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horted by our Saviour not to be afraid of this first death, “ of them that kill the body,” but of Him who can inflict the second death, “who is able to destroy “both soul and body in hell;” in that very lake of fire which is described as the second death in Rev. xx. 14, and xxi. 8. which two passages will be found to elucidate the sense of this expression, “the second “death,” as used in the Apocalypse".
death of its terrors, continued long in popular use with the Christian world. Prudentius, speaking of the Christian bodies deposited in graves, says, “non mortua, sed data somno;" not dead, but sleeping.
And so says Tertullian: Neque ipsi mortui sumus, qui Deo vivimus, neque mortuos sepelimus, quia et illi vivunt in Christo. (Tertull. de Monog. cap. vii. ad fin.) Hence the place of Christian burial was called xologicy, coemeterium, sleeping-place.—The lofty heathen writers, who could promise to their readers no such resurrection of the body, called the death of the good isso, tryov (Homer); which noble expression probably gave rise to that beautiful epitaph, ascribed to Callimachus:
To Xaw & Awavos Axa,0ios isés, two,
Kopårai' Synaxu, wo Arys res aya&ss.
In sacred sleep here Saôn rests his head:—
In sleep:—for who shall say the good are dead?
* Irenaeus, one of the earliest commentators on the Apocalypse, explains “the second death" to mean the Gehenna, or eternal fire. Iren. lib. v. c. 35. This distinction between the two deaths may be read to advantage in the sublime Poet, who, speaking in the person of Adam, says:
— — — — yet one doubt Pursues me still, lest all I cannot die;— Lest
Before we leave this passage, let us remark how appropriately the reward of escaping the second death is holden forth to the good Smyrnaeans, when called to martyrdom, and how consistently our Lord represents himself to these martyrs, as “He who was dead, and
Lest that pure breath of life, the spirit of man,
12 And to the Angel of the Church in Pergamos, write; Thus saith he who holdeth the two13 edged sharp sword: I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where the throne of Satan is ; and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith ; seven] in the days in which Antipas my faithful witness was, who was slain among you, where Sa
12 And to the Angel of the Church in Pergamos,write,These things saith he, which hath the sharp sword with 13 two edges. I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is ; and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you,where Satan dwell14 tan dwelleth. But I have against thee a few things, that thou hast there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel; to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication: 15 So hast thou also those who hold the doctrines of the Nicolaitans in 16 like manner. Repent, therefore, or else I am coming unto thee soon, and I will war against them with the sword 17 of my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches: To him who overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden manna; and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which none knoweth but he who receiveth it.
14 eth. But I have a few things against thee, be
cause thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit forni15 cation. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I 16 hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly; and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches: To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the hidden manna; and I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it.
Ver. 12. Pergamos.] A city of great account, enriched and adorned by a long succession of the
The last of these, Attalus Philo
meter, bequeathed his dominions to the Romans,
and it then became the residence of a Roman pro
consul. Pliny the elder, who wrote but a short time before the date of this Revelation, describes it as the most famous city in Asia". . A heathen metropolis would naturally become a central seat of corruptive doctrines and morals; and in this sense it might be called “ the throne of Satan." It might also acquire this appellation from being the seat of the pagan persecuting government, whence issued the edicts and instruments of persecution; and it appears that Antipas, the faithful martyr, was slain heref. It was also a grand seat of heathen learning, because its famous library of 200,000 volumes would necessarily attract the residence of the learned; whence also from this place would probably be derived that “philosophy and vain deceit,” against which, as corruptive of Christianity, the apostle warns his disciplest. And the B295, or depths of Gnostical learning, are ascribed to Satan, in the address to the Church of Thyatira Ś. So, in more senses than one, Pergamos may have been styled the “Throne “of Satan.” It is described by modern travellers as containing at present from two to three thousand Turks, who have converted its best churches into mosques. Yet there are some few Christians remaining, to whom a priest sent from Smyrna, occasionally officiates. Ib. Two-edged sharp sword.] With this instrument of power our Lord has been already described, in ch. i. 16, where see the note. The description is peculiarly proper in this place, because the supreme Head of the Church now appears against the “Throne of “Satan,” against the seat of persecution, of corrupt morals, and of corrupt philosophy ". Ver. 13. Antipas.] No account has been preserved to our times, of this martyr; but Andreas Caesariensis reports, that he had read the history of his martyrdom f. Ver. 14. Doctrine of Balaam.] This Church is hitherto commended for its stedfast faith and perseverance, even in times of great trial. But she had in her bosom some who taught impure doctrines. By referring to Numb. xxxi. 16, and then to the whole 25th chapter of the same book, we learn that Balaam suggested to Balak the means, or stumbling-block, by which he decoyed Israel from their duty; and that the sin which they committed, when fallen into this snare, was apostacy from their God, by joining in the heathen sacrifices with the dissolute women, who were employed to seduce them. Hence, by the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Jude, a defection from the true religion, when united with immoral and 'lascivious practices, is called, “following the way, “or error of Balaams.” Ver. 15. Nicolaitans.] See note, ch. ii. 5. These were followers of the doctrine of Balaam, as the name signifies both in Hebrew and Arabic. See Michaelis, Introd. to New Test. ch. xxviii. sect. 3. Ver. 16. I will war against them.] Not against you the Church, but them, the corrupters of it. Yet, insomuch as many received these impure doctrines, and the rulers of the Church had not been vigilant to reclaim or eject them, all are called to repent. For the weapon with which their Lord threatens to
* Nat. Hist. lib. v. c. xxx. + Ver. 13. 1 Coloss. ii. 8. $ Wer. 24. “Satan,” * See the last note. t Comm. in loc. f 2 Pet. ii. 15. Jude 11. P attack