Page images

puted: Whether the figurative use of this term arofe from observing, how conftantly that pollution attended idolatrous worship; or how fitly a communication with false gods may be compared with that unlawful commerce: Whatever be the ground of the analogy, it is clear to a demonstration that wboredom is but another name for idolátry, which, under this idea, is


frequently charged upon the Jews by the antient prophets. * Sometimes, however, (without doubt, to aggravate the charge) the idolatry of the Jews is considered in the light of adultery, that is, of infidelity to the God of Ifrael; to whom, as to her proper Lord and Hufband, the Jewish nation had, by express stipulation, and in the most folemn manner, contracted herfelf.

But, notwithstanding this promiscuous Sapplication of the terms, fornication, and adultery, to the idolatry of the Jews in the antient prophecies, it hath been remarked

by the Bishop of Meaux, “ That Babylon, :.900

[ocr errors]

or Rome, in the Revelations, is constantly and uniformly spoken of, as a whore, and not as an adulteress: whence he concludes, that this charge is brought against Pagan Rome only, and not Christian Rome. For, why, he alks, is so much care taken not to impute adultery to idolatrous Rome, if it had been a Christian city? when its polluting itself with this crime, contrary to the most express engagements, which Christians take upon themselves, of fidelity to the only true God, might justly deserve, and, in propriety, may seem to require, this opprobrious charge, rather than that other lighter one of fornication; whereas, if Pagan Rome be here meant, its idolatry could only be set forth under the idea of fornication, and not of adultery [y]."

[y] Le faint apôtre a bien pris garde de ne pas nommer la prostituée, dont il parle, une adultere, morgedoen morgarida, mais une femine publique- sans jamais avoir employé le mot d'adultere ; tant il étoit attentif à éviter l'idée d'une epouse infidelle.-Loin de marquer ļa Prostituée, comme une Eglize corrumpuë, nous avons montré clairement qu'il a pris des idées toutes contraires


[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

Now, although, as I observed, the idolatrous Jews are frequently treated by their prophets, as fornicators, as well as adulterers, này, are much more frequently [z] reà celles-là, puis qu'au lieu de produire une Jerufalem infidelle, ou du moins une Samarie, autrefois partie du peuple saint, comme il auroit fait s'il avoit voulu nous représenter une eglise corrompuë, il nous propose une Babylone, qui jamais n'a eté nommée dans l'alliance de Dieu. Nous avons auffi remarqué qu'il n'avoit jamais donné à la Proftituée le titre d'épouse infidell ou re, pudiée: mais que par tout il s'étoit servi du terme de fornication, et de tous ceux qui revenoient au même Sens. Je sçais que ces mots se confondent quelquefois avec celui d'adultère, mais le fort du raifonnement confifte

ce que de propos deliberé Saint Jean evite toujours ce dernier mot qui marqueroit la foi violée, le mariage fouillé, et l'alliance rompúë, &c.-L'Apocalyse avec une Explication; par Meffire Faques Benigne Bossuet, Eveque de Meaux, PREF, 26. 29. AVERTISEMENT, p. 321323. Par. 1690, 12%.

[] The reason I take to be, That fornication, that is, vague luft, and general prostitution, served best to ex. press the unbridled and indiscriminate paffion of the Jews for the dæinon-worship of their neighbours : Whereas the crime of adultery, though of a blacker dye, and, in that view, more proper to expose the malignity of their offence, does not convey the same ideas of universal pollution, being usually committed, because it is fo eriminal, with more distinction and restraint.


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

presented under the former idea, than the latter; and although it be, therefore true, that fornication is not necessarily, and exclusively, to be understood of Pagan idolatry, but may well be applied to Christian idolaters, as it was to the Jewish ; yet the force of the learned objector's argument will not be obviated by this observation only. For the stress of it lies in this, “That the idola-, try of Rome in the Revelations is every where, that is, purposely, termed fornication (to insinuate to us, that the charge is directed against a Pagan City, and not a Christian Church), and no where, that is, purposely again, called adultery.

The objection is extremely ingenious; and, fo far as I know, hath been, hitherto, unanswered. Yet, if any good reafon can be afligned why the prophet should thus ftudiously prefer the term, fornication, to that of adultery, in describing the idolatry of Christian Rome, notwithstanding those terms be used indifferently by the Jewish prophets, when they reprove the idolatry.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

of their own countrymen, the Bishop of Meaux would himself acknowledge, that his objection falls to the ground.

Now such a reason offers itself to us in the EMBLEM, under which St. John chufes to represent his idolatrous society. This emblem is, Babylon; a Pagan idolatrous city; to which the idea of fornication may be colourably, and hath, in fact, been, applied a], in order to express the transgresfion of the law of nature, in its idolatrous worship: But to such a city, adultery, could in no proper sense, be applied; because, it had never entered into any close engagement, or marriage-contract, as it were, with the God of heaven.

This being admitted, we see the reason, why Rome Christian is taxed as a whore fimply, and not as an adulteress. For what had been improperly said of the týpe, cannot, on the principles of decorum, bé transferred to the anti-type. If Babylon be only a barlot, she is á harlot ftill, and [x] Haiah xxiii. 16, 17. Nahum iii. 4.


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »