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en kingdoms, as well as of the ancient empire, especially those denoted by the seventh head, have been notoriously guilty.
The abyss out of which the wild beast was about to ascend, was the sea of many waters by which the peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues of the empire, after the fall of the imperial rule, were symbolized. The seven heads, like the seven mountains in the vision of the woman and the waters, denoted seven kinds of supreme rulers of the empire, five of whom had already fallen, one then was, and the other had not yet come. The head which then was, was the pagan imperial; those which had fallen, the kingly, the consular, the dictatorial, the decemviral, the tribunitial. That which had not yet come, and was to continue a short time, was the false Christian imperial, commencing with Constantine in the year 312, and falling at the subversion of the western empire in 476. The ten horns denoted the dynasties of kings who had not received a kingdom at the period of the vision, and were not to receive one until the emergence of the wild beast from the abyss of waters, after the overthrow of the imperial government, but were to receive it at that period, and to perpetuate the beast itself in an eighth form, by uniting with one counsel to exercise a rule like that of the head which preceded them. The wild beast is in this eighth form to go to perdition ; for the kings are to make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb is to conquer them, because he is King of kings and Lord of lords, and they who are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. The question between them, therefore, is to be, as has already been shown, one of prerogatives and supremacy. The Lamb is to conquer and destroy his antagonists, because he is under no such subordination to them as they blasphemously assume, in their attempt to exalt their authority above his; but has an absolute and exclusive right of dominion over lords and kings as well as subjects. It is also a question between them who are the true worshippers ; they who acknowledge and honor God as the only legitimate object of homage, and only rightful religious lawgiver; or they who worship the wild beast, by assenting to its blasphemous usurpations; and the Lamb is to conquer, because they who are with him have paid the homage that accords with his rights, and are the worshippers whom he calls, whom he chooses, and who by their fidelity give proof of their meetness for his acceptance.
The woman seated on the wild beast is the symbol of the great Babylon, the mother of harlots, the great city which has empire over the kings of the earth.
* Livii Hist. lib. vi. c. 1. Taciti Annal. lib. i. c. 1.
That empire is necessarily of a different nature from that of the kings themselves over their kingdoms; and is thence ecclesiastical, not civil; and is exercised by ecclesiastical hierarchies, as they alone exert or claim an authoritative sway over those under their jurisdiction. The station of the woman on the wild beast denotes that the combination of hierarchies which she symbolizes, is supported by the rulers whom that monster represents, and exhibits those hierarchies therefore as nationalized and established by the civil rulers. There is no other agency of the wild beast towards the woman, which her being borne by it, can symbolize. It does not denote the worship by the kings of her idols. It has no adaptation to represent such an agency, and that idolatry is symbolized by their fornication with her. It does not denote a submission to her as of supreme civil authority over them. It has no adaptation to express that submission, and they are nowhere exhibited as yielding it to her. The sway she exerts over them she is represented as exerting as a harlot and false prophet by enticements and miracles, not as a monarch over subjects. The wild beast is exhibited as the supreme civil power. She accordingly works wonders before it as such, and causes the inhabitants of the earth to worship it. There is no relation to the wild beast therefore which her station can denote, but her relation as a combination of nationalized hierarchies; invested with the exclusive authority which she arrogates to teach and worship, supplied with revenues, and armed with power to enforce her will on her vassals, and to persecute her opposers; and it has an obvious adaptation to indicate that relation.
Her purple and scarlet, her gold and gems, denote her wealth, luxury, and pomp; her name and cup, her idolatry and artful agency in seducing the nations to apostasy; her intoxication with the blood of the saints, the infuriate joy she derives from the slaughter of the witnesses of Jesus.
When, however, she has nearly run her career, the kings are to hate her, to rob her of her wealth, divest her of her ornaments, make her naked, devour her flesh, and burn her with fire; for God has put into their hearts to fulfil his will, and act the part which is ascribed to them as they are symbolized by the horns of the wild beast, until his words are accomplished. The conversion of the kings to hatred and disarray of the great idolatress, devouring her flesh and burning her with fire, has already in a degree taken place, in the disallowance and scorn of her imperious claims in most of the European states, the confiscation of her property in France and slaughter of many of her priests, the robbery of the churches, monasteries, and ecclesiastics, of their wealth, wherever the French armies penetrated during the wars of the revolution, the conquest of the papal states, and dejection of the pope from his throne by Bonaparte, the secularization of many of the ecclesiastical territories in Germany, the dissolution of the religious houses and confiscation of ecclesiastical property in Spain and Portugal during the revolutions in those countries, the resumption by the civil rulers of Austria and other kingdoms of the nomination to bishoprics and other rights which had been conceded to her on the erection of the image in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and in the abrogation in Great Britain of the monopoly of civil offices by the members of the establishment; and these retributive judgments, are doubtless to be continued and carried to a greater severity.
Commentators have universally interpreted the expression, the seven heads are seven mountains, as denoting that the heads are symbols of mountains. But that is against analogy, living beings having no adaptation to symbolize inanimate objects ; nor agents objects incapable of an agency. The meaning undoubtedly is, that the heads are like the mountains which had been exhibited to the prophet in a different vision, symbols of seven kinds of rulers; and the reason of the comparison is, that in another vision, which is not fully related, the mountains had been employed as symbols of the seven species of supreme rulers of the ancient empire, with the waters as symbols of the population, while the woman was exhibited as seated there in the presence of the kings, to represent her in the exertion of the agency by which she induced them to idolatry. How, if the heads are the symbols of the seven hills of Rome, is the representation to be explained that five are fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come; and when it is come, it must continue a short time? If the heads are symbols of the hills, the succession of the heads must denote a succession of the hills to one another, as much as of the kings.
Commentators have also generally interpreted the expression, the woman is the great city which has empire over the kings of the earth, as denoting that she is a symbol of Rome. But that is against analogy, as it is to make a living agent the representative of an inanimate object. To suppose her, on the other hand, to be a symbol of Rome as a community, is to suppose her to be a symbol of her as a civil community, which is not only without
any authority from the prophecy, but is irreconcilable with the representation in the next chapter, that the material city, which is used to symbolize the great ecclesiastical Babylon, is a city of commerce. As that symbol city, which represents the same ecclesiastical structure as the woman is employed to symbolize, is a city of commerce, and therefore a civil community, the city which they represent must be one of a different nature. The material city employed to represent the spiritual is ancient Babylon therefore indisputably, not Rome. That is apparent also from the name, which is used literally, not as a metaphor; and from the sixth vial, in which the Euphrates is used to represent the subjects of the spiritual Babylon, and Darius and Cyrus, the kings of the east, who dried up that river, to personate those who are to exert an analogous agency on the ecclesiastical Babylon, and by the alienation from her of her subjects prepare the way for her being overthrown.
CHAPTER XVIII. 1-24.
THE FALL AND DESTRUCTION OF THE GREAT BABYLON. And after these I saw another angel descending from heaven, having great power, and the earth was lighted by his glory. And he cried with a strong voice saying, She has fallen, has fallen, great Babylon, and become a habitation of demons, and a station of every unclean spirit, and a station of every unclean and hated bird ; because all the nations have drunk of the inflaming wine of her fornication ; and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her; and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the strength of her luxury,
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, Come out of her my people, that ye partake not of her sins, and that'ye receive not of her plagues; for her sins have accumulated to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Give to her as she also gave; and double to her double according to her works. Into the cup into which she has poured, pour to her double. As much as she has glorified herself and lived luxuriously, so much torment give her and sorrow. Because in her heart she says, I sit a queen, and am not a widow, and I cannot see sorrow; therefore in one day her plagues shall come, death and sorrow and famine, and she shall be burned with fire ; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her. And the kings of the earth who have committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her, when standing afar for fear of her torment, they may see the smoke of her burning, shall lament and mourn for her saying, Alas, alas, the great city Babylon, the mighty city; for in one hour has thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth weep and lament for her, because no one buys their merchandise any more ; merchandise of gold and silver, and precious stone, and pearl, and linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and every fragrant wood, and every ivory vessel, and every vessel of most precious wood, and of brass, and of iron, and of marble, and cinnamon and spice, and odors and ointment, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and cattle, and sheep, and of horses, and of chariots, and of bodies and souls of men. And the ripe fruits of thy soul's desire have gone from thee, and all thy dainty and splendid things have perished from thee, and thou shalt not find them any more. The merchants of those things who have grown rich by her, shall stand afar for fear of her torment, weeping and lamenting, saying, Alas, alas, the great city which was clothed in linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stone, and pearls ; for in one hour so great riches are destroyed. And every pilot, and every one who sails by the place, and sailors, and whoever worked at the sea, stood at a distance and cried, looking at the smoke of her burning, saying, What was like that great city ? And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, the great city by which all who have vessels in the sea were enriched by her wealth ; for in one hour is she destroyed.
Rejoice over her, O heavens, and the saints, and the apostles, and the prophets, because God has condemned your condemnation by her.
And a mighty angel took a stone, as a great millstone, and cast into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall the great city Babylon be cast down, and shall not be found any more. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and pipers, and trumpeters, shall not be heard any more in thee; and no artist of any art shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall not any more be heard in thee; and the light of a lamp shall not shine any more in thee; and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard any more in thee:--because thy merchants were the great men of the earth; because by thy sorceries all nations were seduced. And in her the blood of prophets and of saints was found, and of all who had been slain on the earth.
The angel descending from heaven and proclaiming the fall of Babylon is doubtless, like other symbolic agents, the representative of a body of men. The effulgence which he flashes over