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There are four kinds of musicians mentioned, each of them probably capable of affording some peculiar illustration. The harp was the instrument of praise; the musician (uovoizóy) was the poet, or perhaps the vocal performer; the piper or fute player accompanied the dancers; and the trumpet was the instrument of martial music : the four may thus furnish a figure for every species of music. Every indication of joy or gladness, of pride or of parade, is alike to cease. The craftsman of every craft (πάς τεχνίτης πάσης tézens) applies to every species of mechanics or manufacturers: every species of industry, every work of man, is at an end; the sound of the millstone is not heard, for there is no grain now to be prepared for food—the means of sustaining life are taken away. Even if bread were yet called for, Babylon could not furnish it. Illustrations from agricultural life are not introduced here, because they would not be compatible with the figure of a commercial city. The enumeration therefore is equal to a representation of the entire cessation of every human employment. Babylon being destroyed, the works of men are entirely at an end. In other words, the mixed system being abolished, all pretensions to salvation by works cease, or are found no more at all.
· And the light of a candle shall no more shine at all in thee.'—Perhaps we may say, not even the light of a candle. Babylon is not mentioned as having enjoyed the light of the sun—the inhabitants walked probably in the light of the sparks of their own kindling. Even this light is no more to be seon: the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride is no more heard--there is no longer any marrying or giving in marriage.
All these particulars are to be taken for consequences, and not causes of the desolation. Babylon being burned up, and no more found at all, the consequence is, that the voice of praise, of gladness, and of exultation, ill founded as it was, is now no more heard. The mixed system being utterly destroyed, its pretensions to joy and rejoicing, its pretensions to works, its pretensions to furnishing the bread of life, and its pretensions to light or righteousness, or to the fruitfulness and privileges represented by the marriage state, all cease together. The real causes of praise and joy, the real means of eternal life, the real privileges and blessings represented by the marriage union, never were to be found in the mixed system ; but it has its pretensions to these things. The whole system, tried as by fire, being consumed, the fallacy of these pretensions is at once exposed, and no place is afterwards found for them.
§ 418. · For thy merchants were the great men of the earth.'—Here we have the reasons for the desolations just particularized ; and if we consider the conjunction and, at the commencement of the next verse, as connecting the subject of that verse with the last clause of the present, we may then consider the whole as furnishing three distinct reasons for the destruc
tion of this great city. As if it were said, All these things have come upon thee, because thy merchants were the great men of the earth; because by thy sorceries all nations were led astray; and (because) in thee the blood of prophets, &c., was found. This appears to be the sense most consistent with the whole tenor of the passage ; the last verse then appearing, as we suppose it to be, part of the angel's declaration ; while, otherwise, we are at a loss to know by whom it is uttered,
The word translated great men, is applied to “ the leading persons in a state,” (Donneyan.) It is rendered, Mark vi. 21, by the term lords ; and Rev. vi. 15, it is classed next in order to kings. One reason we say, therefore, why the mixed system is destroyed, is that its mercenary principles have become the leading principles of all that general system which is represented by the earth; and that these mercenary elements have acquired their prominence through ene nature of the mixed system.
· For by thy svrceries were all nations deceived.'--Quia veneficio tuo aberrmverunt onnes gentes, (G. & L.) Because by thy poisonous preparations all the nations (Gentiles) have gone astray. By thy pharmacy, ($ 226,)--by thy practice of medicine--by participating in thy drugs, the pations have gone mad, as it is expressed by the prophet, ($ 385 ;) the figure corresponding in its purport with that of the wine of the harlot, by which the inhabitants of the earth are said to have been made drunk. Babylon is here represented as a great commercial city, dealing in medical preparations and drugs of a p.culiarly deleterious character; the nations using these compounds being so deluded by them as not only themselves to be led astray, but also by their consumption of the commodities to give power and importance to the merchants dealing in them. The second cause of the destruction of the mixed system is, therefore, that its pretended means of propitiation-its abominable mixture, (the harlot's cup,)—is of such a character as to pervert the principles of all systems ; leading their advocates, as we inay say, into the madness or folly of a dependence upon human means of propitiation ; an amalgam before remarked upon, ($ 332.)
In respect to her pharmacy, Babylon stands in the light of a pretender to medical science, as opposed to the true Physician ; her drugs are opposites of the balm of Gilead. The only remedy for sin, the only medicine capable of saving the sinner from eternal death, is the atonenient of Christ. The atoning preparation of the mixed system, the result of the pharmacy of Babylon, is an opposite of this atonement of Christ; yet such is its delusive character, that so long as this theory of redemption is sustained, so long the contents of the mixed cup of salvation will enter into the composition of every other system of redemption. At the same time, in the nature of the case, the mixture of supposed human merits, in these pretended means of
propitiation, must necessarily give a leading prominence and importance to the mercenary principle: of the system to which it is peculiar.
We may here notice the reciprocal action between the mercenary motive and the pretended means of atonement. The medical pretender, or the enchantress, as Babylon may be also styled, prescribes the performance of some great thing on behalf of the patient, as the necessary. process of restoration. The performance of this great thing involves the acting from mercenary or selfish motives ; and the mercenary and selfish motives entering into this performance, the latter is rendered an abomination, or a mixture of abominations, in the sight of God. The deluded disciple supposes that the gift of God is to be purchased ; that the grace, or favour, of salvation is something for which he is to give an equivalent: his eye: opened to his error, he finds himself in the gall of bitterness and in the band of iniquity, (Acts viii. 20.) V. 24. And in her was found the blood
Και εν αυτή αίμα προφητών και αγίων of prophets, and of saints, and of all that
ευρέθη και πάντων των εσφαγμένων επί της were slain upon the earth.
$ 419. · And in her was found.'—We treat this according to the riggestion just now made, ($ 418,) as a third reason for the destruction of the great city ; as if the mighty angel, after having assigned in his apostrophe to Babylon, two reasons for her demolition, added by way of explanation to the apostle the further reason, that in her was found the blood bere described. This supposition, however, is not very material, as under any view this blood-guiltiness of Babylon must have been a reason for the judg. ment upon her. We cannot suppose the finding of the blood to have been a mere accident or incident, occurring unexpectedly after her destruction ; although we might perhaps suppose this third reason to involve the two preceding specified causes of her visitation ; as we may also suppose the apostle himself to have added the information contained in this verse, as received from some other source than the declaration of the angel. However this be, the use of the future tense is here laid aside, the angel having finished his prediction, and the recital of the fact mentioned carry. ing us back to the state of the city as depicted after its fall, but prior to its being utterly consumed.
· The blood of prophets,' &c.—Babylon literally was not notorious for shedding the blood of the prophets, although her monarchs were made the instruments of punishing severely some of the Hebrew rulers for their impiety and coutumacy towards God.
The haughty Nebuchadnezzar was wrought upon, even to the acknowledgment of the true God, by the evidences of divine interposition in behalf of his Jewish captives.
Belshazzar recognized, in
Daniel's interpretation of the handwriting upon the wall, the peculiar share of divine favour enjoyed by that servant of the Most High ; and Darius the Mede was alike converted by the prophet's deliverance from the mouths of the lions, Dan. vi. 25-28. On the other hand, we have abundant evidence of the hardness of heart of Jewish sovereigns, amidst the most miraculous displays of divine power, as well as of their presecution of prophets and saints, Rom. xi. 3. To this we may add the testimony of Christ himself concerning the Scribes and Pharisees of Jerusalem, that they were the children of them which killed the prophets; and that upon them was to come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of Abel to that of Zacharias, (Matt. xxiii. 31, 35.)
Comparing these facts and this declaration with what is here said of the great city, we think the old Jerusalem of the apostle's time, as a figure, must be identic with the apocalyptic Babylon ; for, if all the blood of the prophets was to come upon Jerusalem, it could hardly be said to be found in Babylon, unless the two were equivalent figures. The Pharisees were covetous or mercenary, (selfish,) and such is the character of the leading principles of the mixed system. Jerusalem, in the days of the evangelists, was in the hands of the Romans; professing to be free, but really under the yoke of her Gentile conquerors ; she was Jerusalem in bondage, and was thus the figure of a perverted view of the economy of salvation ;—such is the mixed economy represented by Babylon. The two are therefore identic, and both accordingly are guilty of the same blood of saints and prophets.
$ 420. Blood is the figure of life. Holy prophets and saints are apocalyptically figures of elements of divine revelation ; prophets or interpreters being put for prophecies or interpretations, or doctrines taught by prophets and holy men. The natural life of man, we suppose to be a figure of the spiritual sense of these elements of revealed truth. To find blood in a city, is to find the city guilty of murder or manslaughter ; as blood in the skirts of the garment is a scriptural figure of evidence of bloodguiltiness, and as blood. guiltiness literally consists in the crime of having deprived a fellow-being of life. Thus the perverted view of the economy of redemption, whether symbolized by Babylon, or by Jerusalem in bondage, is guilty of the blood of saints and prophets, inasmuch as it has deprived the elements of divine revelation of their proper spiritual sense. It is by the suppression of this sense of revelation (its life) that the mixed theory is built up; and accordingly, when the real character of the system is exposed, it will be found to have been guilty of this suppression; the manifestation of this truth being figuratively equivalent to finding the blood of saints and prophets in the place once the scene of their persecution.
· And of all that were slain upon the earth.'—The word translated slain
is the same as that employed in describing the appearance of the. Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. As we have before remarked, ($ 161,) the term is especially applicable to the slaughter of animals for the purposes of sacrifice, differing in this respect from the verb & noxteúvw, which signifies merely to kill. It is not said that in Babylon was found the blood of all killed upon the earth, but of all slain or slaughtered ; we presume as in sacrifice. The term is also the same applied to the slaughter of those whose souls were under the altar, slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. In a literal sense, the blood of all slain upon the earth, without qualification, as it is in the text, would be the blood of all, whether good or bad. Such cannot be the correct interpretation ; at the same time, this general appellation of all must comprehend something more than the prophets and saints just spoken of. These last, we suppose, may be contemplated as victims sacrificed or slain in the cause of truth; as the souls under the altar were souls of the bodies offered upon the altar. As prophets and saints are figures of divine revelation, we suppose the other elements comprehended under the term all to be subordinate elements of truth, occupying a relation analogous to that of followers of prophets and holy men: deductions from the doctrines of revelation, tending to sustain a correct view of the economy of grace, so long as their proper spiritual sense is understood ; but unable to do so when this sense is suppressed. The earth we suppose to represent an exhibition of the position of man dependent upon his own works. To exlibit the maintenance of this position, it is necessary to divest all elements of revelation, and all doctrinal deductions from these elements, of their spiritual sense ; all of them, figuratively speaking, must suffer martyrdom, in order that this earthly view may be sustained : and this view itself must be sustained, in order to sustain the mixed system. Therefore in Babylon, as the efficient cause of this slaughter, the blood of all of these elements, whether direct or subordinate, is to be found; the fact, as detailed here, being equivalent to the declaration that all perversion of Christian doctrine has originated in the nature of this system of adulteration—a system which we cannot better designate than by giving it the appellative of a simulation of the divine plan of redemption ;—the plan comprehending the principles of government (the kingdom) resulting from it.
$421. There seems to be a gradual development of the character of Babylon, or rather, of the economy represented by her, in the relation of this and of the preceding chapter. In the first account (chap. xvii.) no