Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
rev 13:1And I stood on the sand of the sea - This also was in the vision. And I saw - Soon after the woman flew away. A wild beast coming up - He comes up twice; first from the sea, then from the abyss. He comes from the sea before the seven phials; "the great whore" comes after them. O reader, this is a subject wherein we also are deeply concerned, and which must he treated, not as a point of curiosity, but as a solemn warning from God! The danger is near. Be armed both against force and fraud, even with the whole armour of God. Out of the sea - That is, Europe. So the three woes (the first being in Persia, the second about the Euphrates) move in a line from east to west. This beast is the Romish Papacy, as it came to a point six hundred years since, stands now, and will for some time longer. To this, and no other power on earth, agrees the whole text, and every part of it in every point; as we may see, with the utmost evidence, from the propositions following:
It is one and the same beast, having seven heads, and ten horns, which is described in this and in the seventeenth chapter. Of consequence, his heads are the same, and his horns also. This beast is a spiritually secular power, opposite to the kingdom of Christ. A power not merely spiritual or ecclesiastical, nor merely secular or political but a mixture of both. He is a secular prince; for a crown, yea, and a kingdom are ascribed to him. And yet he is not merely secular; for he is also a false prophet. The beast has a strict connexion with the city of Rome. This clearly appears from the seventeenth chapter. The beast is now existing. He is not past. for Rome is now existing; and it is not till after the destruction of Rome that the beast is thrown into the lake. He is not altogether to come: for the second woe is long since past, after which the third came quickly; and presently after it began, the beast rose out of the sea. Therefore, whatever he is, he is now existing. The beast is the Romish Papacy. This manifestly follows from the third and fourth propositions; the beast has a strict connexion with the city of Rome; and the beast is now existing: therefore, either there is some other power more strictly connected with that city, or the Pope is the beast. The Papacy, or papal kingdom, began long ago. The most remarkable particulars relating to this are here subjoined; taken so high as abundantly to show the rise of the beast, and brought down as low as our own time, in order to throw a light on the following part of the prophecy:
A.D. 1033. Benedict the Ninth, a child of eleven years old, is bishop of Rome, and occasions grievous disorders for above twenty years. A.D. 1048 Damasus II. introduces the use of the triple crown. A.D. 1058 The church of Milan is, after long opposition, subjected to the Roman. A.D. 1073 Hildebrand, or Gregory VII., comes to the throne. A.D. 1076 He deposes and excommunicates the emperor. A.D. 1077 He uses him shamefully and absolves him. A.D. 1080 He excommunicates him again, and sends a crown to Rodulph, his competitor. A.D. 1083 Rome is taken. Gregory flees. Clement is made Pope, and crowns the emperor. A.D. 1085 Gregory VII. dies at Salerno. A.D. 1095 Urban II. holds the first Popish council, at Clermont and gives rise to the crusades. A.D. 1111 Paschal II. quarrels furiously with the emperor. A.D. 1123 The first western general council in the Lateran. The marriage of priests is forbidden. A.D. 1132 Innocent II declares the emperor to be the Pope's liege - man, or vassal. A.D. 1143 The Romans set up a governor of their own, independent on Innocent II. He excommunicates them, and dies. Celestine II. is, by an important innovation, chosen to the Popedom without the suffrage of the people; the right of choosing the Pope is taken from the people, and afterward from the clergy, and lodged in the Cardinals alone. A.D. 1152 Eugene II. assumes the power of canonizing saints. A.D. 1155 Adrian IV. puts Arnold of Brixia to death for speaking against the secular power of the Papacy. A.D. 1159 Victor IV. is elected and crowned. But Alexander III. conquers him and his successor. A.D. 1168 Alexander III. excommunicates the emperor, and brings him so low, that, A.D. 1177 he submits to the Pope's setting his foot on his neck. A.D. 1204 Innocent III. sets up the Inquisition against the Vaudois. A.D. 1208 He proclaims a crusade against them. A.D. 1300 Boniface VIII. introduces the year of jubilee. A.D. 1305 The Pope's residence is removed to Avignon. A.D. 1377 It is removed back to Rome. A.D. 1378 The fifty years' schism begins. A.D. 1449 Felix V., the last Antipope, submits to Nicholas V. A.D. 1517 The Reformation begins. A.D. 1527 Rome is taken and plundered. A.D. 1557 Charles V. resigns the empire; Ferdinand I. thinks the being crowned by the Pope superfluous. A.D. 1564 Pius IV. confirms the Council of Trent. A.D. 1682 Doctrines highly derogatory to the Papal authority are openly taught in France. A.D. 1713 The constitution Unigenitus. A.D. 1721 Pope Gregory VII. canonized anew.