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of faith adopting it with a spiritually adulterous system ; thus causing the members of Christ, in a spiritual sense, to become the members of an harlot ? (1 Cor. vi. 15.)
The effects of the fall of Babylon may represent those of the destruction of this mischievous system of error, especially in reference to the element of atonement. This system once destroyed, and its peculiar error exposed, the other systems represented by the nations may be supposed susceptible of being brought back, as it were, to a renewal of their allegiance to God and the Lamb. As the reason given, that Babylon is destroyed because she had thus led the nations astray, implies that after her fall this will no more be the case, so we suppose it to be with the doctrinal systems of professing Christians generally. However erroneous in some respects, the correction of their views on the subject of the atonement may result in a correction of every other error of a kindred nature. A very slight acquaintance with the religious views of a variety of denominations must be sufficient to convince any one that the error of Babylon, such as we have supposed it to be, is not confined to the system of a single sect, or even to the doctrinal views of a limited number of churches, in the ordinary acceptation of that term.
Vs. 9, 10, 11. And the third angel fol- Και άλλος άγγελος τρίτος ήκολούθησεν lowed them, saying with a loud voice, If αυτοίς, λέγων έν φωνή μεγάλη εί' τις προςany man worship the beast and his image, κυνεί το θηρίον και την εικόνα αυτού και and receive (his) mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the λαμβάνει χάραγμα επί του μετώπου αυτού wine of the wrath of God, which is poured ή επί την χείρα αυτού· και αυτός πίεται out without mixture into the cup of his έκ τού οίνου του θυμού του θεού, του κεindignation; and he shall be tormented neqaouevov expárov &v to nourgio tñs opwith fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence or γης αυτού, και βασανιθήσεται εν πυρί και the Lamb. And the smoke of their tor- θείω ενώπιον των αγίων αγγέλων και ενώment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and πιον του αρνίου. Και ο καπνός τού βαthey have no rest day nor night, who σανισμού αυτών εις αιώνας αιώνων αναβαίworship the beast and his image, and νει, και ουκ έχουσιν ανάπαυσιν ημέρας και whosoever receiveth the mark of his νυκτός οι προσκυνούντες το θηρίον και την
εικόνα αυτού, και εί' τις λαμβάνει το χάραγμα του ονόματος αυτού. .
$ 333. “And the third angel followed them.'—This third angel followed in the track of the other two-that is, in the mid-heaven. The revelation is of the same character, in this respect, as the others.
We have put the contents of these verses together, because they are all the language of the same third angel—the publication of the same decree; this decree pointing out, as we conceive, the virtual operation of the system of the beast; which operation we find exhibited in the subsequent chapters.
Saying with a loud voice.'— The second angel or herald declares only a fact, and accordingly there is no particular stress laid upon the tone of his
voice. The first and third heralds proclaim a command or a decree: the first enjoining the fear and worship of God, the last proclaiming the penalty of the opposite worship of the beast. Both of these, therefore, speak with a loud voice, as announcing admonitions requiring special attention.
If any man worship the beast,' &c.—Here we perceive two influences in operation simultaneously : one, as described in the last chapter, insisting upon the worship of the beast, and actually causing all to receive his mark; the other prohibiting this worship, and denouncing those who are guilty of i', &c. Apparently all the dwellers upon the earth, excepting only the sealed ones, are obnoxious to the penalty.
· The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath (rage) of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.'—Here the wine of God's fury or vehemence, appears to be contrasted with that of Babylon, implying that the worshippers of the beast, and bearers of his mark, are also participators in the wine of the harlot. . The wine of God, we suppose to be the good wine, the unadulterated cup of divine atonement; but the wine of the wrath or fury of God, must be the whole vengeance of divine justice: the wrath treasured up against the day of wrath-the indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish—the righteous judgment of God spoken of, Romans ii. 3-9. This also is said to be an unmixed cup, and as such, it is an opposite of the mixed cup or adulterated wine of the harlot more particularly described in the seventeenth chapter, where also the intimate relation between Babylon and the seven-headed monster is fully set forth.
Poured out without mixture.'— That is, undiluted. The cup of the harlot, like the philtres of ancient times, is made strong by a deleterious mixture of drugs. The cup of divine wrath is the stronger from the absence of any element capable of moderating the vehemence of its action. The antithesis is minutely complete, showing the consequence of a participation in the elements of the mixed system of self-righteousness to be an exposure to the unmixed visitation of divine justice—the unmitigated vengeance of legal requirement.
The word translated poured out, κεκερασμένου from Κεράννυμι, signifes to pour out for the purpose of mingling, (Rob. Lex. 371.) Thus the wine of divine vehemence is represented as poured out untempered into the cup of judicial indignation ; a figure corresponding with that which we meet with, Ps. Ixxv. 8:“For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture, and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.” The two elements of vehemence and indignation render the cup a cup of mixture, although the vehemence itself is unmingled.
This latter mixed cup of indignation is evidently an opposite of the good. wine above alluded to—the atonement of Christ making glad the heart of
man. Christ suffered—the just for the unjust. He took the cup of divine indignation, mingled with the undiluted vehemence of offended justice. It was not till he had taken the wine mingled with gall, that he said of the great work which he came to accomplish, It is finished, (John xix. 30.) His followers drink of the cup which he was called to drink, (Mark x. 39,) by being identified with him in God's account, and thus participating by imputation in the merit of his satisfaction of the claims of infinite justice; by grace the mixed cup of the Saviour's sufferings—the water of purificationbecoming to the disciple the pure wine of the marriage feast.
Such was the cup alluded to by Jesus himself, when he “prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done,” (Matt. xxvi. 39.) The vicarious sufferings of the Lamb have saved his followers from participating directly in this mixture of divine vehemence and indignation ; but to those who reject his proffered salvation—who rely on a propitiation of their own, or upon works of righteousness of their own doing, the cup of wrath remains, upon principles, to be drunk unmingled. Analogous with this necessary consequence of rejecting the blood of the covenant, the wrath of God is
represented, apocalyptically, as administered to the self-righteous elements of the kingdom of the beast-principles serving to elevate the beast, to exalt his name, and to give him (self) the glory due to Jehovah.
$ 334. ‘And he shall be tormented (tortured) with fire and brimstone;'— fire representing the revealed word, (Jer. xxiii. 29,) and sulphur the element of perpetual action, ($ 224, note.) The worshippers or principles of the beast are figuratively spoken of as undergoing an unceasing and eternal trial or torture; as slaves amongst the ancients were sometimes put to the rack, when their evidence was required, to extort from them the truth.
* In the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb;' —that is, in their sight, ($ 310,) as contradistinguished from a thing done in the sight or estimation of man. The false prophet performed great miracles, even causing fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men, and deceived the dwellers upon the earth by means of the miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast, Rev. xiii. 13, 14. To human apprehension, and in the estimation of self, the power of this false interpretation is very great, and its trial as by the fire of the revealed word very wonderful ; but not so in the estimation of Him who “seeth not as man seeth ;” (1 Sam. xvi. 7 ;) " for that which is highly esteemed amongst men is abomination in the sight of God,” (Luke xvi. 15.) Opposite to this is the wonder-working power of the Most High—the principles of the beast's kingdom, or followers of the harlot, are to be tried as by fire in the sight of the holy angels and of the Lamb, although this trial may not be simultaneously submitted to human contemplation.
· And the smoke of their torment (torture] ascendeth up for ever and ever.'-As smoke is the evidence of the existence of fire, so the smoke here alluded to is the evidence of the trial actually being undergone by these false principles. The smoke ascendeth up; the verb is in the present tense, and in fact this trial is ever going on in the sight of God and the Lamb. So we may say, ever since the Scriptures were first given to men, this trial has been conducted in the sight of those attending to the subject, just in proportion as the law and the testimony have been applied to the imaginations of man. The operation of the revealed word, in decomposing (analyzing) and exhibiting the vanity of human aspirations, as well as of the earthly basis of man's pretensions, founded in the dust, may be compared to this smoke or evidence of the trial in contemplation.
* And they [the worshippers of the beast] have no rest day nor night.' It is a remarkable characteristic of the principles of self-exaltation and selfdependence, that they are incompatible with the nature of rest. As he who has his own righteousness to establish-whose eternal life depends upon his own works—should literally give neither sleep to his eyes nor slumber to his eyelids, till he has accomplished this all-important enterprise. Even if his right hand, or his right eye, or any other member of his body were the occasion of his offending against the law, consistently with his own views, he should deprive himself even of the power of committing sin. The worshipper of self can have no rest, no respite in this respect, unless he deceive himself by bringing the requisitions of infinite justice down to the standard of his own imperfect performance of duty.
§ 335. Employment is not always labour :
“ Absence of occupation is not rest;
A mind quite idle is a mind distressed."
That which characterizes labour is the motive of action. A slave in certain countries labours six days in the week under the galling lash of a taskmaster ; on the seventh, he is allowed to employ himself for his own benefit, as he pleases. This, perhaps, is all he knows of a Sabbath ; on this day he may perform voluntarily double the amount of work required of him on any other day of the week; still the seventh day is with him a day of rest. While acting under the taskmaster, he is stimulated to the performance of what is required of him by the motive of fear : when enjoying comparative liberty, he acts voluntarily; although more than equally diligent, he rests. The hired man, serving for wages, labours ; he is actuated by the mercenary motive of expectation of recompense, or the fear of losing it. The adopted son, serving his father and benefactor from a motive of gratitude alone—a thankful return for benefits received-rests : however
assiduous his service, this service is happiness; he is neither in the position of a slave, nor in that of the mercenary expectant of wages.
Under the law, man labours ; he is stimulated to the performance of his duty by the motive of fear, the fear of eternal punishment; or, he is actuated by the mercenary motive of wages, expecting to be compensated by the Almighty for whatever he may be enabled, even by the same almighty power, to perform : eternal happiness is with him something to be received in payment for his works. In either case, the position is one of labour ; the element of rest cannot find a place in it.
Under the gospel, the disciple of Jesus trusts for eternal life to the redemption wrought out for him—the atoning sacrifice of the Lamb of Godthe justifying power of the imputed righteousness of God himself. He contemplates his future happiness as the reward of his Saviour's merits, not of his own ; these merits of Jesus constituting an inheritance of which endless bliss is the reward ; confiding in his possession of that which will secure to him this benefit, he is stimulated to action in the service of his divine Benefactor by the voluntary motive of gratitude. He rests ; however active his engagements, his position is that of rest ; there is no room here for the operation either of the servile motive of fear, * or of the mercenary motive of desire of gain. It is evident that one who depends upon his own works, cannot enjoy this position of rest ; it is as wholly inconsistent with the service of self, as the principle of this rest is incompatible with the nature of the principles represented by the worshippers or subjects of the beast. The exhibition of the want of this element in the principles of the beast's kingdom, may be contemplated as a result of the fiery trial previously spoken of, to which they are exposed. These principles, in their own nature, are devoid of rest; but this does not appear till they are tried by being subjected to the test of the revealed word. Thus far, too, the nature of these erroneous principles is announced only in the mid-heaven ; the same development is not yet supposed to be made upon the earth.
Vs. 12, 13. Here is the patience of the Ωδε υπομονή των αγίων εστίν, οι τηsaints: here (are) they that keep the com- goûvteq tàs évtolds toữ groũ xuà tiv tiomandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying
τιν Ιησού. Και ήκουσα φωνής έκ τού ου* * The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” (Ps. cxi. 10.) Perhaps we may say it is only the beginning, as we have already noticed that this fear is a necessary preparation for a favourable reception of the gospel, ($ 330 ;) the true wisdom consisting in the exercise of faith in God's plan of salvation, and the end of the commandment, as also the end of wisdom, being charity, love or gratitude towards God the Saviour.) We are assured, 1 John iv. 18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” Wherefore, as it is stated Heb. ii. 15, it was the purpose of Christ in suffering, that he might "deliver them, who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”