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number of the beast: for it is the number of
a man; and his number is 666."*
O crux, ave spes unica,
Reisque dona veniam.
O cross! our only hope, all hail,
Now on this Passion Day.
Make good men's goodness more prevail,
Take sinners' guilt away.
Man of Sin, b. ii. p. 50..
* “The number of a man,” or such a manner of numbering as was at that time much in use, to form mystical names of numeral letters. Several names have been produced which make up the number 666, but this must express the thing meant, as well as the number, for it is a name by which the beast should be commonly called. That it must also be a greek name, is very naturally to be supposed, as St John wrote in greek, and to greek churches, Besides, that there is no other language but the greek and hebrew, in which the letters of the alphabet are used for numeral figures.
Jrenæus, about 180 years after Christ, proposed the word LATEINOS, as being by him received "from them that had seen the Lord," and probably connected with the tradition that the latin empire was the existing obstruction, which with-held the coming of Antichrist.
The western churches of Italy, France, Spain, &c. were under the roman patriarchate, and were always by the greeks
called "LATINS." When they saw a Frank or a German, the question was, urv λutuiver; are you of the latin church ?— The subscription of their bishops to general councils, are called the subscription of the LATIN FATHERS." So that at the time when the pope became the subject of this prophecy, they were commonly called LATINS; and "the latin church” was then as usual as now “the church of Rome" is. "They latinize in every thing. Mass-prayers-hymns-litaniescanons decretals-bulls, are all in LATIN. The papal councils speak latin, and even women pray in latin !"-Moore's mystery of iniquity.
The objection that may be made to the spelling of the word with a diphthong, is of no consequence, as it is well known that the greeks wrote & where the latins have an i, as Nos, "Eugos, Nilus, Epirus, and the latins themselves anciently so wrote.
Quorum virtutei bellei fortuna perpercit.
Ennius, lib, vi. 26.
Or if a hebrew word seems more proper, there is such an
-Romiith, Romana, in the feminine, to agree
Melacoth, kingdom, or with beast.
"The vulgat latin is enjoined by the council of Trent, to be used as the only authentic version of the scriptures; and though exceedingly corrupt, it is by the church of Rome preferred to the hebrew and greek texts themselves, in which the scriptures were written. Thus the pope has communicated his own language to the nations under his yoke, as the mark and character of his empire."-Newton on the Prophecies.
"Mr Pyle asserts, with great truth," says Newton, that ἐ no other word, in any language whatever, can be found to express both the same number, and the same thing. And the fatal coincidence in both names, and in both languages, is very extraordinary." It was in the year 666 that pope VITALIANUS composed the latin service, which he enforced upon all nations, that according to the prophecy, the corrupt church (or beast) should speak the language of the dragon. Rev. xii. 11, and Isai xxviii. 11, had said-" with stammering lips, and another tongue will he speak to this people,"
The superstitious abuse of religious signs no reason against the sober use of them.-The witnesses themselves are distinguished by a mystical name.-The gospel brought out of popish darkness at the reformation, appears like a Revelation newly made.-WICKLIFF the first angel that appears in the ecslesiastical heaven proclaiming it :-LUTHER and bis followers, the second and third angels.— LUTHER dissolves the enchanted SPELL of a PURGATORY.-The HARVEST and VINTAGE appointed to mystic Babylon.
AFTER this genealogy (as it were) of Antichrist, and description of his power and greatness, the prophet (in the xiv. chap.) reverts to the afflicted church of pure worshippers, and gives us as close and particular an account of their character and actions, as he
has before done of their tyrant and destroyer, and his proceedings. These have also A NAME written in their foreheads, but it is God's own name, and is a distinguishing token of their fidelity to him, as the name and mark of the beast imprest upon his adherents, is designed to denote the contrary.*
They are standing with the Lamb of God on the MOUNT SION, or true foundation of
It seems as if this circumstance had been particularly designed to obviate the alarms of some mistaken christians. upon account of the sign of the cross in baptism. The difference between the use and the abuse of the same thing, is obvious in all things, as well as in religion. The cross, in the popish system, is an idol; and has its holiday and idolatrous worship in common with the rabble of their MAHUZZIM. And, as St John has just above shewn it would be, so it actually is used as an amulet and charm, and that with a superstitious frequency, and idolatrous intention and meaning, and by the ordinance of the beast, as his mark. But as the same sign is innocently applied in protestant christian baptism but once, without any reverence meant to the cross itself, but in memorial of Christ's sufferings, and as an outward token of our dedication to the faith of the true God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the name then written in our foreheads, it seems to be not only unexceptionable, but indeed the very thing here by St John contrasted with the idolatrous abuse of it by the beast and his worshippers.