صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

“ of the serpent.) And the serpent cast out of his “ mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he “ might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

And the earth helped the woman; and the earth

opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood “ which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 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.”

Throughout the whole of the present prophecy, we cannot too attentively keep in mind, that the dragon is neither the Roman empire nor the Pope, although the instigator of them both, but simply the devil: for this clear discrimination of character, which the Apostle anxiously as it were insists upon, will alone lead us to a right understanding of what is meant by his fall from heaven to earth. So long as Satan found an apostate Church a convenient engine for persecuting the faithful followers of Christ, just so long he continued in it: but, when the age of superstition and ecclesiastical tyranny was past; when the papal thunders were no longer regarded; and when he found, that the two witnesses ascended up into heaven, not only in Germany, but in Britain, Sweden, and Denmark, in despite of all his attempts to prevent them: then it became time for him to quit his ancient station, and to seek some more convenient battery against the symbolical woman.

Driven from heaven or the Church, and finding that he could no longer

execute

execute his gigantic plans of mischief through the instrumentality of the Papacy, he next took his stand upon the earth, and again renewed his attacks upon the woman and her mystic offspring with more virulence than ever. Not but that he still retained his influence over the apostatical heaven, and over many of those stars whom his long fostered superstition had cast down to the ground: but the Roman church was henceforth only an inferior consideration with him: like a worn out instrument, its blows were not now attended with their former effects: a new station must be assumed, whence in an age of literature and refinement the woman and the remnant of her seed might be assailed with a greater probability of victory. This station, we learn from the prophet, was the earth, or the secular Roman - empire. Satan, no longer arrayed like an angel of light, like a minister of the Church of Christ, now assumed the garb of humanity, liberality, candour, and philosophy: and prepared to vomit forth from the dark dens of atheism and infidelity that flood, with which he hoped to carry away his enemy.

. Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo. From this general statement, I shall descend to particulars. The war between Michael and the dragon does not, I apprehend, relate exclusively to the war between the witnesses and the beast, mentioned in the preceding chapter, although it doubtless comprehends it as a part of one great whole. The difference between them is sufficiently

striking

striking to justify this supposition. The war of the witnesses took place in only one particular street of the great city. The war of Michael was carried on in the Church general. The war of the witnesses was fought upon earth: whence we may conclude, that it was not only a spiritual one, as being fought by the witnesses; but also a literal one, like those of the Saracenic locusts and Turkish horsemen, as being fought upon earth, and with a material enemy, the last head of the beast. The war of Michael was fought in heaven; and the weapons of his soldiers were, not carnal, but spiritual; for they overcame the dragon." by the blood sé of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, " and they loved not their lives unto death.” This second war therefore comprehends the spiritual, though not the literal, part of the former war of the witnesses. It was not, like the first, begun and ended within the space of a few years: but it was a long-continued struggle between the powers of light and the powers of darkness. menced with the Apostasy itself: it raged with dreadful fury in the age of the Waldenses and Albigenses: it issued in a signal victory at the time of the reformation, the victory here celebrated by the prophet : but it will continue, with abated violence, even after Satan has chosen a different and more formidable station, to the very end of the 1 260 years; for, throughout the whole of this period, are the saints to be given into the hand of VOL. II.

M

the

It com

the papal horn, and the witnesses to prophesy in sackcloth. At the era of the reformation then, the great victory of Michael orer the dragon was achieved. Then it was, that's salvation, and

strength, and the kingdom of our God, and “ the power of his Christ,” were manifested. Then it was, that “the accuser of our brethren

was cast down, which accused them before

our God, day and night,” of the very same crimes which he had heretofore alleged against the primitive martyrs and confessors; promiscuous fornication, infanticide, and even bestiality. Then it was, that “the heavens, and they that dwell in “ them,” were called upon to rejoice; heavens, because the boasted catholicism of the Roman heaven was now annihilated, and many reformed heavens or churches were established, differing indeed unhappily in ecclesiastical polity, but holding one head even Christ. And then it was, that a woe was proleptically denounced against " the inhabiters of the earth" or the papal Roman empire in general, and “ of the sea” or a part of it which was shortly to be convulsed by revolution in particular ; even that third woe, which was to be so much more tremendous than either of its two predecessors : “ for the devil had come down “ unto them, having great wrath, because he « knoweth that he hath but a short time.

He had many years reigned triumphant in the Church under the first and second woes, during the long

period

[ocr errors]

17

[ocr errors]

period of the latter days, during the age of

superstition and idolatry: but his final great attempt to destroy the woman under the third woe, during the period of the last days, during the age of atheism and profane mockery, is to be comparatively only a short time. He was cast indeed from heaven under the second woe; but his peculiar time, the short time alluded to by the Apostle, commenced with the sounding of the third woetrumpet. For this last great woe he had been diligently preparing, ever since his signal defeat by Michael and his angels: but his scheme was not ripe for execution, till the blast of the seventh trumpet gave the signal for the open developement of infernal anarchy, and undisguised hostility to the God of heaven. The seventh trumpet, as we have seen, began to sound on the 12th of August in the year 1792, immediately after the last shock of the earthquake on the roth of August, when the French revolution may be considered as accomplished. Now, supposing the Apostasy to have commenced in the year 606, it will be evident, that of the 1260 years only 74 remained unelapsed in the year 1792 : consequently Satan had but a very short time for the accomplishment of his last plan, compared with the preceding centuries of his sway in the church of Rome.

In order the more fully to perceive the exact fulfilment of the prophecy now under consideration, it will be proper to trace the steps of the dragon, after he was cast out of heaven, and before

the

M 2

« السابقةمتابعة »