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naked, and they may see his shame; an intimation that the people of God will be expecting his advent, but the world at large taken by surprise; and that all who are not watching and ready for the dread event, will be exposed by his appearing to public disgrace.
Mr. Cuninghame regards the three spirits as the spirit of atheism, despotism, and popery; and Mr. Elliott as the spirit of infidelity, popery, and "ultra high churchism.” But that is to exhibit ihem as characteristics of actors, not as agents, and is therefore against the law of symbolization. The spirits are bodied beings, like frogs ; and the symbols therefore of men, not of their principles or aims. Each of those writers assumes also that they are to employ themselves in the propagation of atheism, or infidelity, anarchy, and popery. The representation, however, of the prophecy is, that they go to the kings to gather them together to batile with the Son of God, and those who descend with him from heaven; which implies that they are to unite in a formal endeavor to prevent the establishment of his throne on the earth, and perhaps by the occupation of Judea, or some other act, that shall be deemed to involve a refutation of the prophecy of his millennial reign.
CHAPTER XVI. 17-21.
THE SEVENTH VIAL.
And the seventh poured his vial into the air, and a great voice came from the temple, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunders, and there was a great earthquake. The like had not been since men were on the earth, such an earthquake, so great. And the great city went into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the vehemence of his indignation. And every island fled, and mountains were not found. And hail great in weight as talents descended from heaven on the men. And the men blasphemed God for the stroke of the hail, for its stroke was very great.
The other vials were poured on different parts of the symbolic world—the land, the sea, the rivers, the sun, the throne of the wild beast, the Euphrates, and the effect of each limited to its peculiar scene. That this is to be poured into the air which envelops the globe, indicates that the great changes which follow it are not to be circumscribed within the western Roman empire, but to extend to all the kingdoms of the earth. Lightnings, voices, and thunders, are symbols of the vehement thoughts and passionate expressions of multitudes, occasioned by the sudden discovery of momentous truth. An earthquake denotes a civil revolution, in which the whole surface of society is thrown into commotion and disorder, and ancient political institutions shaken down. This convulsion, which is to transcend in violence all that had preceded it, is doubtless the same as that which is symbolized under the sixth seal, and is to extend to all the governments of the earth. Great Babylon, which had previously fallen, is then to separate into three parts. The apostate hierarchies are not only to survive their disjunction as establishments from the civil governments, but those governments themselves, and to divide into three parties—not geographically, which were not in accordance with analogy-but in respect to leaders, principle, or policy. The cities of the nations, in contradistinction from the great city, are the hierarchies of the nations without the ten kingdoms, as the Russian, the Greek, the Armenian, the Syrian. They also are then to fall. God is then to pour on great Babylon that storm of wrath by which she is to be utterly destroyed. Every smaller combination of men symbolized by the islands, is to be dissolved, and mighty governments, denoted by mountains, vanish from existence. A hail-storm is a symbol of sudden and resistless strokes, by which, in a violent political revolution, men are smitten down from dignity, independence, and happiness, to helplessness, vassalage, and ruin ; as such a storm strips the leaves and fruits from the trees, and dashes down the crops of grass and grain. Such a devastating tempest is to beat on the men who belong to the train of antichrist, and they are to blaspheme God because of the greatness of their calamities. The revolutions and contests indicated by these symbols, are doubtless to follow the advent of the Son of God to raise the saints from death, to precede the vintage, and perhaps the harvest, and to occupy a considerable period.
CHAPTER XVII. 1-18.
THE WOMAN, THE GREAT BABYLON, THE TEN-HORNED WILD
BEAST, AND THE KINGS.
And one of the seven angels who held the seven vials, came and talked with me, saying, Come, I will show thee the judgment of the great harlot, who sits on the many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and they who dwell on the earth have been drunk with the wine of her fornication. And he led me in Spirit into a desert; and I saw a woman seated on a scarlet wild beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was robed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stone, and pearls; having a golden cup her hand full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication, and on her forehead a name written ;-Mystery, the great Babylon, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. And I wondered, seeing her, with great wonder. And the angel said to me, Why dost thou wonder? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the wild beast that bears her, which has the seven heads and ten horns. The wild beast which thou didst see, was, and is not, and is about to ascend from the abyss, and go to perdition. And they who dwell on the earth, whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, shall wonder, seeing the wild beast, that it was, and is not, and yet is. Here is the mind that has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains where the woman sits on them, and are seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when it has come it must continue a short time. And the wild beast, which was and is not, is itself also an eighth, and is of the seven, and goes to perdition. And the ten horns which thou didst see are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but receive power as kings in one hour with the wild beast. They have one mind, and give their power and authority to the wild beast. They shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and they who are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And he said to me, The waters which thou didst see where the harlot sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
And the ten horns which thou didst see and the wild beast, they shall hate the harlot, and make her desolate, and naked, and eat her flesh, and burn her with fire : For God has put into their hearts to do his will, and to pursue one coun
unsel, and to give their kingdom to the wild beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman whom thou didst see, is the great city which has empire over the kings of the earth.
It is apparent from the representation, that the woman had already been beheld by the apostle sitting where there were seven mountains and many waters; that she was exhibited in that scene in a vision which is not recorded, and for the reason, doubtless, that her agency with the kings, who were exhibited in connection with her, was unsuitable for description. The scene was the site of Rome. The seven heights were the seven hills of that city, and they were symbols of the seven kinds of rulers who exercised the government of the ancient empire, as is shown by the angel's interpretation, who exhibits them as the same as the seven heads of the wild beast. The hills were surrounded by many waters, which are symbols of the peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues of the Roman empire, after the emergence of the ten kingdoms, as is shown by their cotemporaneousness with the woman, during the agency ascribed to her, which she exerted subsequently to the establishment of those kingdoms. The woman seated where the hills were and the waters, symbolized the great Babylon, the nationalized hierarchies of the apostate church, and actions are ascribed to her which render it apparent that the kings of the earth were also exhibited as uniting with her in her idolatry. The spectacle, therefore, like the wild beast on which she is now exhibited, represented the ancient rulers of the empire as well as its kings in its last form; and in addition, by the waters, symbolized their subjects in their relations to the harlot; and its object was to represent her in her union with the kings in promoting idolatry, and her agency in seducing the people to join in their worship. Her relation to the kings and people, and her character as an idolatress, having thus already been exhibited to the apostle, the angel now called him to another spectacle, in which she is represented in her relations to the rulers, first as her supporters, and finally as her destroyers. The wild beast, on which she is borne, was, and is not, and yet is. It was, as the successions of rulers of the ancient empire, which its heads symbolize, had been, but were not, at the period indicated by the vision, when the supreme authority had passed from the heads to the horns. It is not, as a government of a head is no longer exercised over the empire as anterior to its fall; and yet it still is in an eighth form, inasmuch as the cotemporaneous kings who now reign over the kingdoms into which it is divided, exert a sway essentially the same; maintaining the laws of the ancient empire in a large degree; uniting in supporting the same religion, as that which the rulers denoted by the seventh head supported; and, like those rulers, usurping the prerogatives of God, nationalizing the church, and assuming to determine by their will the religious duties of their subjects. That it is in this relation that they are still the wild beast, is shown in the representation, that it is in their having one counsel that they give their power and authority to the wild beast. They become a combination of rulers, and render their several governments one, by exercising their power and authority on the same principles and for the same purposes, for which the supreme power was exercised by the seventh head; and in that respect they are an eighth, formed of the seven, and appropriately symbolized by the same monster under the horns, because of the similarity of their assumptions, religion, laws, and conduct towards God and his people.
It is covered with the names of blasphemy in symbolization of its arrogation of the rights of God, and assumption of authority over his legislation. It is not a blasphemer by its conquests, its blood-shedding, and tyranny. Names of blasphemy have no adaptation to symbolize such agencies, which have not God, but fellow-creatures, for their object. Its bloodiness and cruelty moreover are denoted by its form as a ferocious wild beast. But it blasphemes by setting itself in the place of God, arrogating his prerogatives, and exacting a homage that is due only to him. That it does in assuming the right to dictate the faith and worship of its subjects, legislating over the laws he imposes on them, making its will the reason that they are to offer a worship, treating dissent from its creed and a refusal to unite in the rites it enjoins, as a crime meriting the same punishment as revolt from God, exalting the authority of ecclesiastical teachers and rulers above that of the Almighty, and all other acts in which it asserts a dominion over men in their relations to the creator;—as in all those acts it treats their relations to him as subordinate to their relations to itself, and thence treats him also as subordinate in right and authority to itself; and accordingly in effect denies his deity, his title to the homage which he demands, and thence the rectitude of his law, and exhibits him as an usurper. Of these tremendous blasphemies the rulers of the