Page images

said by several of the prophets of the doom of Babylon, Edom, Egypt, &c. was' not fulfilled in all respects in the overthrow of those countries, and that it has been applied by St. John to Rome; as, that God would roll Baby-, lon down from the rocks, and make ber a burntor burning mountain. For the situation of old Babylon was inconsistent with this description,

pains of Purgatorr. The preachers were not ashamed to publish in their pulpits “ that at the sound of the money, as it was cast into their bason, the souls in purgatory skipped for joy amiest the flames, and flew out of torment,"'This infamous traffic roused the indignant spirit of Luther in the year 1516.See Sleidan's Hist. Reform.

There is still extant a book of rates, according to which the pope exacts a revenue from sinners, by fixing the price of pardon for every sin. It is entitled “TAYA CANCELLARIÆ Aposto. LICÆ,” of which Espenceus, à learned bishop of their own, says," from this book, exposed to the view of all, and which has now as well as ever a ready sale, more villainy is learned than from profest summaries of wickedness. There is licence: granted for the most abominable crimes, and absolution for all, unless men will not buy. It is so far from being suppressed by the treasurers of the church, that the licences and impunities are renewed and confirmed for the most part by the faculties of the LEGATES."

Hist. of Popery, yol, iy, p. 128

and her fate different. * That she should be « as when God overtbrew Sodom and Gomor, rah," that is by fire.t-And of Edom it was prophesied, that her land should be soaked with blood, and afterwards desolated for ever and ever by volcanic fire, and streams of burning pitch and lava, sending up an everlasting smoke, the emblem of her former sin, and the perpetual monument of the truth of prophecy. This is noticed repeatedly by Saint John,—" Her smoke rose up for ever and cver," and by Isaiah,—“ They shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me, for their worm

* It is intimated that mystic Babylon shall become a lake burning with liquid fire, and not a burning mountain ; yet her doom may possibly include both, by the event very common in volcanic eruptions ; a sinking in of the earth first, and a mountanous elevation afterward, bearing up along with it a crater of immense capacity and circuit. But it is more probable that somewhat is to be allowed for the prophetic licence, and that the mystic Babylon is called “ destroying Mountain" from her towering pride, as the church of Christ is called “the Moun. tain of the Lords house," in allusion to its exalted holiness, and purity at that time to which the prophet alludes, (Isa. ii. 2 Micah iv. 1.) * Isai. xiii. 19.

Isai. xxxiv, 7, &c.

shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”*

[ocr errors]

Very remarkable is the holy prophet's appeal by anticipation to the people of very remote times, in the days when these facts should come to pass, and they should be spectators of them; and living witnesses of the truth of his words.t-" Hear, ye that are far off," — (ages to come, attend to these words which I address to you,)hear what I have done !"

-(decreed to be assuredly done :)-- and ye. that are near,"-(are living in those days of vengeance,)—“ acknowledge my might,– (confess ye the finger of God.) “The sinners in Zion are afraid, fearfulness bath surprised the bypocrites. Who among us can dwell with the devouring fire ? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings ?"I This is like our Saviour's representation of the terror of

* Isai. lxvi. 24.

Isai. xxxüi. 13. $ “ Hear what I have doneit is the well known manner of the Prophets so to speak of events yet future as if past, to de. Note the indefectible certainty of their accomplishmeat.

the apostate jews, when they should see his threatenings actually made good;" then sball they begin to say unto the mountains fall on us, and to the bills cover us.

So these superlative sinners in Sion, eminently distinguished in all prophecy for their bypocrisy,t shall at last be struck with fear, if not penetrated with repentance, when they see their city and country swallowed up by the infernal abyss," the beast slain, and his body destroyed and given to the devouring flame.

This passage of Isaiah is commonly understood of hell, but the analogy of prophecy

* Luke xxiii, 30.

+ Speaking lies in hypocrisy, with seared conscience, is the grand characteristic of the apostacy. (Isai. xxviii. 15 ; x, 6; Ps. exx. 3, 4.) St John has also noticed their apprehensions and lamentations, when they see the great emporium of their religious merchandise swallowed up, and the favorite seat of their superstition rendered inaccessible for holy pilgrimages, and the discharge of their vows at the shrines of their sainted Ma. huzzim.-.The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar of for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, alas ! alas ! &c. (Rev. xviii. 15.) what city is like unto this great city, either in the greatness of her former prosperity, or the terror of her destruction

| Dan. vii, 11.

seems to require the first application of it to the material bell of Tophet, and the lake of fire burning with brimstone, whereinto the beast and the false prophet are to be cast alive, and which is described as being everlasting, because it will not cease to rage so long as the earth endures. This is the common centre to which so many prophecies directly tend, that there can remain no doubt but some fact commensurable to it, in the punishment of Babylon, is in the design of Providence.

It is to be acknowledged that fire (as giving us the quickest sense of agonizing pain) is in scripture a common type of sharp and destructive afflictions of


kind. “He shall be saved, yet so as by fire;"* with danger and suffering, and as a brand snatched out of the burning. " I will bring the third part through the fire,"' + will exercise their faith and patience with affliction and persecution. So the lamb of the passover, the emblem of Christ's passion, was to be roasted with fire, and

* 1 Cor. iii, 13, 15.

+ Zech. xiii, 9.

« PreviousContinue »