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ii. 1, 2,) as something corresponding with what he terms "the course of this world." The power of the air, corresponding also, apparently, with the spirit working in the children of disobedience. These children of disobedience we suppose to be not merely individuals out of the church, careless and reckless of the subject of religion, but professing members of the visible church, refusing to submit themselves to the terms of the gospelrejecting the offer of salvation by grace through the merits of Christ; the spirit working in them being a spirit of self-justification, and of self-sufficiency. Like the foolish and bewitched Galatians, they refused to obey the gospel, (the truth,) because they believe they can do without it, expecting to be "made perfect by the flesh," or by their own fulfilment of the law. This spirit of self-justification, we take to be what Paul denominates the power of the air; a spirit or power derived from a literal or carnal medium of construction, through which the truths of the gospel are contemplated.

A true exhibition of the nature of divine wrath is now applied as a test to this medium of interpretation, showing its tendency, as of the letter, to condemnation. The result of this process is the destruction of the earthly or Babylonish system described in the remainder of this chapter, and further illustrated in the two succeeding chapters; the subjects of those two chapters being, as we apprehend, amplifications of the nineteenth verse of the present chapter.


And there came a great voice out of the temple,' &c.-This must be the same great voice as that which gave the command to the seven angels to pour out their vials upon the earth; the air being an element of the earthly system. The several processes are now completed; the last being that to which the greatest importance appears to be attached, if such a distinction be admissible. The rule of construction (the medium of contemplating subjects of revelation) once corrected, the destruction of every false system may be said to follow as a matter of course, while the way is at the same time opened for a perfect development of truth.

This great voice is said to come out of the temple in heaven, from the throne, or from the heavenly temple from the throne; reminding us that the exhibitions of these vials pertain especially to the development of principles peculiar to the worship and to the sovereignty of the Most High.

'It is done,' Térors.-The expression is not exactly equivalent to the declaration, It is finished, (rɛzékɛotai,) John xix. 30; it rather implies the existence of a thing as actually present, which was previously only expected. The time has now come-the thing expected is brought forth-alluding, perhaps, to the promise of the mighty angel, Rev. x. 7, that the mystery of God should be finished (¿zelésŋ) in the sounding of the seventh trumpet. The last vial of the last trumpet having been poured out upon the air, correcting the mode of construction, the time has come for the final development of this

mystery. Nothing is here said, or is again said in this book, of the faith and patience of the saints, as on other occasions. The last obstacle has been. removed the catastrophe is now immediately at hand.

V. 18. And there were voices, and

Καὶ ἐγένοντο ἀστραπαὶ καὶ φωναὶ καὶ βρονταί, καὶ σεισμὸς ἐγένετο μέγας, οἷος men were upon the earth, eo mighty anἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, τηλικοῖτος σεισμὸς οὕτω μέγας. οὐκ ἐγένετο ἀφ ̓ οὗ οἱ ἄνθρωποι ἐγένοντο

thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since


earthquake, (and) so great.

$371. And there were voices,' &c.-Prior to the sounding of the seven trumpets, when the fire from the altar was cast into the earth, there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake, Rev. viii. 5. So, on the opening of the temple, prior to the developments of the twelfth chapter, there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail. The present is, therefore, the third exhibition of the terrors of the law;-this earthquake far exceeding the others, and the hail, as appears from a subsequent verse, being of an unusual magnitude. The characteristics are the same, but some extraordinary importance appears to be attached to this third commotion.

If we suppose the action of this vial upon the air to be something affecting what commentators term the rules of exegesis, as applied to the explanation of the Scriptures, we may imagine a more than ordinary display of the requisitions of the law to be called for to effect a change in a long adopted mode of interpretation, the tendency of which has been virtually to represent the necessity of some righteousness, some fulfilment of the law on the part of man, as a condition of his salvation. An unusual commotion or shaking (tous) must be requisite to effect the change of long established rules of exposition; and the operation of this change must be attended with an unusual commotion of the minds and opinions of those directing their attention to the subject; all or either of these effects may be indicated by the action of this earthquake.

In addition to the earthquakes we have enumerated, as connected with voices, &c., there was a great earthquake on the opening of the sixth seal, when the sun became black as sackcloth, and the moon as blood, and the heaven departed as a scroll, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places, Rev. vi. 12-17. There was also an earthquake when the two witnesses ascended up into heaven, and a tenth part of the city fell, Rev. xi. 13; the present, however, exceeds them all, as it is also the last mentioned in the Apocalypse. It may be to this that allusion is made, Haggai ii. 6, 7, "Yet once a little while, and I will shake the heavens, (the air,) and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come." To which also the apostle refers, Heb. xii. 26, 27: "But now he hath promised, saying, Yet

once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven; and this once more signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things which are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain."

Both these passages suggest the idea that, prior to the perfect development of the economy of grace as superseding that of works, there must necessarily be a peculiar shaking of other systems-worldly systems of salvation-especially that represented by Babylon, that great city. At the same time, we are to bear in mind that an earthquake is not a destruction of the earth itself, but only a commotion of its elements;-so of an airquake or tornado. But an earthquake may be the means of destruction to the things resting upon it, (cities, towns, &c.) The worldly or earthly elements remain, notwithstanding the commotion so destructive to the systems or plans of salvation figuratively appearing as things depending upon the earth.

Vs. 19, 20. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came

in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away,

and the mountains were not found.

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἡ πόλις ἡ μεγάλη εἰς τρία μέρη, καὶ αἱ πόλεις τῶν ἐθνῶν ἔπεσον· καὶ Βαβυλὼν ἡ μεγάλη ἐμνήσθη ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ, δοῦναι αὐτῇ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦ οἴνου τοῦ θυμοῦ τῆς ὀργῆς αὐτοῦ. Καὶ πᾶσα νῆσος ἔφυγε, καὶ ὄρη οὐχ εὑρέθησαν.


$372. And the great city was divided,' &c.-This great city and Babylon mentioned immediately afterwards we suppose to be identic, especially as Babylon is elsewhere termed that great city, Rev. xiv. 8; or according to some editions of the Greek, the great city, Baßvhov ý zólis ý μɛɣáλn—great, because great in her pretensions-proud, and accounted great in human estimation.

This great city is said to be not destroyed, but divided into three parts— something preparatory to destruction; to come into three parts being a figure perhaps of a doctrinal system of great pretensions undergoing an analysis, necessarily resulting in a manifestation of its fallacy. As the name imports, we suppose Babylon to represent a confused system of salvation-a confused mixture of principles or doctrinal elements-something partly legal and partly evangelical. Even this confusion, however, may be susceptible of divisions. There may be three different aspects in which the city is to be contemplated, corresponding with what we have suggested of three senses, ($191)-each of these aspects presenting a mixture, one bearing a certain analogy to the other; or the city, as a system, may be divisible into three different elements, each of which is of a certain mixed composition. We prefer the last construction, more especially as this is the first time in which the word translated part (ugos) is to be found in the Apocalypse, either in the singular or plural; the English term having been supplied by our translators where it occurs previously.

We do not take this great city to represent any thing professedly antiChristian or infidel; on the contrary, we suppose it to be an erroneous system of faith, prevalent in the views of professing Christians, and in its general features not confined to any single denomination. We suppose the system to be particularly of a mercenary character, and distinguished for its tendency to pride and vainglory, as exalting the pretensions of human merit, and assuming for man the glory of his own redemption.

A true system of redemption corresponding with God's plan of salvation may be said to consist of three essential parts, each of these parts having its peculiar elements or principles: first, its views of divine justice; second, its views of man's sinfulness; third, its views of the remedy by which man's sinfulness is to be reconciled with divine justice. Every religious system, indeed, may be supposed to be possessed of these parts; for all admit the perfection of God, and the imperfection of man, and profess to devise some scheme by which these two opposite characteristics may be reconciled to each other. The system of Babylon may be thus divisible, although each of its parts is constituted of a confused mixture of truth and falsehood. It is professedly Christian-it borrows its leading features from the true doctrines of the gospel, and may be termed a simulation of God's plan of redemption. It has its views of divine justice, brought down to a human standard, in the appreciation of moral good and evil. It has its views of man's sinfulness; but in this the good qualities of the sinner are supposed to be a certain setoff in part for his evil actions, while these last are noticed no further than they appear in his outward conduct. The distance between these two extremes being thus diminished, the means of reconciliation are supposed to be nothing more than that which is within the compass of man's ability to perform. In fine, the Babylonish system has its element of propitiation or of justification, professedly on the gospel plan, but in effect ascribing the work to some merit in man, by which his reconciliation to his God is placed in the light of a compensation for certain services, performances, or good conduct of his own; these merits being the merchandise with which Babylon has enriched herself.

We suggest this classification principally for the purpose of showing that, although a fallacious system of faith, like the one in contemplation, may have its three parts distinctly marked, it may be notwithstanding a mixed and confused system-a system presupposing an amalgamation of the merits of Christ with those of the disciple as the means of salvation. Any insufficient view of the justice of God, or of the sinfulness of sin, involves a corresponding error in appreciating the nature and extent of the remedial element of reconciliation. If man, either from the mere lenity of his sovereign Judge, or from his own capabilities, be able to atone for his own transgressions, or to work out a propitiation of his own, salvation by IMPUTED

righteousness becomes unnecessary: righteousness, in such case, contrary to the apostle's implied declaration, (Gal. iii. 21,) would come by the law, and God would be deprived of the glory and gratitude due for the exercise of his sovereign grace.

We may here notice a further distinction between the divine scheme of religion* and that of man's devising. In the first, the motive of conduct may be said to constitute a fourth part; the disciple there devoting himself to the service of his benefactor, because he has been redeemed. In the human system the motive of action is involved in the third part; the disciple serving or obeying in order that he may be redeemed. Babylon is thus divisible into three parts; the holy city, on the contrary, we find described (Rev. xxi. 12-16,) particularly as lying four square, having on every side an equal number of gates. She is not spoken of as divisible; but if we were to consider her as such, we should certainly contemplate her as composed of four parts, and not of three.

§ 373. And the cities of the nations fell.'-As the great city represents a great system, so we suppose the cities of the nations to represent subordinate systems-powers of the earth subject and subservient perhaps to the great city; but not so directly simulations of the true plan of salvation as the imperial city; Babylon being probably contemplated in reference to the other cities of Asia, as Rome was afterwards considered in relation to the nations around her. Both of these cities pretended to a supremacy of power; and, as figures, they may either of them be taken for what they professed themselves to be. The clause might be rendered, "And the cities of the Gentiles fell,” which would place these cities in something of a different light. Babylon literally indeed was a Gentile city, but Babylon figuratively may represent Jerusalem in a perverted state-the true system perverted-and as perverted, possessing a mixture of truth and error-an amalgamation, as we have already termed it. The cities of the Gentiles, on the contrary, may represent systems which never were true; scarcely possessing an admixture of gospel truth, even in the smallest degree. These systems therefore fall first, as their errors are most immediately exposed.

By way of illustration we may take for granted, what was probably the case, that the Babylonians in the period of their glory enjoyed a very considerable knowledge of the true God, and of his dealings with men, and of

* We use here the term religion (from the Latin religo, to hind) in what may be termed its primitive sense, as applicable to the obligation under which man is placed to serve the Deity-"God's plan of salvation" applies to the manner in which the sinner is redeemed; the "divine scheme of religion" comprehends this plan, while it further applies to the new obligation of service resulting from it. There is therefore no inconsistency in the position that the first consists of three parts and the last of four.

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