And with these horns there is no objection to be found. They are like those of a lamb, the Bible symbol of purity and innocence. The principles are all right. The outward appearance is unqualifiedly good. But, alas for our country! its acts are to give the lie to its profession. The lamb-like features are first developed; but the dragon voice is to be heard hereafter.
The Dragon Voice.
From the facts thus far elicited in this argument, we have seen that the government symbolized by the two-horned beast must be some government distinct from the powers of the Old World, whether civil or ecclesiastical; that it must arise this side the Atlantic; that it must be seen coming into influence and notoriety about the year 1798; that it must rise in a peaceful manner; that its progress must be so rapid as to strike the beholder with as much wonder as the perceptible growth of an animal before his eyes; that it must be a republic; that it must exhibit before the world, as an index of its character, and the motives by which it is governed, two great principles in themselves perfectly just, and innocent, and lamb-like; and that it must perform its work in the present century.
And we have seen that of these eight specifications, just two things can be said: first, that they are all perfectly met in the history of the United States, thus far; and secondly, that they are not met in the history of any other government on the face of the earth. Behind these eight lines of defense, therefore, the argument lies impregnably intrenched.
And the American patriot, he who loves his country, and takes a just pride in her thus-far glorious record and noble achievements, needs an argument no less ponderous and immovable, and an array of evidence no less clear, to enable him to accept the painful conclusion that the remainder of the prophecy also applies to this government, hitherto the best the world has ever seen; for the prophet immediately turns to a part of the picture which is dark with injustice, and marred by oppression, deception, intolerance, and wrong.
After describing the lamb-like appearance of this symbol, John immediately adds, “And he spake as a dragon.” The dragon, the first link in this chain of prophecy, was a relentless persecutor of the church of God. The leopard beast which follows, was likewise a persecuting power, grinding out for 1260 years the lives of millions of the followers of Christ. The third actor in the scene, the two-horned beast, speaks like the first, and thus shows himself to be a dragon at heart; “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” and actions are framed. This, then, like the rest, is a persecuting power; and it is for this reason alone that any of them are mentioned in prophecy. God’s care for the church, his little flock, is what has led him to give a revelation of his will, and point out the foes with whom they would have to contend. To his church, all the actions recorded of the dragon and leopard beast relate; and in reference to the church, therefore, we conclude that the dragon voice of this power is uttered.