« PreviousContinue »
idolatry. A "mother of harlots,” in the plural number, is a Power that has led them into several kinds of idolatry; and the expression, “ mother of harlots," with the emphatic article the before it, signifies the greatest of all “ harlots,” or idola
Now the Papal church answers not to this descriptive sign: for, although she is a “harlot,” and is called a “ whore,” yet she is the parent
of but one illegitimate offspring, Papal apostacy, and therefore she cannot be « a mother of harlots” in the plural number. Nor has she been “the (the greatest) mother of harlots,” for when we consider the extent, variety, and sinfulness of the deviations from the word of God, as well of the Mohamedan superstition as French atheism, they will appear to have far exceeded her in folly and in iniquity; and, therefore, she cannot, with propriety or truth, be considered as the mother of harlots. Nor does she answer to the other mark of “The mother of the abominations of the earth;” for although it is well known that she has had her sins, and abominations, yet they are by no means of so deep a dye, as the abominations of Pagans and Mohamedans. And although she has “ been drunk with the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus," yet she has drurk only a portion of that blood. And when we consider the persecutions and destruction of Christains, by pagan Rome, and the powers of Mohamedanism, it must be confessed she has not had more than her share.
Thus none of the preceding marks of the Power here foretold can possibly be descriptive only of the Papal church. The spirit of prophecy, in its delineations, is accurate and perfect, and the events will always exactly correspond. But when we apply these signs to the grand confederacy, mentioned by the prophet in the foregoing chapter, their allegorical and scriptural senses are perfectly answered. The separate and distinct powers of paganism, apostacy, and atheism, will be lost in the union, It will no longer be the one or the other, but a mixture of all of them together; a Power never before existing, and which will completely answer and accomplish every mark of the prophet,
After having thus described this grand confederacy, which is to be “gathered together in battle, in the great day of God Almighty,” with all their hosts, he tells us the wicked purpose for which they are to be armed for the presumptuous .conflict. “ These,” says he “shall make war “ upon the LAMB, and the Lamb shall overcome "them, for HE IS THE KING OF KINGS, AND LORD
OF LORDS; AND THEY THAT ARE WITH HIM "ARE CALLED, AND CHOSEN, AND FAITHFUL*.”
There are divers other signs in this chapter, which, in my humble opinion, unite in describing the same monstrous coalition of the ungodly, against the church of Christ. But I forbear to treat of them, as it would lead me far beyond the limits I have allotted to these brief conjectures, and because I trust I have said enough to convince the pious reader, that the signs I have
* Rev. xvii, 14.
already considered do by no means refer to the church of Rome; but to a coalition of Powers, which is to be “ gathered together to battle,” on « THE GREAT DAY OF God Almighty.” Nor, indeed, should I have said so much, but from a wish to correct an error, which has long been believed and repeated by many Protestant commentators, on this chapter, ever since the Protestant opposition to the Papal church commenced. To account for so great an error, committed by so many truly learned and pious men, is not an easy task, Has it arisen from their not attending to the exact chronological order, in which the prophecies in the Apocalypse are treated? Or, from their not duly considering, that the prophet, after having foretold the rise and fall of the Pope, * announces the coming of three other wicked and idolatrous enemies of the church of Christ, in the order they were to come, namely, the “ beast of the earth,t” or the atheistical power of France; the “woman sitting upon a scarlet coloured beast,” or the “great whore,” or “ Babylon the great, &c.I” and “Gog and Magogş;" all of them more sinful and idolatrous enemies of the word of God, than the Pope? Or has this unaccountable and mischievous error arisen from a zealous anxiety to rescue the church of Christ from the wretched slavery and captivity of the Papal church, which has led them to represent it as the source of all manner of evil, and to ap
Chap. xii. 1-10. 4 Chap xvii. 2-6.
propriate all the marks, however, inapplicable and discordant, of “the man of sin, the son of perdition,” foretold by St. Paul; all the marks of “antichrist,” foretold by St. John; and all the marks of the beast of "the bottomless pit,” " or the beast of the earth, and of the great whore, &c.” to the Papal hierarchy, and thus to load it (already abundantly loaded with its own peculiar sins and abominations) with all “ the abominations of the earth;" with all the idolatries, sensuality, and crimes of all the enemies of the church of Christ, from its rise to its final redemption? This, I humbly apprehend, in the exposition of the apocalyptical history, is a very great error; an error which robs it of that perspicuity of chronological narration, which it certainly possesses, renders it a very defective history of the church of Christ, and involves it in confusion.
EIGHTEENTH CHAPTER OF THE REVELATION.
The awful Sentence of Divine Justice passed upon
the ungodly Confederacy, and the last Summons from Christ, to those that fear God, to separate themselves from it.
IN this chapter the prophet foretells the destruction of the ungodly confederacy of IDOLATERS, APOSTATES, and ATHEISTS. And as it has been his uniform method, when predicting events, which are to take place in the course of divine
Providence, to describe them figuratively, by an angel sent into the world for that purpose, so here he represents this dreadful event in the same manner. He sees “an angel coming down from hea
ven, having great power, and the earth was en
lightened by his glory, and he cried mightily " with a strong voice;" to denote the immutability of the decree, the perfect justice upon which it is founded, and the dreadful effects of the wrath of God, when it shall be poured out upon the confederacy. This angel proclaims the awful decree saying, “ Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and “ is become the hold of every foul spirit, and a
cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For “ all nations have drunk of the wine of her for“nications, and the kings of the earth have com"mitted fornication with her, and the merchants " of the earth are waxed rich through the abun“ dance of her delicacies.” In thus announcing the dreadful decree, the angel speaks in the present tense, “Babylon the Great is fallen,” and repeats “is fallen*, to show that the decrees of a God of infinite wisdom, power, and justice, are fixt and irreversible, and as soon as passed, are to be considered as executed.
The decree thus announced, the prophet passes to a description of the tender mercies, and abundant love of the eternal Son of the most high God, towards his church, at that critical
period. Proofs of this eneffable love, from the rise of the church, to the end of the world, run
* Ver. 1, 2.