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

Naturalists have remarked the resemblance in shape between the

head of the locust and that of the Ver. 7. Like horses

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 God 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

crease and prevalence were foretold by the Holy Spirit*; and, these holy men being now removed, they swarm through the Christian world. Such lieresies were preordained, to prove the Church; the scaled, the pure and faithful followers of their Lord, were to escape the contagion t. And, in the corrupted, they do not utterly destroy the life, the spiritual life which is in Christ #; for, the Divine evidences of the Gospel were in these carly times so clearly established by recent miracles, were so palpable and convincing, as not to be withstood, or denied, by those who made enquiry. But these beretics corrupt and debase the faith which they acknowledge, by the addition of their own philosophical dreams and superstitions.

Now, the first swarm, the first multitudinous host of corrupters, recorded in Christian history, is that of the Gnostics § Their seeds and beginnings are observable in the first century, even in the apostolic times ||. Cerinthus appears to have imbibed the Gnostic doctrines, and also the Nicolaitans 1. But heretics of this description were not successful in corrupting the Church during its first century. Euse

* 2 Cor. xi. 13. 14; 1 Tim. vi. 3, 4, 5, 20, 21; 2 Tim. iii, 13 ; 2 Pet. ii. 1, &c. + 1 Cor. xi. 19; 2 Thess. ii. 13. iii. 3. .

See notes, ch. ii. 1. vi. 8, $" The first great heresy, which as a gangrene did overspread and consume much of the beauty, glory, and vigour of the Christian * Church, was that of the Gnostics.” Gale, Court of the Gentiles, pt. iii. b. ii. sect. 7.

ll Iñs voarme yrwT*ws: the very name under which it is attacked by Irenæus; 1 Tim. vi. 20, 21; Col. ii. 8, 9, 10; 1 John ii. 18; I pist. Polycarpi.

Euseb. 11. F. lib. iii. c. 28. Mosheini, i. 116. 117. Whitby on 2 Pet. ii. See also note, ch. ii. 6; 1. 45.

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