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intimation is given of the mercenary features of the system in contemplation; nor is there any allusion to the pharmacies (sorceries) of Babylon, other than that presumed to be contained in what is said of her wine, and of the contents of her golden cup.
In the first part of the present chapter, there is a gradual merging of the figure of the female sovereign into that of a commercial city. The illustrations drawn from the two figures are alternated, as is to guard against the possibility of mistaking them for representations of different subjects. As the dwelling-place of unclean spirits, Babylon is spoken of as a city ; as maintaining an illicit connection with the kings of the earth, she appears under the figure of a woman ; while, as the cause of the opulence of the merchants of the earth, she is again alluded to as a commercial city. So, when the people of God are called out of her, the figure is that of a city; while immediately afterwards her proud language appears to be that of a human being
Thus far we are brought to an acquaintance with the characteristics of impurity, adulteration, self-dependence and pride of this Babylonish system, together with its extensive influence as producing drunkenness or insanity in all partaking of it. But, except the slight allusion to the fact, noticed for the first time in the third verse of the chapter, that the merchants had waxed rich through the great luxury of the city, we have as yet no explicit declaration of the nature of the peculiar charges against Babylon calling for her immediate and utter destruction. Here the whole of the remainder of this chapter, from the eleventh to the twenty-third verses inclusive, is caleulated to throw a new light upon the subject.
As a city, Babylon is supposed to be the emporium of the commerce of the whole world. The whole world of course is subject to the influence of her commercial relations. As such a city, she is especially a place of trade, a place of mercantile calculation—a place where nothing is received or given without an equivalent. As a city, or as a kingdom—for she is an imperial city-Babylon is represented as being ruled or governed by merchants only; for the figure of a queen is here dropped. The figures may alternate, but they are not coexistent. The city may assume to be a queen, but it does not profess to be under a queen, or a king, or under the dominion of any single individual. It is governed by a number of magistrates or rulers ; and these are all of them merchants. Such is the tendency of the commerce of this great city, that it not only gives a peculiar importance to the merchants of the earth, but that it causes its own merchants to be its rulers. This great city is at length destroyed utterly destroyed and its merchant-rulers may be presumed to be destroyed with it. The world, however, has participated in its commerce ; the merchants of the whole earth have acquired opulence and importance by this commerce, and may be supposed in con
sequence to have a ruling influence wherever they make their appearance. Here then is the great cause of lamentation,—by the fall of Babylon, her commerce ceases, and all connected with it lose their importance and their influence. What is further remarkable is, that this very subject of universal regret and mourning is itself the cause of the calamity so deeply deplored.
In the few words at the close of the twenty-third verse, we bave the key to the whole of this mysterious dispensation. Babylon bas been utterly destroyed, because her merchants were the great men of the earth; because by her pharmacies (the medical preparations dealt in by these merchants) all nations were deceived. For her mischievous influence upon the rulers or kings of other countries, she was overthrown ; for giving opulence to the merchants of the earth, she was made desolate ; but her entire destruction, as a millstone cast into the sea, never to rise again, is a judgment especially for the fact that her merchants were the great men of the earth.
How can such a relation as this be construed in a literal sense; or what rational conclusion can we come to, with respect to it, other than that of considering this city, as we have done, the figure of a certain doctrinal system ? The system is chargeable with errors peculiarly abominable in the sight of God, and with an influence as peculiarly contaminating upon other principles and other systems. It is subjected to scrutiny or trial as by a refiner's fire, and the cause of its peculiar errors proves to be, that it is itself a mercenary scheme, and that its ruling or leading principles are also mercenary. Not only so, the tendency of its errors, the contaminating influence exercised by it, is that of causing all views of faith bearing any relation to it to come under the control of like elements of a mercenary character. The peculiarly odious characteristic of these elements is, that they are directly opposed to the sovereignty of the divine principle of grace. For this reason, before God's plan of salvation can be fully recognized, before his ruling principle of sovereign grace can overcome all others, these mercenary elements and the system to which they belong must be entirely destroyed. To this crisis we have now arrived, in the order of the apocalyptic vision. One of the principal stumbling-blocks or obstacles in the way of the development of gospel truth is removed ; the others, as we shall see, very speedily experience a like fate ; after which we may expect an unveiling or revelation of the truth itself.
Babylon was first exhibited as a harlot sitting upon many waters, representing apparently the mixed economy, founded, as it is, upon various false and delusive views of the means of propitiation. She is next seen in the wilderness sitting upon the beast (self) with his seven heads, (fundamental principles,) and his ten horns or elements of the law. Thus sustained, she
offers her cup of mixture in place of the true cup of salvation, her votaries, no doubt, not discerning the difference. Again, she is represented sitting upon seven mountains—the mixed system resting upon seven fundamental principles of self-glorification, and at the same time exercising a perverting control over seven leading principles, spoken of as kings—this number seven representing, perhaps, a totality ; seven leading or fundamental principles being put for all principles of that character. These three pictures represent Babylon in her glory—the mixed system in full operation. We next see the same individual torn to pieces and burned with fire by the ten hornsthe mixed system entirely destroyed by the elements of law upon which it had been depending. Again, we see Babylon as a city the habitation of devils, and the hold of every unclean spirit—the mixed system laid bare, seen in its true character. And lastly, we have a prophetic description of the final destruction of the city as a great commercial emporium, as by fire, or as a millstone cast into the depth of the sea ;—these three figures of destruction corresponding in number with the three figures or pictures of elevation ; the three, however, in each case representing only different illustrations of the same truths.
The cause of the destruction by the ten horns is not assigned, except so far as it is attributed to the hatred of the horns, and to the will of God.
may presume, however, that the cause is the same as that assigned for the utter destruction of the city. The ten horns hate the harlot because of her mercenary character; the law requiring the performance of every action from the pure motive of love to God, as a fulfilment even of the first commandment. So we may suppose the pretended means of propitiation offered by the adulterated scheme, and represented by the cup of the harlot, to be abominable and filthy in the sight of God, on account of the mercenary principles entering into its composition. Thus, having ascertained from the mighty angel the peculiar reason of Babylon's entire destruction, we may apply this reason to all that we have previously learned of her character, and thence perceive the extreme hatefulness of every mercenary or covetous principle in the sight of God.
As already intimated, we trust the time is not far distant when this test of doctrinal systems will be generally applied. In the meantime, it is for every disciple of Christ to examine his own heart, to search into the prin ciples and motives of his own conduct, and to inquire of himself whether he be not under the influence of the delusive cup of mixed ingredients here described; whether his own motives of action be not of the mercenary character alluded to; whether, in fine, his own system of faith be not of the adulterated character so extremely odious in the sight of God.
Vs. 1-3. And after these things I heard Μετά ταύτα ήκουσα ως φωνήν μεγάλης a great voice of much people in heaven, όχλου πολλού εν τω ουρανώ, λεγόντων αλsaying, Alleluia ; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lorci Indovia . ñ oornpia sai í Sóša xai i Súrour God: for true and righteous (are) αμις του θεού ημών· ότι αληθιναι και his judgments; for he hath judged the δίκαιαι αι κρίσεις αυτού· ότι έκρινε την πόρgreat whore, which did corrupt the earth νην την μεγάλην, ήτις έφθειρε την γήν εν τη with her fornication, and hath avenged πορνεία αυτής, και εξεδίκησε το αίμα των the blood of his servants at her hand. δούλων αυτού εκ χειρός αυτής. Και δεύτεAnd again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
ρον είρηκαν· αλληλούϊα και ο καπνός αιτης αναβαίνει εις τους αιώνας των αιώνων. ,
$422. “And after these things I heard,' &c.—That is, after hearing the prophetic accounts of the conflagration, and the entire destruction of Babylon. The change is not in what is seen, so much as in what is heard; the attention of the apostle is called to something very different from that with which it was before occupied. He had been listening to a description of the desolation and wo incident to the fall of the great city : he now hears only the language of praise, joy, and exultation, reminding us that an event so lamentable to one class of beings, is as much a cause of rejoicing with another.
" A great voice of much people,', &c.; or, according to our Greek, a great voice, or sound, like that of a great multitude. The voice is not said to be that of much people, but it is compared to the sound of the voices of an immense number of persons. The preceding denunciations were uttered as by a single voice, though sometimes said to be a great voice; the utterance of gratulation in heaven is as a great voice of a great multitude. Whatever regret the demolition of a system of error may cause to some on earth, the rejoicing at the triumph of truth with the lovers of truth in earth and heaven must be infinitely greater.
"Saying, Alleluia,' or, Hallelujah, according to our common mode of rendering the expression. The Greek word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and in the Septuagint it is found only in the Psalms. In
this chapter of Revelation, it is repeated four several times, and we may presume not without reason, compounded as it is of two Hebrew words, 75 mm, glory, or bin, praise, and mi, Jah or Jehovah—nomen veri Dei—the name of the true God, (Index Heb. et Chald. Trommii ;) the whole expression signifying an ascription of praise or glory to God pre-eminently, as above all other objects of praise, (Ps. Ixviii. 4.)
• Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God.'— This may be taken as an amplification of the Hebrew words just noticed: a repetition laying a peculiar emphasis upon the designation of the supreme object of praise—the Lord our God; the salvation, and the glory, and the honour, and the power of the whole work of redemption, being all ascribed to this one object, which is confirmed by the Alleluia, or Praise ye Jehovah, repeated at the close of this ascription ; this again being confirmed, as we shall see, by the Alleluia of the four and twenty elders, and of the four living creatures, as well as by their act of prostration and worship of the God sitting upon the throne. To this we may add the voice from the throne, giving the direction, Praise our God, all ye his servants, &c., (5th verse,) and the further response of the voice of a great multitude, or as of a great multitude reiterating the Alleluia, assigning the sovereignty of the Lord God as the reason for this praise.
Prior to this, Rev. v. 13, and vii. 10, there had been two choral ascriptions of the praise of salvation, not to God alone, but to God and the Lamb. The peculiarity of the passage now under consideration is, that the Lamb is not mentioned as being a joint object of praise, as in the other instances. Connecting this peculiarity with the circunstance that the great system of error symbolized by the harlot, is now represented as utterly destroyed, we come to the conclusion that the present epoch of revelation corresponds with that alluded to by Paul, 1 Cor. xv. 28: “When all things having been put under him, the Son also bimself shall be subject unto Him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” This stage of the revelation may also be considered equivalent to a manifestation of the fulfilment of the prophecy, (Is. ix. 6,) “ Unto us a child is born,” &c., “called the mighty God, the everlasting Father ;” so predicted, because he is now manifested to be identic with the Deity ;-the Father and Son in these ascriptions of praise being both addressed as one and the same sovereign God.
It is true that, in the order of narration, the destruction of the beast, and of the false prophet, and of the accuser, is yet to be detailed ; but time, in the ordinary sense, ($ 230,) is not to be taken into consideration ; and even if it were, that which is to be done on earth is spoken of in heaven as already done. These heavenly elements may be said to see, in the destruction of the harlot, the victory over all the other objects alluded to as the