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corresponding with the call of the Lord's vengeance, Jer. I. 15, 16:“As she hath done, do unto her. Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest."
In a more spiritual sense, we consider death a manifest state of condemnation under the law; not a death in Christ, but a death out of Christ. Mourning, as of the loss of children, or of a state of widowhood, we take to be a figure of entire want of merit or righteousness, a manifest destitution of those merits which may be spoken of as the offspring of a union with Christ. So the famine must represent a like manifestation of the absence of every element capable of securing salvation or eternal life.
These three figures correspond in their spiritual meaning with the desolation, and nakedness, and consumption of the flesh of the harlot, described in the preceding chapter; the effect of famine and the loss of Aesh in these illustrations both indicating a manifestation of unworthiness, elsewhere denominated a leanness of the soul. This manifestation visits as a judgment the proud boasting of self-dependence; as it was said of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, Is. x. 15, 16 : “ Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up ... therefore shall the Lord of hosts send among bis fat ones leanness ; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of fire."
* And she shall be utterly burned with fire.'-_This visitation corresponds with the final action of the ten horns upon the harlot, as it was predicted of them that they should " burn her with fire.” We conclude, from this coincidence, that the epoch at which we have arrived in this chapter is identic with that of the description in the last chapter ; the difference being only in the figure. In the one case, the destruction of Babylon is pictured as that of a human being, and in the other as that of a city. In the first instance, as if to spare the reader or spectator the dreadful particulars of the burning alive of an individual, the figure is changed, and the particulars of the burning of a magnificent city are given in the place of it. Bosh figures alike apply to the destruction of a mixed doctrinal system, by the agency of the revealed word of God; which, as we have repeatedly noticed, is scripturally compared to a fire.
For strong is the Lord God who judgeth her;' or, mighty is the Lord. The term in the Greek, loyvpós, is the same as that immediately afterwards applied to Babylon—" that mighty city,” (in huinan estimation.) If Babylon be accounted mighty by men, God is really mighty : as it is said, 1 Cor. 1, 25, · Even the weakness of God is stronger (more mighty) than man,' For this reason, besides the other blows inflicted upon her, she is utterly consumed or burned
Strictly speaking, it is for God to judge, and to condemn, and to execute his own sentence of condemnation ; but the Greek verb (zpívw) employed here, is applicable more especially to the act of discrimination ; and, as far as the fate of a system of doctrines is concerned, the act of discrimination is the execution of a judgment. No sooner is that which is false discrimi nated from that which is true, than the first is utterly destroyed; the destruction of error consisting in its detection and exhibition. If according to a man's system of faith, his real motive of conduct be to serve himself instead of serving God, as he pretends it to be, no sooner is the just discrimination made between that which constitutes such service and that which is of an opposite character, than the theory or system itself, whence the error emanates, is destroyed. The discerning between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not, is accordingly detailed by the prophet as a consequence of the coming of the day which is to burn as an oven, which * shall burn up those that do wickedly as stubble, leaving them neither root nor branch,' (Mal. iii. 18, and iv. 1.)
Vs. 9, 10. And the kings of the earih, Και κλαύσονται και κόψονται επ' αυτή who have committed fornication and lived οι βασιλείς της γης, οι μεί αίτης πορνεύdeliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the σαντες και στρηνιάσαντες, όταν βλέπωσι τον Smoke of her burning, standing afar ο καπνόν της πυρώσεως αυτής, από μακρόfor the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, fɛv éoinxótes due zov pózov toù Buouvioalns, that great city Babylon, that mighty μου αυτής, λέγοντες· ουαί, οίαί, η πόλις ή city ! for in one hour is tly judgment μεγάλη, Βαβυλών ή πόλις η ισχυρά, ότι μια
ώρα ήλθεν “κρίσις σου. .
$411. 'And the kings of the earth,' &c.—There is a peculiar license in this imagery, which in a human composition would be considered altogether unwarrantable. Babylon is spoken of expressly as a city, while those alluded to as having maintained illicit connection with her are mentioned, not as other cities, or as the inhabitants of other cities, but as certain sovereigns of various countries of the earth; the whole figure being of such a character as entirely to preclude the possibility of a literal construction. We can neither suppose Babylon to be literally a city or a kingdom, nor the kings literally kings. Such may in effect be the design of this anomaly—to create a bar to the application of the illustration to any personal or political object.
These kings of the earth we have before supposed to be leading principles of what we term the earthly system ; perhaps the same as the seven heads (seven kings) of the beast, ($ 391.) They are leading principles
which have sustained the mixed system—being themselves sustained by the element of self. The living deliciously of these kings we suppose to be a figure of the false position of rest furnished by the mixed system; an opposite of the true position found in Christ. To them the loss of Babylon is the loss of this rest. They are no longer able, through the instrumentality of amalgamated views of doctrine, to hold forth the promise of a position indispensable both to the safety and to the eternal enjoyment of the disciple.
* Bewail her, and lament for her,” (x2xúcortai xui zóworral)-crying and cutting themselves, after the manner of the priests of Baal;—these chief principles perhaps standing, in relation to the mixed system of doctrine, as the priests of Baal stood to their idol-sustaining his worship for their own private advantage and enjoyment.
When they see the smoke of her burning ;' that is, when the evidence of her being destroyed is exhibited.
Standing afar off for the fear of her torment;' or rather, for fear of her torture—for fear of undergoing the same trial (as by fire) to which she is exposed—an intimation that, if brought to the same test, their fate must be the same. It does not appear that they are involved in precisely the same destruction ; but, notwithstanding this, we find their judgment lingered not, (2 Peter iii. 13.) They escape the fire, but they afterwards fall by the edge of the sword, as we learn from the conclusion of the next chapter.
• For in one hour,' &c.—The lamentation is not merely over the fall of Babylon, but that it should take place so suddenly—a peculiarity we find noticed alike by all of the three classes of mourners described in the chapter.
Vs. 11-14. And the merchants of the Και οι έμποροι της γης κλαίουσι και πικ- . earth shall weep and noirn over her; θουσιν επ' αυτή, ότι τον γάμον αυτών ουfor no
man buyeth their merchandise any more; the merchandise of gold, and Sriş uyoqužsi oiketi yónov zovooŬ xai silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, weyipov, xaù di 9ou tyuiov sui pagyapirov, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and xui prooirov xui roggious, xui orpixo ū scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all man- και κοκκίνου, και πάν ξύλον θέλουν και ner vessels of ivory, and all manner ves- πάν σκεύος ελεφάντινον, και πάν σκεύος eels of most precious wood, and of brings, εκ ξύλου τιμιωτάτου και χαλκού και σιδήand iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointmenis, and frankincense, pov xui poquivov, zuà xıróuouov xai žuwand wine, and oil, and fine flour, and μον, και θυμιάματα και μύρον και λίβανον, wheat, and beasts, and sheep. and horses, xai virov vai članov, xai oxidudev xoà oiand chariois, and slaves, and souls of men.
τον, και κτήτη και πρόβατα, και ίππων και And the fruits that thy soul lusleth alier are departed from thee, and all things geduir zuì couuror, xui yozis ur Sprw. which were dainty and’ σο0:ly are de- και η οπώρα της επιθυμίας της ψυχής σου parted from thee. and iliou shall find απήλθαν από σου, και πάντα τα λιπαρά them no more at all.
και τα λαμπρά από λετο από σου, και ουχέτι ου μη ειμήσης αυτά.
$412. “And the merchants,' &c.-We have already contemplated these merchants as representing principles of the mercenary character,
interested in sustaining the mixed economy, because they are themselves sustained by it; the earth representing the basis of man's position by nature, dependent for the means of life
his own labour: these mercenary elements we suppose to be peculiar to this earthly basis. They are elements of doctrine belonging to a system of self-dependence, suggesting to the disciple no motives of conduct except such as result from a calculation of profit or loss—principles wholly inconsistent with a system of graceprinciples to be as thoroughly expurgated from the disciple's views of faith, as the original inbabitants of Canaan were to have been driven out to give place to the favoured people of God.
The appellation Canaan is said to signify a merchant or trader. The Canaanites were to have been driven out of the promised land, but certain of them, as we have noticed, were left to try the people. So, in human views of God's plan of redemption, certain mercenary principles appear to have been suffered to remain to try the disciple. But as the Israelites were led away by the ancient inhabitants of Canaan to worship idols, so these mercenary principles appear to have predominated in the minds of Christians, especially in sustaining their views of a mixed plan of redemption. Without such a mixed system these principles cannot be sustained. The merchants of the earth therefore weep and mourn over the fall of Babylon.
· For no one buyeth their merchandise any more.'—The illustration is the more happy, as it is a matter of experience in the operations of trade, that the seller is dependent upon the buyer rather than the buyer upon seller. If these merchants had resorted to Babylon principally to obtain certain articles of luxury to be disposed of in other countries, the loss of her would not have been so important; they inight have procured the same articles elsewhere, or have substituted others for them ; but here the misfortune is, that the consumer is destroyed—the chief consumer of the earth, not only a city but an empire, and one distinguished for its immense consumption of luxuries as well as of necessaries of every description. These traders are supposed to be furnished with their merchandise; their immense stocks on hand. As citizens, they would willingly forfeit their political and personal liberties to obtain a market for their goods. Babylon was to them the god of their idolatry ; but now their occupation is gone-no one buyeth their merchandise any more. They weep and mourn, not from sympathy for the sufferers by this fearful conflagration, but because their own pecuniary interests are most deeply affected by it. So we may say of the mercenary principles sustaining and sustained by the mixed system in contemplation, they are of a character altogether selfish; a pure motive of gratitude or love to God, or of zeal for his glory, forms no part of their composition.
“The merchandise of gold,' &c., &c.—Here follows an enumeration of the different kinds of merchandise furnished by these traders, of which Baby
lon was the consumer. Every particular, no doubt, might be enlarged upon, illustrating by a variety of figures the same general truths: the articles of which gold and silver are the materials representing earthly riches-opposites of the true riches, and of the gold tried in the fire : precious stones and pearls—opposites of the stone, elect, precious, and of the pearl of great price ;—the materials of clothing representing opposites of the garments of salvation, and of the robe of righteousness; the fine linen purchased of the merchants being something different from the fine linen, pure and white, which is the righteousness of the saints. The purple and silk and scarlet might have been employed in the tabernacle in the wilderness, under the legal dispensation, but they are not called for in the heavenly tabernacle. Under the legal dispensation, all that man could furnish was required, and this all was insufficient. The mixed system retains the requisitions of the law-even its temple is a house of merchandise. Accordingly we may suppose these vessels of ivory and precious wood, these spices, and odours, and incense, to be the materials of temple service-elements of divine worship; opposites of the one sacrifice of propitiation, and the one reasonable sacrifice of thank-offering peculiar to the Christian system. So the provisions of wheat, wine, oil, &c., may be taken as opposites of the bread of life, of the new wine of the Saviour's cup, and of the oil of his holiness or sanctification. As the beasts and sheep, or rather cattle and sheep, xtím xai apáßara, constitute both articles of food and elements of sacrifice, they may have their opposites in the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and in the spiritual flesh or righteousness of Christ, the true bread of eternal life. Horses and chariots are means of safety and protection-figures of supposed means of salvation. Slaves and souls of men, or more strictly bodies and souls of men, (σωμάτων και ψυχάς ανθρώπων,)-the body and soul of the slave constituting one article of merchandise, -represent elements of bondage of every grade. The language here employed being that of inspiration, we have no doubt that every term here employed has its mate, (Is. xxxiv. 16;) but an exact analysis would require more space than can be now allotted to it. Besides, we have already had occasion to notice the spiritual signification of many of these particulars elsewhere.
* And the fruits that thy soul lusteth after,' &c.; or, more exactly, And the autumn or the autumnal fruits of the desires of thy soul are departed from thee ; (η οπώρα της επθυμίας της ψυχής σου ;) as if at the very moment when Babylon was about to obtain the fruit of her desires, it was taken from her.
· And all things which were dainty and goodly,' or, All things sumptuous and splendid, (xai hirapà xoà rà lounge,) all gratifications of appetite and vanity, are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. A commercial emporium only partially destroyed may revive again ; but Baby