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tions against the servants and witnesses of the Lord. They shall also be cast into the same bed of tribulation and distress with her; part of which we have now seen during these sanguinary revolutions in Europe, but the dregs of the Lord's cup are yet to come. Ps. Ixxv. 8. • The Lord seems to have this woman and her transacs
tions during many centuries before his eyes; for he also speaks of her children. These are not the Christian churches and congregations under the government of Popery Charity requires to make this Christian distinction. Her children are the different monastic orders, formed for her support, and after her spirit and image; and those missionary societies in protestant and other Chris
tian countries, who use all their endeavours to extend the - banners and authority of the Pope, among the true wor
shippers of Jesus Christ. The Lord will kill them with ebeath, if they do not repent. This manner of expression always denotes sudden death, by signal judgments from heaven: such as earthquakes, epidemic diseases, sanguinary revolutions, or the desolations of a blood-thirsty tyrant. The accomplishment of this dire sentence will carry such evident marks of a divine and special judgment, that all the churches in the different parts of Christendom at that time, shall thereby know the hand of the Lord Jesus. It probably terminates in that great harvest, Rev. xiv. 15; in which also many children of God are gathered into the heavenly garner, but in a very different manner, from the children of Jezebel. · Verse 24. But unto you I say, and unto the rest at Thyatira. The Lord makes a remarkable distinction in the body of the ministry at Thyatira. They are divided into the following three classes : 1. The woman Jezebel, and her lovers and children. 2. The angel. 3. The rest at Thyatira.
I. This woman and her connexions have been sufficiently described. According to prophecy they-will once more arise to a considerable power in Christendom, and for a short time, exercise great tyranny and persecution, chiefly against the Protestants, before she receives her final doom by the hand of the Lord. Her course is now nearly run, and her last elevation at hand; after which she shall op: pose the Church of Christ no more.
II. The angel-The acknowledged gospel ministry of Jesus Christ in his Church at the time, to which this charge refers. Their general character, the Lord has given in the 19th verse, of which they all partook, more or less, in the performance of their official duties. This angel is twice addressed in the plural number, verse 23, and 24; in order to show, that he is a moral representative of many. He is here described, as being in the presence of this idolatrous woman, who profited much by his remissness in duty, though he himself remained faithful to the Lord.
III. The rest at Thyatiru.--Are also ministers of the true and uncorrupted gospel of Jesus; for they are said, to have not this doctrine, and did not know the deep schemes of Satan in the establishment of this woman, and her train of corruptions, or no doubt, they would have borne a more effectual testimony against her. They are here represented as in no connexion with the woman, and as of a distinct party from the angel also; for 2017ós from relaw, signifies the forsaken, the missing, the removed, h. e. from the ruling church-power. The Lord mentions them with such approbation, that we may well feel interested to ask: who can they be? I cannot help seeing here that host of ancient witnesses, who according to Mosheim, have since the seventh century, either withdrawn from the ruling Church on account of the vices of the clergy, the ambitious projects of the Roman pontiffs, and the corruptions
of religion; or were driven away by persecution in almost every country of Christendom, but particularly from those, under the jurisdiction of the aspiring bishop at Rome. Though their persecutors, and afterwards the inquisition; charged them with ignorance, and blackened their confession of faith, by accusations evidently false; yet even their enemies acknowledged the sincerity of their piety, wherever they were truly known. They kept themselves concealed at first, in order to be screened from persecution, but when in succeeding time they collected into settlements and formed congregations, their enemies stigmatized them with many names, viz. such as: Vallenses, Albingenses, Waldenses, Paterini, Cathari, Bulgarians,' the Brethren of the free Spirit, Beghards, &c. &c. &c. Many of these people were indeed men of whom the world was not worthy, a holy seed of the Lord, wherever their pilgrimage was destined; for they were rarely suffered to remain long unmolested in the same place, though always better Christians than their persecutors. · And here perhaps is a suitable place to determine with more precision, whom we are most properly to understand by the angel in each of these charges, and by the Churches to which they belong. The true answer to this inquiry is of no small importance in the explanation of these charges, and of great moment in theology in our days, where so many sects and churches in Christendom claim this prerogative exclusively for themselves, and condemn others. Let us for a moment compare all these char. ges, and upon a review of the whole, the Lord will probably himself satisfy our wishes. By comparing text with text, we shall be the less liable to fall into error. It is evident, that these angels are not the moral representatives
I. Of all the Christian ministry of every sect and party throughout Christendom. For the Lord himself distin
guishes at Ephesus between the angel and the false apostles; at Smyrna, between him and the false Jews; at Per. gamos, he protests against the followers of the doctrine of Balaam and the Nicolaitanes ; at Thyatira, against the whore Jezebel; and whatever the Lord separates, we have no right to join. All these heretics and corrupters of the pure religion of Jesus are by these protestations excommunicated from his Church, and absolutely cut off like withered branches, from the body of his people. When the Lord pronounces excommunication, we must not expect to hear Papal curses and anathemas, a simple expression of his divine displeasure is quite sufficient.
II. Not of all the faithful servants of Christ in his vine. yard, because he evidently distinguishes at Pergamos, between the angel and Antipas, [ex duté et Tas, antipode, one directly opposite to us ;] who also appears to be a moral representative of the first Christian ascetics and hermits, of the second and third century. They followed what they called an extraordinary rule of sanctity, abstained from wine, flesh, matrimony and commerce, and applied themselves wholly to solitude, contemplation, and devotion, in order to have communion with God in Christ. They aimed to live above nature and the rule of life, as they said, given to the vulgar, and are therefore denominated Antipas, or Antipodes. Though they followed an erroneous opinion of those days, and led severe and austere lives; yet history testifies their true piety, and readiness to become confessors or martyrs for their Saviour's cause. The Lord also plainly distinguishes at Thyatira, between the angel and the rest ; and at Sardis, the few names, which he had left there. Both were collective bodies of faithful ministers of Christ, who receive praise and promises, without the least censure or blame, and yet not numbered with the angels there.
· III. Nor of the faithful ministry of Chrtst only-bes. cause the angel at Sardis had the name only of being alive, and in reality was dead; and he at Laodicea was lukewarm, and even worse than cold, and therefore the Lord was ready to spue him out of his mouth as a nauseating morsel.
IV. Neither the ministry of those churches only, which are acknowledged by public authority, and sanctioned by civil law. Because this was not the case with the angel at Ephesus and Smyrna, both were persecuted by public authority in Judea and throughout the whole Roman emempire, to the year A. D. 324. The Church and the commonwealth are polities specifically and essentially different.
There is no doubt but these angels hold the only true succession of the gospel ministry of Christ on earth, and the proper lineage of spiritual power and privilege to the stewardship of the mysteries and manifold grace of God., 1 Cor. iv. 1. It therefore highly concerns us to inquire, whom these angels represent, and where we are to meet the true Church of Christ, and its gospel ministry. This subject will according to prophecy, be one day made a matter of greater moment in Christendom; and that in all probability soon.
V. Not of the ruling church power, as such, or the higher ranks of ecclesiastics at those different periods, in any country. For since the time of Constantine the Great, those, whose duty it was to shine like stars of the first magnitude, have generally been the very persons who led the van among the temporisers with the world, and too often themselves corrupted the religion of our blessed Lord and Master. How many might we name from history, who, from views of self-aggrandizement and secular intereșt, have proved greatly unfaithful at last. This is evident from the history of the Roman Jezebel, which has