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vision, have a yet more dreadful character; they have the power of scorpions, and stings in their tails; and their prey is not (as usual with locusts) the grass

and green plants, and trees of the field; they are permitted to attack man; yet not all men, “ who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads ;" by which we plainly understand *, that all sincere servants of Christ are preserved from the mischief. The scorpion is a small insect, contemptible as the locust in its size and appearance; but formidable by reason of its sting. Scorpions are classed in Holy Writ, together with serpents, as a part of the power of the infernal enemy t. And our Lord gives his Disciples power over them; and it is in consequence of this gift that the sealed escape their venom.

The men who are attacked by them are not killed, but wounded and tormented. They lose not altogether their spiritualx life in Christ, their knowledge of a life immortal, purchased and revealed to them by their Redeemer, whose name they still confess, and to whom they may yet return, and live #; but the impression made upon them by this infernal attack, renders the prospect of a pure spiritual life no longer the object of delight; they are of those who love darkness better than light, because their deeds are evil ş.

A nearer See note, ch. vii, 2.

+ Luke x. 19. See note, ch. iii. 1. vi. 8. § A most eloquent representation of mental torment, conveyed under the emblem of scorpion-stings, will be found in these lines:

“ Cold, fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh; -
“ O coward consicence! how dost thou afflict me!
“ Oh, the affiiction of those terrible dreams
“ That shake us nightly! Better be with the dead,
“ Than on such torture of the mind to lie.
“ Ob! full of Scorpions is my mind,---I'ın filld with horror!"

MACBETIL

1

A nearer view of these swarms of Antichristian corrupters exhibits them,

Naturalists have remarked the

resemblance in shape between the Ver. 7. Like horses

head of the locust and that of the

horse*. They are swift, intrepid, prepared for battle.

and formidable; the worldly-minded, who have not the seal of God, i cannot easily escape them. [The true golden crown is the proper ornament of Christ himself, of his elders, of his followers, of

those who overcome sin and the Upon their heads, world, by his example and power. as it were, crowns See notes, (ch. iii. 12. ji. 12. iv. 4. of gold.

vi. 2.) These imposing enemies of the true faith, have crowns, not of gold, but, as it were of gold: (see Matt. xxiii. 27, 28.) they deceive under the appearance of the ChrisLtian Religion.

The face of man given to an animal, implies a reasoning power in that animal;

Os homini sublime dedit, cælum que tueri

Jussit.

These deceivers impose by a show Their faces as the of reasoning and by the specious elofaces of men. quence which is human. Ignatius, in

his Epistle to the Church of Smyrna, written about the time when the great Gnostic heresy began to

+ Bochart, on Joel ii. where it is said of them, “like horsemen "shall they run.” Ray, on Insects; quoted by Bp. Newton.

prevail,

ment.

prevail, calls these deceivers Empire &vpwropop De, wild-beasts with the appearance of men. (Patres ApostoLlici, sect. iv.) They possess the arts of allure

The hair of the women, Their hair, as of among the Eastern nations of women.

antiquity, was long; which was accounted effeminate in a man. i(1 Cor. xi. 14, 15.)

Yet under this effeminate allu

ring appearance, they devour and Their teeth, as of destroy. (Joel. i. 6. Psalms lvii. 4. lions.

lviii. 6. Ezek, xix. 6. xxii. 25. 1 Pet. V. 8. Heb. xi. 33.)

The natural locust has a breastplate, or coat of mail: these symbolic

locusts have defensive armour, to They have breast

repel the weapons of controversy, plates, as of iron.

such Scriptural opposition as the orthodox Christian would bring

Lagainst them. Ver. 9. The sound

Their attack is powerful and of their wings is as alarming; with the furious noise of the sound of cha

a great host, they overbear all beriots, of many horses fore them. (Joel ii. 5.) rushing to battle.

As by the appointment of the

Creator, the face belongs to man Ver. 10. They only; so the tail is peculiar to brutes : have tails like to and thus the more brutal passions scorpions, and stings and appetites seem to be here emin their tails. ployed, as an instrument of seduction. The dragon acts by the same

instrument,

instrument, the tail, (ch. xii. 4).

“ The sting of death is sin,” (1 Cor. Lxv. 56).

The continuance of these antiTheir pozver is to christian invaders is during five injure the men, five { months, or 150 days; that is, in months.

prophetical language, (see note, ch. ii. 10.) 150 years.

The king, or leader of this war. fare, is not one of the scorpion-locusts, one of their own earthly stock and nature; they have super

natural assistance and direction; Ver. 11. Lastly, the evil angel, who had embittered They have over them the waters, and opened the infernal a king, the angel of abyss, being himself their king. the bottomless deep. With respect to the name Apollyou, His name in Hebrew observe, that Judas Iscariot is called is Abaddon, in the by our Lord ở vios tūs atodelas, the Greek Apollyon, son of perdition or destruction, after that is, Destroyer. Satan had entered into him, (John

xvii. 12).

And the heresies described in 2 Pet. ii. which by the best commentators are supposed to be of the Gnostic cast, are styled

αίρεσεις απολειας. After this comparative view of the figurative lan. guage of the text, we may proceed to observe, that, as swarms of locusts, under the Old Testament, are used to signify armies devastating the Holy Land, the heritage of God, the Theocracy under which the Is. raelites enjoyed superior blessings and protection : So, under the New Testament, such an invasion, led by an evil angel, from the depths of hell, must be un.

derstood

5

derstood to have for its object, the Christian Church, the heritage of Christ.

The object of attack, then, seems clearly ascertained. But of what nature are the assailants? Do they

x attack the Church with arms? or with more formida, ble weapons,—with corruptive doctrines? The figurative expressions here used, may, in many instances, imply either. But that part of the description which represents the “ sealed of God,” the faithful and true Christians, as unhurt by their stings, seems to point out decisively, that the invasion is not by arms literally understood. In no invasion of the Christian Church by arms, has it been known, (nor indeed can it be consistently supposed,) that the sealed, the X sincere servants of Gad through Christ, should escape. Upon such trying occasions, they die nobly, as martyrs, or at least undergo patiently their share of the common calamity. But suppose a base corruption of Religion, engendered in the depths of hell, and promising worldly greatness, and pleasure and power, to attack the Christian Church ;-in such case, the

prophecy now before us might be exactly fulfilled. The sealed, the true servants of Christ, would reject the proffered allurements, would adhere to their ancient faith; while the worldly and nominal Christians would be captured in the snare.

For this reason, (as well as because in the progress of our enquiry it will be found so best to accord,) under the symbol of the scorpion-locusts, we are to look for a swarm, not of armed men, but of teachers of corrupt doctrines.

In the early times of the Church, many notions, corruptive of pure Christianity, were engendered by fanatical and wicked heretics.' But the authority of the Apostles and of apostolical men prevented, for a time, their successful propagation. Yet their in

crease

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