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The encomium, we see, is made with that grad. ual
pomp, which is familiar to Virgil. And the last line (from its majestic simplicity, the noblest, perhaps, in all his writings) one would naturally expect should close the description. Yet he adds, to the surprize, and, I believe, to the disappointment of most readers,
Septemque una sibi muro circumdedit arces.
Had we found this passage in any other of the Latin poets, we should have been apt to question the judgment of the writer; and to suspect, that, in attempting to rise upon himself, he had fallen, unawares, into an evident anti-climax. But the correct elegance of Virgil's manner, and his singular talent in working up an image, by just degrees, to the precise point of perfection, may satisfy us, that he had his reason for going on, where we might expect him to stop; which reason can be no other, than that the seven hills were necessary to complete his description of the imperial city. * To an ancient Roman, the circumstance of its situation was, of all others, the most august and characteristic; and Rome itself was not Rome, till it was contemplated under this idea,
There was ground enough, then, for saying, «s that the name of Rome could not have pointed
out the city more plainly.” But I go farther, and take upon nie to assert, That the periphrasis is even more precise, and less equivocal, than the proper name would have been, if inserted in the prophecy. For Rome, so called, might have stood, like Sod. om, or Babylon, simply for an idolatrous city. But the city, seated on seven hills, and reigning over the earth, is the city of Rome itself, and excludes, by the peculiarity of these attributes, any other application.
Nor is it any objection to the remark, now made, that this city, whatever it be, is described by another circumstance, not peculiar to Rome, indeed scarce applicable to it, I mean that of its being seated on many waters.* For these waters are not given as a mark of Rome's natural, but political situation : as the prophetic style might lead one to expect, if the sacred writer had not taken care to prevent all mistake by assuring us, in so many words, That the waters, where the whore sitteth, are PEOPLES, AND MULTITUDES, TIONS, AND TONGUES.
* If it be, further, said, “That the seven hills may, likewise, admit a similar construction from the frequent use of hills, as emblems of power, in
* Rev. xvii. 1.
† Ibid. ver. 15.
hieroglyphic writing, and therefore in prophetic description,” the remark is very just: but then, unluckily, there is no such explanation of the seven hills, as we have of the waters, from the prophet himself; while yet it could not escape him, that such explanation was more than commonly necessary in this case, to prevent the reader from apply. ing the seven hills to the best-known city in the world, then subsisting in all its glory, and universally acknowledged by this distinctive character of its situation.
Should it, lastly, be alleged, “That the explanation is subjoined to the figure, for that the prophet adds immediately in the following verseand there are seven kings—meaning, that the seven hills, just mentioned, were to be taken as emblems only of seven kings,” I reply, that the seven hills, in the figurative sense of the term, hills, naturally suggested, and elegantly introduce, the seven kings; but that the former, nevertheless, are clearly to be distinguished from the latter. For it is not said-and the seven hills are seven king'sas it was before said the seven heads are seven hills-but-AND there are seven kings-plainly advancing a step further in the prophecy, and pointing out a new characteristic distinction of the seven-hilled city, arising from the different forms of government, through which it had passed.
The truth is (as Mr. Mede well observes*) the seven heads of the beast, are a DOUBLE TYPE: first, they signify the seven hills, on which the city is placed; and, then, the seven kings, or governments, to which it had been subject : but still on those seven hills, for which reason the same type is made to signify both: But, if the type had been designed to carry a single sense, and kings had been that sense, as explicatory of hills, it had been very preposterous to give the interpretation of the type, and then to interpret the interpretation, unless the expression had been so guarded as to convey this purpose in the most distinct manner.
As it is now put, there are manifestly two senses, and one Type.t
On the whole, there can be no doubt concerning the great city on seven hills. It can be no other,
Septem Besti£ capita, duplex typus : primo, septem montes seu colles sunt, super quos urbs Bestiæ metropolis sita est ; deinde, septem quoque, idque in iisdem (quod unitas typi denotat) Collibus, Regum seu Dynastarum successivorum ordines. Works,
+ The whole passage in the original stands thusaiTTă κεφαλαι, όρη είσιν έπλα, όπε η γυνή κάθηται επ' αυτών, και βασιλείς επλά, είσιν---of which the following is the literal trans| lation-The seven heads are seven hills, where the woman sit. teth upon them, AND are seven kings—Every one sees that the connective particle, AND, refers to heads, and not to hills.
than the city of Rome itself: In other words, the antichristián, is a Roman power.
Still, this Roman power, for any thing that hath hitherto appeared, may be a Pagan and civil power. But
III. The prophecies seem very clearly to point it out to us, as an ECCLESIASTICAL, and, in name and pretence, at least, a CHRISTIAN power.
To begin again with the prophet, Daniel. He tells us, that the horn which shall arise after, and from among, the ten horns, that is, the antichristian kingdom, as before explained, shall be DIVERSE from the ten kingdoms, out of which it shall arise.* “But a kingdom may be diverse from other kingdoms, in various respects.” Without doubt. And, therefore, we cannot certainly conclude from this single text, that the diversity, mentioned, will consist in its being a spiritual kingdom. Yet, if ye reflect that this diversity is given, as the characteristic mark of the antichristian kingdom; that, although there may be other and smaller differences between kingdoms, the greatest and most signal is that which subsists between a temporal
* Dan. vii. 24.-The ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise ; and another shall arise after them, and He shall be diverse from the first