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10. SPIRIT OF THE BOOK.

The seven Epistles in the Apocalypse contain severe words about evil conditions and the opponents of the author in some of the seven communities; but they also contain beautiful and truly religious utterances which are sufficient to compensate for the spirit of the whole book, which is sometimes narrow and vindictive (xvi. 6; xviii. 6 f.), and concentrated upon such external and materialistic matters as eating, ruling, and white garments (ii. 7, 17; iii. 20 f.; xix. 8, &c.): “I stand at the door and knock” (iii. 20); “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life” (ii. 10); “hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown” (iii. 11). Not a single prophecy in the book has been fulfilled, and none remains to be fulfilled, since they are all framed in such a way that they ought to have been fulfilled within a few years. The main idea, that people should no longer attempt to improve upon the world, but should withdraw from it entirely, and simply wait and hope for a speedy end to it (especially xxii. 11), is certainly quite out of harmony with the most precious truths 232which Christianity has brought home to us in the course of centuries, and the fully developed seeds of which were already present in the ideas of Jesus; still, one of the most beautiful products of Christianity, and one which in the end concerns absolutely every individual, consists in that constancy and faithfulness which all the prophecies and admonitions of this book insist upon so forcibly.

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