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vessel of a potter shall they be broken to shivers ; even as I received of my Father:" alluding to Psalm ii. 8, 9, where the Father officially gives this same power to Christ. Christ here puts the honour of it on his people, and thus unites them to him as they are found united in the text.
Jesus Christ was, while an infant, in a mystical sense, caught up to the throne of God, in his infallible protection from the rage of Satan in Herod. The same clause of the text had a literal fulfilment in Christ when he ascended to heaven, and literally took the throne of the universe. And the spiritual seed of the church are also mystically caught up to the throne of God in the infallible protection which God affords them in his covenant and providence.
Some have expressed an opinion that the man-child in the text alluded to Constantine, who was the instrument of the revolution in the Roman empire from paganism to Christianity, in the fourth century. But this is to degrade the sacred passage. It may be a fact, however, that the passage may have received a kind of illustration in the case of Constantine ; as it did also in Martin Luther, and many other men-children of the church, or eminent instruments of good to her. Such were men-children of the church indeed! and they were remarkably protected against the shafts of the enemy, as though caught up to the throne of God. And it was a fact, that after the revolution in the empire, the church was protected by its strong arm from further persecution from paganism. A son of the church sat on the throne of the empire ; and persecuting pagans were put down. But this clause of the text has a meaning infinitely more noble, in that Christ is on the throne of heaven; and his church in her succession is under Almighty protection in every age.
Ver. 6. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
The devil, finding himself confounded in the subversion of his beloved paganism, and the establishment of Christianity in the empire, began ere long to exhibit his deep management in getting up another power most hostile to
the kingdom of Christ : another persecuting power, but under the Christian name. The Man of Sin arose, “ whose coming was after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders; and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish." The true church was then, at the rise of the papal beast, driven to her wilderness state of 1260 years. This is the same depression, and for the same period, with that of the two witnesses prophesying in sackcloth, in the first livision of the Revelation, chap. xi. 3. "The ancient church in Israel was made to sojourn in the wilderness of Arabia a painful season, before they could enter Canaan, that type of good things to come. This seems to have been a kind of prelude to the wilderness state of the church in our text, and to that in verse 14, which precedes her millennial glory. But, in this her depressed state, God would not fail nor forsake her. Even in this state of exile, she should not fail of being upheld and protected. The history of the true followers of Christ through the dark ages, and under the insults and persecutions of the papal see, gives the exact description of this wilderness state of the church. And her supports in that depressed state give the true sense of the clause, “that they should feed her there !"
History furnishes the fact, that the line of the true followers of Christ were indeed preserved, for a great course of centuries, in a kind of literal wilderness, in the valleys of Piedmont and Dauphiny; where the churches of the Albigenses and Waldenses were, for a very long time, the keepers of the pure doctrines of grace. Here was a kind of literal fulfilment of the text, united with a mystical fulfilment of it in the depressions of the true followers of the Lamb during much of the long period noted. This view may facilitate the exposition of the next flight of the woman in verse 14, where she is borne on eagles' wings to another wilderness.
Ver. 7. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon ; and the dra. gon fought, and his angels,
8. And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiv
eth the whole world : he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him..
We have here the war between Sätan and his legions on the one hand; and Jesus Christ and his followers on the other. The seat of this war is represented as high in the visible region of the air. This position is a fit emblem of the professed church of Christ on earth. It here denotes that this war of the devil was carried on against Christ in a church, and by a people that bore his name, and yet were utterly hostile to him. This was the case indeed in the papal church.
This church carried on a continual war against Christ in his two witnesses, who in the text are noted as the angels of Michael, a name of Christ, importing one like God, and meaning God in humanity. These true followers of Christ, the corrupt anti-christian Church of Rome persecuted as heretics, and put to most cruel deaths very many thousands of them. For many ages this battle progressed with great fury on the part of the dragon in the papal church. He caused this mother of harlots and abominations of the earth to be drunken with the blood of the saints, and (with her two horns of a lamb) to speak like a dragon; Satan caused this impious Man of Sin to “exalt himself above all that is called God, or is worshipped. So that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God!"-claiming to be “his holiness,” perfect, and infallible ! Well may such a war be represented as carried on in a region high in the visible heavens. This war was long and terrible through the dark ages.
But the time of the devil's defeat arrived; the time for the commencement of that series of divine judgments which should issue in the total destruction of the papal delusion. The dragon should no longer be found reigning undisturbedly over the kings of the earth, in that hateful papal system. He should no longer hold his position as among the stars of heaven. This falling of the dragon from heaven took place in the Reformation, in the sixteenth century, by the instrumentality of Martin Luther, and his associate reformers. The papal system was then stripped of its gaudy hypocritical attire, and was exhibited to the world as a corrupt, blasphemous, and most abominable system of the wicked one. This was a fall of Satan
indeed. And it was most fitly prefigured by the falling headlong of a great red dragon, and of his hosts of minor dragons, from an exalted height in the visible heaven to the earth! This infernal enemy of the true people of God is here called “the old serpent," in allusion to the literal serpent which the devil entered in paradise to deceive the mother of the human race. He is called the devil, to tell precisely who he is, and that he is the accuser. He is called “Satan,” as being an enemy. And it is added, “who deceiveth the whole world,” to warn man of his fatal influence to delude and to ruin. This fatal influence of delusion he has been permitted of God to exercise in all ages hitherto, to the eternal ruin of by far the greater part of the human family, now dead; thus deceiving the whole world. Most potent spirit of delusion! having multiform wiles, suited to all meridians, ages, climes, and circumstances of men! “Fly from this fell deceiver's snares: () soul of Adam, fly!"
Ver. 10. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come 'salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ : for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
12. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Wo to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea ! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
The spirits of the just made perfect in glory, and the saints on earth, on this occasion, gave glory to God in the highest. Their souls unitedly leaped for joy, that the papal masterpiece of the devil's imposition was at length detected in its filthy abominations -and that, as far as the Reformation prevailed, it had fallen into its merited contempt! The devil had here, by his first-born son, the
pope of Rome, and by all the clan of his subordinate papal authorities, accused the true followers of Christ,-accused
them day and night before God, of being guilty of great impiety in their rejection of the blasphemies and mumme. ries of popery.
The two witnesses were indeed thus. accused continually, and for ages. But the Protestants had here obtained a glorious victory over them, and over Satan, by their reliance on Jesus Christ alone ; and their prayers, and bold persevering testimonies borne for Christ, even at the constant peril of their lives. In this they had prevailed. Such prayers and testimonies shall never be in vain. If the answer to their prayers tarry long; wait for it: for at the end it shall speak, and will not lie! All the holy family, in heaven and earth, were called upon to rejoice on the occasion,-a very different improvement from what was made in the courts of Satan and the papal
A wo is now heard, as denounced against " the inhabiters of the earth, and of the sea,” because of the rage of the wicked one. This address is made to the unbelieving mass of mankind, whether in continents or isles. For the rage of Satan, and his new inventions of mischief, would be in proportion to the greatness of his defeat; and to his perceptions of the shortness of his remaining time to do mischief on earth. He would, thenceforth, redouble his furious exertions. And this was found to be in fact the case; as the abominable code of the Jesuits (which was then soon got up), and as the more horrid system of illuminism, can testify. Satan had formerly seen the fall of his beloved system of paganism, in the Roman empire. He had then, with vast labours and perseverance, got up his still more beloved system of popery; which had most fully answered his purpose, for many centuries. But now this too was exposed in its hateful abominations,—had fallen from its zenith, and had commenced its plunge, like a huge rock dislodged from the top of a steep and vast mountain. This event Satan well perceived to be but a prelude to his final confinement in the bottomless pit. His rage then, was full.
Its occa. sion was to him and his cause dreadful.
Most interesting are the position and the dress of the symbolic woman. “ Ye are the light of the world.”—“A city set on a hill.”
'_“ Clothed with the sun,-the moon under her feet; crowned with twelve stars.” Happy indeed, if all professors did, in heart and life, well answer to this figure. True saints do, in a good degree, answer to it.