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"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. And they of the people, and kindreds, and tongues, and nations, shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them."-Rev. xi. 8-12.

N our last exposition we followed these two ideal champions of the truth through their witnessing work to its tragic close, when a beastly power overcame them by rude force, and put a period to their testimony, which, however, was not effected till the expiration of the time specified. Their time was in the Father's hand; and so were their lives. And none could harm them till their hour was come, and the forty-two months were run out. There is a grand sequel to their death, which may cheer and comfort us in the prospect of our dissolution. Death is not the goal of our being, but just a hiatus or temporary check till we recover breath again. It is but a slumber, rather longer and deeper than comes on us ordinarily when the curtains of darkness are drawn round us. Considering how brief the period was of their suspended animation it will be lawful to say that they were not dead but slept, as Jesus said of Jairus' daughter. They had a glorious triumph. Let us proceed, and overtake the passage by careful illustration. We propose four divisions.

I. THE PLACE WHERE THEIR BODIES WERE EXPOSED. "In the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." The name of the city is not given, but every one readily apprehends it by the superadded clause," where also our Lord was crucified." There is no room left for conjecture: Jerusalem was the goal of martyrdom. It had a name for killing prophets and stoning ambassadors. "It cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee: how often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not." Luke xiii. 33, 34. It is fit that these two public advocates should be represented as killed at Jerusalem, because their Master was killed there. The servant should be as his Lord. Throughout this mystic narrative, conformity to Christ is an idea preserved and pushed into notice. So we find these ideal men are after the model of Christ, in his life, and death, and resurrection,

and ascension. For this reason it is that their death is laid at the door of this persecuting city. The "also" in this clause intimates. this much. And if we adopted the reading of some ancient copies, the idea would strike us still more forcibly. The said reading is, "where also their Lord was crucified." And their martyrdom being consummated in that city sets them in the way of his steps. There is a little inexactness in the copy, inasmuch as the Master "suffered without the gate," whereas the servants suffer in the street. The exact critical reader must either admit the propriety of calling the outside or the suburbs of the city the street, or allow John the liberty of dropping out some of the small particulars of his model. All we affirm is that he aims at shaping his men after their Master.


Why does he call Jerusalem Sodom and Egypt? Because it had imported the vices and copied the character of Sodomites and Egyptians. It was spiritually so called, and very properly, since it had imbibed the spirit of these peoples, the idolatrous worship of the one and the degenerate morals of the other. The holy people learnt idolatry in Egypt, and took the model of their corrupt vices from Sodom. Some prefer to say, Egypt on account of the oppression which it exercised on the people of God, but Sodom on account of the universal corruption that prevailed in it." It is just to call a people by the names of those whose crimes they repeat, and whose character they imitate. A murderer is Cain, a traitor is Judas, a cruel man is Herod, a seducer or tempter is Satan himself, as Christ donominated Peter, Mark viii. 33, and so of others who commit the particular sins that certain persons were distinguished for. It is as if these proper persons of historical note for the said sins re-appeared on earth, and performed their disgraceful parts afresh on the open stage of the world. It is an allowable custom for censors of public manners to fix these disgraceful names of persons and places on other persons and places chargeable with similar or identical conduct. It is caustic and severe to do this, but perfectly just; and we find it is ancient and scriptural. Heathen names were fixed upon the sacred seed when they degenerated and departed from their own proper character, and that too by their own inspired writers, who honestly and faithfully reproved their sins. Moses says, "For their vine is the vine of Sodom (marg., worse than the vine of Sodom), and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter." Deut. xxxii. 32. Isaiah in the same strain says, " Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah." Isaiah i. 10. And this was an address to the inhabitants and rulers of the holy city! Jeremiah renews the charge, "They are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah." Jer. xxiii. 14. Ezekiel is,

if possible, still more severe, and upbraids his people as not only having taken lessons from their heathen neighbours, but as having "Your mother was an Hittite, and your gone beyond them. father an Amorite. And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand; and thy younger sister that dwelleth at thy right hand is Sodom and her daughters. Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations; but as if that were a very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways. As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters." Ezek. xvi. 45-48. Without quoting more illustrations, these show that the writer of the Apocalypse follows in the wake of the leading writers of the Old Testament, and repeats after them, when he gives these opprobrious names to the holy city, whose proper name he delicately forbears to mention. Its borrowed vices fix its moral pedigree, and entitle What shall be said of modern it to be called Sodom and Egypt. churches? Are they so pure, all of them, or any of them, as to repel the application of unholy by-names? Are there none "which say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan?" Rev. ii. 9. How many reputed saints are only sinners in a saint's dress! How many of our Christians are only worldlings in disguise, and hardly in disguise, but only misnamed. Church-membership sometimes covers up vices with which a non-professing world would disdain to be charged. Let us who bear the name of We are Christ be careful to have his spirit, mind, and manners. The Sodomitish heart and really what we are "spiritually." Egyptian disposition are decisive of our character, despite the name and garb of Christian. Though we are called Christians, if we lack the virtues of Christianity, and cherish the spirit of the world, the pride, and envy, and earthly-mindedness that work openly in others, our name is a mere mock. While we claim to belong to Jerusalem, our true residence is Sodom or Egypt. The seat of holiness was the head-quarters of persecution where our two brethen suffered, as their Master had suffered.

Let us look next at—

II. THE INDIGNITY OFFERED TO THE WITNESSES AFTER DEATH. "And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city. . . And they of the people, and kindreds, and tongues, and nations, shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves."

The careful reader will observe that the verb "shall lie" is supplied in the text, as its appearance in italics indicates. The translators are responsible for all such supplies. An intelligent reader may disregard and ignore them if he please; or he may substitute better supply-words for himself. A renowned commentator suggests

another supply," their dead bodies shall be suspended," which has the advantage of bringing them into conformity with Christ, who in his death was lifted up from the earth. We pass from this trifle to the chief thought, which is, that they were denied burial. In this they fared worse than their Lord, who was honoured with a new sepulchre. The last offices of the dead were neglected, worse than neglected, disallowed and forbidden. No Joseph of Arimathea was at hand to beg the liberty of bearing away the bodies to a place of interment. There they must be, exposed in the open street, for the number of days specified. Much as we should feel such an indignity, the Jews were still more sensitive about it than we are. Not to have a grave, or cave, or funeral vault to lie in when dead, was deprecated among them as a worse calamity than not to have a house to live in when alive. The rites of sepulture were valued at a high rate, and the want of them was deplored as a supreme evil. To be a neglected outcast when dead was looked on as worse than to be an outcast in life; sufficient to stain and spoil the prosperity of a long lifetime. "If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial, I say that an untimely birth is better than he." Eccles. vi. 3. It was a heavy doom predicted for one of the kings of Judah, "They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! they shall not lament for him, saying, Ah lord! or, Ah his glory! He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem." Jer. xxii. 18, 19. How dear the rites of sepulture were to a Jew may be seen from the fact that Nehemiah speaks of Jerusalem, not as the metropolis of Judea, or the city of his birth, or even as the seat of holiness, but the city of his fathers' sepulchres, as if the funeral vaults were the most honourable things in the city or most to be desired.-Neh. ii. 3, 5. To kill these witnesses was bad; but to refuse them interment was the very overflow of malice. Of a piece with this was the joy and festivity of their persecutors over their death. This is graphically expressed in the 10th verse," And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another, because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth."

The death-day of these troublesome prophets was the jubilee of the wicked. They made it a holiday and enlivened it with feast and song. Their joy prompted them even to deeds of benevolence. They sent gifts one to another; that is, the rich families sent presents to the poor, which was a laudable deed, and worthy of our imitation. Good deeds sometimes proceed from bad motives. We may do the same kind of action from a purer feeling. The world loves its own, and upon occasion shows its love, even at some cost and self-denial. It is not to the credit of the church to be second

to them in deeds of kindness, and in plans of eleemosynary benevolence. In private charity, and in public and united efforts for doing good, the church must not allow the world to surpass it. In the day of the gladness of our hearts, when our cup is full and our bosoms brim over with buoyant joy through prosperity, let us not be forgetful of those who are under the pinch of poverty, and would be thankful for the aid we could render without putting a sensible strain on ourselves. Christians may learn of pagans sometimes, and be spurred to emulation, if indeed they were pagans who did this good deed. We almost think they were wicked Jews, who dwelt upon the earth, or land of Judea. This deed of theirs has a show of religion in it. It points to Hebrew law or custom, a custom which originated in Israel though it spread to other lands. We follow the marginal lights. "Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them." Neh. viii. 10-12. The privilege of sound religious instruction, after it had been intercepted for a considerable period, was a proper occasion and reason for the exercise of charity to the needy. The next quotation grounds the same charitable practice upon a grand national deliverance from a plot that was laid for the extinction of the holy seed. "Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another. And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the King Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, to stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly. As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor. Esth. ix. 19-22. The fundamental passage for the practice of charity on joyful occasions is Deut. xvi. 13, 14. "Thou shalt

observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine; and thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou and thy son, and thy daugher, and thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless, and the widow that are within thy gates." The fruits of the earth being safely housed, generosity was to have scope and stream

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