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according to Bishop Lowth *, uses three days for so many years. So Ezekiel, in ch. iv. 6 t. And as a week of days ended in a sabbatical day, so there was a week of years ending with a sabbatical year I. And after this manner of computation the prophecies of Daniel are generally understood. The difficulty of settling whether the persecution foretold in this passage be of days or of years, arises from this, that we have very little history of the Church in those times when the prophecy was probably fulfilled, at the conclusion of the first, or commencement of the second century, Many of the Christian records were destroyed in the Dioclesian persecution. We have indeed an account of a persecution which the Church of Smyrna underwent about the year 169; when, amongst others, Polycarp, its venerable Bishop, or Angel, suffered martyrdom ģ: but there is no proof that this persecution continued either ten years, or only ten days. And it seems at too great a distance of time, upwards of 70 years, to be the persecution foretold by our Lord, who addresses the Smyrnæans then living, and prepares them, not their grand-children, for the catastrophe. Besides, this persecution was extended to the other Churches of Asia, which would therefore have been prepared by the same warning. Less reason have we to suppose that this prophecy was fulfilled at the persecution under Diocletian ; for the distance of time was still greater, being upwards of two hundred years.
And this perseçution raged throughout the empire, Yet we find this persecution applied to the prophecy by some writers, chiefly upon the notion that it lasted ten years, which, however, seems not to have been strictly the case ;
• Ch. xx. 3.
+ Clarke, Serm. vi. 185, * Exod. xxiii, 10, 11, 12, $ Euseb, Hist. Eccl. lib. iv, a 15
for it commenced in 304, and ended, in the East, if not in other parts of the world, by the edict of Maximin Galerius, in 311*. Upon the whole, it seems most probable, that the persecution, foretold in these words, was only of ten days, and was fulfilled in that generation; and that the Jews, who are described as acting against this Church, under the influence of Satan, were the authors of the persecution. This prophecy, thus fulfilled, would serve a temporary purpose; it would convince the seven Churches, that the Revelation which foretold it was from God; and that therefore the remaining predictions of the same Prophet would also receive their completion : and it would occasion them to revere, and preserve, and faithfully to deliver down to posterity, the book in which they were contained; which they seem to have done,
Ib, Crown of life.] A crown denotes regal and triumphant power. It is a distinguishing ornament of the Messiah, who is “ King of kings t,” and, as such, is represented with many crowns $; and he has promised such rewards to his faithful followers. As then si the tree of life" is used to signify immortality Ś, so “ the crown of life” represents a triumphant immor, tality || ; according to an assurance given us by Saint Paul, which will exhibit the meaning, and, at the same time, the scriptural propriety of both these expressions : “ If we be dead with him (Jesus Christ), " we shall also live with him ; if we suffer, we shall falso reign with him.” Whereas, in Lam. v. 16, it is, " Woe unto them who have sinned; the crown is “ fallen from their head T."
* Mosheim, History of the Church.
$ Note, ch. ii. 7. Il ? Cor. ix. 25.
Compare also James i, 12,
Ver. 11. He that hath an ear.] See note, ch. ii. 7.
Ib. Second death.] For an explanation of the expression, “ he who overcometh,” see note, ch. ii. 7. To the spiritual conqueror, in that passage, immortal life is promised; but it is here inferred that he must not expect to approach to it otherwise than through the passage of death, which is the common lot of man by the divine sentence*; and by which the “ Captain of Salvation, the Lord of Life,” himself passed to victory. This is the first death. But beyond the grave, (where death, in the common acceptation of the word, can no more prevail,) is the second death; not only a total extinction of all our pleasurable feelings, and of all our hopes of happiness, but an ever-during sense of this extinction, “ where the worm dieth not, and the “ fire is not quenched.” To death, in this secondary sense, our Saviour frequently alludes. “He that “ believeth in me shall never die, 8 ms amobavn EIS TOY alwa, shall not die for ever t; John xi. 26; see also John viii. 51. x. 28: in which passages it is clear from the context, that our Lord did never intend to exempt his followers from the first death, or common passage through the grave . For, this kind of death, by the victory of our Lord, being disarmed of its sting; being deprived of the power of retaining “ the soul in hell;" being to the good Christian only a short passage to immortality ;---is expressed by the gentle term sleep, . "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth.” And again,
« The "maid is not dead, but sleepeth $.” And we are exhorted 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 *.
* Gen. ii. 19.
+ So translated by Dr. Clarke, John xii. 25. Matt. x. 28. § Matt. ix. 24. Johp xi. 11, 13. 1 Cor. xi. 30. xv. 6, 18, 51, 1 Thess. iv. 14, 15. Rom. iv. 17. Matt. xxvii. 52. Luke xx. 36, 37, 38, This metaphorical application of the word sleep, sq. useful to divest
death of its terrors, continued long in popular use with the Christian world. Prudentius, speaking of the Christian bodies deposited graves, says,
-“ non mortua, sed data somno;"
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 xoruningior, cæmeterium, sleeping-place.-The lofty heathen writers, who could promise to their readers no such resurrection of the body, called the death of the good ingov ÚT VOX (Homer); which noble expression probably gave rise to that beautiful epitaph, ascribed to Calliinachus:
Τηδε Σαων και Δικωνος Ακανθιας Γερον 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
As in my mother's lap! there I should rest,
i get one d
yet one doubtn Pursues me still, lest all I cannot die;
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. ii. VER. 12--17.
12 Και τώ αγγέλω της 12 And to the Angel of έν Περγάμω έκκλη
the Church in Pergaσίας γράψον Τάδε
mos, write; Thus saith λέγει ο έχων την he who loldeth the two
Soupalar ty diso-13 edged sharp sword: I 13 μον την οξείαν" οί
know thy works, and δα τα έρία σε, και where thou dwellest, σε καθοικείς, όπε ο even 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 την πίσιν με, [κ]
my faith ; [even) in εν ταϊς ημέραις, εν
the days in which Anais 'Aylimas ó Macép
tipas my faithful witτυς με και στιςός, δε
ness was; who was slain απεκλάνθη παρ' υμίν,
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, even 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