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and of these, none, as we shall see, more directly than the uncompromising and unamalgamating character of the Christian faith. The Jews incited the Romans : they furnished the wrath ; and the Romans, thus stirred up, furnished the power. But the wrath and power were both those of the devil. For the Jews were then his children and synagogue; and Rome, thus filled with the children of disobedience, was destined to be his throne (Rev. ii. 9, 13). The god of this world was the true persecutor of those who at his hands filled up, according to their generation, the sufferings of bis Destroyer ; and the plea of God's hated Image was the true plea of his violence : let no man treat it, then, as a mere fruit of circumstances. Fifthly, The imprisonment was by the devil; not as gatavos, the enemy, but as diabolos, the accuser. The Jews were the synagogue of the enemy; but it was through the accuser in them and others accusing the saints, that persecution arose at the hands of Rome. Sixthly, The devil imprisoned the saints that they might be "tried." Trial derives its character from the object proposed by it. God trieth us, that, having been proved, we may receive the crown: but the devil trieth us that he may fill us with his own enmity, and have us with him in his own torment. He had endeavoured to cool the love, he then strove to terrify the souls, of the saints : and, before having recourse to his mightiest device in the delusions of Antichrist, he laboured as he might to efface from the earth by panic the name of the living God.
This imprisonment by the devil, however, is not left without explanation in the context. Its chief, if not its sole, exhibition is plainly to be identified with the tribulation of ten days which this church was honoured to endure. That“ ten ” really means the number ten, is more than probable. The case would have been
very different had seven (indicating completion), or some other obviously typical number, been used. There is no assignable reason against a literal interpretation ; therefore we must admit it. But what the “days” mean is a different question. The word day has various senses in Scripture. The original Hebrew word is understood to express a revolution, interval, or period ; which general meaning has been adopted into the Greek. (Gen. i. 5; Deut. ix. 1; Gen. ii. 17; Heb. iii. Il; 2 Cor. vi. 2; I Cor. iv. 3). The usual meaning of the word is the lapse of twenty-four hours; it also means the lapse of the enlightened portion of the twenty-four. From this its reference to the sun, the light of the world, it is frequently employed by the Spirit to denote the presence of the true Light of the world in the world; of whom there are just two days, one past and one to come; both characterized by his dwelling among us, both objects of desire to his now widowed church. (Luke xvii. 22; Matt. ix. 15; John iji. 29; Luke xvii. 24; John viii. 56, ix. 4;
Acts xvii. 31; 1 Cor. iii. 13; Phil. i. 6; 1 Thess. v. 5; Heb. X. 25; 2 Pet. iii. 12). A day is often employed to represent particularly the revolution of a year. (Ezek. iv. 6; Numb. xiv. 34; Dan. viii. 14, xii. 11, 12; Rev. xi. 2, xii. 6, xiii. 5, ix. 5, 15; Ezek. xxxix. 12; Luke iv. 25). Nay, there is some reason to think that it may sometimes mean especially a
a thousand years of interval (Hos. v. 15; vi. 1, 2; comp. with 2 Pet. iii. 8). That the word as here employed cannot have either the third, fourth, or sixth meaning is obvious. As little can it have the second; for a tribulation of only ten literal days affecting the whole church, is contrary to all probability, and unnoticed in history. The only doubt lies between the first and the fifth meanings. The fifth peculiarly occurs in the prophetical parts of Scripture : and it so happens that there were about ten years of continual persecution under Dioclesian, in the end of the third century. But it appears difficult to avoid the conclusion, either that the church of Smyrna was not adequately marked out, as so suffering a church, by only ten years of persecution, or that other periods of persecution, necessary to constitute her persecuted character, are not stated. In point of fact, the period distinctly marked out from every other as the æra of persecution, extended from Nero to Constantine : and if any portion of that persecution is to be supposed as by its intensity suited to represent the whole, the persecutions under Dioclesian are not better fitted, and in truth by no means so well, as several others, to fulfil that representative character. Therefore, as no expressions can be more common than such as the day of grace, the day of wrath, the day of darkness,' &c., expressing indefinite periods; we are warranted in holding these ten days to be ten periods of tribulation, standing prominently out as ten divisions of that persecution at the hands of Paganism which marks out, nay, constitutes, the church of Smyrna. These were : 1st, the persecution by Nero, beginning in 65 (2 Tim. iv. 16); 2d, Domitian, beginning in 93; 3d, Trajan ; 4th, Antoninus ; 5th, Marcus Aurelius; 6th, Severus, in 202; 7th, Maximin; 8th, Decius; 9th, Valerian; and 10th, Dioclesian. Of these, many were at the secret instigation of the Jews, who could then do no more than instigate. Tacitus (Ann. xv. 44) says, that Nero condemned the Christians, not so much for burning the city, as because they were the enemies of mankind. Suetonius (xv.) characterizes them as a people addicted to a new and mischievous superstition; the mischief of which, however, chiefly consisted, according to Pliny and Ælius Lampridius, in causing the dereliction of the heathen temples, for which cause Severus was not allowed by the oracles to enrol Christianity as one of the religions of Rome.
“ He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches : He that overcometh shall not derive injury from the second death-adunon Ek.” (Rev. ii. 12.)— This promise, concerning the age to come, possesses an equal adaptation with the title of Christ to the situation of the church. The “second death”is a term very seldom employed in Scripture; but its definition is sufficiently clear: twice over is it explicitly declared to mean the lake of fire (Rev. xx. 14; xxi. 8). They who inherit it are declared to be all the liars—that is, all the children of the devil, the original liar-in other words, all those who shall not have known, and been made free by, the truth : of which class, fearfulones, unfaithful ones, accursed ones, murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, and idolators, are all only specimens (Rev. xxi. 8). And of these children of untruth, the first who obtain their portion in it, are the beast and the false prophet (Rev. ii. 23 ; xix. 20). On the other hand, whether there may or may not be others, the only persons who are expressly declared beyond the power of the second death, are they who have part in the first resurrection” (Rev. xx. 6). Therefore, the promise to him that overcometh by being faithful unto death, truly is that of the first resurrection into the age to come (John v. 29); the first attainment of life by the human race; that act wherein, of those who died in Adam by attempting to attain life without Christ, they who believe in the Resurrection and the Life are in glory delivered from a second death, righteously due to them wbo reject the attainment of life by Christ, after having originally striven to do without him. “He who eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life ; and I will raise him up in (or to) the last day” (John vi. 54). Thus saith the Lord Jesus, and thus exhorts his suffering members : " Fear not from them that kill the body, but cannot kill the soul – having nothing worse that they can do—but fear rather Him who, after having killed, hath authority to cast both soul and body into gehennah; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Matt. x. 28 ; Luke xii. 4.) “He that shall have lost his life for my sake, shall find it.” (Matt. x. 39.) “Life or death,all are ours.” (1 Cor. iii. 22.) “ For we are ever given up unto death for Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh, at his appearing. (2 Cor. iv. 11; 2 Tim. iv. 8.)
FIDUS. (To be continued.)
INTERPRETATION OF ALL THE OLD-TESTAMENT PRO
PHECIES QUOTED IN THE NEW.
Messiah's Birth-place.—No. II.
Micah v. 2, referred to in Matt. ii. 6 and John vii. 42. In the former interpretation we omitted to notice one circumstance in the text, so important as to be better separated from the rest, and to be made the connecting link between the first and second divisions of our subject. The wickedness of the princes and priests and prophets, described in the conclusion of the third chapter, is summed up with this fearful aggravation of the whole, “ Yet
will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us :" speaking as if they had possessed an inalienable right in God's favour, an indefeasible claim upon his bounty, and a hereditary exemption from his judgments. It is thus that man's self-complacency deceives itself with God's unmerited goodness. When he is pleased, for his own glory, and out of his own good pleasure, to make choice of some person, or nation, in and through whom, as the example, to make known the universal and eternal forms of his goodness and grace ; straightway that nation, be it Jewish or British, takes to itself the credit of the distinction, and diverts into the channel of its own pride and confidence, all the favours which it hath experienced. To prevent this evil, is one of the great efforts of the doctrine of election, which, while it ascribes the distinction, whatever it be, to the free choice of God, and takes away all supercilious claim of merit from the person or object distinguished, doth by that very means preserve the Divine acting from being interpreted as belonging to any peculiar circumstances, and keepeth it an unfettered expression of the Divine Mind, which any one of His creatures may calculate upon as well as any other. The Jews, like all other persons or nations, following the bent of the unrenewed man, took the credit of their infinite distinction all to themselves; instead of holding it up to all nations as the forthshewing of the character of that God who created and preserveth the world, that they might worship Him only, and his commandments observe. They were set up for the example of those universal and unchangeable principles which regulate the mind of God towards his sinful creatures : and the church is now a fuller example of the same. But as the church now, with unblushing forehead, dareth to say, “ God loves the elect only,"and loudly pronounceth as heresy the true form of the truth," that his love to the church is the example of that love which he essentially is towards every creature, irrespective of
VOL. II.-NO, IV.
the creature altogether;" so were the Jews wont to affirm, “ Us he loves, and us only; and to us he must be for ever favourable, according to his own covenant made with Abraham and the fathers. When the overflowing scourge shall pass over it shall not come near us. Is not the Lord among us ? None evil can come upon us. We are Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man. We have one Father, even God,” &c. &c.
This condition of security being attained, and distinctly pronounced, by any people, all responsibility is at an end, all morality, and all religion; and nothing is left but to undeceive them by the fearful catastrophe of fact—and the sufferings of twice ten hundred years have not availed, to disabuse the Jewish people of the deep-seated error, that they have a right prescriptive, and a sort of fee-simple, in the favour of God. I perceive the same obstinate prepossession, silently working itself upon the churches established in these lands; which, let them do what they like, go on doing it, as if they could do no wrong; and, having done the deed, point to it, as if God must needs sanction it. Is not the Lord among us? What is an individual's judgment of truth, compared with the judgment of the church? And even the Scriptures may not speak from the same place and station as the Confession of Faith. Woe to the churchman who gives in for an hour to such a spirit, though supported by all that is learned, dignificd, and respectable in the land ! “Let God be true, and every man be a liar.” As the poor prophets, Micah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others, stood for God's eternal holiness and unchangeable morality amidst the wrath of kings and prophets and priests, and the tumults of the people, so must single men in these times take the doings of both church and state tightly to task by the word of God, their wickedness by his love, their cruelty by his mercy, their errors by his doctrines of truth. Yea, and no allegiance to a king, submission to a church, or engagement to an office, can alienate or supersede the primary and unalterable obligation of the creature to the Creator, of the redeemed creature to the redeeming Creator. God's exaltation of a nation and a church doth not diminish his right to their service of his single will, nor in aught change the bearing towards them of the eternal obligations of his law of holiness. The more complete knowledge into which by their experience of these things they have been let, the taste and feeling of their goodness which they have proved, ought to bind them the more closely around their hearts; and make the church and nation an example of much fruit-bearing, as they are the example of much Divine husbandry, but when, instead of this they become more wreckless of all distinctions between good and evil, more indifferent to all consequences of obedience and disobedience, the time is come to disabuse them, and