Page images
PDF
EPUB

seven hills, which are so famously known in Rome. And besides, they denote the seven kings or emperors thereof, (that have had any thing to do with the christians,) which are here to be numbered from the time of the beginning of these visions, till this, of the writing of them; of them five are dead, all of violent deaths, poisoned, or killed by themselves or others, viz., Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius ; one then reigned, viz., Vespasian, and a seventh was not yet come to the kingdom, viz., Titus, who, when he should come to it, should reign but two years and two months. And Domitian, described ver. 8, as he that was, and is not, that is, one that in Vespasian's time, while he was busy in other parts, exercised all power at Rome, and was called emperor, is the eighth, that is, comes to the empire after those seven, being the son of one of them, to wit, of Vespasian, (in whose time, also, he held the government of Rome,) and this a wretched, accursed person, a cruel, bloody persecutor of the christians, and shall be punished accordingly.' Par. in loc.

In his note on ver. 8, Dr. Hammond further speaks of this Domitian :This person being a great persecutor of Christians, God's judgments were remarkably to fall on him, which is the meaning of he goeth into perdition, ver. 11; for he was butchered by his own servants.'

2. Dutch ANNOTATIONS. The authors of the Dutch Annotations take a somewhat different view of this subject. Like Hammond, they understand the beast to represent the persecuting power, by means of which the church suffered affliction. But they differ from him in supposing this power vested in papal Rome, rather than in heathen Rome—in' the pope, rather than in the emperor. The term, perdition, which is principally important in this passage,) they understand to be temporal destruction. In fact, they do not, like Hammond, interpret it to mean loss of life, but only loss of power. I quote as much of the note as relates to this subject :-

Go into perditionnamely, after it shall have con

tinued some considerable time, it will again decrease by degrees, and lose its authority among christians, as of latter times is begun, and in the next chapter shall be fulfilled.' Annot. in loc.

3. CLARKE. In a note, much too long for quotation in this place, Dr. Clarke interprets the whole passage to relate to the concerns of this present world.

4. Grotius. Go into perdition : perdition here, as in John xvii. 12, and 2 Thess. ii. 3, signifies, not simply death, but a most grievous death ; such occurred in the case of Domitian, who was slain by the hands of his own servants, as may be seen in Suetonius and Philostratus.' Annot. in loc.

SECTION CXXXV.

* And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth : and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.-Rev. xix. 20, 21.

The lake of fire and brimstone many imagine must belong to the future existence. But the writers quoted below explain it otherwise.

1. HAMMOND. * And the Roman idolatry, and the magic, and auguries, and the divinations of the heathen priests, that had deceived the carnal christians, so far as to consent and comply with the heathenish idolotry, were to be like Sodom and Gomorrah, utterly extirpated. And the rest—all the secret idolaters, were swept away in the same destruction also, (for thinking that these armies against Rome, would be favorable to any, more than to the orthodox, pure christians, they then thought it a fit time to discover themselves, but strangely miscarried in it, the christians that fled to the Basilica, or temple, being

the only persons that found deliverance,) and so all their idol-worship was destroyed, which is the sum of this chapter.' Par. in loc.

2. CLARKE. On the taking of the beast, Dr. Clarke refers to his note on chap. xvii. 8, &c., in which, as I have already observed, he interprets the figurative language which occurs here, as having reference to the present state of existence. He then says

That worshipped his image: the beast has been represented as the Latin empire ; the image of the beast, the popes of Rome; and the false prophet, the papal clergy.

Were cast alive into a lake of fire: were discomfited when alive, in the zenith of their power, and destroyed with an utter destruction.' Com. in loc.

3. ROSENMULLER. These were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with sulphur: Isaiah has a comparison not unlike this, chap. Ixvi. 24, in which is contained a description of the most severe punishments. The same is repeated, Rev. xx. 10, where the devil is added. The divine prophet thus signifies, that idolatry and idol worship should be so extinguished in the Roman empire, that nothing more of it should appear than of a thing consumed by fire-than of Sodom, for example, and the neighboring cities.' Scholia in loc.

4. Grotius. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone: the same is repeated, chap. xx. 10, where the devil is added,' &c. Annot. in loc.

See the note of Rosenmuller, which is, in fact, merely a transcript of Grotius.

SECTION CXXXVI.

• But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection : on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.'-REV. xx. 5,6.

Here we find again the phrase, second death, connected with the first resurrection; and in order to present a more extended view of the manner in which some orthodox writers understand it, I offer short quotations from Lightfoot and Rosenmuller, and a long one from Hammond. It will be observed, that neither of these writers understand the text to teach the doctrine of endless misery

1. LIGHTFOOT. “Now what, and at what time, is this resurrection ? When the great angel of the covenant, Christ, had bound the old dragon with the chains of the gospel, and shut him up, that he should no more seduce the nations by lying wonders, oracles, and divinations, and his false gods, as formerly he had done ; that is, when the gospel, being published among the heathen nations, had laid open all the devices and delusions of Satan, and had restored them, from the death of sin and ignorance, to a true state of life indeed. This was the first resurrection.' Heb. and Talm. Exerc. in John v. 25.

2. ROSENMULLER. * This signifies that the church, for a season, should be delivered from the disturbers of her tranquillity, and from those pernicious errors which corrupted the innocence of Christians. What the first resurrection is, appears with sufficient plainness from what is said thus far; namely, a tranquil and happy state of the church is indicated.' Scholia in loc.

HAMMOND. • As for the old idolaters, or Gnostics, there was nothing like them now to be seen, nor should be till the end of this

space

thousand is it that is proverbially described by the first resurrec

of a

years. This

tion, that is, a flourishing condition of the church under the Messias. And blessed, and holy, that is, safe, (separate from all danger,) are all those that are really in the number of them that partake, effectually, of these benefits, who, as they are rescued from those destructions which the Roman tyrrany threatened them with, which is the interpretation of the second death; so they shall now have the blessing of free, undisturbed assemblies for all this space.' Par. in loc.

Dr. Hammond subjoins the following notes :

First resurrection: what is meant by the first resurrection, here, may be discerned by comparing it with the second resurrection, in the ordinary notion of it. That signifies the resurrection to eternal life; proportionably, this must signify a reviving—a restoring to life, though not to that eternal. Here it is figuratively used to express the flourishing condition of the christian church for that thousand years, wherein the christian professors, in opposition to idolatrous heathens, and Gnostic christians, live safely and happily in the enjoying the assemblies which is, saith he, as if the primitive martyrs were fetched out of their graves to live again, here, in tranquillity upon the earth. Where, only, it is to be noted, that the resurrection here is of the church, not of the

particular persons, (the beheaded, &c., mentioned ver. 4,) thus to be understood, that the church which was persecuted, and suppressed, and slain, as it were, and again corrupted and vitiated in its members, now rose from the dead, revived again.'

The second death : this phrase--the second death, is four times used in this book, chap. ii. 11, and here, chap. XX. 6, then ver. 14, then chap. xxi. 8. It seems to be taken from the Jews, who use it proverbially for final, utter, irrevocable destruction. So in the Jerusalem Targum, Deut. xxxiii. 6—Let Reuben live, and let him not die the second death by which the wicked die in the world to

me. Where, whatsoever be signified, among them, by the world to come, (the age of the Messias, in whatsoever Jewish notion of it,) it seems to denote such a death, from which there is no release. And according to this

« PreviousContinue »