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Daniel's interpretation of the handwriting upon the wall, the peculiar share of divine favour enjoyed by that servant of the Most High ; and Darius the Mede was alike converted by the prophet's deliverance from the mouths of the lions, Dan. vi. 25–28. On the other hand, we have abundant evidence of the hardness of heart of Jewish sovereigns, amidst the most miraculous displays of divine power, as well as of their presecution of prophets and saints, Rom. xi. 3. To this we may add the testimony of Christ himself concerning the Scribes and Pharisees of Jerusalem, that they were the children of them which killed the prophets ; and that upon them was to come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of Abel to that of Zacharias, (Matt. xxiii. 31, 35.)
Comparing these facts and this declaration with what is here said of the great city, we think the old Jerusalem of the apostle's time, as a figure, must be identic with the apocalyptic Babylon ; for, if all the blood of the prophets was to come upon Jerusalem, it could hardly be said to be found in Babylon, unless the two were equivalent figures. The Pharisees were covetous or mercenary, (selfish,) and such is the character of the leading principles of the mixed system. Jerusalem, in the days of the evangelists, was in the hands of the Romans; professing to be free, but really under the yoke of her Gentile conquerors ; she was Jerusalem in bondage, and was thus the figure of a perverted view of the economy of salvation ;-such is the mixed economy represented by Babylon. The two are therefore identic, and both accordingly are guilty of the same blood of saints and prophets.
$ 420. Blood is the figure of life. Holy prophets and saints are apocalyptically figures of elements of divine revelation ; prophets or interpreters being put for prophecies or interpretations, or doctrines taught by prophets and holy men. The natural life of man, we suppose to be a figure of the spiritual sense of these elements of revealed truth. To find blood in a city, is to find the city guilty of murder or manslaughter ; as blood in the skirts of the garment is a scriptural figure of evidence of bloodguiltiness, and as blood. guiltiness literally consists in the crime of having deprived a fellow-being of life. Thus the perverted view of the economy of redemption, whether symbolized by Babylon, or by Jerusalem in bondage, is guilty of the blood of saints and prophets, inasmuch as it has deprived the elements of divine revelation of their proper spiritual sense. It is by the suppression of this sense of revelation (its lise) that the mixed theory is built up; and accordingly, when the real character of the system is exposed, it will be found to have been guilty of this suppression; the manifestation of this truth being figuratively equivalent to finding the blood of saints and prophets in the place once the scene of their persecution.
*And of all that were slain upon the earth.'—The word translated slain
is the same as that employed in describing the appearance of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. As we have before remarked, (s 161,) the term is especially applicable to the slaughter of animals for the purposes of sacrifice, differing in this respect from the verb ároxtelvo, which signifies merely to kill. It is not said that in Babylon was found the blood of all killed upon the earth, but of all slain or slaughtered ; we presume as in sacrifice. The term is also the same applied to the slaughter of those whose souls were under the altar, slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. In a literal sense, the blood of all slain upon the earth, without qualification, as it is in the text, would be the blood of all, whether good or bad. Such cannot be the correct interpretation ; at the same time, this general appellation of all must comprehend something more than the prophets and saints just spoken of. These last, we suppose, may be contemplated as victims sacrificed or slain in the cause of truth ; as the souls under the altar were souls of the bodies offered upon the altar. As prophets and saints are figures of divine revelation, we suppose the other elements comprehended under the term all to be subordinate elements of truth, occupying a relation analogous to that of followers of prophets and holy men : deductions from the doctrines of revelation, tending to sustain a correct view of the economy of grace, so long as their proper spiritual sense is understood ; but unable to do so when this sense is suppressed. The earth we suppose to represent an exhibition of the position of man dependent upon his own works. To exhibit the maintenance of this position, it is necessary to divest all elements of revelation, and all doctrinal deductions from these elements, of their spiritual sense ; all of them, figuratively speaking, must suffer martyrdom, in order that this earthly view may be sustained : and this view itself must be sustained, in order to sustain the mixed system. Therefore in Babylon, as the efficient cause of this slaughter, the blood of all of these elements, whether direct or subordinate, is to be found; the fact, as detailed here, being equivalent to the decla. ration that all perversion of Christian doctrine has originated in the nature of this system of adulteration—a system which we cannot better designate than by giving it the appellative of a simulation of the divine plan of redemption ;-the plan comprehending the principles of government (the kingdom) resulting from it.
$ 421. There seems to be a gradual development of the character of Babylon, or rather, of the economy represented by her, in the relation of this and of the preceding chapter. In the first account (chap. xvii.) no
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 if 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 calculated 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 have the key to the whole of this mysterious dispensation. Babylon has 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 millstoné 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 shal} 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 barlot 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 ihe law. Thus sustained, she
offers hier 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. We 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 fulllment 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.