I conclude with an invitation to all the people of God to come out of BABYLON.
I heard another voice from heaven, saying, come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins; and that ye receive not of her plagues (Rev. 18:4). This call is the call of God our Saviour unto all his people in mystical Babylon (Papal Rome) to come out of HER. Come out of her my people: which call of Christ was given by an audible voice, And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, etc. And this call from heaven is urged and enforced upon the people of God by two cogent arguments or reasons, 1. That ye be not partakers of HER sins. 2. That ye receive not of her plagues.
Two things in this call need explanation, 1. What this voice was? 2. What it is to come out of HER? To both these I shall speak briefly, and then proceed to speak more largely of this call.
First, this voice hath heavens authority, It was from heaven, to wit, the voice of Christ in the ministry of the gospel ordinarily, and by the powerful efficacy of the Holy Spirit also, For our gospel came not unto you in the word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance (1 Thess. 1:5). So had the voice of the angels of God by whom Christ then spake unto his servant John (Rev. 14:613), with a loud voice (v. 7), which St. John heard from heaven, (v. 13). And so have the voice of the faithful ministers of God, by whom Christ also now speaks unto his people, He that heareth you, heareth me, etc. to wit, heavens authority (Luke 10:16).
Secondly, to come out of HER, is to separate themselves from the church of Rome, which is now become a false church, called the great whore, and mother of harlots (2 Cor. 6:1418). Verse 17, Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ would have his people to be separated under the gospel from the unbelieving Jews, and their false worship (which Christ called vain worship (Matthew 15:89). And St. Paul did separate the disciples from the Jewish synagogue of unbelievers (Acts 19:89). And also from idolatrous gentiles, that worship images, (as the church of Rome doth) and from their idol temples, churches, and chapels; for the gentile papists, and church of Rome, their pope, cardinals, Jesuits, and all the roman priests do tread under foot the holy city (Rev. 11:2). Jerusalem viz. the church and people of God, What agreement hath the Temple of God with idols? For ye are the Temple of the living God, as God hath said (Lev. 20:2426 and 26:12), I will dwell among them, and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be my people: wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separated saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, (2 Cor. 6:1617, etc). The papists images, crosses, crucifixes; their consecrated wafers, holy waters, and saints pictures, the image of the Virgin Mary, and of our Saviour upon the cross, unto which images the popish priests and people fall down and worship; yea their Ave Maria, and prayers to saints deceased, all their holy bells, beads, prayer books, and candles, etc. are all as an unclean thing, and ought to be separated from, and not touched by the people of God, whom Christ calls upon with a loud voice to come out from among them.
These two particulars explained the argument which Christ urgeth to enforce this his call unto his people followeth, That ye be not partakers of HER sins, and that ye receive not of HER plagues. As if Christ had said, I do by the voice of my faithful ministers call and command you my people to come out of mystical Babylon (Papal Rome) and to separate yourselves from the church of Rome, which is fallen, is fallen from her apostolical purity in doctrine, worship, and discipline or ecclesiastical government, and is become as harlot, a false church, the great Whore, the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth, the synagogue of Satan, the habitation of devils, the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. But if you my people (as if Christ had said) will not obey my voice, nor hear my call; if you will not come out from the church of Rome, and separate yourselves from the papists, and leave going to and worshipping in their popish temples, churches, chapels, and private cloisters, nunneries, priories, religious houses, meeting places, and holy roods of auricular confession, etc. then in the first place you will be partakers of their sins, that is, you will become guilty of their will worship, and spiritual fornication, (Rev. 17:2) of their impenitency added upon their iniquities. And in the next place you shall receive of her plagues, death and mourning and famine, etc. (Rev. 18:8). And these shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation, (Rev. 14:912).