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than Latinity, “Victus qui sãoviebat, vicit qui suf“ferebat.” “The conqueror was subdued, the suf“ferer conquered;” or, as, in more stately language, God the Father is represented speaking of the Son incarnate;
* I send him forth
“By humiliation and strong suff'rance".”
It is the duty of every Christian to be ready at all times to fight this spiritual battle, under the conviction, that he is certain to triumph, if he be lawfully called to the conflict f, and have faith to follow his great Leader. For, to suffer in that cause is to triumph; “nay, in all these things,” says Saint Paul speaking of such sufferings, “we are more than con“querors, through Him who loved usf.” And this notion of conflict, battle, victory, &c. will be found also to pervade the writings of the early Christians. In the martyrdom of Ignatius, published by Archbishop Usher, that martyr is called A6MTwo wa yewvaloc pativ: Xgid's, wolarzizza; Tov Aizéoãov Š and in that precious morsel of Ecclesiastical History in the second century, the epistle from the Gallic Churches, the persecuting power is styled å avlizeig.svos, the adversary, who rooyvuvače, skirmishes before the battle; but avlidiziss A zagic Ts Oss, the grace of God conducts the Christian force against him, and supports the martyrs, who are called yewvalo 20AWiz, noble combatants ||. Agreeably to these images, that ancient hymn of the
| Euseb. H. E. lib. v. Pref. & cap. i. See also the same lan. Christian Church, beginning with Te Deum, recounts the “noble army of Martyrs.” But besides this battle which every Christian has to fight individually, and on his own private account, against the great adversary, there is a more general and extended warfare, in which the followers of Christ are engaged in a body, as the body of Christ's Church. It is against the same arch-enemy, the devil, and under the same leader, Christ. For our Lord is represented as continually presiding over the fortunes of his church: “Lo, I am with you, even unto the end of the “world".” It is this warfare extended through all the ages of the world, which seems principally, if not solely, to be prefigured in the Apocalypse. The Devil and his worldly agents attack by seduction and corrupt doctrine, by terror and persecution; the church resists, covering herself with the arms of her great Leader, “the cincture of truth, the breast-plate of “righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the sword of “the Spirit, and, above all, the shield of faith f. “Though she walk in the flesh, yet does she not war “after the flesh, for the weapons of her warfare are “not carnal, but mighty, through God, to the pull“ing down of strong holds, bringing into captivity “every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Agreeably to which words of Scripture in the language of the Apocalypse: “He that conquereth,” is “he “who keeps the works of his Lord even unto the “end f ;" he who, by the prevalence of faith, perseveres in the profession and practice of Christianity, when assailed by temptation or terror, is the faithful and victorious soldier of Christ. And to a church
guage in Minuc, Felix Octav. c. 37. O 2 Christian
* Matt. xxviii. 20. + Eph. vi. 14, &c. ! See ch. ii. 26. where the expression may be thus paraphrased.
of this character, and to none other, is promised “power over the nations,” a spiritual, increasing doTIi 1111 On. As to the passage immediately before us, it concerns the times & eit *, the situation of the church at the time when our Lord addressed these warnings to it; when the Faith was assailed both by delusive teachers from within, and by heathen persecutors from without. Of the former of these, we have spoken f. The hostility of the latter had commenced some years before, in the reign, of Nero, whose unjust edicts against the Christians had been renewed by Domitian a little time before the date of this prophecy. For, under this persecution, Saint John was banished to the Isle of Patmos, where he saw the vision t. That the seven Churches were actually under persecution at this time, and were not to be relieved immediately, may be collected from various passages of these addresses to them $. Ver. 7. To eat of the tree of Life, &c.] The Lord God is described to have planted a garden, or paradise, in Eden, and to have placed in the midst of the garden the tree of life; of which the first created pair might eat, and by eating live for ever. Under this description is represented that immortality, to which, by obedience, the race of men might have attained in their primitive state, and which they forfeited by disobedience |. For they listened to the seductions of their wily foe, and were overcome. But the “ Second Adam, the Lord from “Heaven [,” having condescended to undergo, in
* See note, ch. i. 19. + Note, ch. ii. 6. † Hist. Eccl. lib. iii, cap. xix. § Ch. ii. 3, 10, 13. iii. 10. | Gen. ii. 8, 9, | 1 Cor. xv. 22, 45. John vi. 51. xi. 25.
the behalf of fallen man, the penalty, which was death", man is hereby restored to his lost privileges. The tree of life is again placed within his reach, he may “put forth his hand and live for ever.” This advantage, which the Saviour of the world has regained by his own prowess, he bestows as a free gift or reward upon those servants of his who follow him
faithfully in his victorious career f.
* Gen. ii. 17.
A description of
+ See a copious explanation of the tree of life, assignifying immortality,
in Bp. Horne's Sermons, vol. i.
It was so understood by the author
of the 2d Book of Esdras, ch. viii. 52. which was probably written
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8 And to the Angel of
10 gogue of Satan. Fear
chap. ii. v ER. 8–11.
the Church in Smyrna,
none of those things
8 And unto the Angel of the Church in Smyrna, write, These things saith the First and the Last, which was dead,
9 and is alive; I know
thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich,) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue 10 of Satan. Fear none
Ver. 8. Smyrna.] The city of Smyrna is represented by Strabo, as situated about forty miles to the north of Ephesus, of which it was originally a colony". Pliny describes it as the city of greatest account in Asia, after Ephesus f. There is no mention of it, as a Church, in the books of Scripture. The renowned martyr, Polycarp, was its Bishop : but as he suffered in the reign of Verus, aged 86 years t, he must have been too young to have exercised this important office at the time of this Revelation; even if we should suppose, with Bishop Pearson, the date of his martyrdom to be more early $. Yet he is represented by the ancients as receiving his doctrine immediately from the Apostles; and Irenaeus, when a youth, had heard him discoursing of his acquaintance with Saint John ||. The Bishops of Smyrna * Strabo, ii. p. 940, t Nat. Hist. v. c. 29, 1 Euseb, Hist. Eccl., lib. iv, c. 15. § Cave, Hist. Lit, art. Polycarp.
| Euseb. Hist, Eccl. lib. v. c. 20. attended