Imágenes de páginas


his cause; as in the case of the Egyptians plunged in the Red Sea; while Israel moved in safety through the deep. In this point of light, our text assures that the church shall be safe. And though her enemies rise and roar like a flood; Christ sits on the whirlwind, and directs the storm. And heaven's high arches scorn the swelling ocean. The foe is confounded; and Christians rejoice. When creature help fails, God's arm brings salvation. So it has been from the beginning, and so it will be to the end of time. In this general sense, our text has had a thousand fulfil

But it was designed for one, and only one, great chronological fulfilment; a great fulfilment in its order of events. For this we must inquire. The order of events, already noted in comments upon this chapter, shows us where to look for it. The great emperor of the age (it was generally said) exulted, that when several obstacles in the way of his universal empire were removed, “ he would henceforth trample on all the rights of neutrality!” His army, the best appointed possible, of 400,000 men, was put in motion; himself at their head, to remove these remaining obstacles. He would first move into the north, and take up by the roots the empire of Russia. England then would easily fall. And America would of course lie prostrate at his feet. And the dragon imagined that this would accomplish the designs of the great infidel system.

But the rod of iron, formed for judgment on the Roman earth, was now overleaping the bounds of its providential commission: and his plans were lost. That vial of divine wrath on the seat of the papal beast, and filling it with darkness, was now going to draw towards its close. The army of the north was accordingly annihilated, and swal. lowed up as floods indeed; as was shown in particulars of the event in Lecture x., which see. The accomplishment of the judgment in our text may well remind us of that of Korah and his company, when the earth under their feet began to part asunder. And ihe language of our text, we may conceive, was borrowed from the catas, trophe of those ancient enemies of Israel in the wilderness. It is, accordingly, predicted of the infidels of the last days, that they shall perish in the gainsaying of Korah.” Any thing that should providentially destroy those efforts of the kingdom of darkness, would amount to an accomplishment of our text. The figure alludes to all that actually

did confound those efforts of the enemies of the church. The French army fled, and fell by the way,-as has been shown. Their bodies were indeed literally mingled with the Russian earth, as though swallowed up in it. The horrors of that retreat exceed every thing else found in history, if we except the destruction of Jerusalem. The emperor escaped ; and, with only one man accompanying him, reached his capital. His vast army, by these terrors, and the scenes at the river Berezina, were literally destroyed. New armies were raised by this

emperor; and subsequent tremendous battles were fought; in which the French, from time to time, were vanquished, till the battle at Waterloo concluded the empire of Bonaparte. The last swelling of the floods of the dragon on the Roman earth, was here swallowed up. The confederation of the Rhine had been broken; and the remainder of its flood here sunk. A striking exposition thus appears, as given to the feet, and toes of the great Roman image-being a part of iron, and part of clay; partly strong, and partly broken;" and the parts not cleaving to each other. The long predicted coalition, like a whirlwind from the north, had prostrated that dynasty. See Dan. xi. 40. The earth opened her mouth, indeed! Earthly or national motives had induced this coalition of the powers of Europe to combine in selfdefence for the swallowing up of these floods of the dragon. One strong pillar, on which hung the confident hopes of the infidels of the age, crumbled, and was lost.

The beast from the bottomless pit, with this new wound in his head, now fell (for a time at least) into his characteristic non-existence. For he is “the beast that was, and is not, and yet is."

Zion had been marked out for a prey. Her enemies had predicted her ruin, and appearances seemed to favour it. But a cloud by day, and a fire by night, moved between Israel and the Egyptians, while passing the sea. This cloud flung light upon the church, and darkness upon infidels. 66 The Lord thundered; the Highest gave his voice; hailstones and coals of fire. His lightning lightened the world; the earth trembled and shook." The abominations of that system of infidelity had been much unfolded, and its first and general efforts confounded. Its workmen were now forced to descend to deeper caverns, and to operate with greater caution. And to this they no

doubt, betook themselves with great vigour. The friends of Zion rejoiced to find the snares of death thus far broken, and a sudden and wonderful reverse of things blessing the church, and the world. This lit up a smile on faces long petrified with horror. The sun of general peace broke through the cloud, smiled on the nations hid long

And many fondly hoped the sun of the Mil. lennial kingdom had risen. Here their fond hopes were clearly premature. But wonders of salvation had indeed been wrought.

from its rays.

Ver. 17. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

As this alludes to things future, time will best unfold them. Yet, as the text is given for warning, we should attempt to derive warning from it. Satan is ever on the alert; that when one plan fails, he may give a new form to it, or invent another. When ancient paganism in the Roman empire ceased, and the government became Christian; the devil got up first his Arian heresy, and then his papal throne. By the formation here of an image to the pagan beast, in the false religion of popery under the Christian name, Satan more than restored his beloved paganism. And when he was ejected from his papal heaven by the Reformation, he soon brought forward his code of the Jesuits, and hence raised his new persecutions, as has been noted. When the woman fled, as on her eagle's wings; Satan brought forward his system of illuminism, as has been shown. With this he was going, if possible, , to destroy the cause of Christ from the earth. And when these floods are thus far swallowed up, may we not believe new and mighty efforts will be made ? What, then, is the sense of this warning in the text ? The flight of the woman, to a distant retreat from the face of the dragon on the papal earth, had much enraged him. And this rage is heightened by the failing of his floods thus far. Whither now does Satan betake himself, to make war with the remnant of the woman's seed ? Does not the text give at least some intimation ? He goes now away from the old Roman earth, probably to the

new war.

place to which the woman fled. And is not this a most natural event? Is it not the church here, of which he is the most jealous ? Why should he not, then, next go where she is? Three marks are given in the text, of the character of the people, with whom he goes to make this

1. “ The remnant of the woman's seed." This is the pious part of the descendants of the woman, in the region whither she fled. A part of them are hostile to Christ, but a remnant are indeed his friends. 2. “Who keep the commands of God.” They maintain a signal degree of evangelical purity, and holy obedience. No other branch of the Christian church is equal in this to the pious remnant of the seed of the woman in our United States. 3. “And have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” In some special way, this remnant of the woman's seed have the tokens of the presence, gracious power, and approbation of Christ. And is not this a fact with the remnant of the descendants of the pilgrims here, who are indeed pious ? Does the testimony of Christ equally attend any other part of the Christian world? This is the part of Zion selected of God for the showers

Christ here peculiarly seems to say, “Awake, 0 north wind; and come, thou south ; blow upon my garden, that its spices may flow forth.” This is noticed by the Christian world ; and inquiries have been publicly made across the Atlantic, why it is thus. And this fact not only identifies the American church with the seed of the woman in our text, but it affords an additional reason why Satan should now turn his first attention to this region, as the principal field of his operations.

But what mode of warfare would Satan be likely here to instigate? It is manifest, from what has been said, that his economy long has been to labour to repair broken systems, and under some new or specious pretence to render them more efficient than ever. His old systems, then, of popery, of French masonry, and of gross licentiousness, he may be expected to labour io bring, here, into more effectual operation. It is at a time not far from the present, that we read of the three unclean spirits like frogs, coming from the mouth of the dragon, of the beast, and of the false prophet; spirits of devils, working wonders, and going forth unto the kingdoms of the earth, and of all the world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Al

of his grace.

mighty! Rev. xvi. 13, 14. These denote three powerful kindred influences, to pervade the world, equally under the agency of Satan. "For they are spirits of devils !" That from the mouth of the dragon (the devil), means a general spirit of licentiousness, either in sentiment or practice, or both—any or all kinds of blasphemy, and abomination. That from the mouth of the beast is the scheme of infidelity first known as illuminism; which is the beast from the bottomless pit, full of the names of blasphemy. And the spirit from the mouth of the false prophet, is popery in its falling state in Europe, since the afore-noted revolution in France. Agents and subtle efforts from these three sources, the devil will seek to perfect, and to bring into operation. This he may be expected to do in America, and thence to give a new impulse to them over the world. The church in our states has much to fear from these three systems of infidelity. They may be called the devil's trio,--his three in one. If the different parts mean not so; their master means so. The parts may fall out among themselves ; but their great agent pushes them to one essential result. Different divisions of an army may not understand the designed unity of their operations; but the sagacious general understands it; and he designs to push every movement to it. So does Satan in his threefold agencies. And these in our States will be powerful and mischievous. One of these may be more visible than the other : but the other may be more deep and powerful than this. Two of these systems may be called systematic operations; the third, a mere filling up of mischief from a mixed multitude, who will work into no system, but will be immensely wicked each in his own way. From these three, the pious remnant of the woman's seed, in this land, have much to fear.

The system of French and German infidelity, in secret societies, has been planted deep in our land; as has been clearly shown. And it was not thus planted here for nothing. It was with the same design with which it was planted in France before the revolution there. This system has never died a natural death, and never will. It is only the fire of the battle of the great day of God, that is to blot it from under heaven. See Dan. vii. 11; Rev. xix. 19, 20. It has doubtless been most active in dark recesses, from the time of its introduction into our

« AnteriorContinuar »