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(2) which was once fo magnificent and glorious! a city, is become a mean fordid village, with fcarcely a fingle family of Chriftians dwelling in it, as approved authors teftify. To the church of Smyrna it is predicted, that the fhould have tribulation ten days, or ten years according to the ufual ftile of prophecy: and the greatest perfecution that the primitive church ever indured was the perfecution of Diocletian, which lafted (3) ten years, and grievously afflicted all the Afian, and indeed all the eastern churches. This character can agree to none of the other general perfecutions, for none of the others lafted (4) fo long as ten years. As the commendatory and reproving part of these epiftles exhibits the prefent ftate of the churches, fo the promiffory and threatning part foretels fome thing of their future condition; and in this fenfe, and in none other, can thefe epiftles be faid to be prophetical.

The first epistle is addreffed to the church of

Ephefus,

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(2) Hodie enim hæc urbs Afianæ olim magnificentiæ exemplum, plane fordet, cafulis & gurguftiis deformata, non civitas, fed vicus : et vix ibidem fupereft una Chriftianorum familia, ut ex certis conftat teftibus, iifdemque eruditis viris, qui hodiernam Ephefum de

fcripferunt, Smitho(Notit.Sept. Ecclef. Af. p. 4.) et Ricaultio. (de Stat. Eccl. Græc. p. 50.) Vitring. p. 73, 74.

(3) Eufeb. Ecclef. Hift. Lib. 8. Cap. 15, & 16. Lactant de Mort. Perfecut. Cap. 48.

(4) Quæ perfecutio omnibus fere ante actisdiuturnior---Nam

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Ephefus, as it was the metropolis of the Lydian Afia, and the place of St. John's principal refidence. It was, according to (5) Strabo, one of the best and most glorious cities, and the greatest emporium of the proper Afia. It is called by Pliny (6) one of the eyes of Afia, Smyrna being the other: but now, as eye-witnesses (7) have related, it is venerable for nothing but the ruins of palaces, temples, and amphitheaters. It is called by the Turks Ajafaluk, or the temple of the moon, from the magnificent ftructure formerly dedicated to Diana. The church of St. Paul is wholly deftroyed. The little which remains of that of St. Mark is nodding to ruin. The only church remaining is that dedicated to St. John, which is now converted into a Turkish mofque. The whole town is nothing but a habitation of herdsmen and farmers, living in low and humble cottages of dirt, fheltered from the extremities of weather by mighty maffes of ruinous walls; the pride and

often

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per decem annos &c. Oros. Lib. 7. Cap. 25. p. 528. Edit. Havercamp.

(5) Strabo Lib. 14. p. 634. Edit. Paris. p. 941. Edit. Amtel. 1707. Lib. 12. p. 577. Edit. Paris. p. 865. Edit. Amtel. 1707. (6) Plin. Nat. Hift. Lib. 5.

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oftentation of former days, and the emblem in thefe, of the frailty of the world, and the tranfient vanity of human glory. All the init habitants of this once famous city amount not now to above forty or fifty families of Turks, without one Christian family among them: fo ftrikingly hath the denunciation been fulfilled, that their candlestick should be removed out of his place.

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Smyrna was the nearest city to Ephesus, and for that reafon probably was addressed in the fecond place. It is fituated (8) on lower ground than the ancient city, and lieth about forty-five miles northward of Ephesus. It is called Efmir by the Turks, and is celebrated not so much for the fplendor and pomp of the buildings (for they are rather mean and ruinous) as for the number, and wealth, and commerce of the inhabitants. The Turks have here fifteen mofques, and the Jews feveral fynagogues. Among thefe enemies of the chriftian name the chriftian religion alfo florishes in fome degree. Smyrna ftill retains the dignity of a metropolis, altho' there are only two churches of the Greeks. But befides them, here is a great number of Christians of all nations, fects, and languages.

The

(8) Smith, Rycaut, Wheler and Spon ibid. Van Egmont's and Heyman's Travels. Chap. 8. (9) Smith,

The Latin church hath a monaftery of Francifcans. The Armenians have one church. But the English, who are the most confiderable number, next to the Greeks and Armenians, have only a chapel in the conful's houfe; which is a fhame, fays Wheler, confidering the great wealth they heap up here, beyond all the reft: yet they commonly excel them in their paftor; for I efteem a good English prieft, an evangelift, if compared with any of the reft. Frequent plagues and earthquakes are the great calamities of the place; but the Chriftians are here more confiderable, and in far better condition, than in any other of the feven churches: as if the promife was ftill in fome meafure made good to Smyrna, Fear none of those things, which thou shalt fuffer; be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Pergamus, formerly the metropolis of the Hellefpontic Myfia, and the feat of the Attalic kings, is (9) by the Turks with fome little variation ftill called Bergamo, and hath its fituation about fixty-four miles to the north of Smyrna. Here are fome good buildings, but more ruins. All the city almoft is occupied by the Turks, very few families of Chriftians be

ing

(9) Smith, Rycaut, Wheler and Spon. ibid. VOL. III.

D

(1) Smith

ing left, whofe ftate is very fad and deplorable. Here is only one church remaining, dedicated to St. Theodorus; and that the name of Christ is not wholly loft and forgotten in Pergamus, is owing to the care of the metropolitan of Smyrna, who continually fendeth hither a priest to perform the facred offices. The cathedral church of St. John is buried in its own ruins; their angel or bishop removed; and its fair pillars adorn the graves, and rotten carcafes of its deftroyers, the Turks'; who are esteemed about two or three thousand fouls in number. Its other fine church, called Santa Sophia, is turned into a mofque, and daily profaned with the. blafphemies of the falfe prophet. There are not in the whole town above a dozen or fifteen families of miferable Chriftians, who till the ground to gain their bread, and live in the most abject and fordid fervitude. There is the lefs reafon to wonder at the wretched condition of this church, when we confider that it was the very throne of Satan; that they ran greedily. after the error of Balaam, to eat things facrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication; and that they held the impure doctrins of the Nicolaitans, which Chrift detefted. It was denounced unto them

(1) Smith and Rycaut. ibid.

(2) Epiphan. adverf. Hæres. Lib. 2. Tom. 1. Cap. 33.

P. 455.

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