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them to death, for telling them of their forfaking of the worship of the law of Moses, and worshiping of idols.
And the same spirit of reason, the devil, it continued in that nation of the Jews until Christ came, according to that porphesy of Jacob, the scepter shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh come.
So that there was a scepter of government that did remain upon the people of the Jews, though they had no Jews kings a long time before. So that a matter of forty years after Christ's death, in the destruction of Jerusalem, the scepter did depart from Judah. That is, from that nation of the Jews, so that they are ever since a scattered people in many parts of the earth. So that the scepter, that is, the government is departed from them indeed, and the same spirit of perfecution, and idolatry it doth run along in the seed of reason, the devil, in the Gentiles. So that the Gentile kings and head magistrates have been given mightily to idolatry, imitating the worship of the gospel. And have persecuted and put to death many faints, for not bowing down to that worship set up by these Gentile kings, or head magistrates, ever since the destruction of Jerusalem, even to this day.
So that this is to be minded by the reader, that this mystery Babylon, or great city, or whore, who hath commited fornication with the kings of the earth. The meaning of the spirit is this, that all kings and head magistrates in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel, who profess the scriptures even to the end of the world, that have, or shall set up a false worship, or idols, by their power, and cause the people to do the same, they may be said to commit fornication with idols. So that whoever doth worship false gods, let it be in what form or manner it will, it is all counted by the fpirit but spiritual fornication or whoredom.
So that all false worshipers, or all that do worship idols, or false gods, from the greatest to the least, from the begining of Moses's commission, to the begining of the apostles commission, and to the end of them; and not only fo, but to the end of the world, even to the end of the commission of the spirit, even the feven churches of Europe. For all spiritual idolatrous worship is in them also, though they differ in several forms of worship one from another. Namely, the Papist, Episcopacy, Presbyterian, Independent, Baptist, Ranter, and Quaker ; all other fects and opinions are involved in these seven, and every one of these feven are idolatrous, because none of them know the true God, therefore cannot worship him aright.
So that by confequence it will follow, that they all commit fornication with idols; for whoever worships a false god, he commiteth spiritual fornication, which I am sure they all do.
For neither the ministry of them, nor the people, do know the true God, nor the right devil, for if they did, then would they know what worship. doth belong unto the true God now in these latter days. So that all the false worshipers from the begining of Mofes, to the end of the world, they make
but one great city Babylon, or one woman, or one scarlet whore, who hath made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication. That is, this spirit of reason in kings and head magistrates hath made all naQ
tions to worship idols and images for God; so that they have become drunk with spiritual fornication, that the people have thirsted after the blood of the saints, as well as those in authority. So that they are all become one city Babylon, which will be destroyed at the end of the world. This is that great mystery Babylon, that great city that John did prophesy the downfal of in the sixteenth chapter.
And in the seventeenth chapter he saw by faith the total downfal of this spiritual mystery Babylon, that great city the mother of harlots; that is, of spiritual idolatry, which is spiritual whoredom. So that there were many more harlots than one, yet they are all counted by the spirit, but one whore, or harlot; for that great city Babylon doth consist of nothing else but spiritual harlots. So that the reader may see what is meant by this spiritual Babylon, and this great city, and what is meant by the woman, the great whore, and what is meant by her fornication; so that the reader may the better understand the interpretation of of the chapter that followeth.
CH A P. LIX.
Nchap. xvii. 1. there was one of the seven angels which had the seven
vials, and talked with John by way of vision and revelation, saying unto him, Come hither, and I will sew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that fiteth upon many waters.
Here it is clear that John did see by way of vision and revelation, the downfall or judgment of this great spiritual whore, which I have shewed what is meant by it before. And as for her siting upon many waters, the many waters where the whore siteth, it signifies multitudes of people, nations, and tongues, as you may fee verse 15. That is, the spirit of reason in the whore, as aforesaid, should have such a spiritual power over the spirits of whole nations, and tongues, and multitudes of people, that she should cause them all to commit fornication with idols, or else they should be persecuted or suffer death. So that whosoever would not commit fornication with her, or at her command, they should drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. That is, she would persecute and put them to death, for death is the wine of her wrath ; for the blood of the saints is that wine of her wrath, which is put into her golden cup that is in her hand, and she doth not only drink the blood of the faints that is in the golden cup herself, but she doth make the kings of the earth to drink it also.
For in verse 2. With whom the kings of the earth have commited fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk of the wine of her fornication. That is, the kings of the earth have commited fornication with her, in that they have been persuaded by her, and joined with her to worship idols. For except the kings of the earth, who are the temporal power, do join with her spiritual power, she could do nothing. So that the kings of the earth commiting fornication with her, that is, to worship idols with her; so they came co commit fornication with her ; that is, the kings and head magistrates do uphold that spiritual power the whore hath, and do help to make the people to drink of the wine of her fornication; so that the inhabitants of the earth have been made
drunk with the wine of her fornication. That is the inhabitants of the earth, what with command from the spiritual power of the whore, and what with command from the temporal power of the kings of the earth, the inhabitants of the earth are forced to commit fornication with idols also; so that they are made to drink the wine of fornication with her; that is, look what comfort or satisfaction can be found in worshiping of idols, they shall drink it with her. But the wrath of her fornication, none shall drink that but the faints, because they will not commit fornication with her; that is to say, not worship idols at her command.
Verse 3. So be carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness, and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven beads, and ten horns. As for the wilderness, I shall say nothing as to that, because I have opened what it is in the interpretation of the eleventh of the Revalation. But this woman who doth sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, the woman is the same, as I said before, that great city Babylon. And the scarlet coloured beast, it doth signify all kings and head magistrates, who have submited unto the false suggestions of learned men, who have pretended to be prophets, and priests, and ministers of God, without a commission from God; and so by the advice of these false prophets, priests, and ministers, kings, and head magistrates have set up images or forms of worship, and have made laws for all people to obey in point of worship, as well as in point of civil or temporal affairs. Also they have made these persons aforesaid to have the charge to see the people worship according to that law; and have given them a spiritual power to punish all those that will not worship accordingly.
This hath been the practice of all kings and head magistrates, I mean all evil kings and head magistrates, ever since the first idolatrous practices were used under Moses's commission; and so a successive idolatrous power did follow, even amongst the professors of the God of Israel; and it was practised by many wicked kings and head magistrates, and false priests, and false prophets, which did cause many true prophets, and righteous men to be perfecuted and put to death, for not giving way to their false worship.
And so since the apostles commission, the same thing hath been acted by kings and priests, and so it will be to the end of the world. So that all evil kings and evil head magistrates, are counted by the spirit, but one scarlet coloured beast, for the spiritual whore, the woman, to sit upon. She may be said to sit upon the beast, because she fits upon his power, for kings in all ages have been subject to the spiritual power, though it hath been never fo false; for we fee by experience that all those that go upon a spiritual account, if he be but a minister of the gospel, so called, yet he sits upon the magistrate. For where is there a magistrate in a parish as a deputy, or such like, but the minister sits upon him? So that one can do nothing as to matter of worship without the other. So that the idolatrous woman, who is the chief, may well be said to fit upon a scarlet coloured beast, which beast signifies all kings and head magistrates, who give themselves up to be guided in matter of worship by non-commissionated men, who pretend a spiritual power, to be prophets, priests, or ministers of the gospel, or of the law, without a commission from God.
But this bealt here ipoken of by John, it doth chieny relate to those beaits that did succeed after the destruction of Jerusalem, which was a matter of four years after Christ's death, in relation to those ten persecutions, which did last a matter of three hundred years.
So that all those beasts that persecuted the faints in that time, they are called by the spirit a scarlet coloured beast. He may be called a scarlet coloured beast, in regard he had assisted the woman with his temporal power, to perfecute and shed the blood of faints; so that the sins of his foul, they were as red as scarlet with the blood of the saints, and in this sense he is called a scarlet coloured beast, and not only so, but full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads, and ten horns.
The meaning is this, so many heads, so many names of blasphemy; that is, there were seven kings that came out of his loins, as I shewed before and all these seven heads, or beasts, they persecuted and shed the blood of saints, and blafphemed God that had power over plagues. So that they all blasphemed God, and Thed the blood of the saints, for not worshiping their images ; and in this regard he may
be called a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy; for their souls were all made red as scarlet with the blood of saints, and they all blafphemed alike, and the woman fate upon them all alike, so that they are all called by the spirit, but one scarlet coloured beast.
ERSE 4. And the woman was arrayed in purple, and scarlet colour, and
decked with gold, and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and filthiness of ber fornication.
This woman is the same afore-mentioned, and as for her being arrayed in purple, and scarlet colour; the purple fignifies the civil outside appearance, and rich array. That is, she was arrayed with such outside language and gestures and ornaments concerning the worshiping of idols, that it was as a garment of
purple unto her, which made the kings and people all to bow down to her, and glad they were that they might drink of that golden cup in her hand, which cup was full of abomination.
And as for the scarlet colour she was decked with, that is within her ; that is, her soul was made as red as scarlet, with the blood of the saints, as the beast aforesaid.
And as for the precious stones and pearls she was decked with, that fignifies that good esteem the beast and the people had of her superstitious worship, thinking in themselves that she was precious in the eyes of the Lord, or as a pearl, or jewel in the fight of God, and that she did God good service to kill his faints, that would not bow down and worship so holy a service as was required by her.
And as for the golden cup in her hand, the cup signifies the form and manner of worship, which she doth prescribe to the beast, and the people, to false gods; and that which this golden cup in her had is full with, it is the superstitious idolatrous worship, that the beast and people muft drink of ; that is, they must do as The hath prescribed in matter of worship, and so they come to drink out of the
golden cup in her hand, and 10 they take a full draught of her lpiritual abominations and filthiness of her fornications with idols, and in the blood of the saints.
Verse 5. And upon her head was a name written, mystery Babylon the great, the mother of barlots, and abominations of the earth. There need not be any interpretation upon this verse, for I have shewed what is meant by Babylon before, and what is meant by the mother of harlots ; so that I shall pass by this verse
and proceed to verse 6.
Verse 6. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, and when I saw ber, I wondered with great admiration. Here John saw in his vision the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and martyrs of Jesus. That is, mystery Babylon, or city Babylon, which is compared to a woman, that is, all perfecuting spirits in point of worship are compared to a woman; for they have all drank the blood of saints and martyrs, so that John did see in his vision, that they were all drunken with the blood of saints, even as men are drunken with wine. So that John did wonder with great admiration, to see that God should have so much patience, as to stay so long before he did pour out his judgments upon this woman, who had made herself drunken with the blood of the saints, and martyrs of Jesus.
But in verse 7. The angel said unto John, wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth ber, which hath the seven heads, and ten borns. As if he should say, when thou seeft the judgment of the woman, and of the beast that I will bring upon them, thou wilt then marvel no more at their being drunken with the blood of the saints, and martyrs
C H A P. LXI.
N verse 8. the angel doth explain unto John's understanding, what the beast
is that doth carry the woman, as he did the woman in the seventh verse; but the explaination of the angel, it is as dark to the reason of man, as the vision it
for who can understand what is meant by these words, verfe 8. The beast that thou sawest, was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into predition, and they that dwell upon the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life, from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast, that was, and is not, and yet is.
Yet by the revelation of the spirit of faith, I shall open the meaning of John's words. The reader may remember that I gave a touch of it in the interpretaion of the thirteenth chapter, where I have shewed the difference between the dragon's seven heads, and ten horns, and the beast's seven heads, and ten horns. The meaning is this, the dragon's seven heads, did signify seven kings besides himfelf. And the beast that the dragon did give his seat, power, and authority unto, who had seven heads, and ten horns, I declare his own head was one of the seven, and the first head of the seven, that did exercise the power of the dragon. So that this dragon Herod that persecuted the woman, he is that beast that was,