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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Sir Isaac Newton :: Daniel and Revelation

Sir Isaac Newton :: Chapter 7. Of the eleventh horn of Daniel’s fourth Beast.

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Part I. Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel.

Chap. 7.

Of the eleventh horn of Daniel’s fourth Beast.

Now Daniel, considered the horns, and behold there came up among them another horn, before whom there were three of the first horns pluckt up by the roots; and behold in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things, {Dan. 7:8.} -and his look was more stout than his fellows,- and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them{Dan.7:20, 21.}: and one who stood by, and made Daniel know the interpretation of these things, told him, that the ten horns were ten kings that should arise, and another should arise after them, and be diverse from the first, and he should subdue three kings, {Dan. 7:24.}and speak great words against the most High, and wear out the saints, and think to change times and laws: and that they should be given into his hands until a time and times and half a time.{Dan. 7:25.} Kings are put for kingdoms, as above; and therefore the little horn is a little kingdom. It was a horn of the fourth Beast, and rooted up three of his first horns; and therefore we are to look for it among the nations of the Latin Empire, after the rise of the ten horns. But it was a kingdom of a different kind from the other ten kingdoms, having a life or soul peculiar to itself, with eyes and a mouth. By its eyes it was a Seer; and its mouth speaking great things and changing times and laws, it was a Prophet as well as a King. And such a Seer, a Prophet and a King, is the Church of Rome.

A Seer, Ἐπίσκοπος, is a Bishop in the literal sense of the word; and this Church claims the universal Bishoprick.

With his mouth he gives laws to kings and nations as an Oracle; and pretends to Infallibility, and that his dictates are binding to the whole world; which is to be a Prophet in the highest degree.

In the eighth century, by rooting up and subduing the Exarchate of Ravenna, the kingdom of the Lombards, and the Senate and Dukedom of Rome he acquired Peter's Patrimony out of their dominions; and thereby rose up as a temporal Prince or King, or horn of the fourth Beast.

In a small book printed at Paris A.C. 1689, entitled, An historical dissertation upon some coins of Charles the great, Ludovicus Pius, Lotharius, and their successors stamped at Rome, it is recorded, that in the days of Pope Leo X., there was remaining in the Vatican, and till those days exposed to public view, an inscription in honour of Pipin the father of Charles the great, in these words: Pipinum pium, primum fuisse qui amplificandae Ecclesiae Romanae viam aperuerit, Exarchatu Ravennate, & plurimis aliis oblatis; "That Pipin the pious was the first who opened a way to the grandeur of the Church of Rome, conferring upon her the Exarchate of Ravenna and many other oblations." In and before the reign of the Emperors Gratian and  Theodosius, the Bishop of Rome lived splendidly; but this was by the oblations of the Roman Ladies, as Ammianus describes. After those reigns Italy was invaded by foreign nations, and did not get rid of her troubles before the fall of the kingdom of Lombardy. It was certainly by the victory of the see of Rome over the Greek Emperor, the King of Lomardy, and the Senate of Rome, that she acquired Peter's Patrimony, and rose up to her greatness. The donation of Constantine the Great is a fiction, and so is the donation of the Alpes Cottiae to the Pope by Aripert King of the Lombards: for the Alpes Cottiae were a part of the Exarchate, and in the days of Aripert belonged to the Greek Emperor.

The invocation of the dead, and veneration of their images, being gradually introduced in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7thcenturies, the Greek Emperor Philippicus declared against the latter, A. C. 711 or 712. And the Emperor Leo Isaurus, to put a stop to it, called a meeting of Counsellors and Bishops in his Palace, A. C. 726; and by their advice put out an Edict against that worship, and wrote to Pope Gregory II. that a general Council might be called. {Sigonius de Regno Italiae, ad Ann. 726.} But the Pope thereupon called a Council at Rome, confirmed the worship of Images, excommunicated the Greek Emperor, absolved the people from their allegiance, and forbad them to pay tribute, or otherwise be obedient to him. Then the people of Rome, Campania, Ravenna and Pentapolis, with the cities under them, revolted and laid violent hands upon their magistrates, killing the Exarch Paul at Ravenna, and laying aside Peter Duke of Rome who was become blind: and when Exhileratus Duke of Campania incited the people against the Pope, the Romans invaded Campania, and slew him with his son Hadrian. Then a new Exarch, Eutychius, coming to Naples, sent some secretly to take away the lives of the Pope and the Nobles of Rome: but the plot being discovered, the Romans revolted absolutely from the Greek Emperor, and took an oath to preserve the life of the Pope, to defend his state and be obedient to his authority in all things. Thus Rome with its Duchy, including part of Tuscany and part of Campania, revolted in the year 726, and became a free state under the government of the Senate of this city. The authority of the Senate in civil affairs was henceforward absolute, the authority of the Pope extending hitherto no farther than to the affairs of the Church only.

At that time the Lombards also being zealous for the worship of images, and pretending to favour the cause of the Pope, invaded the cities of the Exarchate: and at length, viz. A. C. 752, took Ravenna, and put an end to the Exarchate. {Sigonius ib. ad Ann. 726, 752.} And this was the first of the three kingdoms which fell before the little horn.

 In the year 751 Pope Zechary deposed Childeric, a slothful and useless King of France, and the last of the race of Merovaeus; and absolving his subjects from their oath of allegiance, gave the kingdom to Pipin the major of the Palace; and thereby made an new and potent friend. {Sigon. ib. Ann. 750.} His successor Pope Stephen III., knowing better how to deal with the Greek Emperor than with the Lombards, went the next year to the King of the Lombards, to persuade him to return the Exarchate to the Emperor. {Sigon. ib. Ann. 753, 754, 755.} But this not succeeding, he went into France, and persuaded Pipin to take the Exarchate and Pentapolis from the Lombards, and give it to St. Peter. Accordingly Pipin A. C. 754 came with an army into Italy, and made Aistulphus King of the Lombards promise the surrender: but the next year Aistulphus, on the contrary, to revenge himself on the Pope, besieged the city of Rome. Whereupon the Pope sent letters to Pipin, wherein he told him that if he came not speedily against the Lombards, pro data sibi potentia, alienandum fore a regno Dei & vita aeterna, he should be excommunicated. Pipin therefore, fearing a revolt of his subjects, and being indebted to the Church of Rome, came speedily with an army into Italy, raised the siege, besieged the Lombards in Pavia, and forced them to surrender the Exarchate and region of Pentapolis to the Pope for a perpetual possession. Thus the Pope became Lord of Ravenna, and the Exarchate, some few cities excepted; and the keys were sent to Rome, and laid upon the confession of St Peter, that is, upon his tomb at the high Altar, in signum veri perpetuique dominii, sed pietate Regis gratuita, as the inscription of a coin of Pipin hath it. This was in the year of Christ 755. And henceforward the Popes being temporal Princes, left off in their Epistles and Bulls to note the years of the Greek Emperors, as they had hitherto done.

After this the Lombards invading the Pope's countries, Pope Adrian sent to Charles the great, the son and successor of Pipin, to come to his assistance. {Sigon. ib. Ann. 773.} Accordingly Charles entered Italy with an army, invaded the Lombards, overthrew their kingdom, became master of their countries, and restored to the Pope, not only what they had taken from him, but also the rest of the Exarchate which they had promised Pipin to surrender to him, but had hitherto detained; and also gave him some cities of the Lombards, and was in return himself made Patricius by the Romans, and had the authority of confirming the elections of the Popes conferred upon him. These things were done in the years 773 and 774. This kingdom of the Lombards was the second kingdom which fell before the little horn. But Rome, which was to be the seat of his kingdom, was not yet his own.

In the year 796, Leo III. being made Pope, notified his election to Charles the great by his Legates, sending to him for a present, the golden keys of the Confession of Peter, and the Banner of the city of Rome: the first as an acknowledgment of the Popes's holding the cities of the Exarchate and Lombardy by the grant of Charles; the other as a signification that Charles should come and subdue the Senate and people of Rome, as he had done the Exarchate and the kingdom of the Lombards. {Sigon. de Regno Ital. ad Ann. 796.}For the Pope at the same time desired Charles to send some of his Princes to Rome, who might subject the Roman people to him, and bind them by oath in fide & subjectione, in fealty and subjection, as his words are recited by Signonius. An anonymous Poet, publish'd by Boeclerus at Strasburg, expresseth it thus:

Admonuitque piis precibus, qui mittere vellet

Ex propriis aliquos primoribus, ac sibi plebem

Subdere Romanam, servandaque foedera cogens

Hanc fidei sacramentis promittere magnis.

Hence arose a misunderstanding between the Pope and the city: and the Romans about two or three years after, by assistance of some of the Clergy, raised such tumults against him, as gave occasion to a new state of things in all the West. For two of the Clergy accused him of crimes, and the Romans with an armed force, seized him, stript him of his sacerdotal habit, and imprisoned him in a monastery. But by assistance of his friends he made his escape, and fled into Germany to Charles the great, to whom he complained of the Romans for acting against him out of a design to throw off all authority of the Church, and to recover their antient freedom. In his absence his accusers with their forces ravaged the possessions of the Church, and sent the accusations to Charles; who before the end of the year sent the Pope back to Rome with a large retinue. The Nobles and Bishops of France who accompanied him, examined the chief of his accusers at Rome, and sent them into France in custody. This was in the year 799. The next year Charles himself went to Rome, and upon a day appointed presided in a Council of Italian and French Bishops to hear both parties. {Vide Anastasium.} But when the Pope's adversaries expected to be heard, the Council declared that he who was the supreme judge of all men, was above being judged by any other than himself: whereupon he made a solemn declaration of his innocence before all the people, and by doing so was looked upon as acquitted.

Soon after, upon Christmas-day, the people of Rome, who had hitherto elected their Bishop, and reckoned that they and their Senate inherited the rights of the antient Senate and people of Rome, voted Charles their Emperor, and subjected themselves to him in such manner as the old Roman Empire and their Senate were subjected to the old Roman Emperors. The Pope crowned him, and anointed him with holy oil, and worshiped him on his knees after the manner of adoring the old Roman Emperors; as the aforesaid Poet thus relates:

Post laudes igitur dictas & summus eundem

Praesul adoravit, sicut mos debitus olim

Principibus fuit antiquis.

The Emperor, on the other hand, took the following oath to the Pope: In nomine Christi Spondeo atque polliceor, Ego Carolus Imperator coram Deo & beato Petro Apostolo, me protectorem ac defensorem fore hujus sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae in omnibus utilitatibus, quatenus divino fultus fuero adjutorio, prout sciero poteroque. The Emperor was also made Consul of Rome, and his son Pipin crowned King of Italy: and henceforward the Emperor stiled himself: Carolus serenissimus, Augustus, a Deo coronatus, magnus, pacificus, Romae gubernans imperium, or Imperator Romanorum; and was prayed for in the Churches of Rome. His image was henceforward put upon the coins of Rome: while the enemies of the Pope, to the number of three hundred Romans and two or three of the Clergy, were sentenced to death. The three hundred Romans were beheaded in one day in the Lateran fields: but the Clergymen at the intercession of the Pope were pardoned, and banished into France. And thus the title of Roman Emperor, which had hitherto been in the Greek Emperors, was by this act transferred in the West to the Kings of France.

After these things Charles gave the City and Duchy of Rome to the Pope, subordinately to himself as Emperor of the Romans; spent the winter in ordering the affairs of Rome, and those of the Apostolic see, and of all Italy, both civil and ecclesiastical, and in making new laws for them; and returned the next summer into France: leaving the city under its Senate, and both under the Pope and himself. {Sigon. de Regno Ital.} But hearing that his new laws were not observed by the judges in dictating the law, nor by the people in hearing it; and that the great men took servants from free men, and from the Churches and Monastaries, to labour in their vineyards, fields, pastures and houses, and continued to exact cattle and wine of them, and to oppress those that served the Churches: he wrote to his son Pipin to remedy these abuses, to take care of the Church, and see his laws executed.

Now the Senate and people and principality of Rome I take to be the third King, the little horn overcame, and even the chief of the three. For this people elected the Pope and the Emperor; and now, by electing the Emperor and making him Consul, was acknowledged to retain the authority of the old Roman Senate and people. This city was the Metropolis of the old Roman Empire, represented in Daniel by the fourth Beast; and by subduing the Senate and people and Duchy, it became the Metropolis of the little horn of that Beast, and completed Peter's Patrimony, which was the kingdom of that horn. Besides, this victory was attended with greater consequences than those over the other two Kings. For it set up the Western Empire, which continues to this day. It set up the Pope above the judicature of the Roman Senate, and above that of a council of Italian and French Bishops, and even above all human judicature; and gave him the supremacy over the Western Churches and their Councils in a high degree. It gave him a look more stout than his fellows; so that when this new religion began to be established in the minds of men, he grappled not only with Kings, but even with the Western Emperor himself. It is observable also, that the custom of kissing the Popes's feet, an honour superior to that of Kings and Emperors, began about this time. There are some instances of it in the ninth century: Platina tells us, that the feet of Pope Leo IV. were kissed, according to antient custom, by all who came to him: and some say that Leo III. began this custom, pretending that his hand was infected by the kiss of a woman. The Popes began also about this time to canonize saints, and to grant indulgences and pardons: and some represent that Leo III. was the first author of all these things. It is further observable, that Charles the great, between the years 775 and 796, conquered all Germany from the Rhine and Danube northward to the Baltic sea, and eastward to the river Teis; extending his conquests also into Spain as far as the river Ebro: and by these conquests he laid the foundation of the new Empire; and at the same time propagated the Roman Catholic religion into all his conquests, obliging the Saxons and Hunns who were heathens, to receive the Roman faith, and distributing his northern conquests into Bishopricks, granting tithes to the Clergy and Peter-pence to the Pope: by all which the Church of Rome was highly enlarged, enriched, exalted, and established.

In the forementioned dissertation upon some coins of Charles the great, Ludovicus Pius, Lotharius, and their successors, stamped at Rome, there is a draught of a piece of Mosaic work which Pope Leo III. caused to be made in his Palace near the Church of John Lateran, in memory of his sending the standard or banner of the city of Rome curiously wrought, to Charles the great; and which still remained there at the publishing of the said book. In the Mosaic work there appeared Peter with three keys in his lap, reaching the Pallium to the Pope with his right hand, and the banner of the city to Charles the great with his left. By the Pope was this inscription, SCISSIMUS D.N. LEO PP; by the King this, D.N. CARVLO REGI; and under the feet of Peter this, BEATE PETRE, DONA VITAM LEONI PP, ET BICTORIAM CARVLO REGI DONA. This Monument gives the title of King to Charles, and therefore was erected before he was Emperor. It was erected when Peter was reaching the Pallium to the Pope, and the Pope was sending the banner of the city to Charles, that is, A.C. 796. The words above, Sanctissimus Dominus noster Leo Papa Domino nostro Carolo Regi, relate to the message; and the words below, Beate Petre, dona vitam Leoni Papae & victoriam Carolo regi dona, are a prayer that in this undertaking God would preserve the life of the Pope, and give victory to the King over the Romans. The three keys in the lap of Peter signify the keys of the three parts of his Patrimony, that of Rome with its Duchy, which the Pope claimed and was conquering, those of Ravenna with the Exarchate, and of the territories taken from the Lombards; both which he had newly conquered. These were the three dominions, whose keys were in the lap of St. Peter, and whose Crowns are now worn by the Pope, and by the conquest of which he became the little horn of the fourth Beast. By Peter's giving the Pallium to the Pope with his right hand, and the banner of the city to the King with his left, and by naming the Pope before the King in the inscription, may be understood that the Pope was then reckoned superior in dignity to the Kings of the earth.

After the death of Charles the great, his son and successor Ludovicus Pius, at the request of the Pope, confirmed the donations of his grandfather and father to the see of Rome. {Confirmationem recitat Sigonius, lib. 4. de Regno Italiae, ad An. 817.} And in the confirmation he names first Rome with its Duchy extending into Tuscany and Campania; then the Excharate of Ravenna, with Pentapolis; and in the third place, the territories taken from the Lombards. These are his three conquests, and he was to hold them of the Emperor for the use of the Church sub integritate, entirely, without the Emperor's medling therewith, or with the jurisdiction or power of the Pope therein, unless called thereto in certain cases. This ratification the Emperor Ludovicus made under an oath: and as the King of the Ostrogoths, for acknowledging that he held his kingdom of Italy of the Greek Emperor, stamped the effigies of the Emperor on one side of his coins and his own on the reverse; so the Pope made the like acknowledgment to the Western Emperor. For the Pope began now to coin money, and the coins of Rome are henceforward found with the heads of the Emperors, Charles, Ludovicus Pius, Lotharius, and their successors, on the one side, and the Pope's inscription on the reverse, for many years.

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