Page images

Prodictator. It was the custom of the Romans that the consul should nominate the dictator, and the dictator his master of the horse. In one great emergency this custom was departed from. One of the consuls was slain at the battle of Thrasymene, and the other was too distant to be sent to, when the enemy was at the gates. The senate, therefore, acting in the place of the absent consul, chose Fabius Maximus dictator, and named Minutius his master of the horse : but, with the exception of the mode of election, and of the addition of pro to the dictator's name, Fabius possessed all the powers of the common dictator. Here, then, was a prodictator, with his master of the horse, possessing all the powers of the dictator, with a slight alteration in the name. Was this a distinct and separate form of government? No: a simple variation in the appearance of the hair of the dictatorial head, arising from temporary sickness, would typify the only difference: the identity remained. The prodictator was therefore represented by the dictatorial head.

The Triumvirate.- When the Roman empire had been extended to a considerable distance from the capital, it was necessary to divide the remote provinces into distinct governments, and to place them under the officers commanding the armies in those districts. These officers were called proconsuls; but they did not, like the prodictator, possess the same powers as the officers from whom they derived their name; as the power of the proconsuls was confined to the provinces, and they had no authority, like the consuls, in the senate. In process of time, from the

great extension of the Roman empire, and from the veteran soldiery being under the command of these officers, the proconsuls became the greatest enemies of the republic and con

When successful in war, these proconsuls were saluted with the title of Imperators (or Emperors) by their soldiers; and which title they were permitted to retain while they were soliciting a triumph at Rome*. The first triunvirate was formed by Cæsar, Pompey, and Crassus, three proconsular men, who had obtained the title of imperators (or emperors) from their soldiers. These three distinguished commanders were, however, never invested with authority as a triumvirate by the senate : they governed the republic in their proconsular character, at the head of their armies, or by means of the consuls, who were chosen through their influence with the people. This triumvirate terminated in the person of Julius Cæsar, who had been previously declared to be perpetual dictator and imperator.

The second triumvirate was formed by Antony, Lepidus, and Octavius Cæsar. This triumvirate obtained a legal existence, as it was ratified by the senate ; who appointed these three to

sular power

* Adams's Antiquities, 158 to 164. VOL. 1. -NO. IV.

5 B

govern the empire as a triumvirate ; and gave them power, in that capacity, for five years, to reform the commonwealth. This triumvirate never, however, actually governed the whole Roman empire in this capacity; as Sextus Pompey, the advocate of the republic and consular power, was not finally subdued until some time after the triumvirate was dissolved by the exclusion of Lepidus. But was this triumvirate a distinct form of government? No: it was simply a combination of three proconsular military commanders, imperators, or emperors (such as frequently took place afterwards during the emperorship), to govern the Roman empire. It was represented, therefore, by the imperial head in its nascent or infant state, and could not be considered as a distinct form of government. The revolution which took place in the Roman Empire under these two triumvirates, was simply the elevation of the military and despotic commanders of the distant provinces-i.e. of the proconsular imperators or emperors-above the consulship: and the future government of the Roman empire, and of Rome itself, was the military despotism of the provinces extended also to Rome and Italy, the heart of the empire, which had been before more immediately under the senate and the consulship. The view which I have given is supported by Gibbon (vol. i. p. 85), who says, that “ Augustus consented to receive the government of the provinces, and the general command of the Roman armies, under the well-known names of proconsul and imperator.” Hence the triumvirate has no claim to be considered as a distinct head.

The perpetual dictatorships of Sylla and Cæsar, to which Mr. Maitland briefly alludes, are evidently and substantially the same with the dictatorship; and the title of Prince, given to Augustus, necessarily merges in the emperorship; otherwise one individual would at the same time represent two heads, which is impossible.

The Senate.—The senate never legally constituted the head of the Roman empire. When it is called “ Caput Imperii,” it is to be understood that it is only so under its legitimate heads of kings, consuls, &c. The parliament of England is at the head of the people of the British empire ; but the king is the head of the parliament, which is not complete without him. Mr. Maitland makes some remarks respecting the apparent dissolution and the revival of several of the forms of government of the Roman republic-the consuls being occasionally supplanted by the dictators; the dictators by the military tribunes ; those again by the consuls, or dictators—and seems to consider that each suspension of the consular power, &c. denotes the absolute extinction of the head itself by which it was represented. Upon what authority this assumption is made I know not. The sixth head was wounded even to death, and yet revived : why may

we not assume as much respecting the five fallen heads? Had the Vial Angel intended to give us a minute history of the past, instead of a grand and simple characteristic of the beast, in order to enable us to ascertain the precise empire to which he referred-he might have exhibited the beast with one head occasionally falling asleep, and another at the same instant rising into active operation; the latter sleeping in its turn, and the former reviving and governing the beast, or empire; so as to display all the successive mutations of those heads as they actually took place. I see no impropriety in this supposition, which is in strict accordance with the laws of nature; and I believe we are to consider no head as actually deprived of existence, until the form of government it represented was extinguished. This supposition will explain the state of the beast from u. c. 380 to 384, when, in consequence of the anarchy which prevailed, no curile magistrates were chosen, and the beast did not appear to be under any active and living head. During this period all the heads were simply quiescent, or asleep. That they had not ceased to exist is evident, since the consulship, dictatorship, &c., afterwards revived, and presided over the republic.

I think I have now answered every objection of Mr. Maitland, and that I have proved, first, that none of the forms of government which he mentions could be symbolized by distinct and separate heads of the beast; secondly, that the Roman empire had only existed under five forms of government which had fallen previous to the time of St. John; thirdly, that these five forms of government, or heads, are those maintained by the great body of commentators, viz. kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, and military tribunes; and lastly, that the sixth head, in existence in the time of St. John, was the proconsular and imperial head, of which the two triumvirates marked the infancy and rise.

To complete my view of the seven heads, I shall simply state what I believe to be the seventh or last head of the beast, referring the reader to my work, “The Fulfilment of St. John displayed,for the arguments upon which this interpretation is founded. When the beast rose in its state of Christian apostasy, in the year 606, its body was confined to the Western empire. This empire was divided into several independent states. One of them, the exarchate of Ravenna, was possessed by the Greek (or Eastern Roman) emperors; and the other states were held by the Gothic (or rather German) tribes, which had established themselves in the Western empire. In 606 the beast therefore arose with two contemporary heads: the sixth or imperial head (which had been wounded by the sword of Constantine), with one horn upon it, represented the Greek, or Eastern Roman, emperors, as possessing the exarchate of Ravenna ;

and the seventh head, having nine horns attached to it, is the German* head, broken into nine distinct horns or dynasties; the grand characteristic of this head being its independent governments, deriving their origin from the same source, viz. the German nation. The eighth head is the same as the seventh-i.e. it is the German head-but it is the whole beast (Rev.xvii. 11); and therefore it is simply distinguished from the seventh by possessing ten horns instead of nine. This head arose between A. D. 700 and 800, when the sixth head fell; by which fall the territories and imperial title of the East were transferred to the German conquerors of the West. This head has been in existence down to the present day. The Western empire is wholly under the dominion of the German dynasties established by the northern nations; and these dynasties have ever had one amongst them, since the miscalled revival of the Western empire, distinguished as the NOMINAL head of the great confederacy, by possesing the imperial titlet. The imperial horn assumed its imperial character under Charlemagne, and has since been represented by princes of various nations connected with the great Western confederacy. It was recently represented by the Emperor Bonaparte, and is now by the Emperor of Austria, who possesses territories within the limits of the beast. In this state of independent German dynasties, one bearing the imperial title, the beast will go into perdition.

Exeter, Oct. 3, 1829.



in your

The extraordinary pertinacity, with which a writer in the Christian Observer endeavours to prove me guilty of misstatement, induces me once more, and finally, to offer a few observations in reference to his remarks on my papers former numbers. I trust I shall be preserved from imitating his example, in the gratuitous imputation of unworthy motives; but I cannot forbear saying, that had the Unprejudiced Inquirer” (a title assumed, I fear, in an acceptation rather too literal, and therefore arguing some little want of self-knowledge) been as

* The four horns of the Macedonian goat rise up out of the head—i.e. according to Daniel, “out of the nation." Hence the head of the goat is the Greek, or Macedonian, nation:

+ Historians, by talking of the revival of the Western Empire, have led interpreters of prophecy into many errors. The German Roman emperors have never possessed, like their predecessors, solid power over the whole Western Empire : they have merely possessed a titular supremacy in the confederacy, and have never been heads of the beast; as a head, if single, must govern the whole body.

anxious in the pursuit of truth as he seems to be to find me at fault, his last communication would have never seen the light.

I should probably not have thought it worth while to notice his remarks, which have little to do with the point at issue between us, had he not bluntly charged me with stating as a fact that which is not true ; insinuating that I must have known it not to be so ; and affecting to support his charge by actual demonstration.

I had remarked, that " when the resurrection of the saints is spoken of it is expressed by ek, simply or in composition, preceding νεκρων Or των νεκρών : and that when the general resurrection is spoken of we have no preposition, but simply avaotaoiç vexpWV or twv vekpwy.” This assertion, he says, caused him the greatest surprise, as he was aware that in 1 Cor. xv. the expression occurs without the preposition, where, in his opinion, the Apostle is certainly speaking of the resurrection of the saints. To corroborate this opinion he consults several commentators, whom he finds to agree with him; and then, says he, “I asked myself, Is it possible that W. D. thinks that St. Paul is speaking in this chapter of the general resurrection ? I could not conceive it possible; but, to put beyond doubt what W. D. and all millennarians think upon the subject, it happens that in the very same number of the Morning Watch it is twice asserted that the subject treated of in 1 Cor. xv. is the resurrection of the saints.” So, then, because two writers in the Morning Watch have chosen to interpret the passage according to his view, it is put beyond doubt that W. D. and all millennarians do the same. If the “Unprejudiced Inquirer” thinks it worth while to write for readers who can be influenced by such logic as this, I am sorry for it : I can only wish that he were equally wise as he is unprejudiced : but I should certainly think my time lost in replying to it. If the writer be candid enough to allow the same measure to be dealt to him which he deals to others, he must mean us to infer that he, and all unprejudiced inquirers in the Christian Observer, feel themselves bound by the sentiments of every writer in that publication, even to the interpretation of a text. If such be the case, I will only say, they must be very unprejudiced indeed!

But, to come to the point-Notwithstanding the “ host of commentators” which this writer sets in array against me, I am hardy enough to deny that the Apostle is speaking in 1 Cor. xv. exclusively of the resurrection of the saints: and as my sentiments on the subject were recorded in a paper in the First Number of the Morning Watch, to which the Unprejudiced Inquirer had professed to reply, he ought to have known my opinion. His ignorance on this point must prove one of two things : either that he never read the paper which he attempted

« PreviousContinue »