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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 somino ;"
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 xotyanimgiov, cæmeteriui, sleeping-place. The lofty heathen writers, who could promise to their readers no such resurrection of the body, called the death of the good ispor Útvo (Homer); which noble expression probably gave rise to that beautiful epitaph, ascribed to Callimachus:
Τηδε Σαων και Δικωνος Ακανθιος ιερον υπνου
In sleep :--for who shall say the good are dead ? * Irenæus, 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:
how gladly would I meet
yet one doubt
Before we leave this passage, let us remark how appropriately the reward of escaping the second death is holden forth to the good Smyrnæans, when called to martyrdom, and how consistently our Lord represents himself to these martyrs, as “He who was dead, and " is alive!"
Lest that pure breath of life, the spirit of man,
Paradise Lost, book x. 775–788.
The Address to the Church in Pergamos.
CHAP. ji. Ver. 12-17.
12 Kai tū afrykaw tñs 12 And to the Angel of έν Περγάμω έκκλη
the Church in Pergaσίας γράψον Τάδε
mos, write; Thus saith λέγει ο έχων την he whololdeth the two
poupaixv thy diso-13 edged sharp sword: I 13 por ti v očelar oi
know thy works, and δα τα έργα σε, και where thou dwellesi, το κατοικείς, όπε ο
ETCn where the throne θρόνος το σατανά: of Satan is; and thou και κρατείς το όνομά
holdest fast my name, με, και εκ ηρνήσω and hast not denied twv wisivut, [y]
my faith ; [even) in εν ταίς ημέραις, εν the days in which Anμις Αλίπας ο μάρ
tipas my faithful witτυς με και τιςός, δε
ness was, who was slain drexlávOy, wap'oping
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, eren 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 dwell
ότι ο σατανάς κα 14 tan dwelleth. But I 14 eth. But I have a few 14 torxki, 'Ana's gew have against thee a few things against thee, be
καία σε ολίγα, ότι things, that thou hast cause thou hast there έχεις εκεί κρατείας there those who hold them that hold the την διδαχήν Βα the doctrine of Balaam,
doctrine of Balaam, λαάμ, ος εδίδασκε, who taught Balak to who tauglit Balak to το Βαλάκ βαλείν cast a stumbling-block cast a stumbling-block σκάνδαλον ενώπιον before the children of before the children of Tüy viwr 'lopana, Israel; to eat things
Israel, to eat things φαγείν ειδωλόθυτα, , sacrificed to idols, and
sacrificed unto idols, 15 xj wozusūcx. Oö
to commit fornication: and to commit forniTws ixes njoj uge- 15 So hast thou also those
15 cation. So hast thou τεντας την διδαχήν who hold the doctrines also them that hold the των Νικολαϊτών
of the Nicolaitans in doctrine of the Nico16 μοίως. Μετανόη
16 like manner. Repent, laitanes, which thing I Covey didunia therefore, or else I am 16 hate. Repent; or else χομαί σοι ταχύ, , coming unto thee soon,
I will come unto thee και πολεμήσω μετ' !
and I will war against quickly; and will fight uitwy év poves thein with the sword against them with the φαία το σόμαλός με. .
He sword of my mouth. 17 40 8xwy cùs, &xou
that hath an ear, let 17 He that hath an ear, σάτω τι το πνεύμα him hear what the let him hear what the λέγει ταϊς εκκλησί
Spirit saith unto the Spirit saith unto the αις" τα νικάντι δώ
Churches: To him who Churches: To him that σω αυτό το μάννα τα
overcometh, to him overcometb, will I give κεκριμμένα, και δώσω
will I give of the hid to eat of the hidden αυτη ψήφον λευκης,
den manná; and I will manna; and I will give και επί την ψήφον
give him a white stone, him a white stone, and όνομα καινόν γείχαμ
and upon the stone a in the stone a new name μένον, και έδεις οίδεν
written, written, which no man ει μη και λαμβάνων.
which none knoweth knoweth, saving lie that but he who receivethit. receiveth it.
Ver. 12. Pergamos.] A city of great account, enriched and adorned by a long succession of the Attalian Kings. The last of these, Attalus Philometer, bequeathed his dominions to the Romans, and it then became the residence of a Roman pro
cousul. 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 here f. 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 disciples [. And the Bætñ, or depths of Gnostical learning, are ascribed to Satan, in the address to the Church of Thyatira . 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
Nat. Hist. lib. v. C. XXX.
+ Ver. 13.
“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 Cæsariensis reports, that he had read the history of his martyrdom t.
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 Balaam [.”
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
+ Comm. in loc.
• See the last note.