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or unveiled-self claims the whole of the glory of man's salvation, and prepares for the final trial,-the battle of Armageddon.
For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give,' &c.-Here the ten horns only must be spoken of; for it could be hardly necessary to state that the beast agreed with the ten horns in the giving of their kingdom to him, unless there were some reciprocity in this agreement, of which there is no intimation.
As it was just now said of these ten horns, or kings—for the figure of royalty is resumed in this verse-that they had received no kingdom, and, subsequently, that they were overcome by the Lamb, we must take them to represent so many chiefs, assuming no independent sway, but acting in concert, and conferring their aggregate power upon some other object, and this as by divine appointment for a limited period. As it was said of Herod and Pilate, with the Gentiles (the Romans) and people of Israel, that they conspired together "to do whatever the hand and counsel of God determined before to be done," (Acts iv. 27, 28;) Gentiles and Jews, in the persons of their chiefs, being made the instruments of manifesting the propitiatory purpose of God, although not doing the will of God from the heart; so, in the present case, the principles of the law, together with the element of self, are made to co-operate in manifesting the folly and inutility of a mixed plan or economy of redemption. As the ten kings act in concert in giving their power to the beast, so we may say of the requisitions of the law, their tendency is to make those sovereign who fulfil them. Thus, lawfully used, they establish the sovereignty of Christ, by whom alone they have or can be really fulfilled, in the strict sense of the term. Unlawfully used, they tend to establish the sovereignty of self upon the pretension of a like fulfilment. To the promotion of this latter object their power is applied for a certain period.
Until the words of God shall be fulfilled;' or, until the purposes (oi hoyo) of God are accomplished, finished, or brought to an end; or until all that is written in the revealed word of God is accomplished;-the progress of error being the means by which truth is eventually manifested. The moment when the harlot, or mixed system of propitiation, gives way to the beast; when the principles of law are so universally misapplied or unlawfully used as to exhibit self in his most blasphemous position, the true character of his pretensions to entire sovereignty being revealed, (the man of sin "as God sitting in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God;" the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place;) then the time of the end may be said to have approached-the time when the revelation of the purposes of God shall be brought to an end, as the verb 720 Dicorras implies the destruction of the kingdom of the beast very speedily following that of the harlot system.
V. 18. And the woman which thou
Καὶ ἡ γυνή, ἣν εἶδες, ἔστιν ἡ πόλις ἡ μεγά. gawest is that great city, which reigneth λη ἡ ἔχουσα βασιλείαν ἐπὶ τῶν βασιλέων
over the kings of the earth.
$399. And the woman which thou sawest,' &c.-If any doubt remained as to the identity of this harlot with the apocalyptic city Babylon, that doubt must now be removed. She is here expressly declared to be that great city; and having been seen bearing upon her forehead the name of Babylon, it must be evident that the great city and Babylon are identic ; confirming the interpretation we have heretofore adopted of these several figures. Accordingly, if the great city Babylon has its opposite in the holy city, (the new Jerusalem,) the opposite of the woman just now described is the bride, the Lamb's wife. These particulars may be important to us hereafter in ascertaining the true character of the object symbolized by the Bride, &c.
This last verse serves as a hinge by which the subject of this chapter is connected with that of the subsequent chapter; or rather it is a sign of equality, showing the correspondence of the narrative just related with that which is immediately to follow; the division into chapters, as we are to bear in mind, being no part of the original composition.
'Which reigneth over the kings of the earth.'-That is, reigneth over these kings by the influence of her cup of abominations: the influence of the mixed element of propitiation peculiar to the harlot system upon the leading elements of self-righteous systems generally. These kings we suppose to be the seven kings, or all the kings or leading principles of the imperial system of the beast. As the Roman empire was sometimes politically termed the whole earth; and as the empire of Babylon was hyperbolically said by the prophet to extend to the end of the earth; so the empire of the beast (self) may be said to be coextensive with the apocalyptic earth, and these seven kings or chiefs, the heads of the beast, to be pre-eminently the kings of the earth; or, the number seven being equivalent to a totality, these seven kings of the earth may be put for all leading earthly principles.
We do not suppose the ten kings (horns) to be included in the number of these kings of the earth, both because they are said to have no kingdom, and because, instead of being reigned over by the harlot, they are described as hating and destroying her: not only rendering her desolate, and naked, and eating her flesh, but also burning or consuming her with fire; further particulars being given of this destruction by fire in the next chapter, although the powers instrumentally causing the conflagration are not again adverted to. The burning of the barlot, however, Rev. xvii. 16, and the burning of the city, Rev. xviii. 8, are both expressed by the same Greek verb, zarazaío, the preposition xará giving intensity to the action of the
verb. The woman and the city are both burned up, or entirely consumed ; one judgment is not a continuation of the other, but both descriptions apply to the same destruction.
§ 400. The account of the judgment of Babylon is not yet completed, although, so far as it is represented by that of the harlot, it may be said to terminate with the declaration at the close of this chapter, that the woman is the great city. While we look forward, therefore, to learn the fate of this city, we must carry with us a recollection of what we have learned of its character from the description afforded under the duplex figure of this illus
This great city then is Babylon,-the opposite of the Holy City. As its name imports, its composition is a mixture of heterogeneous elements representing a false economy of salvation, the opposite of that symbolized by the "Jerusalem which is from above." This city has its many waters; corresponding with the language of the prophet,* (Jer. ii. 13,) “O thou, that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, (and) the measure of thy covetousness." These waters are its sources of dependence; as the resources of an empire depend upon its rivers or upon the multitudes subject to its control; and as the dependence of a mixed system of salvation must be upon a variety of imaginary means of propitiation or atonement. The follower of the harlot exclaims, almost in the language of the Syrian, (2 Kings v. 12,) Are not the many waters of Babylon better than the pure river of the water of life? may I not wash in them and be clean? But means of propitiation are not only the foundations of a system of salvation, they are also the professed element of eternal happiness. The harlot has her cup of abominations, a mixture of the wine of divine atonement with the strong drink of human means of propitiation. The character of this mixture is to deceive; making mad those that drink of it, and depriving them of the inclination, and even of the ability of participating in the true cup of salvation.
The waters of Babylon, or the nations of that empire, represent the means of salvation erroneously supposed to be within the power of man to
* We can hardly compare'chs. xvii. and xviii. of the Apocalypse with chs. 1. and li. of Jeremiah, without being struck with the resemblance of their descriptions, and even the sameness of some of their expressions. The temporal calamities of Babylon were, no doubt, a primary fulfilment of the predictions of the prophet; but there must be an ulterior fulfilment of them we think, and this is apparently the same as that represented by the destruction of the apocalyptic Babylon.
provide for himself; as her treasures, spoken of by the prophet, may represent her pretended resources for the ransom of the soul. Self, accordingly, in this respect is the real object of dependence; and in correspondence with this error, Babylon is seen sitting on the beast.
The various grounds upon which man claims to be the author of his own salvation, may be classed under seven different heads, as already suggested; but they are all the heads of the same blasphemous element, (self.) Accordingly, whether the harlot be represented as sitting upon these seven heads, (mountains,) or upon the beast himself, the figure is nearly equivalent. Whether these seven grounds of human pretension be symbolized by mountains or kings, the difference is principally in the allusion to them, as fundamental or as leading principles. In either case the mixed system is so intimately connected with these seven pretensions as to be immediately dependent upon them, influenced by them, or identified with them.
The deluded disciple, in defending his adulterated views of salvation, finds it necessary to appeal especially to the continued action of the law. He professes to believe in the atonement and mediation of the Son of God; but Jesus himself, he says, has declared that he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it; and that one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled, (Matt. v. 17, 18.) Consequently, it is argued, the power of the law is as great as it ever was; for the law has not yet been fulfilled by man, and therefore has not passed away. If man be saved, then, it must be partly through what Christ has done for him, and partly through what he may do for himself. Thus the mixed system depends for its support upon the pretensions of self, armed with the powers of the law; the harlot in the wilderness sitting on the beast with seven heads and ten horns.
While, however, the follower of the harlot employs the law to advocate the claims of his mixed system, the law itself, when brought to act in its proper sense upon that system, necessarily destroys it; showing, that as Christ came to fulfil the law, unless he did fulfil it there can be no hope of its fulfilment from any source.
The system of the harlot is a system of covetousness, of mercenary and selfish motives; the law requires purity of motive as well as obedience of conduct, and tried by this test, the pretended fulfilment of the law, upon which the mixed system depends for its efficacy, is consumed as it were by fire.
The picture of delusion presented in this chapter we suppose to apply in the first instance to the principles or elements of a doctrinal system; but there is something analogous to it passing in the mind of every disciple: something of which the experienced Christian must be more and more convinced, as he examines his own heart. Every one, however deeply convinced of sin, of righteousness, and judgment, may find within himself a proneness to lean
upon some means of atonement of his own providing; some portion of his conduct, or some exercise of his religious feelings, to which he trusts as a means of propitiating the justice of an offended God. He has his cup of salvation, his wine of atonement; but it is a mixture. The atonement of Christ may form a part of it; but his own repentance, his own reformation, his vows, his new resolutions, his inward mortifications, and outward meritorious performances, (as he esteems them,) all enter into the composition of his cup God is in effect deprived of the glory of his own work of salvation.