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Rome, nor Rome under any of its secular forms of government, what Rome can it be but Rome papal ?
Thus it evidently appears, that this grand compound hieroglyphic of the woman and the beast, described in this chapter, represents the whole of the great city which has reigned over the kings of the earth. The woman symbolizes its spiritual empire ; and the beast typifies the secular or temporal empire. This complete hieroglyphic exhibits to us at one view the two co-existing Roman empires, which the prophetic Apostle had before described under the symbols of two contemporary friendly beasts, leagued together for the purpose of erecting both a civil and an ecclesiastical tyranny over the minds as well as over the bodies of men.
From this part of the apocalyptic prophecy, we are taught to adore and to confide in the superintendency of divine Providence, as exercised over the church and the world. In the view of this attribute here exhibited to us, and illustrated in the history of the European states, we behold kingdoms and nations, with a most minute exactness, fulfilling those purposes of God which he had long before published and declared by the mouth of his holy prophets. Here also we are taught to adore that divine wisdom which reconciles the foreknowledge and predetermination of God, with the free and moral agency of man. Here we see that God's purposes of predestination are fulfilled ; that the conduct of holy and good men is such as the righteous Judge will approve and reward; and that the actions of the wicked, though over-ruled for fulfilling the ends and purposes of the divine government, will be disapproved and punished. Thus the Lord's Christ “ being de“ livered by the determined counsel of God, the “ Jews took, and by wicked hands crucified and “ slew." Let the people of God, then, continue in the path of duty, and repose themselves with a calm and firm trust in the providence of God. “ The
« Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice: let the mul“titudes of the isles be glad thereof. Clouds and “ darkness are round about him: righteousness and “ judgment are the habitation of his throne.” While we contemplate the character of the secular and spiritual empires of Rome, let us be thankful that we are separated from them both. May our hearts be filled with ardent gratitude to God, that we have been delivered from the power of Antichrist, and that we enjoy liberty, both civil and ecclesiastical. May we approve ourselves to be the called, chosen, and faithful servants of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! He is the Lord of lords, and King of kings; and therefore his kingdom must stand, and all that oppose it must fall. May we, therefore, fight the good fight of faith under the banner of Christ; and then we shall be received to his glory, when all the wicked shall be consumed with fire. Vi studis i
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selang uld Section XVII. bob) 1o Roger a vion and 10
i vd borlash bos The Fall of Babylon: and the Lamentation of her Tabela bu Kings and Merchants. Totogait
Chap. xviii. 1—24. bet P2T AY TATTO bu AND after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. mi
ço After the Apostle had been certified, by the angel of the vials, who is meant by Babylon the great, he had a vision, in which her destruction was particularly described. This vision, which seeins to contain an enlarged account of what was before briefly hinted at, appears to be especially connected with the pouring out of the seventh vial; for it is under this vial that " Babylon is remembered to give unto “her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his “ wrath.” The angel, which the Apostle here sees, is distinct from any one of those who poured out the vials, and seems to be either Christ himself, or an emblematical representation of his coming to destroy his enemies. This superior angel comes with great power, and illuminates the earth with his glory. This imagery may perhaps have a reference to the diffusion of the light of the Gospel of Christ through all nations; to which event, as well as to the destruction of Antichrist, the language seems naturally to direct our thoughts. This powerful and glorious angel repeatedly proclaims with a loud voice, such as all might hear, that “ Babylon the great is fallen“ fallen” totally and finally. By Babylon the great is evidently meant, as has been before demonstrated, the ecclesiastical empire of Rome, or the papal Antichrist. The destruction of this power is predicted and described in the same sublime and figurative style, as the Old Testament prophets foretold the fall of ancient Babylon and Tyre, the types and emblems of this spiritual Babylon. The fall of mystical Babylon, as here predicted, evidently relates to her final overthrow, foretold by the “ harvest and the “ vintage,” by the “ battle of Armageddon,” and by the “ supper of the great God*.” By Babylon we are not to understand merely the city of Rome, as consisting of material buildings; but the idolatrous church of Rome, or the papal superstition, extending
over many nations and people and tongues. Bishop Newton indeed supposes that the city of Rome literally will be destroyed, in the manner represented in the prophecy; and that it will be actually burnt with fire. This, however, does not seem necessarily to follow from the prediction; as the subject of it is Popery, and not merely or exclusively the literal city of Rome. The fire, therefore, as well as the city, may be figurative, and refer to such instruments and means as are suited to the destruction of the object. The events of war, or other providential dispensations, may be such to the antichristian power of Popery, as fire is to a city. It is, however, possible, and perhaps highly probable, that some great and tremendous calamities may befall the city of Rome, though it is not necessary we should suppose, that, as a city, it should be completely and finally destroyed. But this can only be determined by the event; for the actual accomplishment of the prediction must illustrate the manner in which it is to be fulfilled, with respect to Rome literally. Mystical Babylon, however, like the literal one, is to be totally and utterly annihilated, as appears evident from the terms of the prediction in the second verse. When the utter destruction of a city is denounced in Scripture, the site of the city is commonly described as becoming the habitation of wild beasts, birds of prey, and loathsome reptiles; and it has been observed by Bishop Lowth *, that Hebrew words expressive of such animals, are translated in the Septuagint dorkovia, devils or demons, which is the word here used. Among the reasons assigned for the destruction of this mystical city, several of which have been mentioned before in the preceding chapter, it is here stated, that “the merchants of the earth are “ waxed rich through the abundance of her delica“ cies.” The outward magnificence, luxury, and ex
cess of the church of Rome have proved a source of immense wealth to vast multitudes; and the various arts, trades, manufactures, and species of commerce, which flourish by means of her pompous religion, have always helped to support it: for“ by that craft “ many have their wealth.” But the spiritual merchandise, by which multitudes of the clergy have enriched themselves, and wickedly lived in affluence, through the sins and follies of mankind, seems here to be particularly intended.
4. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. 7. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. 8. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
Another voice from heaven is heard by the Apostle, directing the people of God, who had in different ways and degrees been connected with this corrupt church, to come out of her, as Lot escaped from Sodom ; lest, being partakers of her sins, they should partake also of her plagues. This second voice also confirms the charges exhibited against her by the first, and reiterates her doom. As her crimes, her daring and presumptuous wickedness, resembled mountains, and, like the sins of Sodom and ancient Babylon, reached up to heaven *, so God now remembered her iniquities, and was coming forth to