THE UNITED STATES IN THE LIGHT OF PROPHECY;
OR, AN EXPOSITION OF REV. 13:11-17.
BY URIAH SMITH.
And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. REV. 13:13.
If we read the signs of the times aright, events are soon to transpire of such a nature as to preclude the necessity of any apology for the publication of what is contained in the following pages. The numerous rays of light now shining from the book of prophecy, seem to find their focal point in our own times. The present age is illuminated in this respect above all others. Here we find the most emphatic touches of the prophetic pencil. The events to transpire, and the agents therein concerned, are brought out in a vivid and startling light.
The question naturally arises, what part the United States has to act in these scenes; for it must seem reasonable and probable that a nation which has arisen so suddenly as ours, made such unparalleled progress, and attained to such a pinnacle of greatness and power, must be a subject of divine prophecy, or at least of divine providence.
To this question the following pages undertake to give a brief but scriptural, and so a reasonable and conclusive answer; and to such only as do not believe that God ever foretells the history of nations, or that his providence ever works in their development and decline, can the subject fail to be one of interest.
That this little treatise is exhaustive of the subject is not claimed; but some facts are presented which are thought to be worthy of serious consideration, and enough evidence, we trust, produced in favor of the position taken to show the reader that the subject is not one of mere theory, but of the highest practical importance; and so enough to stimulate thought and lead to further inquiry.
If the position here taken be correct, this subject is to be one of continually-increasing interest, and information respecting it is necessary to an understanding of our duties and responsibilities in the solemn and important times that are upon us. It is in this light that we especially commend it to the serious consideration of the reader.
BATTLE CREEK, Mich., June, 1874.
Probabilities Considered, Pp. 9-19
A Chain Of Prophecy, 20-30
Location Of The Two-horned Beast, 31-40
Chronology Of The Two-horned Beast, 41-51
The United States Have Arisen In The Exact Manner In Which John Saw The Two-horned Beast Coming Up, 52-69
Character Of The Government Represented By The Two-horned Beast, 70-78
The Dragon Voice, 79-88
He Doeth Great Wonders, 89-100
An Image To The Beast, 101-111
The Mark Of The Beast, 112-132
The Beginning Of The End, 133-160
The United States In The Light Of Prophecy.
The United States—what are they? Two hundred years ago, this question could not have been answered; it could not even have been asked. Now it can be answered by the dwellers in every quarter of the globe. Then a few small settlements of earnest men, flying from the religious intolerance of the Old World, dotted a narrow strip of coast line on our New England border. Now a mighty nation, with a vast expanse of territory stretching from ocean to ocean, and from regions almost arctic on the north to regions equally torrid on the south, embracing more square leagues of habitable land than Rome ruled over in its palmiest days, here holds a position of independence and glory among the nations of the earth.
And the sound of this new nation has gone into all the world. It has reached the toiling millions of Europe; and they are swarming to our shores to share its blessings. It has gone to the islands of the sea; and they have sent their contributions. It has reached the Orient, and opened as with a password the gates of nations long barred against intercourse with other powers; and China and Japan, turning from their beaten track of forty centuries, are looking with wonder at the prodigy arising across the Pacific to the east of them, and catching some of the impulse which this growing power is imparting to the nations of the earth.
Less than one hundred years ago, with three millions of people, the United States became an independent government. It has now a population of thirty-eight and a half millions of people, and a territory of three and a half millions of square miles. Russia alone exceeds this nation in these particulars, having forty millions more of people, and four millions more square miles of territory. Of all other nations on the globe whose laws are framed by legislative bodies elected by the people, Brazil, which has the largest territory, has not quite three millions of square miles; and France, the most populous, has not probably, considering her late reverses and misfortunes, a greater number of inhabitants than our own country. So that in point of territory and population combined, it will be seen that the United States now stand at the head of the self-governing powers of the earth.
Occupying a position altogether unique, this government excites equally the astonishment and admiration of all beholders. The main features of its history are such as have had no parallel since the distinction of nations existed among men.
1. No nation ever acquired so vast a territory in so quiet a manner.
2. No nation ever rose to such greatness by so peaceable means.
3. No nation ever advanced so rapidly in all that constitutes national strength and capital.
4. No nation ever rose to such a pinnacle of power in a space of time so incredibly short.
5. No nation in so limited a time has developed such unlimited resources.
6. No nation has ever existed founded on principles of justice so pure and undefiled.
7. No nation has ever existed in which the conscience of men have been left so untrammeled and free.
8. In no nation and in no age of the world, have the arts and sciences so flourished, so many improvements been made, and so great successes been achieved, as in our own country during the last fifty years.
9. In no nation and in no age has the gospel found such freedom, and the churches of Christ had such liberty to spread abroad their principles and develop their strength.
10. No age of the world has seen such an immigration as that which is now pouring into our borders from all lands the millions who have long groaned under despotic governments, and who now turn to this broad territory of freedom as the avenue of hope, the Utopia of the nations.
The most discerning minds have been intuitively impressed with the idea of the future greatness and power of this government. In view of the grand results developed and developing, the discovery of America by Columbus, not four hundred years ago, is set down as the greatest event of all secular history. The progress of empire to this land was long ago expected.
Sir Thomas Brown, in 1682, predicted the growth of a power here, which would rival the European kingdoms in strength and prowess.
In Burnaby's Travels through the middle settlements of North America, in 1759 and 1760, published in 1775, is expressed this sentiment:—
"An idea, strange as it is visionary, has entered into the minds of the generality of mankind, that empire is traveling westward; and every one is looking forward with eager and impatient expectation to that destined moment when America is to give the law to the rest of the world."
John Adams, Oct. 12, 1775, wrote:—-
"Soon after the Reformation, a few people came over into this New World for conscience' sake. Perhaps this apparently trivial incident may transfer the great seat of empire to America."
On the day after the Declaration of Independence, he wrote:—
"Yesterday the greatest question was decided which ever was debated in America, and a greater perhaps never was, nor will be, decided among men."
In 1776, Galiani, a Neapolitan, predicted the gradual decay of European institutions, to renew themselves in America. In 1778, in reference to the question as to which was to be the ruling power in the world, Europe or America, he said:—
"I will wager in favor of America."
Adam Smith of Scotland, in 1776, predicted the transfer of empire to America.
Governor Pownal, an English statesman, in 1780, while our Revolution was in progress, predicted that this country would become independent, and that a civilizing activity beyond what Europe could ever know, would animate it; and that its commercial and naval power would be found in every quarter of the globe. Again he said:—
"North America has advanced, and is every day advancing, to growth of state, with a steady and continually accelerating motion, of which there never has yet been any example in Europe."
David Hartley wrote from England in 1777:—
"At sea, which has hitherto been our prerogative element, they [the United States] rise against us at a stupendous rate; and if we cannot return to our old mutual hospitalities toward each other, a very few years will show us a most formidable hostile marine, ready to join hands with any of our enemies."
Count d'Aranda, one of the first of Spanish statesmen, in 1783 thus wrote of this republic:—
"This Federal Republic is born a pygmy, so to speak. It required the support and forces of two powers as great as Spain and France in order to attain independence. A day will come when it will be a giant, even a colossus formidable in these countries."
 These quotations are from an article by Hon. Charles Sumner, entitled, "Prophetic Voices about America," published in the Atlantic Monthly of September, 1807.
Of these prophecies, some are now wholly fulfilled, and the rest far on the road to fulfillment. This infant of yesterday stands forth to-day a giant, vigorous, active, and courageous, and accepts with dignity its manifest destiny at the head of powers and civilizations.
Such, in brief, is the answer to the question proposed at the opening of this chapter. Another question immediately follows: Does the prophetic pen which has so fully delineated the rise and progress of all the other great nations of the earth, pass this one by unnoticed? What are the probabilities in this matter? As the student of prophecy, in common with all mankind, looks with wonder upon the unparalleled rise and progress of this nation, he cannot repress the conviction that the hand of Providence has been at work in this quiet but mighty revolution. And this conviction he shares in common with others.
Gov. Pownal, from whom a quotation has already been presented, speaking of the establishment of this country as a free and sovereign power calls it
"A revolution that has stronger marks of divine interposition, superseding the ordinary course of human affairs than any other event which this world has experienced."
De Tocqueville, a French writer, speaking of our separation from England, says:—
"It might seem their folly, but was really their fate, or, rather, the providence of God, who has doubtless a work for us to do, in which the massive materiality of the English character would have been too ponderous a dead weight upon our progress."
Geo. Alfred Townsend, speaking of the misfortunes that have attended the other governments on this continent (New World and Old, p. 635), says:—
"The history of the United States was separated by a beneficent Providence far from this wild and cruel history of the rest of the continent."
Again he says:—
"This hemisphere was laid away for no one race."
If Providence has been thus conspicuously present in our history, we may look for some mention of this government in that Book which records the workings of Providence among mankind. On what conditions have other nations found a place in the prophetic record? First, if they have acted any prominent part in the world's history; and secondly, and above-all, if they have had jurisdiction over, or maintained any relations with, the people of God. And both these conditions are fulfilled in our government. No nation has ever attracted more attention or excited more profound wonder, or given promise of greater eminence or influence. And certainly here, if anywhere on the globe, are to be found a strong array of Christians, such as are the salt of the earth, and the light of the world.
With these probabilities in our favor, let us now take a brief survey of those symbols found in the word of God, which represent earthly governments. These are found chiefly, if not entirely, in the books of Daniel and Revelation. In Dan 2, a symbol is introduced in the form of a great image. In Dan 7, we find a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a great and terrible nondescript, which, after passing through a new and remarkable phase, goes into the lake of fire. In Dan. 8, we have a ram, a he goat, and a horn, little at first, but waxing exceeding great. In Revelation 9, we have locusts like unto horses. In Rev. 12, we have a great red dragon. In Rev. 13, we have a blasphemous leopard beast, and a beast with two horns like a lamb. In Rev. 17, we have a scarlet-colored beast, upon which a woman sits holding in her hand a golden cup full of filthiness and abomination.
What governments and what powers are represented by all these? Do any of them symbolize our own? Some of these certainly represent earthly kingdoms; for so the prophecies themselves expressly inform us; and in the application of nearly all of them there is quite a uniform agreement among expositors. The four-parts of the great image of Dan. 2 represent four kingdoms, Babylon, or Chaldea, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. The lion of the seventh chapter also represents Babylon; the bear, Medo-Persia; the leopard, Grecia; and the great and-terrible beast, Rome. The horn, with human eyes and mouth, which appears in the second phase of this beast, represents the papacy, and covers its history down to the time when it was temporarily overthrown by the French in 1798. In Dan. 8, likewise, the ram represents Medo-Persia, the he goat, Grecia, and the little horn, Rome. All these have a very clear and definite application to the governments named; none of them thus far can have any reference to the United States.
The symbols brought to view in Rev. 9, all are agreed in applying to the Saracens and Turks. The dragon of Rev. 12, is the acknowledged symbol of Pagan Rome. The leopard beast of Rev. 13 can be shown to be identical with the eleventh horn of the fourth beast of Dan. 7, and hence to symbolize the papacy. The scarlet beast and woman of Rev. 17, as evidently apply also to Rome under papal rule, the symbols having especial reference to the distinction between the civil power and the ecclesiastical, the one being represented by the beast, the other by the woman seated thereon.
There is one symbol left, and that is the two-horned beast of Rev. 13. On this there is more difference of opinion; and before seeking for an application, let us look at the ground covered by those already examined. Babylon and Medo-Persia covered all the civilized portion of Asia. Greece covered eastern Europe including Russia. Rome, with the ten kingdoms into which it was divided, as represented by the ten toes of the image, the ten horns of the fourth beast of Dan. 7, the ten horns of the dragon of Rev. 12, and the ten horns of the leopard beast of Rev. 13, covered all Western Europe. In other words, all the civilized portion of the eastern hemisphere is absorbed by the symbols already examined, respecting the application of which there is scarcely any room for doubt.
But there is a mighty nation in this western hemisphere, worthy, as we have seen, of being mentioned in prophecy, which is not yet brought in; and there is one symbol remaining, the application of which has not yet been made. All the symbols but one are applied, and all the available portions of the eastern hemisphere are covered by the applications. Of all the symbols mentioned, one, the two-horned beast of Rev. 13, is left; and of all the countries of the earth respecting which any reason exists why they should be mentioned in prophecy, the United States alone are left. Do the two-horned beast and the United States belong together? If they do, then all the symbols find an application, and all the ground is covered. If they do not, it follows, first, that the United States are not represented in prophecy; and, secondly, that the two-horned beast finds no government to which it can apply. But the first of these suppositions is not probable; and the second is not possible.
A Chain Of Prophecy.
We now enter upon a more particular examination of the second symbol of Rev. 13, with a view to determine with greater certainty its application. What is said respecting this symbol, the beast with two horns like a lamb, is not an isolated and independent prophecy, but is connected with what precedes; and the symbol itself is but one of a series. It is proper therefore to briefly examine the preceding symbols, since if we are able to make a satisfactory application of them, it will guide us in the interpretation of this.
The line of prophecy of which this forms a part commences with Rev. 12. The book of Revelation is evidently not a consecutive prophecy of events to transpire from the beginning to the close of the gospel dispensation, but is composed of a series of prophetic lines, each taking up its own class of events, and tracing them through from the days of the prophet to the end of time. And when one line of prophecy is completed, another is taken up. That a new series of prophetic events is introduced in Rev. 12, is evident; since in the preceding chapter a line of prophecy is completed, bringing us down to the great day of God's wrath, the judgment of the dead, and the eternal reward of those that fear God and revere his name. No line of prophecy can go farther; and any events to transpire in probation, subsequently mentioned, must of course belong to a new series.
Commencing, then, with chapter 12, how far does this line of prophecy extend? The first symbol introduced, which can be applied to an earthly government, is the great red dragon. The second is the beast of Rev. 13, which, having the body of a leopard, we shall call, for brevity's sake, the leopard beast. To this beast the dragon gives his seat, power, and great authority. This beast, then, is connected with the dragon, and belongs to this line of prophecy. The third symbol is the two-horned beast of Rev. 13. This beast exercises certain power in the presence of the leopard beast, and causes the earth and them that dwell therein to worship him. This beast, therefore, is connected with the leopard beast, and hence belongs to the same line of prophecy. No conclusion is reached in chapter 13, and hence the prophecy is not there completed. Going forward into chapter 14, we find a company brought to view who are redeemed from among men (which can mean nothing else than translation from among the living at the second coming of Christ); and they sing a song before the throne which none but themselves can learn. In chapter 15, we have a company presented before us who have gotten the victory over the beast, his image, the mark, and the number of his name—the very things brought to view in the concluding portion of Rev. 13. This company also sing a song, even the song of Moses and the Lamb; and they sing it while standing upon the sea of glass, as stated in verse 2. Turning to chapter 4:6, we learn that this sea of glass is "before the throne." The conclusion, therefore, follows that those who sing before the throne, in chapter 14, are identical with those who sing on the sea of glass (before the throne), in chapter 15, inasmuch as they stand in the same place, and the song they both sing is the first glad song of actual redemption. But the declarations found in chapter 15 show that the company introduced in the opening of chapter 14 have been in direct conflict with the powers brought to view in the closing verses of chapter 13, and have gotten the victory over them. Being thus connected with those powers, they form a part of the same line of prophecy. But here this line of prophecy must end; for this company is spoken of as redeemed; and no line of prophecy, as already noticed, can go beyond the eternal state.
The line of prophecy in which the two-horned beast stands, is, therefore, one which is very clearly defined: it commences with chapter 12, and ends with verse 5 of chapter 14. The student of prophecy finds it one of vast importance; the humble child of God, one of transcendent interest. It begins with the church, and ends with the church—the church, at first in humility, trial, and distress; at last, in victory, exaltation, and glory. This is the one object which ever appears the same in all the scenes here described, and whose history is the leading theme of the prophecy, from first to last. Trampled under the feet of the three colossal persecuting powers here brought to view, the followers of Christ for long ages bow their heads to the pitiless storm of oppression and persecution; but the end repays them all; for John beholds them at last, the storms all over, their conflicts all ended, waving palm-branches of victory, and striking on golden harps a song of everlasting triumph within the precincts of the heavenly land.
We turn then to the inquiry, What power is designated by the great red dragon of chapter 12? The chapter first speaks of a woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. A woman is the symbol of the church; a lewd woman representing a corrupt or apostate church, as in Eze. 23:2-4, &c., which refers to the Jewish church in a state of backsliding, and in Rev. 17:3-6, 15, 18, which refers to the apostate Romish church; and a virtuous woman representing the true church, as in the verse under consideration. At what period in her history could the church be properly represented as here described? Ans. At the opening of the gospel dispensation, and at no other time; for then the glory of this dispensation, like the light of the sun, had just risen upon her; the former dispensation, which, like the moon, shone with a borrowed light, had just passed and lay beneath her feet. And twelve inspired apostles, like a crown of twelve stars, graced the first organization of the gospel church. To this period these representations can apply, but to no other. The prophet antedates this period a little by referring to the time when the church with longing expectation was awaiting the advent into this world of the glorious Redeemer.
A man child here represented as the offspring of this woman, appears upon the stage. This child was to rule all nations with a rod of iron, and was caught up to God and his throne. Verse 5. These declarations are true of our Lord Jesus Christ, but of no one else. See Ps. 2:7-9; Eph. 1:20, 21; Heb. 8:1; Rev. 3:21. There is therefore no mistaking the time when the scenes here described took place. We mention these facts for the purpose of identifying the power symbolized by the dragon; for the dragon stood before the woman, to devour her child as soon as it should be born. Who attempted the destruction of our Lord when he appeared as a babe in Bethlehem? Herod. And who was Herod? A Roman governor. Rome, which then ruled over all the earth, Luke 2:1, was the responsible party in this transaction. Rome was the only power which at this time could be symbolized in prophecy, as its dominion was universal. It is not without good reason, therefore, that Pagan Rome is considered among Protestant commentators to be the power indicated by the great red dragon. And it may be a fact worth mentioning that during the second, third, fourth, and fifth centuries of the Christian era, next to the eagle, the dragon was the principal standard of the Roman legions; and that dragon was painted red.
There is but one objection we need pause to answer before passing to the'next symbol. Is not the dragon plainly called in verse 9, the devil, and Satan? How then can it be applied to Pagan Rome? That the term dragon is primarily applied to the devil, there seems to be no doubt; but that it should be applied also to some of his chief agents, would seem to be appropriate and unobjectionable. Now Rome being at this time pagan, and the supreme empire of the world, was the great, if not almost the sole, agent in the hands of the devil for carrying out his purposes. Hence the application of that term to the Roman power.
The next symbol to engage our attention is the leopard beast of chapter 13, to which the dragon gives his seat, his power, and great authority. It would be sufficient on this point to show to what power the dragon, Pagan Rome, transferred its seat and gave its power. The seat of any government is certainly its capital city. The city of Rome was the dragon's seat. But in A.D. 330, Constantine transferred the seat of empire from Rome to Constantinople; and Rome was given up to what? To decay, desolation, and ruin? No; but to become far more celebrated than it had ever before been, not as the seat of pagan emperors, but as the city of St. Peter's successors, the seat of a spiritual hierarchy which was not only to become more powerful than any secular prince, but through the magic of its fatal sorcery was to exercise dominion over the kings of the earth. Thus was Rome given to the papacy; and the decree of Justinian, issued in 533, and carried into effect in 538, constituting the pope the head of all the churches and the corrector of heretics, was the investing of the papacy with that power and authority which the prophet foresaw.
It is very evident, therefore, that this leopard beast is a symbol of the papacy. But there are other considerations which prove this. This beast has the body of a leopard, the mouth of a lion, and the feet of a bear, which shows it to be some power which succeeded those three beasts of Daniel's prophecy, and retained some of the characteristics of them all; and that was Rome. But this is not the first, or pagan form of the Roman government; for that is represented by the dragon; and this is the form which succeeded that, which was the papal.
But what most clearly shows that this beast represents the papacy, is its identity with the little horn of the fourth beast of Daniel 7, which all Protestants agree in applying to the papal power.
1. Their chronology. The little horn arises after the great and terrible beast, which represents Rome in its first or pagan form, is fully developed even to the existence of the ten horns, or the division of the Roman empire into ten parts. Dan. 7:24. The leopard beast succeeds the dragon which also represents Rome in its pagan form. These powers appear therefore upon the stage of action at the same time.
2. Their location. The little horn plucked up three horns to make way for itself. The last of these, the Gothic horn, was plucked up when the Goths were driven from Rome in 538, and the city was left in the hands of the little horn, which has ever since held it as the seat of its power. To the leopard beast also, the dragon gave its seat, the city of Rome. They therefore occupy the same location.
3. Their character. The little horn is a blasphemous power; for it speaks great words against the Most High. Dan. 7:25. The leopard beast also is a blasphemous power; for it bears upon its head the name of blasphemy; it has a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and he opens his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in Heaven. Rev. 13:1, 5, 6.
4. Their work, The little horn by a long and heartless course of oppression against the saints of the Most High, wears them out; and they are given into his hand. Dan. 7:25. He makes war against them, and prevails. Verse 21. The leopard beast also makes war upon the saints, and overcomes them. Rev. 13:7.
5. The time of their continuance, Power was given to the little horn to continue a "time and times, and the dividing of time." Dan. 7:25. A time in Scripture phraseology is one year. Dan, 4:25. (The "seven times" of Nebuchadnezzar's humiliation, Josephus informs us, were seven years.) Times, that is two times, the least that can be expressed by the plural, would be two years more; and the dividing of time, or half a time, half a year; making in all, three years and a half. To the leopard beast power was also given to continue forty-two months, which at twelve months to the year, give us again just three years and a half. And this being prophetic time, a day for a year (Num. 14:34; Eze. 4:6), and there being accord to Scripture reckoning thirty days to a month, or three hundred and sixty days to a year (Gen, 7:11, 24; 8:4), we have in each case twelve hundred and sixty years, for the continuance of the little horn and the leopard beast.
6. Their overthrow. At the end of the time, times and a half, the dominion of the little horn was to be taken away. Dan. 7:26. At the end of the forty-two months, the same length of time, the leopard beast was also to be slain, politically, with the sword, and go into captivity. Rev. 13:3, 10.
These are points which prove not merely similarity, but identity. For whenever two symbols, as in this instance, represent powers that come upon the stage of action at the same time, occupy the same territory, maintain the same character, do the same work, continue the same length of time, and meet the same fate, those two symbols must represent one and the same power. And in all these particulars there is, as we have seen, the most exact co-incidence between the little horn of the fourth beast of Dan. 7, and the leopard beast of Rev. 13; and all are fulfilled by one power, and that is the papacy. The papacy succeeded to the pagan form of the Roman empire. It has, ever since it was first established, occupied the seat of the dragon, the city of Rome, building for itself such a sanctuary, St, Peter's, as the world nowhere else beholds. It is a blasphemous power, speaking the most presumptuous words it is possible for mortal lips to utter against the Most High. It has worn out the saints, the Religious Encyclopedia estimating that the lives of fifty millions of Christians have been quenched in blood by its merciless implements of torture. It has continued a time, times and a half, or forty-two months, or twelve hundred and sixty years. Commencing in 538, when the decree of Justinian in behalf of papal supremacy was first made effectual by the overthrow of the Goths, the papacy enjoyed a period of uninterrupted supremacy for just twelve hundred and sixty years, when its power was temporarily overthrown, and its influence permanently crippled, by the French in 1798.
Can any one doubt that the papacy is the power in question, and that the interpretation of this symbol brings us down within seventy-six years of our own time? We regard the exposition of the prophecy, thus far, as clear beyond the possibility of refutation; and if this is so, our future field of inquiry lies within a very narrow compass, as we shall presently see.
Location Of The Two-horned Beast.
Following the leopard, or papal beast of Rev. 13, in consecutive order, comes the two-horned beast, whose appearance the prophet delineates, and whose work he describes, in the following language:—
Verse 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 dragon. 12. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the eaith, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads; 17; and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
These few verses, with an allusion to the same power under the name of "the false prophet" in Rev. 16:13, and 19; 20, furnish all the testimony we have respecting the two-horned beast; but brief as it is, it gives sufficient data for a very certain application of the symbol in question. As an example of the world of meaning which prophecy can condense into a single word, the first verse of the foregoing quotation may be instanced. Here, within a compass of twenty-five words, only four of which are words of more than one syllable, six grand points are made, which taken together are sufficient to determine accurately the application of this symbol. The prophet says first, that it is "another beast;" secondly, that when his attention was turned to it it was "coming up;" thirdly, that it came up "out of the earth;" fourthly, that it had "two horns;" fifthly, that these horns were like those of "a lamb;" and sixthly, that it spoke, and by speaking revealed its true character; for the voice was that of "a dragon."
The two-horned beast then is "another beast," in addition to, and different from, the papal beast which the prophet had just had under consideration; that is, it symbolizes a power separate and distinct from that which is denoted by the preceding beast. This which John calls "another beast" is certainly no part of the first beast; and the power symbolized by it is likewise no part of that which is intended by that beast. This is fatal to the claim of those who, to avoid the application of this symbol to our own government, say that it denotes some phase of the papacy; for in that case it would be a part of the preceding, or leopard beast.
To avoid this difficulty, it is claimed that the two-horned beast represents the religious or ecclesiastical, and the leopard beast the civil, power of Rome under papal rule; that these symbols correspond to the beast and woman in Rev. 17, the one representing the civil power, the other the ecclesiastical. But this claim also falls to the ground just as soon as it is shown that the leopard beast represents the religious as well as the civil element of that power. And nothing is easier than to show this.
Take the first symbol, the dragon. What does it represent? Rome. But this is not enough; for Rome has presented two great phases to the world, and the inquirer wants to know which one is intended by this symbol. The answer then is, Pagan Rome; but just as soon as we add "Pagan," we introduce a religious element; for paganism is one of the mightiest systems of false religion ever devised by the arch-enemy of truth. It was, then, the religious element in the empire that determined what symbol should be used to represent it; and the dragon represented Rome while under the control of a particular form of religion.
But the time comes when another symbol is introduced upon the scene—the leopard beast arises out of the sea. What power is symbolized by this? The answer is still, Rome. But the dragon symbolized Rome, and why not let that symbol continue to represent it? Whoever attempts to answer this question must say that it is because a change had taken place in the power. What change? Two kinds of changes are conspicuous in the history of Rome: changes in form of government, and a change in religion. But this cannot denote any change in the form of government; for the seven different forms of government that Rome consecutively assumed are represented by the seven heads of the dragon, and the seven heads of the leopard beast. The religious change must therefore be alone denoted by this change of symbols. Paganism and Christianity coalesced, and the mongrel production was the papacy; and this new religion, and this alone, made a change in the symbol necessary. Every candid mind must assent to this; and this assent is an admission of the utter absurdity of trying to limit this symbol to the civil power alone. So far from its representing the civil power alone, it is to the ecclesiastical element that it owes its very existence.
That the leopard beast represents ecclesiastical as well as civil power is further shown in the arguments already presented to prove that this beast is identical with the little horn of Daniel's fourth beast, which symbolizes the papacy in all its components parts and through all its history. It is the leopard beast alone that is identical with this little horn, not the leopard beast and the two-horned beast taken together.
Again, Pagan Rome gave its seat to the papacy. The dragon gave his seat to the leopard beast. If it takes both the leopard beast and the two-horned beast to constitute the papacy, the prophet should have said that the dragon gave his seat and power to these two beasts combined. The fact that his transfer was to the leopard beast alone, is proof positive that that beast alone symbolizes the papacy in its entirety.
When, therefore, John calls the two-horned beast "another beast," it is certain that he does not mean any particular phase, or any part, of the papal power.
It is claimed by others that the two-horned beast represents England; by still others, France; and by some, Russia, &c. The first, among many other fatal objections to all these applications, is, that the territory occupied by all these powers is already appropriated by preceding symbols. If the two-homed beast symbolized any of these, it would be a part of other beasts instead of "another beast," separate and distinct from all the rest. It is a law of symbols that each one occupies territory peculiarly its own; that is, the territory which constituted the original government, was no part of that which had been occupied by the previous powers. Thus Medo-Persia rose on territory not occupied by Babylon; and Medo-Persia and Babylon together covered all that portion of Asia known to ancient civilization. The Grecian or Macedonian kingdom arose to the west of them, occupying all Eastern Europe, so far as it was then known to the ancients. Rome arose still to the west, in territory unoccupied by Grecia. Rome was divided into ten kingdoms; but though Rome conquered the world, we look for these divisions only to that territory which had never been included in other kingdoms. We look not to Eastern Europe; for that was included in the dominion of the third beast: nor to Asia; for that constituted the empires of the first and second beasts: but to Western Europe, which territory was unoccupied till taken by Rome and its divisions.
The ten kingdoms which arose out of the old Roman Empire are enumerated as follows by Machiavel, indorsed by Bp. Newton, Faber, and Dr. Hales: 1. The Huns. 2. The Ostrogoths. 3. The Visigoths. 4. The Franks. 5. The Vandals. 6. The Suevi. 7. The Burgundians. 8. The Heruli. 9. The Anglo-Saxons, and 10. The Lombards. These kingdoms have since been known, says Scott, as the "ten kingdoms of the western empire," and they are distinguishable at the present day, some of them even by their modern names, as Hungary from the Huns, Lombardy, from the Lombards, France from the Franks, and England from the Anglo-Saxons. These ten kingdoms being denoted by the ten horns of the leopard beast, it is evident that all the territory included in these ten kingdoms is to be considered as belonging to that beast. England is one of these ten kingdoms; France is another. If therefore we say that either of these is the one represented by the two-horned beast, we make one of the horns of the leopard beast constitute the two-horned beast. But this the prophecy forbids; for while John sees the leopard beast fully developed, with his horns all complete and distinct, he beholds the two-horned beast coming up, and calls it "another beast." We are therefore to look for the government which this beast symbolizes, in some country outside the territory occupied by the four beasts and the ten horns already referred to. But these, as we have seen, cover all the available portions of the eastern continent.
Another consideration pointing to the locality of this power is drawn from the fact that John saw it arising from the earth. If the sea from which the leopard beast arose, Rev. 13:1, denotes peoples, nations, and multitudes, Rev. 17:15, the earth would suggest, by contrast, a new and previously-unoccupied territory.
Being thus excluded from the eastern continent, and impressed with the idea of looking to territory not previously known to civilization, we turn of necessity to the western hemisphere. And this is in full harmony with the ideas already quoted, and more which might be presented, that the progress of empire is with the sun around the earth from east to west. Commencing in Asia, the cradle of the race, it would end on this continent, which completes the circuit. Bishop Berkley, in his celebrated poem on America, written more than one hundred years ago, in the following forcible lines, pointed out the then future position of America, and its connection with preceding empires.
"Westward the course of empire takes its way; The four first acts already past, A fifth shall close the drama with the day; Time's noblest offspring is the last."
By the "four first acts already past," the bishop had undoubted reference to the four universal kingdoms of Daniel's prophecy. A fifth great power, the noblest and the last, was, according to his poem, to arise this side the Atlantic, and here close the drama of time, as the day here ends its circuit.
To what part of the American continent shall we look for the power in question? To the most powerful and prominent nation certainly. This is so self-evident that we need not stop to pass in review the frozen fragments of humanity on the north of us, nor the weak, superstitious, semi-barbarous, revolutionary, and uninfluential kingdoms to the south of us. No; we come to the United States, and here we are held. To this nation the question of the location of the two-horned beast undeviatingly leads us.
As an objection to this view, it may occur to some minds that the two-horned beast exercises all the power of the first beast before him (Greek [Greek: enopion], literally, before his eyes) and does wonders in his sight; and how can the United States, separated by an ocean from European kingdoms, hold such an intimate relation to them? We answer, Space and time are annihilated by the telegraph. Through the Atlantic cable (an enterprise which, by the way, owes its origin to the United States), the lightnings are continually picturing to European beholders the affairs of America. Any important event occurring here is described the next hour in the journals of Europe. So far as the transmission of an account of our proceedings to the people of the Old World is concerned, it is as if America lay at the mouth of the English Channel.
And the eyes of all Europe are intently watching our movements. Says Mr, Townsend (New World and Old, p. 583):—
"All the great peoples of Europe are curiously interested and amazed in the rise of America, and their rulers at present compete for our friendship. 'Europe,' said the prince Talleyrand, long ago, 'must have an eye on America, and take care not to offer any pretext for recrimination or retaliation. America is growing every day. She will become a colossal power, and the time will come when (discoveries enabling her to communicate more easily with Europe) she will want to say a word in our affairs, and have a hand in them.'"
The time has come, and the discoveries have been made to which Talleyrand referred. It is almost as easy now to communicate with Europe as with our nearest town. By these things the attention of the world is drawn still more strongly toward us; and thus whatever the United States does, it is done in the sight, yes, even before the eyes, of all Europe.
Chronology Of The Two-horned Beast.
Having become satisfied where the power symbolized by the two-horned beast must be located, we now inquire respecting the time when we may look for its development. At what period in this world's history is the rise of this power located in the prophecy? On this point, as on the preceding, the foundation for the conclusions at which we must arrive, is already laid in the facts elicted in reference to the preceding or leopard beast. It was at the time when this beast went into captivity, or was killed (politically) with the sword, verse 10, or (which we suppose to be the same thing), had one of its heads wounded to death, verse 3, that John saw the two-horned beast coming up. If the leopard beast, as we have conclusively proved, signifies the papacy, and the going into captivity met its fulfillment in the temporary overthrow of the popedom by the French, in 1798, then we have the time definitely specified, when we are to look for the rising of this power. The expression, "coming up," must signify that the power to which it applies was but newly organized, and was then just rising into prominence and influence. The power represented by this symbol, must, then, be some power which in 1798 stood in this position before the world.
That the leopard beast is a symbol of the papacy, there can be no question; but some may want more evidence that the wounding of one of its heads, or its going into captivity, was the overthrow of the papacy in 1798. This can easily be given. A nation being represented by a wild beast, the government of that nation, that by which it is controlled, must as a very clear matter of course be considered as answering to the head of the beast. The seven heads of this beast would therefore denote seven different governments; but all the heads pertain to one beast, and hence all these seven different forms of government pertain to one empire. But only one form of government can exist in a nation at one time; hence the seven heads must denote seven forms of government to appear, not simultaneously, but successively. But these heads pertain alike to the dragon and the leopard beast; from which this one conclusion only can be drawn: that Rome, during its whole history, embracing both its pagan and papal phases, would change its government six times, presenting to the world seven different forms in all. And the historian records just that number as pertaining to Rome. Rome was first ruled by Kings; second, by Consuls; third, by Decemvirs; fourth, by Dictators; fifth, by Triumvirs; sixth, by Emperors; and seventh, by Popes.
John saw one of these heads wounded, as it were, to death. Which one? Can we tell? Let it be noticed, first, that it is one of the heads of the beast which is wounded to death, and not one of the heads of the dragon; that is, it is some form of government which existed in Rome after the change of symbols from the dragon to the leopard beast. We then inquire, How many of the different forms of Roman government belonged absolutely to the dragon, or existed in Rome while it maintained its dragonic or pagan form? These same seven heads are again presented to John in Rev. 17; and the angel there explains that they are seven kings, or forms of government, verse 10; and he informs John that five are fallen, and one is; that is, five of these forms of government were already passed in John's day; and he was living under the sixth. Under what form did John live? The imperial; it being the cruel decree of the emperor Domitian which banished him to the isle of Patmos where this vision was given. Kings, Consuls, Decemvirs, Dictators, and Triumvirs, were all in the past in John's day. Emperors were then ruling the Roman world; and the empire was still pagan. Six of these heads, therefore, Kings, Consuls, Decemvirs, Dictators, Triumvirs, and Emperors belonged to the dragon; for they all existed while Rome was pagan: and it was no one of these that was wounded to death; for had it been, John would have said, I saw one of the heads of the dragon wounded to death. The wound was inflicted after the empire had so changed in respect to its religion that it became necessary to represent it by the leopard beast. But the beast had only seven heads, and if six of them pertain to the dragon, only one remained to have an existence after this change in the empire took place. After the Emperors, the sixth and last head that existed in Rome in its dragonic form, came the Popes, the only head that existed after the empire had nominally become Christian. The "Exarch of Ravenna" existed so "short a space," Rev. 17:10, that it has no place in the general enumeration of the heads of this power.
From these considerations, it is evident that the head which received the mortal wound, was none other than the papal head. This conclusion cannot be shaken. We have now only to inquire when the papal head was wounded to death. It could not certainly be till after its full development; but after this, the prophecy marked out for it an uninterrupted rule of 1260 years from its establishment in 538, till the revolution of 1798. Then the papacy was, for the time being, overthrown. General Berthier, by order of the French Directory, moved against the dominions of the pope in January, 1798. February 10, he effected an entrance into the self styled eternal city, and, on the 15th of the same month, proclaimed the establishment of the Roman republic. The pope, after this deprivation of his authority, was conveyed to France as a prisoner, and died at Valence, Aug. 29, 1799.
This would have been the end of the papacy, had this overthrow been made permanent. The wound would have proved fatal had it not been healed. But, though the wound was healed, the scar, so to speak, has ever since remained. A new pope was elected in 1800, and the papacy was restored, but only to a partial possession of its former privileges.
Let the reader look carefully at this event. It furnishes a complete fulfillment of the prophecy; and it is the only event in all Roman history which does this; for though the first six heads were each, in turn; exterminated, or gave place to a succeeding head, of no one of them could it be said that it received a deadly wound, and was afterward healed. And as this overthrow of the papacy by the French military must be the wounding of the head mentioned in Rev. 13:3, so, likewise, must it be the going into captivity, and the killing with the sword, mentioned in verse 10; for it is an event of the right nature to fulfill the prophecy, and one which occurred at the right time; namely, at the end of the time, times, and a half, the forty-two months, or the 1260 years; and no other event can be found answering to the record in these respects. We are not left, therefore, with any discretionary power in the application of this prophecy; for God, by his providence, has marked the era of its accomplishment in as plain a manner as if he had proclaimed with an audible voice, Behold here the accomplishment of my prophetic word!
Thus clearly is the exact time indicated in the prophecy when we are to look far the rise of the two-horned beast; for John, as soon as he beholds the captivity of the first or leopard beast, says: "And I beheld another beast coming up." And his use of the present participle, "coming" up, clearly connects this view with the preceding verse, and shows it to be an event transpiring simultaneously with the going into captivity of the previous beast. If he had said, "And I had seen another beast coming up," it would prove that when he saw it, it was coming up, but that the time when he beheld it was indefinitely in the past. If he had said, "And I beheld another beast which had come up," it would prove that although his attention was called to it at the time when the first beast went into captivity, yet its rise was still indefinitely in the past. But when he says, "I beheld another beast coming up" it proves that when he turned his eyes from the captivity of the first beast, he saw another power right then in the process of rapid development among the nations of the earth. So, then, about the year 1798, the star of that power which is symbolized by the two-horned beast must be seen rising to the zenith of its glory. In view of these considerations, it is useless to speak of this power as having arisen ages in the past. To attempt such an application is to show one's self utterly reckless in regard to the plainest statements of inspiration.
Again, the work of the two-horned beast is plainly located, by verse 12, this side the captivity of the first beast. It is there stated, in direct terms, that the two-horned beast causes "the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed." But worship could not be rendered to a beast whose deadly wound was healed, till after that healing was accomplished. This brings the worship unmistakably within the present century.
Says Eld. J. Litch (Restitution, p. 131):—
"The two-horned beast is represented as a power existing and performing his part after the death and revival of the first beast."
Mr. Wesley, in his notes on Rev. 14, says of the two-horned beast:—
"He has not yet come, though he cannot be far off; for he is to appear at the end of the forty-two months of the first beast."
We find three additional declarations in the book of Revelation which prove, in a general sense, that the two-horned beast performs his work with that generation of men who are to behold the closing up of all earthly scenes, and the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; and these will complete the argument on this point.
The first is the message of the third angel, brought to view in the 14th of Revelation. It is not our purpose to enter into an exposition of the three messages of that chapter. We call the attention of the reader to only one fact, which must be apparent to all; and that is, that the third of these messages is the last warning of danger, and the last offer of mercy, before the close of human probation; for the event which immediately follows is the appearance of one like the Son of man on a white cloud, coming to reap the harvest of the earth, verse 14, which can represent nothing else but the second advent of the Lord from Heaven. Whatever views, therefore, a person may take of the first and second messages, and at whatever time he may apply them, it is very certain that the third and last one covers the closing hours of time, and reaches down to the second coming of Christ. And what is the burden of this message? It is a denunciation of the unmingled wrath of God against these who worship the beast and his image. But this worship of the beast and his image is the very work which the two-horned beast endeavors to enforce upon the people. The third message, then, is a warning against the work of the two-horned beast. And as there would be no propriety in supposing this warning to be given after that work was performed; as it could appropriately be given only when the two-horned beast was about to enforce, and while he was endeavoring to enforce, that worship; and as the second coming of Christ immediately succeeds the proclamation of this message, it follows that the duties enjoined by this message, and the decrees enforced by the two-horned beast, constitute the last test to be brought to bear upon the world; and hence the two-homed beast performs his work, not ages in the past, but among the last generation of men.
The second passage, which shows that the work of the two-horned beast is performed just before the close of time, is found in Rev. 15:2, which we have shown to refer to the same company spoken of in chapter 14:1-5. Here is a company who have gotten the victory over the beast and his image and the mark and the number of his name; in other words, they have been in direct conflict with the two-horned beast, which endeavors to enforce the worship of the beast and the reception of his mark. And these are "redeemed from among men" (14:4), or are translated from among the living at the second coming of Christ. 1 Cor. 15:51,52; 1 Thess. 4:16,17. This again shows conclusively that it is the last generation which witnesses the work of this power.
The third passage is Rev. 19:20, which speaks of the two-horned beast under the title of the false prophet, and mentions a point not given in Rev. 13, namely, the doom he is to meet. In the battle of the great day, which takes place in connection with the second coming of Christ, verses 11-19, the false prophet, or two-horned beast, is cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone; and the word "alive" signifies that this power will be at that time a living power performing its part in all its strength and vigor. This power is not to pass off the stage of action, and be succeeded by another; but is to be a ruling power till destroyed by the King of kings and Lord of lords, when he comes to dash the nations in pieces with a rod of iron.
The sum of the argument, then, on this matter of chronology, is this: That the two-horned beast does not come into the field of this vision previous to the year 1798; that it performs its work while the last generation of men is living on the earth; and that it comes up to the battle of the great day a living power in the full vigor of its strength.
As it was shown in the argument on the location of the two-horned beast that we were limited in our application to this western continent, so we are limited still further by its chronology; for it must not only be some power which arises this side of the Atlantic, but one which is seen coming up here at a particular time. Taking our stand, then, in the year 1798, the time indicated in the prophecy, we invite the careful attention of the reader to this question: What independent power in either North or South America was at that time "coming up" in a manner to answer to the conditions of the prophecy? All that part of North America lying to the north of us was under the dominion of Russia and Great Britain. Mexico, to the south-west, was a Spanish colony. Passing to South America, Brazil belonged to Portugal, and most of the other South American States were under Spanish control. In short, there was not then a single civilized, independent government in the New World, except our own United States. No other nation, therefore, can be the one represented in the prophecy; but this one so far answers to it most accurately. It has always taken the lead of all European settlements in this hemisphere. It was "coming up" at the exact time indicated in the prophecy. Like a lofty monument in a field all its own, stand the United States on this continent, grand, unique, unexplainable. So far as God's providence works among the nations for the accomplishment of his purposes, it is visible in the development of this country as an agent to fulfill his word. On these two vital points of location and chronology the arguments which show that our country is the one represented by the symbol of the two-horned beast are absolutely conclusive.
The United States Have Arisen In The Exact Manner In Which John Saw The Two-horned Beast Coming Up.
The manner in which the two-horned beast was seen coming up shows, equally with its location and its chronology, that it is a symbol of these United States. John says he saw the beast coming up "out of the earth." And this expression must have been designedly used to point out the contrast between the rise of this beast, and that of other national prophetic symbols. The four beasts of Daniel 7, and the leopard beast of Rev. 13, all arose out of the sea. Says Daniel, The four winds of Heaven strove upon the great sea, and four beasts came up from the sea. The sea denotes peoples, nations, and tongues, Rev. 17:15; and the winds denote political strife and commotion. Jer. 35:32, 33. There was then, in this scene, the dire commotion of nature's mightiest elements, the wind above, the waters benneath, the fury of the gale, the roaring and dashing of the waves, and the tumult of the raging storm; and in the midst of this war of elements, as if aroused from the depths of the sea by the fearful commotion, these beasts one after another appeared. In other words, the governments of which these beasts were symbols owed their origin to movements among the people which would be well represented by the sea lashed into foam by the sweeping gale; they arose by the upheavals of revolution, and through the strife of war.
But when the prophet beholds the rising of the two-horned beast, how different the scene! No political tempest sweeps the horizon, no armies clash together like the waves of the sea. He does not behold the troubled and restless surface of the waters, but a calm and immovable expanse of earth. And out of this earth, like a plant growing up in a quiet and sheltered spot, he sees this beast, bearing on his head the horns of a lamb, those eloquent symbols of youth and innocence, daily augmenting in bodily proportions, and daily increasing in physical strength.
Some may here point to the war of the Revolution as an event which destroys the force of this application; but this furnishes no objection; for 1. That war was at least fifteen years in the past when the two-horned beast was introduced into the field of this vision; and 2. The war of the Revolution was not a war of conquest. It was not waged to overthrow any other kingdom, and build this government on its ruins, but only to defend the just rights of the American people. An act of resistance against continual attempts of injustice and tyranny, cannot certainly be placed in the same catalogue with wars of aggression and conquest. The same may be said of the war of 1812. Hence, these conflicts do not even partake of the nature of objections to the application here set forth.
The word which John uses to describe the manner in which this beast comes up is very expressive. It is [Greek: anabainon] (anabainon), one of the prominent definitions of which is, "to grow or spring up as a plant." And it is a remarkable fact that this very figure has been chosen by political writers, as the one which best illustrates the rise of our government. Mr. G.A. Townsend, in his work entitled, "The New World Compared with the Old," p. 462, says:—
"Since America was discovered, she has been a subject of revolutionary thought in Europe. The mystery of her coming forth from vacancy, the marvel of her wealth in gold and silver, the spectacle of her captives led through European capitals, filled the minds of men with unrest: and unrest is the first stage of revolution."
On p. 635, he further says:—
"In this web of islands, the West Indies, began the life of both [North and South] Americas. There Columbus saw land, there Spain began her baneful and brilliant Western Empire; thence Cortez departed for Mexico, De Soto for the Mississippi, Balboa for the Pacific, and Pizarro for Peru. The history of the United States was separated by a beneficient Providence far from this wild and cruel history of the rest of the continent, and like a silent seed, we grew into empire; while empire itself, beginning in the South, was swept by so interminable a hurricane that what of its history we can ascertain is read by the very lightnings that devastated it. The growth of English America may be likened to a series of lyrics sung by separate singers, which, coalescing, at last make a vigorous chorus, and this, attracting many from afar, swells and is prolonged, until presently it assumes the dignity and proportions of epic song."
A writer in the Dublin Nation about the year 1850 spoke of the United States as a wonderful empire which was "emerging," and "amid the silence of the earth daily adding to its power and pride."
In Martyn's "History of the Great Reformation," Vol. iv, p. 238, is an extract from an oration of Edward Everett, on the English exiles who founded this government, in which he says:—
"Did they look for a retired spot, inoffensive from its obscurity, safe in its remoteness from the haunts of despots, where the little church of Leyden might enjoy freedom of conscience? Behold the mighty regions over which in peaceful conquest—victoria sine clade—they have borne the banners of the cross."
We now ask the reader to look at these expressions side by side: "Coming up out of the earth," "coming forth from vacancy," "emerging amid the silence of the earth," "like a silent seed we grew into empire," "mighty regions" secured by "peaceful conquest." The first is from the prophet, stating what would be when the two-horned beast should arise; the others are from political writers, telling what has been in the history of our own government. Can any one fail to see that the last four are exactly synonymous with the first, and that they record a complete accomplishment of the prediction? And what is not a little remarkable, those who have thus recorded the fulfillment have, without any reference to prophecy, used the very figure which the prophet employed. These men, therefore, being judges—men of large and cultivated minds, and whose powers of discernment all will acknowledge to be sufficiently clear—it is certain that the particular manner in which the United States have arisen, answers most strikingly to the development of the symbol under consideration.
We now extend the inquiry a step further: Have the United States "come up" in a manner to fulfill the prophecy? Has their progress been sufficiently great and sufficiently rapid to corresponds to that visible and perceptible growth which John saw in the two-horned beast?
Every person whose reading is ordinarily extensive, has something of an idea of what the United States are to-day; he likewise has an idea, so far as words can convey it to his mind, of what they were at the commencement of their history. The only object, then, in presenting statistics and testimony on this point, is to show that our rapid growth has struck mankind with the wonder of a constant miracle.
Said Emile de Girardin, in La Liberte (1868):—
"The population of America, not thinned by any conscription, multiplies with prodigious rapidity, and the day may before [long be] seen, when they will number sixty or eighty millions of souls. This parvenu [one recently risen to notice] is aware of his importance and destiny. Hear him proudly exclaim, 'America for Americans!' See him promising his alliance to Russia; and we see that power which well knows what force is, grasp the hand of this giant of yesterday.
"In view of his unparalleled progress and combination, what are the little toys with which we vex ourselves in Europe? What is this needle gun we are anxious to get from Prussia, that we may beat her next year with it? Had we not better take from America the principle of liberty she embodies, out of which have come her citizen pride, her gigantic industry, and her formidable loyalty to the destinies of her republican land?"
The Dublin (Ireland) Nation, already quoted, says:—
"In the east, there is arising a colossal centaur called the Russian Empire. With a civilized head and front, it has the sinews of a huge barbaric body. There one man's brain moves 70,000,000. There all the traditions of the people are of aggression and conquest in the west. There but two ranks are distinguishable—serfs and soldiers. There the map of the future includes Constantinople and Vienna as outposts of St. Petersburg.
"In the west, an opposing and still more wonderful American Empire is emerging. We islanders have no conception of the extraordinary events which amid the silence of the earth are daily adding to the power and pride of this gigantic nation. Within three years, territories more extensive than these three kingdoms [Great Britain, Ireland, and Scotland] France and Italy put together, have been quietly, and in almost 'matter of course' fashion, annexed to the Union.
"Within seventy years, seventeen new sovereignties, the smallest of them larger than Great Britain, have peaceably united themselves to the Federation. No standing army was raised, no national debt sunk, no great exertion was made, but there they are. And the last mail brings news of three more great States about to be joined to the thirty: Minnesota in the north-west, Deseret in the south-west, and California on the shores of the Pacific. These three States will cover an area equal to one-half the European continent."
Mitchel, in his School Geography (4th revised edition), p. 101, speaking of the United States, says:—
"When it is considered that one hundred years ago the inhabitants numbered but 1,000,000, it presents the most striking instance of national growth to be found in the history of mankind."
Let us reduce these general statements to the more tangible form of facts and figures. A short time before the great Reformation in the days of Martin Luther, not four hundred years ago, this Western Continent was discovered. The Reformation brought out a large class of persons who were determined to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. Being fettered and oppressed by the religious intolerance of the Old World, they sought, in the wilds of America, that measure of civil and religious freedom which they so much desired. A little more than two hundred years ago, Dec. 22, 1620, the Mayflower landed one hundred of these voluntary exiles on the coast of New England. Here, says Martyn, "New England was born," and this was "its first baby cry, a prayer and a thanksgiving to the Lord."
Another permanent English settlement was made at Jamestown, Va., in 1607. In process of time other settlements were made, and colonies organized, which were all subject to the English government till the declaration of Independence July 4, 1776.
The population of these colonies, according to the U.S. Magazine of August, 1855, amounted in 1701, to 262,000; in 1749, to 1,046,000; in 1775, to 2,803,000. Then commenced the struggle of the American colonies against the oppression of the mother country. In 1776, they declared themselves as, in justice and right, an independent nation. In 1777, delegates from the thirteen original States, New Hampshire, Massachussets, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, in Congress assembled, adopted articles of confederation. In 1783, the war of the Revolution closed by a treaty of peace with Great Britain, whereby our independence was acknowledged, and territory ceded to the extent of 815,615 square miles. In 1787, the Constitution was framed and ratified by the foregoing thirteen States, and on the 1st of March, 1789, went into operation. Then the American ship of State was fairly launched, with less than one million square miles of territory, and about three millions of souls.
Thus we are brought to the time when, in our interpretation of Revelation 13, this government is introduced into the prophecy as "coming up." Our territorial growth since then has been as follows: Louisiana, acquired from France in 1803, comprising 930,928 square miles of territory. Florida, from Spain in 1821, with 59,268 square miles. Texas, admitted to the Union in 1845, with 237,504 square miles. Oregon, as settled by treaty in 1846, with 380,425 square miles. California, as conquered from Mexico in 1847, with 649,762 square miles. Arizona (New Mexico), as acquired from Mexico by treaty in 1854, with 27,500 square miles. Alaska, as acquired by purchase from Russia in 1867, with 577,390 square miles. This gives a grand total of three million, five hundred and seventy-eight thousand, three hundred and ninety-two (3,578,392) square miles of territory, which is about four-ninths of all North America, and more than one-fifteenth of the whole land surface of the globe.
And while this expansion has been thus rapidly going forward here, how has it been with the other leading nations of the globe? Macmillian & Co., the London publishers, in announcing their "Statesman's Year Book" for 1867, make an interesting statement of the changes that took place in Europe during the half century between the years 1817 and 1867. They say:—
"The half century has extinguished three kingdoms, one grand duchy, eight duchies, four principalities, one electorate, and four republics. Three new kingdoms have arisen, and one kingdom has been transformed into an empire. There are now forty-one States in Europe against fifty-nine which existed in 1817. Not less remarkable is the territorial extension of the superior States of the world. Russia has annexed 567,364 square miles; the United States, 1,968,009; France, 4,620; Prussia, 29,781; Sardinia, expanding into Italy, has increased by 83,041; the Indian Empire has been augmented by 431,616. The principal States that have lost territory are Turkey, Mexico, Austria, Denmark, and the Netherlands."
We ask the especial attention of the reader to these particulars. During the last half century, twenty-one goverments have disappeared altogether; and only three new ones have arisen. Five have lost instead of gained in territory. Only five, besides our own, have added to their domain. And the one which has done the most in this direction has added only a little over half a million of square miles, while we have added nearly two millions. Thus the United States government has added over fourteen hundred thousand square miles of territory more than any other single nation, and over eight hundred thousand more than have been added by all the other nations of the earth put together: In view of these facts, can any one doubt, looking the whole world over, which government it is that has been, during this time, emphatically, "coming up"?
In point of population, our increase since 1798, according to the census of the several decades, has been as follows: In 1800, the total number of inhabitants in the United States was 5,305,925; in 1810, 7,239,814; in 1820, 9,638,191; in 1830, 12,866,020; in 1840, 17,069,453; in 1850, 23,191,876; in 1860, 31,445,089; in 1870, 38,555,983. These figures are almost too large for the mind to readily grasp. Perhaps a better idea can be formed of the rapid increase of population by looking at a few representative cities. Boston, in 1792, had 18,000 inhabitants; now, 250,000. New York, in 1792, 30,000; now, nearly 1,000,000. Chicago, about thirty years ago, was a little trading post, with a few huts; but yet it contained at the time of the great conflagration in October, 1871, nearly 350,000 souls. San Francisco, twenty years ago, was a barren waste, but contains to-day 170,000 inhabitants.
Our industrial growth has been equally remarkable. In 1792, the United States had no cotton mill. In 1850, there were 1074, employing 100,000 hands. Only forty-one years ago the first section of the first railroad in this country, the Baltimore and Ohio, was opened to a distance of twenty-three miles. We have now 52,000 miles in operation. It was only thirty-four years ago that the magnetic telegraph was invented. Now the estimated length of telegraph wire in operation is over 100,000 miles. In 1833, the first reaper and mower was constructed, and in 1846, the first sewing machine was completed. Think of the hundreds of thousands of both of these classes of machines now in use. And there are now more lines of telegraph and railroad projected and in process of construction than ever before, and greater facilities and larger plans for manufactories of all kinds than at any previous point of time. And should these industries increase in the same geometrical ratio, and time continue ten years, the figures we now chronicle would then read about as the records of a century ago now read to us.
And Nature herself, by the physical features she has stamped upon our country, has seemed to lay it out as a field for national development on the most magnificent scale. Here we have the largest lakes, the longest rivers, the mightiest cataracts, the deepest caves, the broadest and most fertile prairies, and the richest mines of gold and iron and coal and copper, to be found upon the globe. "When America was discovered, there were but sixty millions of gold in Europe. California and the territories round her have produced one thousand millions of dollars in gold in twenty years. Sixty-one million dollars was the largest annual gold yield ever made in Australia. California has several times produced ninety millions of gold in a year." (Townsend, p. 384.) "The area of workable coal beds in all the world outside the United States is estimated at 26,000 square miles. That of the United States, not including Alaska, is estimated at over 200,000 square miles, or eight times as large as the available coal area of all the rest of the globe!" (American Year Book for 1869, p. 655.) "The iron product and manufacture of the United States has increased enormously within the last few years, and the vast beds of iron convenient to coal in various parts of the Union, are destined to make America the chief source of supply for the world." "Three mountains of solid iron [in Missouri], known as Iron Mountain, Pilot Knob, and Shepherd's Mountain, are among the most remarkable natural curiosities on our continent." (Id. p. 654.)
And the people have taken hold to lay out their work on the grand scale that nature has indicated. Excepting only the Houses of Parliament in London, our national capitol at Washington is the most spacious and imposing national edifice in the world. By the unparalleled feat of a subterranean tunnel two miles out under the bottom of the lake, Chicago obtains her water. The work of constructing a railroad tunnel across the Detroit river is already commenced, and the traveler will soon pass, in his steam palace, under the bed of that river, while the immense commerce of the lakes is floating upon its bosom over his head. Chicago is the most extensive grain and lumber market in the world; and Philadelphia and New York contain the largest and best furnished printing establishments now in existence. The submarine cable, running like a thread of light through the depths of the broad Atlantic from the United States to England, a conception of American genius, is the greatest achievement in the telegraphic line. The Pacific Railroad, that iron highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, stands at the head of all monuments of engineering skill in modern times. Following the first Atlantic cable, soon came a second almost as a matter of course; and following the Central Pacific R.R., a northern line is now in process of rapid construction. And what results are expected to flow from these mighty enterprises? The Scientific American of Oct. 6, 1866, says:—
"To exaggerate the importance of this transcontinental highway is almost impossible. To a certain extent it will change the relative positions of this country, Europe and Asia.... With the completion of the Pacific Railroad, instead of receiving our goods from India, China, Japan, and the 'isles of the sea,' by way of London and Liverpool, we shall bring them direct by way of the Sandwich Islands and the railroad, and become the carriers to a great extent for Europe. But this is but a portion of the advantage of this work. Our western mountains are almost literally mountains of gold and silver. In them the Arabian fable of Aladdin is realized.... Let the road be completed, and the comforts as well as the necessaries furnished by Asia, the manufactures of Europe, and the productions of the States can be brought by the iron horse almost to the miner's door; and in the production and possession of the precious metals, the blood of commerce, we shall be the richest nation on the globe. But the substantial wealth created by the improvement of the soil and the development of the resources of the country, is a still more important element in the result of this vast work."
Thus, with the idea of becoming the carriers of the world, the highway of the nations, and the richest power on the globe, the American heart swells with pride, and mounts up with aspirations, to which there is no limit.
And the extent to which we have come up is further shown by the influence which we are exerting on other nations. Speaking of America Mr. Townsend in the work above cited, p. 462, says:—
"Out of her discovery grew the European reformation in religion; out of our Revolutionary War grew the revolutionary period of Europe. And out of our rapid development among great States and happy peoples, has come an immigration more wonderful than that which invaded Europe from Asia in the latter centuries of the Roman Empire. When we raised our flag on the Atlantic, Europe sent her contributions; it appeared on the Pacific, and all orientalism felt the signal. They are coming in two endless fleets, eastward and westward, and the highway is swung between the ocean for them to tread upon. We have lightened Ireland of half her weight, and Germany is coming by the village load every day. England, herself, is sending the best of her working men now (1869), and in such numbers as to dismay her Jack Bunsbys. What is to be the limit of this mighty immigration?"
Speaking of our influence and standing in the Pacific, the same writer, p. 608, says:—
"In the Pacific Ocean these four powers [England, France, Holland, and Russia] are squarely met by the United States, which, without possessions or the wish for them, has paramount influence in Japan, the favor of China, the friendly countenance of Russia, and good feeling with all the great English colonies planted there. The United States is the only power on the Pacific which has not been guilty of intrigue, of double-dealing, of envy and of bitterness, and it has taken the front rank in influence without awakening the dislike of any of its competitors, possibly excepting those English who are never magnanimous."
And Hon. Wm. H. Seward, on his return from a late trip around the world, said, "Americans are now the fashion all over the world."
With one more extract we close the testimony on this point. In the N.Y. Independent of July 7, 1870, Hon. Schuyler Colfax, then Vice-President of the United States, glancing briefly at the past history of this country, said:—
"Wonderful, indeed, has been that history. Springing into life from under the heel of tyranny, its progress has been onward, with the firm step of a conqueror. From the rugged clime of New England, from the banks of the Chesapeake, from the Savannahs of Carolina and Georgia, the descendants of the Puritans, the Cavalier, and the Huguenot, swept over the towering Alleghanies, but a century ago the barrier between civilization on the one side and almost unbroken barbarism on the other; and banners of the Republic waved from flagstaff and highland, through the broad valleys of the Ohio, the Mississippi, and the Missouri. Nor stopped its progress there. Thence onward poured the tide of American civilization and, progress, over the vast regions of the Western plains; and from the snowy crests of the Sierras you look down on American States fronting the calm Pacific, an empire of themselves in resources and wealth, but loyal in our darkest hours to the nation whose authority they acknowledge and in whose glory they proudly share.
"From a territorial area of less than nine hundred thousand square miles, it has expanded into over three millions and a half—fifteen times larger than that of Great Britain and France combined—with a shore-line, including Alaska, equal to the entire circumference of the earth, and with a domain within these lines far wider than that of the Romans in their proudest days of conquest and renown. With a river, lake, and coastwise commerce estimated at over two thousand millions of dollars per year; with railway traffic of four to six thousand millions per year, and the annual domestic exchanges of the country, running up to nearly ten thousand millions per year; with over two thousand millions of dollars invested in manufacturing, mechanical, and mining industry; with over five hundred millions of acres of land in actual occupancy, valued, with their appurtenances, at over seven thousand millions of dollars, and producing annually crops valued at over three thousand millions of dollars; with a realm which, if the density of Belgium's population were possible, would be vast enough to include all the present inhabitants of the world; and with equal rights guaranteed to even the poorest and humblest of our forty millions of people, we can, with a manly pride akin to that which distinguished the palmiest days of Rome, claim as the noblest title of the world, 'I am an American citizen.'"
And how long a time has it taken for this wonderful transformation? In the language of Edward Everett, "They are but lately dead who saw the first-born of the pilgrims;" and Mr. Townsend (p. 21) says: "The memory of one man can swing from that time of primitive government to this—when thirty-eight millions of people living on two oceans and in two zones, are represented in Washington, and their consuls and ambassadors are in every port and metropolis of the globe."
Is this enough? The only objection we can anticipate is that this nation has progressed too fast and too far—that the government has already outgrown the symbol. But what shall be thought of those who deny that it has any place in prophecy at all? No; this prodigy has its place on the prophetic page; and the path which has thus far led us to the conclusion that the two-horned beast is the prophetic symbol of the United States, is hedged in on either side by walls of adamant that reach to heaven. To make any other application is an utter impossibility. The thought would be folly, and the attempt, abortion.
Character Of The Government Represented By The Two-horned Beast.
Having given us data by which we determine the location, chronology, and rapid rise of this power, John now proceeds to describe the appearance of the two-horned beast, and speak of his acts in such a manner as to clearly indicate his character both apparent and real. Every specification thus far examined has held the application imperatively to the United States. We shall find this one no less strong in the same direction.
This symbol has "two horns like a lamb." To those who have studied the prophecies of Daniel and John, horns upon a beast are no unfamiliar features. The ram, Dan. 8:3, had two horns. The he goat that came against him had, at first, one notable horn between his eyes. This was broken and four came up in its place toward the four winds of heaven. From one of these came forth another horn, which waxed exceeding great. The fourth beast of Daniel 7 had ten horns. Among these, a little horn with eyes and mouth, far-seeing, crafty, and blasphemous, arose. The dragon and leopard beast of Rev. 12 and 13, denoting the same as the fourth beast of Dan. 7, in its two phases, have each the same number of horns signifying the same thing. And the symbol under consideration has two horns like a lamb. From the use of the horns on the other symbols, some facts are apparent which may guide us to an understanding of their use on this last one.
A horn is used in the Scriptures as a symbol of strength and power, as in Deut. 33:17, and glory and honor, as in Job 16:15.
A horn is sometimes used to denote a nation as a whole, as the four horns of the goat, the little horn of Dan. 8, and the ten horns of the fourth beast of Dan. 7; and sometimes some particular feature of the government, as the first horn of the goat, which denoted not the nation as a whole, but the civil power as centered in the first king, Alexander the Great.
Horns do not always denote division, as in the case of the four horns of the goat, &c.; for the two horns of the ram denote the union of Media and Persia in one government.
A horn is not used exclusively to represent civil power; for the little horn of Daniel's fourth beast, the papacy, was a horn when it plucked up three other horns, and established itself in 538. But it was then purely an ecclesiastical power, and so remained for two hundred and seventeen years from that time, Pepin, in the year 755, making the Roman pontiff a grant of some rich provinces in Italy, which first constituted him a temporal monarch. (Goodrich's Hist. of the Church, p. 98. Bower's Hist. of the Popes, Vol. 2, p. 108.)
With these facts before us, we are prepared to examine into the significance of the two horns which pertain to this beast. Why does John say that he has two horns like a lamb? Why not simply two horns? It must be because these horns possess peculiarities which indicate the character of the power to which they belong. The horns of a lamb indicate, first, youthfulness, and secondly, innocence and gentleness. As a power which has but recently arisen, the United States answer to the symbol admirably in respect to age; while no other power, as has already abundantly been proved, can be found to do this. And considered as an index of power and character, it can be decided what constitutes the two horns of the government, if it can be ascertained what is the secret of its strength and power, and what reveals its apparent character, or constitutes its outward profession. The Hon. J.A. Bingham gives us the clue to the whole matter when he states that the object of those who first sought these shores was to found "what the world had not seen for ages; viz.,—a church without a pope, and a State without a king." Expressed in other words, this would be a government in which the church should be free from the civil power, and civil and religious liberty reign supreme.
And what is the profession of this government in these respects? That great instrument which our forefathers set forth as their bill of rights, the Declaration of Independence, contains these words: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of hapiness." And in Article IV, Sec. 4, of the Constitution of the United States, we find these words: "The United States shall guaranty to every State in this Union a republican form of government." A republican form of government is one in which the power rests with the people, and the whole machinery of government is worked by representatives elected by them. And here, again, we see the fitness between the symbol and the government which is symbolized; for the horns of the two-horned beast have no crowns upon them as do the horns of the dragon and leopard beast, showing that the government which it represents cannot be monarchical, but is one in which the power is vested in the hands of the people.
This is a sufficient guarantee of civil liberty. What is said respecting religious freedom? In Art. VI of the Constitution, we read: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." In Art. I of Amendments of the Constitution, we read: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
In reply to questions as to the design of the Constitution from the committee of a Baptist society in Virginia, Geo. Washington wrote, Aug. 4, 1789, as follows:—
"If I had the least idea of any difficulty resulting from the Constitution adopted by the Convention, of which I had the honor to be President when it was formed, so as to endanger the rights of any religious denomination, then I never should have attached my name to that instrument. If I had any idea that the general government was so administered that the liberty of conscience was endangered, I pray you be assured that no man would be more willing than myself to revise and alter that part of it, so as to avoid all religious persecutions. You can, without doubt, remember that I have often expressed my opinion, that every man who conducts himself as a good citizen is accountable alone to God for his religious faith, and should be protected in worshiping God according to the dictates of his own conscience."
In 1830, certain memorials for prohibiting the transportation of mails and the opening of post-offices on Sunday were referred to the Congressional Committee on Post-offices and Post-roads. The committee reported unfavorably to the prayer of the memorialists. Their report was adopted and printed by order of the Senate of the United States, and the committee discharged from the further consideration of the subject. Of the Constitution, they say:—
"We look in vain to that instrument for authority to say whether the first day, or seventh day, or whether any day, has been made holy by the Almighty."
"The Constitution regards the conscience of the Jew as sacred as that of the Christian, and gives no more authority to adopt a measure affecting the conscience of a solitary individual than of a whole community. That representative who would violate this principle would lose his delegated character, and forfeit the confidence of his constituents. If Congress should declare the first day of the week holy, it would not convince the Jew nor the Sabbatarian. It would dissatisfy both, and consequently convert neither....If a solemn act of legislation shall in one point define the law of God, or point out to the citizen one religious duty, it may with equal propriety define every part of revelation, and enforce every religious obligation, even to the forms and ceremonies of worship, the endowments of the church and support of the clergy."
"The framers of the Constitution recognized the eternal principle that man's relation to his God is above human legislation, and his right of conscience inalienable. Reasoning was not necessary to establish this truth, we are conscious of it in our own bosom. It is this consciousness which, in defiance of human laws, has sustained so many martyrs in tortures and flames. They felt that their duty to God was superior to human enactments, and that man could exercise no authority over their consciences. It is an inborn principle which nothing can eradicate."
"It is also a fact that counter memorials, equally respectable, oppose the interference of Congress on the ground that it would be legislating upon a religious subject, and therefore unconstitutional."
Hon. A.H. Cragin, of New Hamphshire, in a speech in the House of Representatives, said:—
"When our forefathers reared the magnificent structure of a free Republic in this western land, they laid its foundations broad and deep in the eternal principles of right. Its materials were all quarried from the mountain of truth; and as it rose majestically before an astonished world, it rejoiced the hearts and hopes of mankind. Tyrants only cursed the workmen and their workmanship. Its architecture was new. It had no model in Grecian or Roman history. It seemed a paragon let down from Heaven to inspire the hopes of men, and to demonstrate God's favor to the people of the New World. The builders recognized the rights of human nature as universal. Liberty, the great first right of man, they claimed for 'all men,' and claimed it from 'God himself.' Upon this foundation they erected the temple, and dedicated it to Liberty, Humanity, Justice, and Equality. Washington was crowned its patron saint. Liberty was then the national goddess, worshiped by all the people. They sang of liberty, they harangued for liberty, they prayed for liberty. Slavery was then hateful. It was denounced by all. The British king was condemned for foisting it upon the colonies. Southern men were foremost in entering their protest against it. It was then everywhere regarded as an evil, and a crime against humanity."
Then the Bible and the Bible alone is the Protestant rule of faith; and liberty to worship God according to the dictates of one's own conscience is the standard of religious freedom in this land. And from the quotations herewith presented, it is evident that while the government pledges to all its citizens the largest amount of civil freedom, outside of license, it has determined to lay upon the people no religious restrictions, but to guarantee to all liberty to worship God according to the Protestant principle.
Here, then, are two great principles standing prominently before the people: Republicanism and Protestantism. And what can be more just, and innocent, and lamb-like, than these? And here, also, is the secret of our strength and power. Had some Caligula or Nero ruled this land, we should look in vain for what we behold to-day. Immigration would not have flowed to our shores, and this country would never have presented to the world so unparalleled an example of national growth.
Townsend, Old World and New, p. 341, says:—
"And what attached these people to us? In part, undoubtedly, our zone, and the natural endowments of this portion of the globe. In part, and of late years, our vindicated national character, and the safety of our Institutions. But the magnet in America is, that we are a republic. A republican people! Cursed with artificial government, however glittering, the people of Europe, like the sick, pine for nature with protection, for open vistas and blue sky, for independence without ceremony, for adventure in their own interest,—and here they find it!"