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the earth, denotes the resistless light in which they are to unveil the apostate character of Babylon, and the dazzling splendor in which they are to set the rectitude and wisdom of God in her punishment. The vehemence with which he proclaims her fall indicates that they are to regard it as an event of the greatest significance. Her fall is to be her dejection from her station as nationalized by the civil governments, and is to be produced by violence, as a city is overthrown only by a violent cause, as an earthquake, and as the millstone was hurled by the angel with violence into the sea ; and it is to be the work of the multitude in place of the rulers, as is shown by the regrets of the kings and nobility at her destruction.
As ancient Babylon, after her overthrow, became the habitation of wild beasts, her desolate houses were filled with doleful creatures; owls, and satyrs, and dragons, cried in her pleasant palaces ; so this analogous Babylon is to become the resort after her fall of the most vile and detestable beings. Those who thereafter unite themselves to her, are to be as much more depraved and savage than her former adherents, as dragons, owls, and satyrs, are more hideous and hateful than the cultivated population of a wealthy and powerful city. They are to throw off their disguises, and exhibit their hostility to God in all its impiousness. All these representations indicate that her denationalization is to be a most momentous change to her, to the people of God, and to the world.
Her overthrow, like that of ancient Babylon, is to be in consequence of her idolatry, because all nations have drunk of her wine, and the kings have united with her in the practice and propagation of idol-worship. This representation is in accordance with the different agency which she has exerted towards them. The multitude have been seduced to her false worship by her arts; while the kings needed no such seduction, but have ever been as ready to usurp the rights of God and exalt their authority above his, as she. They have been prompted by the same principles and passions in their co-operation with her in the imposition on their subjects of her apostate doctrines and worship:
After this proclamation of her fall, the prophet, as in the vision of the fourteenth chapter, heard another voice, and doubtless as then, of another angel, summoning the people of God to come out of her, lest they partake of her sins, and receive of her plagues. This angel, like the former, is to be regarded as the symbol of a body of men, and his cry shows, that after her fall, some of the people of God are still to linger within her commu
nion; and that after they who proclaim her dejection have fulfilled their office, others are to arise and summon all true worshippers to withdraw from her, lest by continuing under her jurisdiction they sanction her sins, and expose themselves to her punishment.
The discrimination of the city from its inhabitants, verifies the interpretation I have given of it
, as the hierarchies of the church in distinction from their members ; not the church at large as many regard it. What the walls and dwellings of a material city are to the people whom they protect and shelter, the hierarchy of a church is to the members who place themselves under
a its authority. Her punishment is to be a wholly different event from her fall
, is speedily to follow that catastrophe, and is to be inflicted by the hand of men. Give to her as she gave. Double to her double, according to her treatment of others. Into the cup into which she poured, pour to her double. These retributions are to overtake her suddenly. In a day her plagues shall come, death, and mourning, and famine, and she shall be burned with fire.
The kings of the earth who had united with her in her idolatries, are to witness her punishment and lament it. They are not to be its authors therefore, nor are they to attempt to hinder it. They are to stand at a distance, and leave the executors of the divine wrath, who are doubtless to be the multitude, to fulfil their office without obstruction. The survivance of the kings, shows that her fall is to take place before the great battle in which they are to be destroyed. Her merchants who are the great ones of the earth, symbolize the nobles doubtless and dignitaries that held the patronage of her benefices. They also, and others who have grown rich by her luxury, are like the kings, to witness her overthrow, without attempting to intercept it ; and are to lament it, and they alone. Heaven, by which as it is distinguished from the redeemed, is doubtless meant the angelic hosts, is summoned to rejoice over her, and the saints, and the apostles, and the prophets, because God has by his judgments condemned her condemnation of them.
And her destruction is to be entire. As a millstone when thrown into the depths of the sea, sinks forever from the sight of men; so she is to be swept from the earth and leave not a trace of her greatness or mischievous dominion; and because she is a sorceress whose whole agency has been to seduce men from God; and a murderess who has shed the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who have been slain in the empire for the word
FALL AND DESTRUCTION OF THE GREAT BABYLON.
of God during her sway: which is another mark that she symbolizes the nationalized hierarchies, as they have been the instigators of all the persecutions of the witnesses of God from the commencement of their testimony.
What a tremendous doom thus awaits those apostate powers ! What a demonstration it is to form that God rejects them! What a refutation of their impious pretences that ihey are his minislers, that they are exclusively invested with authority to teach his will, and that they enjoy his sanction in their usurpations, their idolatries, their blasphemies, their persecution of his worshippers! And what an illustrious vindication of the witnesses and martyrs who resisted alike their seduction, and their vengeance, and maintained allegiance to the King of kings !
Grotius, Dr. Hammond, Mr. Brightman, Mr. Daubuz, and Vitringa, regard the great Babylon as a literal city, and as Rome either ancient or modern. But that is to treat the prophecy not as symbolic, but in every thing except the name of the city, as literal; and is therefore of all constructions the most certainly erroneous. It is no more indisputable that the woman and the wild beast are symbolic, than it is that the literal city of arts and commerce which is here used as a symbol, is representative of an analogous structure, and if those writers felt justified in assuming that it denotes a literal city, they should for the same reasons have regarded the woman as symbolizing a literal sorceress, who induces the nations to drink of a golden cup of abominations held in her hand; and the wild beast as denoting a literal sevenheaded and ten-horned monster on which the sorceress is borne. But as the vision is symbolic; as the symbol city is a literal city like Babylon, of palaces and dwellings, of merchants and artisans, of merchandise and luxury, having a sea and land, and sustaining relations to civil rulers; it is thence as indisputably certain that the city she represents, is not a merchant city, but an analogous structure of human beings, sustaining a relation of authority and supremacy towards vast multitudes of fellow-beings, resembling that of a city of walls and edifices towards the population that is sheltered within it. It is an organized body of men, therefore, or an assemblage of organizations that exercise official influence and dominion over a community or communities. It is not a political body, inasmuch as it is distinguished from the kings and great men-of the earth. It is therefore ecclesiastical, and is the organized body of the rulers and teachers of the nationalized church, not the whole body of the church itself; no more than the walls and edifices of a city, are the population that inhabit it.
It is that vast hierarchy of rulers and teachers whose authority and sway overshadow the unofficial multitude of the church, as the walls and dwellings of a city invest and shelter the inhabitants that reside within it.
Mr. Brightman, Mr. Daubuz, Vitringa, and Mr. Lowman, exhibit the merchants as the great dignitaries of the apostate church, and the sailors and traffickers of the sea as the inferior ranks of prelates, priests, and monks; which inasmuch as those ranks are a part of the hierarchies which the city symbolizes, is to make the merchant city, and its merchants and traffickers the same. But the merchants, sailors, traffickers, and artisans, are not of those who are represented by the city, but of wholly different orders who contribute to its support, minister to its luxury, and derive from it wealth. They symbolize those therefore who have control of the benefices and revenues, and supply the sustenance and luxury of the hierarchies ; such as the nobles and officers of state who hold the right of patronage, and the vast trajn of officials who serve in the spiritual courts, manage the property of the church, and constitute the households of the great dignitaries.
CHAPTER XIX. 1-4.
THE HYMN OF THE HEAVENLY HOSTS ON THE DESTRUCTION OF
After these, I heard as a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Halleluia! The salvation, and the glory, and the power of our God; for true and righteous (are] his judgments; for he has judged the great harlot, which corrupted the earth with her fornication, and has vindicated the blood of his servants from her hand ! And again they said, Halleluia! And her smoke ascends forever and
And the four-and-twenty elders, and the four living creatures fell and worshipped God who sat on the throne, saying, Amen, Halleluia !
The shout from heaven of praise to God and celebration of the truth and justice of his judgments in the destruction of the apostate hierarchies, was obviously from the angelic hosts, as the response from the elders and living creatures is symbolic of
an answering song from the redeemed; and denote that they are not only to be spectators of her overthrow, but to discern its uprightness and wisdom; and are fully therefore to know her character and agency, his dispensations towards her, and the influences that are to spring from her punishment. What a vastness of knowledge it implies! What a sense of his rights ! What an acquaintance with the reasons for which he allows men to rebel, and displays his rights and justice in their punishment ! What a realization of the guilt of rebellion ; and what an assurance that that great measure of his administration is to subserve the well-being of his kingdom through eternal ages! This hy presents a further demonstration that she is not a material city, but the representative of apostate men. As a material city is not an agent, and not the subject of praise or blame, its destruction could form no such display of the righteousness of God, or vindication of those whose blood had been shed in it.
CHAPTER XIX. 5-10.
THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB.
And a voice came from the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye who fear him, small and great. And I heard as a voice of a great multitude, and as a voice of many waters, and as a voice of mighty thunders, saying, Halleluia, that the Lord God Almighty has reigned. Let us rejoice, and exult, and give glory to him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has prepared herself. And it was given to her that she should be robed in fine linen, bright and pure ; for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.
And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they who are called to the supper of the marriage of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true words of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him ; and he said to me, See thou do it not. I am a fellow-servant of thee and of thy brethren, who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.
The voice from the throne summoning all the servants of God of every rank to praise him, indicates that a great epoch is then