« PreviousContinue »
“rooted and grounded in the faith ;” others, having no root, cannot stand against the storm. The third part of these is destroyed. To agiov, the third part, is an expression not uncommon with the prophetic : writers: compare Ezek. v. 12. and Zech. xiii. 8, 9,
&c.; where the third part represents the remnant of the people who are to be saved, — few in number, when compared with those who are to perisha: but here the greater part of the Christian plants are to survive
the attack. But no grass is left; all green grass **** was burned up." Grass, in Scriptural language, represents the gaily flourishing; those who exhibit a
promising appearance, yet, like herbage in hot burn1. ing climates, are soon withered and gone f. Such
persons, our Lord foretold, would “spring up quickly; " with joy receive the word, but, in time of perse“cution, fall away.” The first persecution which attacked the Church, arose from the Jewish zealots, and fell upon the converted Jews. Saint Stephen and Saint James the Elder, and James the Just, suffered martyrdom under such. Saint Paul was an instrument of this rage, and afterwards a sufferer by it. It continued to molest the Church grievously at the time when this prophecy was uttered, as may be seen in ch. ii. 9 - 12. m. 9 : and the few ancient records which we now possess of those early times, shew that it was continued afterwards I.
• Psalms i. 3. lxxx. 8, 9. &c. Isaiah v. 7. 24. Ixi, 3. xliv. 4. Jer. 1. 21. 2 Kings xix. 30. Matt. iii. 10. xii. 6. 21. xv. 13. Eph. iii. 17. Jude 12.
+ See Psalms 1xxii. 16. xc. 7. Matt. vi. 30. James i. 10. And by comparing Exod. x. 15; Is. xv. 6. xxxvii. 27 ; Ezek. xvii, 24. XX. 47 ; in the Septuagint; it will be evident, that tawgos xoplos is the green, flourishing grass, opposed to the Engos, withered.
See Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho, in various passages. See also the martyrdom of Ignatius, where the unconverted Jews are
Ver. 8. A great mountain, burning with fire, was 's cast into the sea; &c.] At the sound of the second
non Trumpet, the hostile invasion of the antichristian powers die falls upon the sea. Under this name, or that of the Isles of the sea, or Isles of the Gentiles, the nations de . beyond the pale of the Jewish Church, the Gentiles, are frequently represented *. These, by the original
'S: counsel and appointment of God, were, in process of time, to partake the benefits of Christianity, and to be exposed to its warfare. Upon these the attack descends,
ide lis, under the symbol of “a great mountain burning with “ fire.” A mountain, in prophetic language, signifies (lvirsi. an eminent seat of power, civil or religious. From the mountain of Sinaï, the Law was proclaimed; it
erry was the seat of the God and King of the chosen peo- . ple. On Mount Sion afterwards stood His temple and Lace the place of His local residence: and the increasing kingdom of Christ is described under the emblem of a mountain, which shall fill the whole earth t. And
ainsi the powers, who opposed God and his people, had their fastnesses, and local worship, on the tops of increase mountains,
“ on every high hill ." Under such figu- te te for rative language, the Christian Religion is called Mount Sion, and is contrasted with the Jewish Law, called Mount Sinaï, in the Epistle to the Hebrews §. the box In this sense, Babylon, that eminent seat of power and árv of idolatry, hostile to true Religion, is by the pro-we-Lun
represented as the most active instigators of that persecution. See likewise Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, cent. i. ch. v.
• Gen. x. 5. Psalm lxv. 5. Isaiah xxiii, 2, 11. xxiv. 14. xvi. 12, niti 13. lx. 5. 9. xlii. 4.; compared with Matt. xii. 21. Ezek, xxvi, 15,
::: &c. Eccl'us xxiv. 56. + Is. xxv. 6. Dan. ix. 16. ii. 35, 44, Mic, xiii. 12. Zech. viii. 3.". Ezek, xviii. 14. Mic. i. 45.
Heb. xii. 18, &c. ช่ 4.
phets 16:19 alia
phets called a mountain, although it stood in a low situation by the river, and upon an extended plain. “ Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain; “I will stretch out iny hand upon thee, and roll thee “ down from the rocks." To which is added, “I will "make thee a burnt mountain.” And these words appear to be spoken prophetically of the utter destruction of Babylon, frequently foretold in other passages. The mountain before us is still burning, and as such, is to become a formidable neighbour and enemy to the sea,-to the Gentile Christians, as the hail and fire had been to the land, -to the Jewish converts. The effect is similar in both," Blood;" — and the third part perishes. A large proportion of “ those who had life,” (that is, as I conceive, spiritual life in Christ) *, and who were distinguished among the Gentiles for their eminence, like ships which lift their heads above the plain of waters, perishes. “ Howl, ye ships of Tarshish t,” is an address to the inhabitants of Tarshish, and not literally to their ships And to die, in the figurative language of Scripture, is to lose the spiritual life which is in Christ I. Our Lord had foretold under the same figure, (“ Fire,”) that his Religion should not descend upon the world without producing persecution, divisions, contentions, bloodshed, for the trial of faith, under which, many should fall away ģ. The Gentile converts were mingled with the heathen idolaters, whose power and corrupt religion were in due time, like Babylon, to become “ a burnt mountain.” But the period of its extinction was not yet arrived: it was now burning, and, as such, became terrible to all around. During
• See note, ch. iii. i.
See note, ch. iii. 2.
+ Is. xxiii. 1.
the three first centuries, the idolatrous power was consuming away from the fire inflicted upon it from above, and which had been cast upon the earth from the altar of the True Religion (v. 5). But so long as it continued burning, the persecution of the idolaters raged grievously against the Gentile Churches, and great was the number of the lapsed *.
Ver. 10, 11. A great star, burning like a meteor ; &c.] Upon the sound of the third Trumpet, there is seen to fall from heaven a great star, burning like a aceptas: which Greek word will be found to express any bright effulgence, a lamp, a torch, &c.; but having in this passage the semblance of a star, it may be deemed what in our language we call a meteor; thus therefore have I translated it. The Elder Pliny, describing, from the Greek Philosopher Hipparchus, various kinds of meteors, calls them by this very name lampades t. Such a meteor passing through the nocturnal air, is by Homer called a star ;
Οίον δ'αστερα ήκι Κρονα ταϊς αγκυλομήλεω. .
ILIAD. iv. 75.
which Virgil imitating, says,
de cælo lapsa per umbras, Stella, facem ducens, multâ cum luce cucurrit.
Æneid. ii. 1
* Under this name, those Christians are represented in ecclesiastical bistory, who denied their faith in the times of persecution; and it was only by very severe penitence, that they could be restored to the bosom of the Church. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. vi. c. 44. Cypriani Epistolæ ix. x. xi. et seq. Mosheim, cent. iii. part i. ch 2. + Nat. Hist. lib. ii. c. 26. See also Aristot. Meteorol. lib. i. c. 4.
Sæpè etiam stellas, vento impendente, videbis
GEORG. i. 365.
The passage of such a meteor, in our popular lan. guage, is called the shooting of a star. Now a star, in prophetic language, signifies a prince, or eminent leader, a leader in doctrine*. Such an one, falling from heaven, as did Satant, corrupts the third part of the rivers and springs of waters, corrupts the streams and the sources of pure doctrine, which are by our Lord expressed under the same metaphor 1. The corruption of pure doctrine and the introduction of heretical opinions are in Scripture commonly attributed to the agency of Satan and his angels Ģ; and the corrupting doctrine, which produces heresies, is often expressed by the metaphors wormwood, gall, bitterness, &c. & And the death is spiritual [.
Under this Trumpet, therefore, we seem to obtain a general description of those corruptious, which, at the instigation of Satan, were seen to invade and subvert a great part of the Gentile Christian Church by the preaching of splendid heretics. Such, in the earliest times, were Simon, Menander, Cerinthus, &c. **
See note, ch. i. 16. + Luke x. 18. 2 Pet. ii. 4. Jude 6.-And observe in ch. xii, 4, the fallen angels are described under the syłnbol of the stars of heaven: and the star, in ch. ix. 1-12, is a fallen angel, and has the action of such ascribed to him; he opens the pit of the bottomless deep.
1 John iv. 10. &c. vii. 37, 38, 39.
$ 2 Cor. xi. 14, 15. Eph. ii. 2. 2 Thess. ii. 9. 1 Tim. v. 15. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. v, c.7. ll Deut. xxix. 18. Is. v. 20. Amos v. 7. vi. 12. Acts viii. 23.
See note, ch. ii. 16. iii, 1. ** This evil spread wide: and the Waters of Christian doctrine lost their original sweetness and salubrity, in other hands than those of acknowledged heretics. Many who are called Fathers of the Church, though by no means wilful and intentional corrupters of the Paith, are observed to have holden doctrines, which by no means