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After further instruction, he says, the love of money is the root of all evil, which, while some have coveted, after they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

his second epistle, which seems to have been written but a short time previous to his martyrdom, he complains thus: "This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes." He points out these two men as if once strong in the faith..

After the most earnest admonitions to the faith and constancy, he complains of Hymeneous and Philetus, who concerning the truth had erred, saying the resurrection was passed already, and overthrowing the faith of some.

Afterwards, he ennumerates the vices and crimes that were to take root among the teachers and professors of Christianity, and observes that evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse.

In another place, he gives a very solemn charge to him, for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. He complains that Demas had forsaken him, because he loved this present world. That Alexander, the coppersmith, did him much evil, and desires Timothy to beware of him, because he greatly withstood the truth.-2 Tim. 4: 5 15.

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John, in his first epistle, takes extraordinary pains to explain the way of truth, and informs his little children that even now there are many antichrists: that they went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they were of us, they would no doubt have continued with us.-1 John 2: 18, 19.

From these and many other proofs which the gospel affords, it is evident that errors appeared in the church at a very early period. But when we consider John's severe re

proof to some members of the church of Smyrna and Philadelphia, who said they were Jews and were not; when we consider Peter's epistle to the strangers scattered through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, the whole appears to be thus: The great star, or Christian church government at Jerusalem, fell or fled at the approach of the Roman armies, that it burned or shone as a lamp through the regions above mentioned; that it carried with it some of the old Jewish observances; that these falling in and mixing with the simple waters or doctrines taught to the Gentiles, caused bitterness; that it was in Asia, the then third part of the known world, where the waters were made bitter, that this bitterness and envying caused the death, or falling away of many, and from thence this star, or Jewish church, is called Wormwood. Even at Jerusalem the apostles called a council to decide on these matters. See Acts 15.

Verse 12: "And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise."

Those extraordinary men, the apostles, being now gone to receive their heavenly inheritance, holy John shows us how the church was governed in the second and third centuries, and the fatal consequences that attended. The reader will bear these instructions in mind: The sun is that grand luminary placed by its Creator in the heavens; it diffuses light, heat and comfort to all things around; it causes vegetation, and gives light and animation to all things within the bounds of its influence. The gospel and its light has the same effect on every true believer. The moon is a secondary light, and a faithful attendant on the earth. The earth and moon mutually reflect light upon each other a true emblem of that brotherly love which is so strongly recom

mended in the gospel. The stars also afford light to each other. So will true Christian churches.

Thus we have before us the effects of the fourth gospel sound; and if by smiting we understand a blow, or an injury received, it is easy to apply the words of the text.

First, under this sound the third part of the sun was smitten; from hence we may learn that ignorance and error increased much, in these two centuries, though the apostles did all in their power to prevent it. After all their vigilance and care to fortify the truth against error, we here see how the instructors in this early period have attacked it — smiting the sun, or gospel of truth, by drawing false conclusions from it, and making it the instrument of error.

Second, the third part of the moon was smitten: brotherly love under this trumpet abated. That universal charity that is the bond of perfection, and which is so forcibly recommended in the gospel, began to wane like the moon. Love and charity were, like the moon, on the increase, under the apostolic government; but since that time they had been on the decrease.

Third, the stars: the churches which should illuminate mankind, were also smitten. They lost part of their former lustre, and were growing dim.

Fourthly, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. The prophet intimates in the next verse, that this partial darkness was only the forerunner of a greater.

Verse 13: "And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Wo, wo, wo, to the inhabitors of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the angels, which are yet to sound."

In this and the former verse, the prophet saw the miserable decline of the Christian church; nay so far in a state of


imperfection as that the teachers or instructors, under the three next sounds, should establish three woes, or three distinct causes of the calamities that would prevail in the Christian world. These are, first, the imperial woe, under the Christian emperors; second the papal; and I am sorry to say, third, the protestant. These will appear in their proper places.

It may be said that I am here censuring the primitive fathers in the second and third centuries. I believe some of them maintained the truth, and sealed it with their blood. But holy John proves that a blow was given, and let every unprejudiced man determine whether the clergy or laity of those days were the aggressors.

This brings us down to A. D. 303, when Christianity put on its new garments, and appeared as the head of church and state.


THE prophet, in this chapter, draws our attention to a period when Christianity assumed a new face; when it got a Christian emperor, so called, mounted on the imperial throne of Rome, who made the bishops, next to himself, the lords and masters in this lower world, and gave them the key of the bottomless pit, that gulf of perdition and avarice which can never be filled. Neither could the locusts that crawled out of the smoke or filth of it ever be satisfied. Ambitious desires, and covetousness for the things of this world, are passions which were never rooted out, though the influence of both the precept and example of the meek and lowly Savior were brought to act upon them.

As to Constantine's real character, it is hard to determine. By some historians he is considered a saint; by others, the contrary. But certain it is that the murder of his wise father-in-law, and his son, are bad stains upon his Christian character.

The character and conduct of Constantine and that of Henry VIII, of England, seem to be nearly similar. The first supported the Christians because they raised him to the imperial dignity. Henry joined the reformers because the Pope had excommunicated him for polygamy. Constantine presided at the council of Nice, as the head of the Man of Sin. Henry procured himself to be declared the head of the church. Constantine made an edict that all the subjects

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