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idolatrous and persecuting state is said to be slain, when its idolatry is put down, and its persecuting power is subdued or put under restraint, though its political existence and rule should be continued. Killing, in this last sense, is merely figurative, and may be applied to a witness when he abandons his profession, and divests himself of his witnessing character, though his natural life should be unaffected.— The killing spoken of in this text, has been understood literally by some, and figuratively by others. That some dreadful carnage was to take place among the witnesses at the period to which the prophecy refers, is generally supposed; but that all of them were to be put to a violent death is an idea that cannot be admitted. Neither can we suppose that they were all to become apostates; individuals would be spared, and would be found to be faithful, that Messiah, in this as well as in every other age, might have a seed to do him service. But, as a public body holding fast their attainments, and going forward in reformation, their career might be stopped, their union dissolved, and their attainments lost for a season. To human view, this stroke might appear to be irrecoverable. If we consider the prophecy as referring to their public organized state, we will meet with something in history which will illustrate this view of the prophecy.

We have next an account of the disgrace to which the dead bodies of the witnesses were to be subjected, as in ver. 8. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. The greatest mark of reproach that can be put upon a malefactor, is to deny the rites of sepulture to his dead body. This, however, is seldom refused, except to murderers, who are generally given for dissection. It is only when crimes have been accompanied with circumstances of peculiar atrocity, that it constitutes part of the sentence, that the body of the condemned shall be hung in chains. That the disgrace of the witnesses might be as complete as possible, their cruel and inhuman persecutors are here represented as casting out their dead bodies into the open street, where they might be devoured by dogs, or trampled under the feet of the inhabitants. And it is well known, that the enemies of the witnesses have often prosecuted their quarrel with them in a manner very similar to that which is described in this prophecy. Not contented with putting them to death, they have denied their dead bodies a place of rest in the silent grave. Some of them they have hung on gibbets, to be bleached with the rains or withered in the winds of heaven; some they have cast out into the open fields, to be devoured by the birds or beasts of prey; and some they have quartered, and stuck up in the most conspicuous places of cities, or upon the sides of the most frequented highways. Every barbarous method was adopted which might either publish or perpetuate their supposed disgrace.

But though the murderers of the witnesses intended that this inhuman treatment of their bodies should render both them and the cause for which they suffered the more contemptible, the God whom they had served meant that it should be overruled for good. While they continued above ground, and lay in the street of a large and populous city, it was impossible that the cause of their sufferings could be forgotten. The most consolatory part of Ezekiel's vision, described in the 37th chapter of his prophecy, was the unburied state of the bones ; they were lying in the open valley : and as he still had an opportunity of prophesying over them, and of praying for the wind of the Spirit to blow upon them, there was some hope that a resurrection might follow. In like manner it was here. The unburied state of the bodies of the witnesses could not fail to excite a spirit of inquiry respecting the cause of their being slain ; and inquiries of this kind might issue in bringing over others to espouse and defend it. It has often been with the church as with the children of Israel in Egypt, the more she has been afflicted, the more she has increased and multiplied.

The place in which they were exposed is called the street of the great city.-Two cities are mentioned in the Revelation;

work of prophesying, or bearing testimony, was to be finished some time previous to their death. But this is a supposition which cannot be admitted ; because genuine witnesses never cease to testify for Christ as long as they live; and as these witnesses were to appear on the side of truth and duty, during the whole period of the 1260 days, there could not be any interval between their work of prophesying, and the cruel treatment they were to meet with from their enemies. It may likewise be observed, that if they had ceased to prophesy, they would not have been exposed to suffering, because they would then have ceased to be the objects of the resentment of the beast. It is their witnessing character which provokes his indignation ; were they divested of this, he would be disposed to treat them as his friends.

The words have been literally translated thus :-And when they shall be about finishing their testimony. An able critic has observed, that the word rendered finished, is in that peculiar tense which generally bears a future signification; and therefore, instead of expressing what is past, it is intended to intimate something which yet remained to be done. The meaning of the expression appears to be this :. When the period of their sackcloth condition, and of their work of bearing testimony in that state of abasement and affliction was coming to a close, then the beast which ascendeth out of the pit would make war against them, and kill them. Contrary to all the fond expectations of deliverance which they had cherished, they would be involved in new troubles, and placed in worse circumstances than in any former period of their sackcloth condition. Like Jeremiah, they might be looking for peace, but no good would come; and for a time of health, but behold trouble, Jer. viii. 15.

The author of this calamity is called the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit.-We have no mention of this beast in any of the preceding parts of the Revelation; and as John was afterwards to point him out in all the odious features of his character, it is only a simple notice which he gives of him

here, as the murderer of the witnesses. Any delineation of his character in this place would have anticipated what was afterwards to be stated respecting him.-In the beginning of chap. xiii., we have an account of a monstrous beast which rose up out of the sea; and in the latter part of it we have an account of another which rose up out of the earth. The last of these two beasts is the same with the great city called Sodom and Egypt, in the forum of which the witnesses lay slain ; and as that city is mentioned as distinct from the beast which put them to death, the beast in this text must be the first of the two described in the 13th chapter. But, as in that chapter the beast is represented as rising up out of the sea, and here as coming from the pit, it is supposed, that the beast in this prophecy must be different from the one in the other, because he is described as having a different origin. The conclusion, however, does not necessarily follow; because, when we come forward to the 13th chapter, it will be found, that the beast of the sea is of a complex character ; be is therefore represented as having a twofold origin. In one prophecy he is described as coming from the sea ; and in another, as ascending from the bottomless pit. This beast is the hieroglyphic of the Western empire, after it was divided into ten different independent states, and each of them was brought under the influence of Papal superstition. In his political character, he rose up out of the sea, the convulsed state of society when imperial Rome was overthrown. In his religious character he came from hell, as all those doctrines which are purely Popish and Antichristian have no higher or more honourable origin than the pit.

This beast had an inveterate quarrel with the witnesses, which he would prosecute even unto death. He shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.Killing is taken in two different acceptations in prophecy. It signifies to deprive of the principle of natural life, and is equivalent to the act of slaying or putting to a violent death ; it signifies also to deprive of that which constitutes the peculiar feature of character in the object which is affected. Thus, an

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idolatrous and persecuting state is said to be slain, when its idolatry is put down, and its persecuting power is subdued or put under restraint, though its political existence and rule should be continued. Killing, in this last sense, is merely figurative,

be applied to a witness when he abandons his profession, and divests himself of his witnessing character, though his natural life should be unaffected.— The killing spoken of in this text, has been understood literally by some, and figuratively by others. That some dreadful carnage was to take place among the witnesses at the period to which the prophecy refers, is generally supposed; but that all of them were to be put to a violent death is an idea that cannot be admitted. Neither can we suppose that they were all to become apostates; individuals would be spared, and would be found to be faithful, that Messiah, in this as well as in every other age, might have a seed to do him service. But, as a public body holding fast their attainments, and going forward in reformation, their career might be stopped, their union dissolved, and their attainments lost for a season. To human view, this stroke might appear to be irrecoverable. If we consider the prophecy as referring to their public organized state, we will meet with something in history which will illustrate this view of the prophecy.

We have next an account of the disgrace to which the dead bodies of the witnesses were to be subjected, as in ver. 8. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. The greatest mark of reproach that can be put upon a malefactor, is to deny the rites of sepulture to his dead body. This, however, is seldom refused, except to murderers, who are generally given for dissection. It is only when crimes have been accompanied with circumstances of peculiar atrocity, that it constitutes part of the sentence, that the body of the condemned shall be hung in chains. That the disgrace of the witnesses might be as complete as possible, their cruel and inhuman persecutors are here represented as casting out their

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