THE Angel thus interprets to St. John the vision of the Great Harlot, the enchantress, who seduced the inhabitants of the earth. He says, "The woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." The city spoken of in these words is evidently Rome, which was then the seat of empire all over the earth,—which was supreme even in Judæa. We hear of the Romans all through the Gospels and Acts. Our Saviour was born when His mother, the Blessed Virgin, and Joseph, were brought up to Bethlehem to be taxed by the Roman governor. He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. St. Paul was at various times protected by the circumstance of his being a Roman citizen; on the other hand, when he was seized and imprisoned, it was by the Roman governors, and at last he was sent to Rome itself to the emperor, and eventually martyred there, together with St. Peter. Thus the sovereignty of Rome, at the time when Christ and His Apostles preached and wrote, which is a matter of historical notoriety, is forced on our notice in the New Testament itself. It is undeniably meant by the Angel when he speaks of "the great city which reigneth over the earth."
The connexion of Rome with the reign and exploits of Antichrist, is so often brought before us in the controversies of this day, that it may be well, after what I have already had occasion to say on the subject of the last enemy of the Church, to consider now what Scripture prophecy says concerning Rome; which I shall attempt to do, as before, with the guidance of the early Fathers.