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Ver. 8. A great mountain, burning with fire, was east into the sea ; &c.] At the sound of the second Trumpet, the hostile invasion of the antichristian powers falls upon the sea. Under this name, or that of the Isles of the sea, or Isles of the Gentiles, the nations beyond the pale of the Jewish Church, the Gentiles, are frequently represented *. These, by the original counsel and appointment of God, were, in process of time, to partake the benefits of Christianity, and to be exposed to its warfare. Upon these the attack descends, under the symbol of “a great mountain burning with "fire." A mountain, in prophetic language, signifies an eminent seat of power, civil or religious. From the mountain of Sinaï, the Law was proclaimed; it was the seat of the God and King of the chosen peeple. On Mount Sion afterwards stood His temple and the place of His local residence: and the increasing kingdom of Christ is described under the emblem of a mountain, which shall fill the whole earth f. And the powers, who opposed God and his people, had their fastuesses, and local vorship, on the tops of mountains," on every high hill .” Under such figurative language, the Christian Religion is called Mount Sion, and is contrasted with the Jewish Law, called Mount Sinaï, in the Epistle to the Hebrews . In this sense, Babylon, that eminent seat of power and of idolatry, hostile to true Religion, is by the pro
sepresented as the most active instigators of that persecution. See likewise Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, cent. i. ch. v,
* Gen. x. 5. Psalm Ixv. 5. Isaiah xxiii. 2, 11. xxiv. 14, xvii. 12, 13. Ix. 5. 9. xlii. 4. ; compared with Matt. xii. 21. Ezek, xxvi. 15, &c. Eccl'us xxiv. 56. + Is. xxv. 6. Dan. ix. 16. ii. 35, 44. Mic, xiii. 12. Zech, viii. 3. Ezek. xviii, 14. Mic, i. 45,
Heb. xii. 18, &c.
phets called a mountain, although it stood in a low situation by the river, and upon an extended plain. “ Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain ; "I will stretch out my hand upon thee, and roll thee ,“ down from the rocks." To which is added, “I will “make thee a burnt mountain.” And these words
tion of Babylon, frequently foretold in other passages. The mountain before us is still burning, and as such, is to become a formidable neighbour and enemy to the sea, --to the Gentile Christians, as the hail and fire had been to the land, -to the Jewish converts. The effect is similar in both, "Blood;”and the third part perishes. A large proportion of “those who had life,” (that is, as I conceive, spiritual life in Christ) * and who were distinguished among the Gentiles for their eminence, like ships which lift their heads above the plain of waters, perishes. “ Howl, ye ships of Tarshish t,” is an address to the inhabitants of Tarshish, and not literally to their ships, And to die, in the figurative language of Scripture, is to lose the spiritual life which is in Christ . Our Lord had foretold under the same figure, (“ Fire,") that his Religion should not descend upon the world without producing persecution, divisions, contentions, bloodshed, for the trial of faith, under which, many should fall away $. The Gentile converts were mingled with the heathen idolaters, whose power and corrupt religion were in due time, like Babylon, to become “a burnt mountain.” But the period of its extinction was not yet arrived ; it was now burning, and, as such, became terrible to all around. During
the three first centuries, the idolatrous power was consuming away from the fire inflicted upon it from above, and which had been cast upon the earth from the altar of the True Religion (v. 5). But so long as it continued burning, the persecution of the idolaters raged grievously against the Gentile Churches, and great was the number of the lapsed *.
Ver. 10, 11. A great star, burning like a meteor ; &c. ) Upon the sound of the third Trumpet, there is seen to fall from heaven a great star, burning like a dates: which Greek word will be found to express any bright effulgence, a lamp, a toreh, &c.; but having in this passage the semblanee of a star, it may be deemed what in our language we call a meteor ; thus therefore have I translated it. The Elder Pliny, describing, from the Greek Philosopher Hipparchus, various kivds of meteors, calls them by this very name lam. pades f. Such a meteor passing through the nocturnal air, is by Homer called u star;
- - -de cælo lapsa per umbras, Stella, facem ducens, multâ cum luce cucurrit.
Æneid. ii. 1
• Under this name, those Christians are represented in ecclesiastical history, who denied their faith in the times of persécution; and it was only by very severe penitence, that they could be restored 10 ibe bosom of the Church. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. vi. c. 44. Cypriadi Epistolæ ix, x. xi, et seq. Mosheim, cent. iii. part i. ch. 2. † Nat. Hist. lib. ii. c. 26. Şee also Aristot. Meteorol. lib. i. c. 4.
Sæpè etiam stellas, vento impendente, videbis
GEORG. i. 365.
The passage of such a meteor, in our popular language, is called the shooting of a star. Now a stár, in prophetic language, signifies a prince, or eminent leader, a leader in doctrine *. Such an one, falling from heaven, as did Satan t, corrupts the third part of the rivers and springs of waters, corrupts the streams and the sources of pure doctrine, which are by our Lord expressed under the same metaphor I. The corruption of pure doctrine and the introduction of heretical opinions are in Scripture commonly attributed to the agency of Satan and his angels ģ; and the corrupting doctrine, which produces heresies, is often expressed by the metaphors wormwood, gall, bitterness, &c. || And the death is spiritual f.
Under this Trumpet, therefore, we seem to obtain a general description of those corruptions, which, at the instigation of Satan, were seen to invade and subvert a great part of the Gentile Christian Church by the preaching of splendid heretics. Such, in the earliest times, were Simon, Menander, Cerinthus, &c.**
* See note, ch. i., 16.
+ Luke x. 18. 2 Pet. ii. 4. Jude 6.-And observe in ch. xii. 4, the fallen angels are described under the symbol of the stars of heaven: and the star, in ch. ix. 1-12, is a fallen angel, and has the action of such ascribed to him ; he opeus the pit of the bottomless deep.
John iv. 10. &c. vii. 37, 38, 39. § 2 Cor. xi. 14, 15. Eph. ii. 2. 2 Thess. ii. 9. 1 Tim. v, 15. Euseb, Hist. Eccl. lib. v. c.7.
l| Deut. xxix. 18. Is. v. 20. Amos v. 7. vi. 12. Acts viii. 23. # See note, ch. ii. 16. iii. 1.
** This evil spread wide : and the Waters of Christian doctrine lost their original sweetness and salubrity, in other hands than those of acknowledged heretics. Many who are called Fathers of the Church, though by no means wilful and intentional corrupters of the Faith, are observed to have bolden doctrines, which by no means
Ver. 12. And the third part of the Sun was smitten; &c.] At the sound of the fourth trumpet, the same kind of stroke which had afflicted the three preceding divisions of the Creation, falls on the fourth remaining part on the Heavenly Luminaries; the Sun, Moon, and Stars: a third part of these is smitten, and ceases to give light. When The Almighty took the Israelites to be his peculiar people, he is said, in prophetic language, to have “ planted the Heavens, "and laid the foundation of the earth.” It was a kind of new creation. Happiness was thereby found. ed for man on a new basis, and under new lights, unknown to the heathen. The Divine ordinances of Theocracy, under which that peculiar people flourished, are frequently expressed by the subHome images of the heavenly luminaries. So that the darkening of these implies, that this Divine polity shall fail t. But the heavenly dispensation of the Christian covenant, being to succeed to it by the appointment of the same Heavenly Lord, is represented by the same figures. When the Jewish polity, expressed under the image of the Sun and Moon, is " ashamed and confounded $," the superior splendour of the Christian Light shines forth in the same kind of description. “The light of the Moon shall be as the " light of the Sun, and the light of the Sun shall be " seven-fold g.” There is likewise frequent allusion
agree with the purity of Scripture. In some of them are to be discovered, the seeds at least of error, which were afterwards matured into dangerous heresies. (See this justly and eloquently set forth in a Sermon by the Bishop of Oxford, intitled Concio ad Clerum à Johan. Randolph ; 1790.) * Is. li. 16.
+ Amos viii. 9, &c. Matt. xxiv. 29. Is. xxiv. 23. Is. XXX. 26.