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tation of a fiege of the city of Jerusalem is a prophetic
nights in the heart of the earth.” Here Jonas being three days and three nights in the whale's belly,and afterwards appearing alive on dry ground, is fixed upon as a prophetic sign that Christ should die, be buried, and should rise from the dead on the third day,Luke ii. 11, 12, "For unto you is born this
day, in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ " the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, ye “ shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,
lying in a manger.” Thus, by their finding a babe lying in a manger, an unusual place, they should see a hgn of the extraordinary birth of Jesus, and be satisfied of the truth of the declaration of the angel, who told them, “that that day was “ born a Saviour, who was Christ the Lord.”
Hence, when in the verse under our view it is said “there appeared a great sign in heaven," the
import of this expression is, that this vision which John faw, and which is expressed in this hieroglyphic, is a symbolical description of an appearance of the Christian church, by which it may be distinguished from all other churches in the world.
She is like a woman for her beauty, her gentleness, her fruitfulness, and her dependance upon a more powerful person for her protection, provifion, and defence.
She is clothed with the fun. Her chief orna- . ment and protection is Christ, the Sun of righteousnefs. In the natural world, the sun is the centre of motion to all the planets in the solar system, hath light and heat in itself, and reflects these on all the other parts of the system; hence, in the symbolical language, the sun signifies Jesus Christ, who is the centre of knowledge, righteousness and joy to the Christian church, hath these essentially, inherently, and underivedly in himself, and communicates them to every part of his church, in that proportion which best accords to the whole system.
The moon which is a fatellite of this earth, and which continually moves round it, which has no light in itself, which reflects the light of the sun only upon the earth, and which shines in the absence of the sun only, is a most striking symbol of the Jewish church. As the moon is a satellite of this earth, that church bore a great resemblance to
the kingdoms of this world, in its external ceremonies, pomp, and civil and political laws. As the moon gives no light but what she reflects from the sun, the Mosaic dispensation can be understood only when it is viewed as typical of Christ, the sun in the kingdom of God. As the moon shines on. ly in the absence of the sun, the Mosaic dispensation was in force only until Christ by rising from the dead proved himself to be the Son of God with power, established the Christian church, and made the Mofaic difpenfation disappear like the moon at the rising of the sun. Hence, the moon is said to be under the feet of the woman, because the law of Moses was as a fchoolmaster to bring men unto Chrift; and all its ordinances and ceremonies were accomplished in and abrogated by the death and refurrection of Christ, on which the Chriftian church was established..
This woman has on her head a crown of twelve stars. Stars always fignify ministers of religion. The twelve stars fignify the twelve apostles of
Christ, the first ministers of religion in the Christian : church. They are her crown, because her doc
trine, worship, and discipline, exactly correspond to what these apostles taught, and recorded in the sacred scriptures, and because all her real ministers insucceeding ages preach only what was first taught by these apostles. They have no powers as minifters of Christ's church to teach any new doctrine,
worship, or discipline, which were not taught by the twelve apostles of Christ, by divine authority. Thus the apostle Paul, speaking of Christians as a church or collective body, faith, Ephes. ii, 20. “Ye
are built upon the foundation of the apostles "and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the - chief corner stone." This church, thus conftituted, shall bring forth many children. Her votaries and disciples shall be formed through much suffering and with much difficulty,
Verses 3d, 4th, 5th.--And there appeared another wonder in heaven, and Behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child afloon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron : and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
In these verses, the apostle mentions another fign, (onuitior), which should appear in the church of Chrift; even "a great red dragon, laving feven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns up“ on his heads." This dragon fignifies “that old
serpent, called the Devil and Satan,” as it is explained in verse gth of this chapter. By the seven heads with seven crowns upon them, is meant the Roman empire until the termination of the imperial government, with the city of Rome for the feat of government. In chapter xvii. 9, 10. we are informed, that the seven heads fignify the feven mountains on which the city of Rome was built, and the seven kings, or forms of civil government which have that city for their seat, as shall be fully shewn in the commentary on that passage. The city of Rome was built on the following seven hills, Palatinus, Cælius, Capitolinus, Aventinus, Quirinalis, Viminalis, and Esquilinus.
From the foundation of the Roman government to the present day, there have been exactly seven distinct forms of government, which have had the city of Rome, (the Urbs Septicollis) for their seat. The distinguished historian, Tacitus, who wrote a little before the time of this vision, says, in his Annals, lib. i. cap. 1. “ Rome was first governed " by kings, 'then by consuls, by dictators, by
decemvirs, and by military tribunes with consu“lar authority." All historians agree, that these five distinct forms of civil government had taken place in succession in Rome, before the commencement of that of emperors. These five were