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hand in the guidance of his people. It should lead them to correct their errors, but it should not lead them to cast away their confidence in God. It was because the children of Israel were disappointed in the wilderness that they so often denied divine guidance. They are set forth as an admonition to us, that we should not fall after the same example of unbelief.

But it must be apparent to every student of the Scriptures, that the angel who proclaims the hour of God's Judgment, does not give the latest message of mercy. Rev. xiv, presents two other and later proclamations, before the close of human probation. This fact alone is sufficient to prove that the coming of the Lord does not take place at the close of the first angel's proclamation.

THE SECOND MESSAGE.

"And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."

This angel is spoken of as the second, because the one following it is, in the language of inspiration itself, called the third. In commenting upon language so highly symbolic, the first point is to determine the meaning of the symbol introduced.

1. What, then, is the Babylon of this message? It is here simply called "that great city." But it is elsewhere spoken of in the book of Revelation in a manner which cannot fail to lead to a correct solution of this question. In Rev. xvii, 18, this same city is called a "And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.”

woman.

Now a woman is always in the Scriptures, when used as a symbol, taken to represent religious organizations, the true church being represented by a virtuous woman, as in chapter xii, and the false by a corrupt woman, as in the text before us, and many other places. Babylon is something distinct from the civil powers of the earth; for with her the kings of the earth form unlawful connections. It is the place where the people of God as a body are, for they are at a certain time called away from her communion. These considerations show that we are not to look to any literal city for the Babylon of the Apocalypse, nor to any civil powers, but to ecclesiastical or church organizations. Is, then, any particular church, to the exclusion of all others, designated by the term Babylon? It would not be consistent to suppose this; for 1. The term Babylon, from Babel, where God confounded the language of men, signifies mixture, confusion. In the sense in which we have shown it to be used in the book of Revelation, it must denote conflicting and discordant religious creeds and systems. But this would not be applicable to any one religious denomination, as each of these denominations is more or less a unit. 2. The people of God who are called out of Babylon, are not as a body connected with any single denomination. Hence we must understand by the term all the false and corrupted systems of Christianity. That the Romish and Greek churches are included in these, few will be disposed to deny; while the Protestant churches, alas! more or less identified with war, for a long time the bulwark of American slavery, fatally conformed to the world, and guilty of the long catalogue of sins charged by Paul upon professed Christians in the last days, 2 Tim. iii, 1-5, must be reckoned as a member of the family. In this branch of the family we find

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that mixture and confusion in the multiplicity of sects and creeds which most fitly answers to the import of

the term.

2. What is the fall of Babylon? Evidently a moral fall. In Rev. xviii, 1-5, where a second and subsequent announcement of this event seems to be given, we read, "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." That is, as the result of her fall she had sunk to this deplorable condition. Having fallen, her iniquities rapidly increased, her sins reached unto Heaven, and God's people are called out. Verses 4, 5. Hence this fall is a moral one. The absurdity of applying this to Rome or any other literal city, where but few, if any, of the people of God are, and out of which they could not be called after its fall or destruction, must be very apparent. The harmony of applying it to a religious body which can apostatize and become corrupt, and from which the people of God can be subsequently called out, is equally clear, and the necessity for such an application no less evident. No other is at all admissible.

The cause of the fall of Babylon is said to be because she "made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Her fornication was her unlawful connection with the kings of the earth. The wine of this is that with which the church has intoxicated the nations of the earth. There is but one thing to which this can refer, and that is, false doctrine. This harlot, in consequence of her unlawful union with the powers of earth, has corrupted the pure truths of the Bible, and with the wine of her false doctrine has intoxicated the nations. As a few of the gross errors

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which she has caused the masses to receive as Bible truth, we mention the following: 1. That the soul is immortal. 2. That sprinkling and pouring are baptism. 3. That Sunday is the Sabbath. 4. That there are to be a thousand years of peace and prosperity before the coming of the Lord. 5. That the saints' inheritance is not the earth made new, but an immaterial, intangible region beyond the bounds of time and space. 6. That the second advent is to be understood spiritually, and that it took place at the destruction of Jerusalem, or that it takes place at conversion or at death. 7. That it is right and scriptural to hold human beings in bondage; and 8. That it is of no consequence, if we may judge from their practice, to come out and be separate from the world. Most of these pernicious errors Protestant sects have drawn from the Romish mother, and others they have themselves originated, showing conclusively that they are but the daughters of the great apostasy.

We have seen that Babylon is composed of several divisions; and we know that the name of the whole is frequently applied to any one of its parts. Hence the name Babylon may be applied to any one of these divisions. Consequently when it is announced that Babylon is fallen, it is not necessary to understand that as a whole it experienced a moral change for the worse. It would be true if such change took place in any one of its great branches. The cry, Babylon is fallen, being given subsequent to the first message, is evidence that the fall took place at that time.

The truths connected with the proclamation of the first angel were calculated to correct many of the fundamental errors of Babylon, and open the way for the

Life Incidents.

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reception of the whole truth in place of her false doctrines. That these errors were honestly held by the different churches, is not to be questioned. But after light has been given to a person sufficient to enable him to discard an error, he becomes guilty for longer retaining it. So when Babylon, through the proclamation of the first message, was called upon to correct her errors, and redeem her influence over the people, and refused to do so, she then became guilty of willfully refusing the truth, and making the nations intoxicated with her false teaching. Just as the people of God when they are called out after her fall, become guilty by longer retaining their connection with her. Hence the proclamation of the fall of Babylon comes in after the first message, stating the consequence of her rejection of that message. That message has already been located in the present generation; and Rev. xviii shows that Babylon's fall must take place in the last days, as it is just previous to her final destruction. But as we look over apostate Christendom, we see that the Romish and Greek churches are no more corrupt, either in doctrine or practice, than they have been for ages past. No marked change for the worse has taken place in those bodies within the present generation, nor is there scarcely room for them to become worse than they have already for centuries been. We therefore look to the religious bodies composing the great Protestant family for the fulfillment of the announcement made in the second message, especially in our own country, where the first message was more definitely proclaimed. The inquiry now arises, has there been any moral declension in these bodies within the memory of the generation now living? Did any such change take place with them about the time of the first message, and have they since been fill

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