It is no uncommon thing to blunt and turn aside all the admonitions given by God to His people in regard to their separation from Babylon, by suggesting that the term refers alone to Popery. And so all the denunciations of impending woe on that huge system are handed over to Romanists, while a large part of professing Christendom, lulled by this as by a powerful soporific, continues slumbering, and in its dreams congratulating itself that all is right as it should be with it, seeing it is outside that system Doubtless the deadliest power of Babylon’s cup is to be found in the Papacy. But is there none elsewhere? According to the Lord’s own definition in Revelation 17, Babylon is the world’s huge religions system of which it is so proud, and of which it boasts, the Church allied to the world, and the world to the Church, with all its evil fully matured and developed. This, He who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, pronounces to be Babylon—“confusion,” as He has designated the Roman Empire’s last head—whom all men wonder at—“the Beast,” for “that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” If Babylon be as she is declared to be by the Omniscient, the “Mother of harlots,” where are her daughters? Nor will her iniquity alone be judged, for “the cities of the nations,” or the daughters of this harlot, to wit, the churches of the various nationalities? with all minor religious confederacies founded on compromising the truth of God to the will of man— all that bearing the name of Christ, is nevertheless of the world, man’s tool and man’s creature, all form part of this Great Babylon, and all will be judged. But, as we are plainly taught in Rev. 17:3, if we would behold Christendom’s sin from heaven’s point of view, we must ourselves be separate from it. It is not when we are in the midst of a darkened atmosphere, that we are most sensible of the impurities which we are inhaling, but when we are out from thence and looking upon the place in clearer light from a distance; so they who would see Babylon in God’s light, themselves must be in that light. Nor was this climax of wickedness reached in a day. It is the result of increasing departure from God, His Word and His ways, and a deeper sinking into the darkness. That which was once “the house of God” (1 Tim. 3:16), becomes “a great house” (2 Tim. 2:18), and she who claimed to be the spouse of Christ, has become “the great whore,” corrupt herself, and corrupting all that have to do with her. And this, let it be remembered, is God’s own representation of the attractive but spurious Christianity which is even now around us, and which will meet its doom at the hand of the Lord, O that God’s own people may be taught by this awful picture of worldly religion, the evil of departing from God’s Word, and of alliance with the world. Begin with God and His Word, and with these go on. Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left. Neither add to nor take away from that Word, nor depart one hair’s-breadth from the precise instructions given by Him therein. No one can tell where such disobedience will end. Here we see that where departure from the revelation of God’s written Word does not take place, and is unrepented of, the evil goes on increasing, and the apostasy becomes darker and darker, until there is no remedy, save for judgment to sweep the scene. And this corrupt and false Christianity, instead of being a blessing to the nations, has been their greatest curse, and conduced in no small degree to the growing infidelity which will end in an open revolt against God, just before the Lord descends in judgment. Thus we learn what is in God’s sight Babylon, and from what He calls His own, “Come out of her my people” (Rev. 18:4). Having learnt who this woman is, and who are her daughters, let us next enquire what the nature of her sin is, which calls down this unmitigated vengeance of heaven. It is not—as Protestant writers and commentators have busied themselves to show—the promulgation of the doctrines of Transubstantiation and Baptismal Regeneration, although these and other leavens may be, yea are, the inevitable consequences of her sin. Yet they are not branded upon her brow. The sin of Babylon is fornication, uncleanness of a spiritual sort, committed with rulers and their peoples. By State churches, kings are courted and dallied with, and royal and aristocratic favours sought, while with those religious confederacies not so favoured, the main desire is to please and stand in favour with the people. How all this appears in God’s sight, let James 4:4, with this exposure of her wantonness (Rev. 18:24) tell. In the cup which she bears in her hand (verse 4), she has something to offer all classes of society, by which they are attracted to her, and by which they are held and bewitched. This explains why so few are awake to her wickedness, or seek to escape from her influence. Apostate Christianity is a positive help to worldly professors in their schemes. Her advocates “wax rich through the abundance of her delicacies,” and so we need not wonder that many of her ministers are wont to represent that her exalted position in the world is due to her success in serving Christ. “Kings of the earth,” and “merchants of the earth” are used in turn by her, for her own aggrandisement. If money only can be obtained to build churches and chapels, there is little more than a passing scruple as to the modes adopted to procure it. The end is made to sanctify the means. Bazaars, concerts, and a multitude of such agencies are unblushingly advertised, with all their accompanying forms of worldliness, with the ostensible design of aiding some religious cause. And all this is patronised, if not actually organised by the clergy, who thus incite the professing church to increased worldliness. The ungodly see through the corrupt motives of such performances, and scorn their pious pretentions. Need we wonder that at the end, kings and people alike repudiate and turn against her? In Rev. chapter 17, Babylon is seen in all her worldly grandeur, in all her dazzling glitter, in all her moral torpitude, full of imaginary security, and boasted infallibility, just before Divine vengeance falls upon her. In chapter 18 we see the same Babylon in all her desolation, after that blow has fallen. In the former chapter her destruction is seen to be at the hands of men—earth’s king’s; in the latter, it is ascribed to the “Lord God Almighty,” for not only God, but men wearied of her pretences and hypocrisies will at last turn upon her as being the the cause of all their sorrows and utterly reject her.