sciences. Babylon, where it took its rise, was the cradle of astronomy. Egypt, that nursed it in its bosom, was the mother of all the arts; the Greek cities of Asia Minor, where it found a refuge when expelled from Chaldea, were famed for their poets and philosophers, among the former Homer himself being numbered; and the nations of the European Continent, where literature has long been cultivated, are now prostrate before it. Physical force, no doubt, is at present employed in its behalf; but the question arises, How comes it that this system, of all others, can so prevail as to get that physical force to obey its behests?
No answer can be given but this, that Satan, the god of this world, exerts his highest power in its behalf. Physical force has not always been on the side of the Chaldean worship of the Queen of Heaven. Again and again has power been arrayed against it; but hitherto every obstacle it has surmounted, every difficulty it has overcome. Cyrus, Xerxes, and many of the Medo-Persian kings, banished its priests from Babylon, and laboured to root it out of their empire; but then it found a secure retreat in Pergamos, and "Satan's seat" was erected there.
The glory of Pergamos and the cities of Asia Minor departed; but the worship of the Queen of Heaven did not wane. It took a higher flight, and seated itself on the throne of Imperial Rome. That throne was subverted. The Arian Goths came burning with fury against the worshippers of the Virgin Queen; but still that worship rose buoyant above all attempts to put it down, and the Arian Goths themselves were soon prostrate at the feet of the Babylonian goddess, seated in glory on the seven hills of Rome. In more modern times, the temporal powers of all the kingdoms of Europe have expelled the Jesuits, the chief promoters of this idolatrous worship, from their dominions. France, Spain, Portugal, Naples, Rome itself have all adopted the same measures, and yet what do we see at this hour?
The same Jesuitism and the worship of the Virgin exalted above almost every throne on the Continent. When we look over the history of the last 4000 years, what a meaning in the words of inspiration, that "the coming of the Man of Sin" is with the energy, "the mighty power of Satan." Now, is this the system that, year by year, has been rising into power in our own empire? And is it for a moment to be imagined that lukewarm, temporising, half-hearted Protestants can make any head against such a system? No; the time is come when Gideon's proclamation must be made throughout the camp of the Lord: "Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from Mount Gilead." Of the old martyrs it is said, "The overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death."
The same self-denying, the same determined spirit, is needed now as much as ever it was. Are there none who are prepared to stand up, and in that very spirit to gird themselves for the great conflict that must come, before Satan shall be bound and cast into his prison-house? Can any one believe that such an event can take place without a tremendous struggle--that "the god of this world" shall quietly consent to resign the power that for thousands of years he has wielded, without stirring up all is wrath, and putting forth all his energy and skill to prevent such a catastrophe. Who, then, is on the Lord's side? If there be those who, within the last few years, have been revived and quickened--stirred up, not by mere human excitement, but by the Almighty grace of God's Spirit, what is the gracious design of this? Is it merely that they themselves may be delivered from the wrath to come? No; it is that, zealous for the glory of their Lord, they may act the parts of true witnesses, contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, and maintain the honour of Christ in opposition to him who blasphemously usurps his prerogatives.
If the servants of Antichrist are faithful to their master, and unwearied in promoting his cause, shall it be said that the servants of Christ are less faithful to theirs? If none else will bestir themselves, surely to the generous hearts of the young and rising ministry of Christ, in the kindness of their youth, and the love of their espousals, the appeal shall not be made in vain, when the appeal is made in the name of Him whom their souls love, that in this grand crisis of the Church and of the world, they should "come to the help of the Lord--the help of the Lord against the mighty," that they should do what in them lies to strengthen the hands and encourage the hearts of those who are seeking to stem the tide of apostacy, and to resist the efforts of the men who are labouring with such zeal, and with so much of infatuated patronage on the part of "the powers that be," to bring this land back again under the power of the Man of Sin.
To take such a part, and steadily and perseveringly to pursue it, amid so such growing lukewarmness, it is indispensable that the servants of Christ set their faces as a flint. But if they have grace so to do, they shall not do so without a rich reward at last; and in time they have the firm and faithful promise that "as their day is, so shall their strength be." For all who wish truly to perform their part as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, there is the strongest and richest encouragement. With the blood of Christ on the conscience, with the Spirit of Christ warm and working in the heart, with our Father's name on our forehead, and our life, as well as our lips, consistently bearing "testimony" for God, we shall be prepared for every event. But it is not common grace that will do for uncommon times.
If there be indeed such prospects before us, as I have endeavoured to prove there are, then we must live, and feel, and act as if we heard every day resounding in our ears the words of the great Captain of our Salvation, "To him that overcometh will I grand to sit with Me on My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father on His throne. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
Lastly, I appeal to every reader of this work, if it does not contain an argument for the divinity of the Scriptures, as well as an exposure of the impostures of Rome. Surely, if one thing more than another be proved in the previous pages, it is this, that the Bible is no cunningly devised fable, but that holy men of God of old spake and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. What can account for the marvellous unity in all the idolatrous systems of the world, but that the facts recorded in the early chapters of Genesis were real transactions, in which, as all mankind were involved, so all mankind have preserved in their various systems, distinct and undeniable memorials of them, though those who have preserved them have long lost the true key to their meaning?
What, too, but Omniscience could have foreseen that a system, such as that of the Papacy, could ever effect an entrance into the Christian Church, and practise and prosper as it has done? How could it ever have entered into the heart of John, the solitary exile of Patmos, to imagine, that any of the professed disciples of that Saviour whom he loved, and who said, "My kingdom is not of this world," should gather up and systematise all the idolatry and superstition and immorality of the Babylon of Belshazzar, introduce it into the bosom of the Church, and, by help of it, seat themselves on the throne of the Caesars, and there, as the high-priests of the Queen of Heaven, and gods upon earth, for 1200 years, rule the nations with a rod of iron? Human foresight could never have done this; but all this the exile of Patmos has done.
His pen, then, must have been guided by Him who sees the end from the beginning, and who calleth the things that be not as though they were. And if the wisdom of God now shines forth so brightly from the Divine expression "Babylon the Great," into which such an immensity of meaning has been condensed, ought not that to lead us the more to reverence and adore the same wisdom that is in reality stamped on every page of the inspired Word? Ought it not to lead us to say with the Psalmist, "Therefore, I esteem all Thy commandments concerning all things to be right"?
The commandments of God, to our corrupt and perverse minds, may sometimes seem to be hard. They may require us to do what is painful, they may require us to forego what is pleasing to flesh and blood. But, whether we know the reason of these commandments or no, if we only know that they come from "the only wise God, our Saviour," we may be sure that in the keeping of them there is great reward; we may go blindfold wherever the Word of God may lead us, and rest in the firm conviction that, in so doing, we are pursuing the very path of safety and peace. Human wisdom at the beast is but a blind guide; human policy is a meteor that dazzles and leads astray; and they who follow it walk in darkness, and know not whither they are going; but he "that walketh uprightly," that walks by the rule of God's infallible Word, will ever find that "he walketh surely," and that whatever duty he has to perform, whatever danger he has to face, "great peace have all they that love God's law, and nothing shall offend them." 2bab036.htm