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and the voice of the bridegroom and of ποροι σου ήσαν οι μεγιστάνες της γης, ότι the brile slittll be heard no more at all in εν τη φαρμακεία σου επλανήθησαν πάντα thee: for thy merchants were the great tù ifrn. men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
$416. “And a mighty angel,' &c.; or, a strong angel, as the same word isyrgós is elsewhere rendered; the strength of the angel corresponding with the magnitude of the stone taken up, although this appears hardly a sufficient reason for introducing the adjunct ; for, if the angel took up the stone and cast it, he was of course sufficiently strong to do so. The Latin rendering, unus angelus potens, would appear to attach importance to the circumstance that the operation was performed by one single angel. If we use the numeral xis, according to a suggestion before made, ($ 145,) as an ordinal, its employment here will carry us back to the first strong angel mentioned in the Apocalypse, (Rev. v. 2,) acting as a herald on the occasion of the opening of the sealed book; the same angel or messenger then calling for a development of the mystery, now announces the first important result of that development.
An argument in favour of this construction is, that when the strong angel is mentioned the first time, as above, xai xidov öyyɛzov ioxvgór, no article, either definite or indefinite, is used. On the second occasion, (Rev. x. 1,) the term another (22.2.0v) is employed also without an article. On this third occasion, therefore, the numeral xis, used as an article, would appear as unnecessary as it was in the first instance; but if we consider it an ordinal, we then have a specific reason for its introduction-showing the connection between this account of Babylon and the sealed book, and reminding us that this angel had been watching, as it were, with peculiar interest, the whole development through which we have been conducted.
A stone like a great millstone, and cast it,' &c.—There may be an allusion here to the sentence pronounced, Matt. xviii. 6, against certain causes of offence—the casting of stumbling-blocks in the way of those seeking after truth, the little ones believing in Jesus. Babylon has proved a trap, or cause of offence, to multitudes of this character ; and now like a millstone she is cast down, never to rise again. A principal feature in this comparison, is the irrecoverable nature of the destruction illustrated : a stone cast. into the midst of the sea ; being utterly lost sight of, leaving no trace behind it, while it is incapable of coming again to the surface, either by its own or by any human power; the figure in this respect corresponding with the direction given to the messenger of the prophet, Jer. li. 63, 64: “And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates; and thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her.”
Taking the sea also as a figure of the vindictive wrath of divine justice, this casting of the stone is a comparison equivalent to an exhibition of the result of an exposure of the mixed system of Babylon to the action of this element of infinite justice, showing how entirely the one must be swallowed up or ingulfed in the other; as we might say of any mixed system of salvation, that it is no more adequate to a satisfaction of the claims of the law than a millstone would be to a filling up of the abyss.
• Thus with violence,' &c.—The word translated violence is applicable to a great vehemence or impetuosity of action. Our imagination is conducted by it to the velocity of accelerated motion with which any ponderous body must descend from an immense height to the earth. The illustration corresponds with the swiftness of destruction (ταχινήν απώλειαν) predicted of certain false teachers and their heresies, 2 Peter ii. 1. This swiftness also involving the idea of suddenness; as it was predicted of Babylon, Is. xlvii. 10, 11, “ Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee ; and thou hast said in thy heart, I am, and none else besides me. Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth (the morning thereof, Heb.]: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off [expiate]: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know."
$417. “And shall be found no more at all.'—We have seen Babylon in faines as a system—as a system tried by fire, and proving to be entirely of combustible materials. But even the site of Babylon is to disappear—the location of the city is nowhere to be found. The smoke of her burning, it is said in the next chapter, shall rise up forever and ever; the evidence of the trial and destruction of the system will be eternal, but the system itself will no longer bave an existence.
The sign of the future, shall, is employed here, as in the previous description of the conflagration. We
may consider the events themselves as synchronizing with the final destruction of the beast and false prophet, although in a literal sense the idea of time is not to be taken into consideration. The final destruction of Babylon and that of the beast happen simultaneously, because one is involved in the other; but the
particulars are related successively, no doubt that the narrative may be better adapted to human comprehension. The declaration of the mighty angel, Rev x. 6, is ever to be kept in view: xpóros oủxér ésta1, There shall be time no longer; our construction of this declaration ($ 230) being confirmed, especially by the use of the words où un črt, no more at all, as we find them employed on this occasion.
* And the voice of harpers,' &c.—Here follows an enumeration of various characteristics of the happiness, prosperity, and increasing power of a kingdom or great city, of all of which Babylon is to be suddenly deprived.
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 (uovoixóy) was the poet, or perhaps the vocal performer ; the piper or flute 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. réguns) 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 seen: 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.
$418. For thy merchants were the great men of the earth.'—Here we have the reasons for the desolations just particularized ; and if we consider the conjunction and, at the commencement of the next verse, as connecting the subject of that verse with the last clause of the present, we may then consider the whole as furnishing three distinct reasons for the destruction of this great city. As if it were said, All these things have come upon thee, because thy merchants were the great men of the earth ; because by thy sorceries all nations were led astray ; and (because) in thee the blood of prophets, &c., was found. This appears to be the sense most consistent with the whole tenor of the passage ; the last verse then appearing, as we suppose it to be, part of the angel's declaration ; while, otherwise, we are at a loss to know by whom it is uttered.
The word translated great men, is applied to “the leading persons in a state,” (Donneyan.) It is rendered, Mark vi. 21, by the term lords ; and Rev. vi. 15, it is classed next in order to kings. One reason we say, therefore, why the mixed system is destroyed, is that its mercenary principles have become the leading principles of all that general system which is represented by the earth; and that these mercenary elements have acquired their prominence through the nature of the mixed system.
· For by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.'-Quia veneficio tuo aberraverunt omnes gentes, (G. & L.) Because by thy poisonous preparations all the nations (Gentiles) have gone astray. By thy pharmacy, ($ 226,)—by thy practice of medicine—by participating in thy drugs, the nations 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 peculiarly 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 principles 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 eyes opened to his error, he finds himself in the gall of bitterness and in the bond 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 sige In xaì núviow tùr eoquypérow éni tis were slain upon the earth.
$ 419. “And in her was found.'—We treat this according to the suggestion just now made, (§ 418,) as a third reason for the destruction of this 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 here described. This supposition, however, is not very material, as under any view this blood-guiltiness of Babylon must have been a reason for the judgment 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 bimself 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 carrying 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. Belsbazzar recognized, in