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"The waters . . . where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."—" Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame."

"The ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore."-The Revised Version supplies a noticeable variation: "The ten horns . . . and the beast, these shall hate ," thus uniting all in one close confederacy, as in ver. 13 ante: "These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast."

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Whatever further the wise may elicit from this passage and its sequel, even the foolish may deduce somewhat. The kingdom of the beast is essentially unalterably a kingdom of hatred, hatred underlying any and every appearance of its spurious love: sift such love, and the residuum will be hatred. In the day of her foul attractiveness the lost woman was idol, mistress, plaything: in the day of her decay she becomes a prey, and there is none to help her. The drunken with blood must herself be devoured.

Evil may subserve evil, yet be overruled for good. Thus the horns spring from the beast, and in their turn give their kingdom unto the beast: wherefore? because "God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His Will."

"The woman . . . is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth."-"Without controversy" who then, what then, is she?

She seems to include or invite all which tempts man at his earthly proudest and mightiest: ambition shedding blood as water, with garments rolled in blood scarlet as her array; enervating luxury, as she herself sits inert on her scarlet beast; sensual excess foul as her cup; licence that is not liberty, but is chains and fetters like her bravery of gold and pearls and precious stones. Woe to her dupes! "Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness."

Such as this, then, is she. From all this and from whatsoever besides she may be, may we every one of us great or small be delivered. Amen.


1. And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

If chapter xvii. may be treated as parenthetical, the present chapter appears to supply a sequel to chapter xvi., and particularly to ver. 19 of that chapter.

St. John beheld and recognized a frequent recurrence of Angels: here one, there seven, there again ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. What he records affords a presumption of what may encompass or cross my own path any day, any hour. I ought not to imagine omens or supernatural indications with rashness; yet neither ought I to feel positive that the rainbow I discern has no connection with an Angel I discern not, or that the blaze which appears to be lightning may not dart from a descending Angel.

Great St. John knew; and unfolds his knowledge in order that others should reverently surmise things they know not. "That which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider."

2. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. Compare "The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see. . . . Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the

wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged."

Is not this great Babylon? is it not also a hell? For what but a hell can be "the habitation of devils ?" If they find not a hell they make one.

The Revised Version writes "hold" (a second time) instead of "cage"; and as a marginal alternative proposes in each instance "prison": according to which it might appear that even foul spirits and unclean and hateful birds consort with the fallen mother of luxury not of free will but by constraint. Devils (Revised Version: "demons") her inhabitants are perhaps at home in her.

Shall I choose my good things here? or hereafter?

Shall I choose sweet that turns to bitterness? or bitter that turns to sweetness?

Shall I choose life that leads to death? or death that leads to life?

Shall I choose . nay what am I choosing?

I peered within, and saw a world of sin :

Upward, and saw a world of righteousness:
Downward, and saw darkness and flame begin
Which no man can express.

I girt me up, I gat me up to flee

From face of darkness and devouring flame :
And fled I had, but guilt is loading me

With dust of death and shame.

Yet still the light of righteousness beams pure,
Beams to me from the world of far-off day:
Lord, Who hast called them happy that endure,

Lord, make me such as they.

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3. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

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So far, then, all are alike: yet it may be that in guilt they are not altogether alike. The first class, nations (which indeed includes both kings and merchants), have more or less "as natural brute beasts" succumbed to her seductions. Kings, in the position to exercise a royally untrammelled choice, have of free will and voluntary preference wallowed in her company.

Merchants substituting gain for godliness have trafficked in her gauds, dealt in her poisons, filled their purses by help of her abominations; and thus ruining others, have ruined themselves both at first and at second hand.

The national sin illustrates what nature may lapse to divorced from grace. The regal sin, how far more perilous it is to sit high than to sit low. The sordid sin, how easily those who will be rich fall into temptation and a snare. "Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back : they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

4. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

5. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

"Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction."

A "Voice from heaven."-Alas! that oftentimes I have not heard, have not heeded, have not obeyed, have not returned thanks. Lord, forgive me.

"Come out of her."-Alas! that oftentimes I have sat still, have looked back, have not escaped for my life, have not fled to the mountain, have not praised the Lord for His Goodness. Lord, forgive me.

"My people."-Alas! that when Thou hast chosen me, many times I have not chosen Thee. Lord, forgive me.

"That ye be not partakers of her sins."-Alas! that I have ere now if not now walked in the counsel of the ungodly, have stood in the way of sinners, have sat in the seat of the scornful. Lord, forgive me.

"That ye receive not of her plagues."-Alas! that I have been afraid where no fear was, that I have fled when no man pursued, but have not put my whole trust in God, nor honoured Thee my Father, nor feared Thee my Master. Lord, forgive


"Her sins have reached unto heaven."-Alas! that when Thou hast looked for judgment, behold oppression; for righteousness, behold a cry. Lord, forgive us.

"God hath remembered her iniquities."—Alas, Lord! Ac

cording to Thy lovingkindnesses, according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies, blot out our transgressions, blot out all our iniquities. Lord, forgive us.

God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, forgive us. I plead the Blood of Jesus Christ Who took away the handwriting that was against us, nailing it to His Cross. Amen.

6. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.

The Revised Version furnishes a variation of the first clause : "Render unto her even as she rendered." By thus omitting the pronoun you, the precept seems no longer so pointedly addressed to the once persecuted faithful, but simply to form part of a sentence of condemnation which the Strong Lord God Alone pronounces upon her directly from Himself without specification of secondary agency.

I write under correction,-but whilst I recollect that Angels are mentioned as executing final Divine Judgment on human kind, I recollect not that men are thus unequivocally mentioned in regard to their fellow-men; although the saints are to judge the world and to judge angels, as St. Paul intimates to the Corinthian Church. All saints are to sympathize indeed with the triumph of good over evil, but not with their own hands (?) to set fire to the great pile. "He shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in His wrath. The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily He is a God that judgeth in the earth."

A secondary human agent indeed there is, a human second cause in every man's penalty: the selfsame man himself.

For similarly what reward is the foul woman to receive? such as she gave. Her own works are to be doubled unto her, her own cup is to be filled double to her.

Obstinate disobedience sifted, meted, weighed, is the unerring measure of that vengeance which God measures to it.

Utmost obedience is no measure of that blessing wherewith God overfills and overflows any measure.

"Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens."

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