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the mind-the inmost fountain of thought and motive, whence all the springs of action originate; as the blood, propelled from the physical heart, circulates through the whole corporeal system. The characteristic of the circumcised mind, or heart, must be a conviction of entire unworthinessentire destitution of merit. Few, perhaps, possess this 'conviction to its full extent; and, if the spiritual circumcision necessary to bring the disciple within the pale of the economy of salvation, depended altogether upon the state of his own mind, who might not have reason to dread the awful sentence of excommunication-"That soul shall be cut off from his people,” Ex. xii. 15. But, as the operation upon the Hebrew infant was not performed by itself, but by its parents, so we may say of the spiritual rite, that it is not an act of the disciple, but of his Heavenly Father. To God the praise belongs, not to man. However imperfect the believer's views in this life, God has graciously placed him in that position of circumcision, in which his salvation must be of grace, and not of debt. If his faith be sufficiently enlightened, he must see this even here, and his only motive of conduct will be that of grateful love, this motive operating through his whole moral system; but whether he see this or not in this life, he cannot but know, and see, and feel it hereafter. Corresponding with this, those who say they are Jews, and are not, we may take to be those pretending to this circumcision of mind-pretending to have renounced all dependence upon their own merits, but not having actually done so. Whatever their professions may be, they still go about to establish, and still trust in some supposed righteousness, or worthiness, of their own.
These things we have transferred in a figure, as the apostle terms it, (1 Cor. iv. 6,) to the disciple, by way of illustration; but we suppose these false professors, or teachers of false doctrines, to be principles, or elements of doctrine, and not human beings. The professed tendency of these principles comporting with the spiritual circumcision alluded to, but their real tendency being that of blasphemously representing man as the author of his own salvation.
53. These principles are spoken of as belonging to the synagogue or assembly of Satan, that is, emanating from the Satanic system, or Satanic collection of doctrines; the synagogue of Satan being thus an opposite of the Church, or of a church of Christ :-the term synagogue, signifying a collection of people, or things, in which respect it corresponds with the term ecclesia, (church,) except that the latter carries with it the idea of selection, which the former does not. As we have supposed a church (ecclesia) in the apocalyptic sense to represent an assembly of elect or sanctioned principles, so we suppose a synagogue to represent an assembly of principles not elect, not sanctioned. The synagogue of Satan being an assembly even of repudiated principles.
By Rev. xii. 9 and 10, we find the terms Satan, the Devil, the great dragon, the old serpent, the accuser of the brethren, to be only so many different appellations of the same being, or character. The term Satan from the Hebrew, and Devil (Diabolos) from the Greek, signifying also an accuser, such as an adversary at law, or one occupying the place of a public prosecutor the opposite of a mediator, or intercessor, or redeemer. We shall have occasion to treat this subject more at large hereafter: meantime, we assume the peculiar characteristic of Satan to be that of a legal adversary ; one whose office it is to enforce the action of the law, to render the subjects of his perquisitions obnoxious to the law, and in fine, to bring the disciple under the condemnation of the law, to be subjected to its penalties, in despite of the redemption wrought out in his behalf. Thus, to say that an element of doctrine is a principle of Satan, or that it belongs to the Synagogue of Satan, is equivalent to saying that it is an element of legal accusation, as opposed to an element of the economy of salvation by grace. Accordingly, it is said of these principles of self-righteousness, spoken of figuratively as teachers, professing to be Jews, without really being so, that they are not only false in this respect, but that they actually belong to the legal system of accusation; a system entirely opposed to the whole spirit and purport of the gospel. They are hypocritical in pretension, blasphemous in character, and condemnatory, or working condemnation in their tendency.
V. 10. Fear none of those things which
thou shalt suffer. Behold the devil shall cast (some) of you into prison, that ye may be tried, and ye shall have tribula.
tion ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown, or the crown, of life.
Μηδὲν φοβοῦ ἃ μέλλεις πάσχειν. ἰδού, μέλλει βαλεῖν ὁ διάβολος ἐξ ὑμῶν εἰς φυλακήν, ἵνα πειρασθῆτε· καὶ ἕξετε θλῖψιν ἡμερῶν δέκα. γίνου πιστὸς ἄχρι θανάτου, καὶ δώσω σοι τὸν στέφανον τῆς ζωῆς.
54. Fear none of these things,' &c.-The system is figuratively represented as a disciple, having to contend with those who teach doctrines of selfjustification, and in doing so, appeals to the accusing principles of the legal dispensation. In this position, the language of the disciple should be that spoken by the mouth of the prophet, Is. 1. 8, "He is near that justifieth me: who will contend with me? Behold the Lord God will help me ; who is he that shall condemn me?" The circumstances, and the encouragement given, corresponding with those alluded to, Is. xli. 10-13. The suffering is the apprehension of the action of legal principles. As the minds of certain of the disciples were troubled, (Acts xv. 1, 5, 24,) by those representing circumcision, and the keeping of the law, as indispensable to salvation, a doctrine declared by the apostles to be altogether unauthorized.
'Behold, the Devil' (the accuser) shall cast (some) of you into prison.'
--That is, into a place of custody, in order that ye may be tried. The trial does not consist in being in the prison, but is something consequent to it. The public prosecutor seizes upon delinquents, and causes them to be imprisoned, preparatory to their trial. So certain principles of this evangelical system are seized upon by the element of accusation, for the purpose of trying, or testing, their efficacy in the work of salvation.
'And ye shall have tribulation,' or compression; that is, ye shall be tried. Certain of the principles emanating from this system, are to undergo the test. The word some is not in the original. The words vuor, ἐξ imply that which is from you. It may be all the principles emanating from this system are to be thus tried, the elements of legal accusation being brought to act on one side, while those of justification by grace are exhibited on the other. Nevertheless, the assurance remains, as it is expressed, Is. li. 7, 8, "Fear ye not the reproach of men ; neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation."
§ 55. Ten days.'-A definite term for an indefinite; a decimal number of days for a whole period; a short period for a long one. The very shortness of the period, being intended to show the figurative character of the term; as every reader is struck, at first sight, with the conviction that the literal sense is not at all to be taken into consideration. Had the time mentioned been ten years, or even ten months, we might have supposed it to apply literally to some specific portion of duration; but as the trial is so exceedingly short as ten days, it is evident that something else is intended, and that something else we may suppose to be the whole period of duration, from the time of the announcement till the final manifestation of truth, when every trial of this kind must necessarily terminate. The perfect manifestation of the truths of the plan of salvation by sovereign grace. putting an end, in the nature of the case, to all further efforts at establishing the principles of self-justification, or at enforcing those of legal accusation.
'Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.'-All the Greek editions (according to Rob. ed. with Hahn's notes, New-York, 1842,) have the definite article here; indicating but one crown, as there is but one righteousness. So Paul, 2 Tim. iv. 8, speaks of the crown of righteousness laid up for him and others, and not a crown, as our common version has rendered it.
The word translated crown in this place, (oréparos,) signifies the kind of crown given to conquerors at the public games; differing in this, from the word diάdqua, which we also render crown, but which applies to the insignia of supreme authority, and would be more properly rendered by the term diadem. The first kind of crown is alluded to by Paul, 1 Cor. ix. 25,
They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible." This crown is the token of success in the contest or struggle, upon occasions of which it is given, and may be viewed, not as the reward itself, but as the evidence of the victor's title to his reward; as, amongst the ancients, public games were sometimes instituted to decide upon the election of a chief or ruler. The victor at the games, was crowned with a garland, or wreath; and we may suppose him, at the conclusion of the exhibition, to have proffered this crown as the evidence of his claim to promotion. So, to the followers of Jesus, the imputed righteousness of their Redeemer is the evidence of their victory over the powers of legal condemnation; and consequently, the token, or crown, upon which they depend for the inheritance of eternal life a crown of his righteousness, and not of their own, and thence distinguished as the crown of righteousness, and THE crown of lifethe crown by which eternal life is secured. Their Saviour bore for them the crown of thorns, which they should have borne; and they receive from him, as a matter of grace, the crown of righteousness to which he alone had a title.
The other kind of crown, (the diadem,) is that represented to be on the heads of the red dragon, and of the beast, Rev. xii. 3, and xiii. 1. Not that these were either of them entitled to sovereignty, but that they are supposed to assume the prerogative; as to assume the diadem, has been a common figure of speech for pretending to imperial sway. In contradistinction to these false pretensions, it is said of the Word of God, that on his head he had “many diadems," (Rev. xix. 12.) The disciple is nowhere said to receive a diadem, or the diadem; but he receives a crown, as the token of his success in the contest of faith.
Such a token of victory is spoken of as allotted to the system, or angel of this church, figuratively, on condition of its faithfulness to death. As we may say, in the nature of the case, if the system prove to be correct,—if it comport with the elements of the economy of grace throughout—if this be manifested by its abiding the tests and trials to which it is to be exposed, then it is manifested to be itself the truth, and this manifestation is spoken of under the figure of allotting a crown to an individual disciple; the period of final manifestation, corresponding with this figure, being alluded to under the appellation of death.
V. 11. He that hath an ear, &c.
the second death.
ὁ ἔχων οὖς, κ.τ.λ.
ὁ νικῶν οὐ μὴ ἀδικηθῇ ἐκ τοῦ θανάτου τοῦ δευτέρου.
$56. He that hath an ear,' &c.-This is a repetition of the hint, as we conceive it to be, given to all who read the book, of the mystic sense. of the passage; the remarks already made upon these words (§ 46) have been, perhaps, sufficient.
'He that overcometh.'-These words are thrown into the same verse with the hint just spoken of, as if particularly connected with it. But we are to bear in mind, throughout the book, that in the original manuscripts there was no separation of chapters, or verses, and here probably, as elsewhere, the admonition as to the mystic sense is no more peculiar to what follows, or to what is in the verse with it, than to that which precedes it.
ó vixar― The overcoming shall not be hurt at the second death.'—A a promise is given to him that overcometh in each of these seven addresses. The promises are different, but we may presume the enjoyment of one to be no way inconsistent with that of either of the others. The same overcoming individual, whatever is to be understood by the term, may enjoy the fruition. of all of these promises-perhaps they all constitute but one promise. In the preceding epistle, the overcoming was to partake of the tree of life. In the present, the faithful unto death is to receive the crown of life. To one is promised the means of eternal life, as food constitutes the means of natural life; to the other is promised the evidence of title to the same life,—this evidence of title being itself also a means. But in addition to this, the overcoming is promised here exemption from hurt at the second death.
The verb rendered hurt, adixéo, usually signifies doing an injury, in the legal sense of the term-as Matt. xx. 13. Friend, I do thee no wrong, οὐκ ἀδικῶ σε. It is evident, however, that a promise to him that overcometh, that he should not suffer unjustly from the second death, could not be what is here intended. The noun of the same formation is rendered in Scripture by the word unrighteousness; and the verb and participle are both used, Rev. xxii. 11, as the opposite of dixatów, signifying in the active voice to justify, and in the passive, Matt. xii. 37, and in Paul's epistles, to be justified. Hence we may safely consider the hurt, or injury alluded to here, and of which the second death is supposed to be the occasion, to be the opposite of justification.
He that overcometh shall not be deprived of justification by or at the second death. The particle translated of in this place, èx, signifies out of, -something proceeding from-as, if we suppose this second death to represent a system, or means of trial, the words are equivalent to the declaration thus, he that overcometh shall not be condemned, or have his justification impaired by any principle, or power, emanating from that which is termed the second death, (§ 174.)
$ 57. We find, by Rev. xx. 14, that the lake of fire, into which death and hell were cast, is the second death. In remarking upon Rev. i. 18, we have seen (§§ 33, 37, 38) that death and hell, or Hades, are mysteries, or systems, of which Christ holds the keys; the means of unlocking or of interpreting these systems being found in him. The element of fire we suppose to represent the revealed Word of God, (Jer. xxiii. 29,) by which