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revolutionary France, in the infidel phrenzy of democratic enthusiasm, violently established atheism and anarchy ; held out the right hand of fellowship to the insurgents of every nation; massacred by thousands her enslaved citizens; proclaimed the Son of God to be an impostor; swore to exterminate Christianity and royalty from off the face of the earth, as she had blotted them both out of her own dominions ; and madly unsheathed the sword of war against every regularly established government.
But what was the result of this furious and systematic attack upon the religion of the Gospel ? • Agreeably to the prophecy, the earth helped the woman; and, like dry sand, swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. On the part of the whole Roman Empire, a strong opposition was made to the anarchical and atheistical principles of the conspiracy. Many of its leading members perished in the storm, which they themselves had excited, and which they had vainly hoped to direct. A full trial had been made of antichristian philosophy : and it had been most tremendously proved to be little adapted for promoting the happiness of man. Its chief advocates sank into contempt and oblivion. They seemed, as it were, for a season to have vanished from off the face of the globe. The hands of the mystical woman, particularly in our own favoured island, were conspicuously strengthened : and the avowal of a resolution to exterminate Christianity was either
heard no more or had ceased to be any longer formidable.
IV. Nothing remains to be considered but the last clause of the prophecy, which exhibits the malice of the dragon as inextinguishable.
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 which have the testimony of Jesus Christ'. · 1. We may consider the flood to have been swallowed up, when the infidel government of France was subverted, when all Europe had set itself to oppose the antichristian conspiracy, and when the active chiefs of that nefarious system had all either perished or sunk into merited abhorrence and obscurity. The vision, however, of the dragon and the woman, agreeably both to the general plan of the little book and to its own direct specification of a fixed period, reaches to the end of the latter 1260 years. But the present clause is the concluding clause of the vision. Therefore it must relate to matters, which will be in a state of occurrence, from the time when the revolutionary government of France was subverted, down to the close of the latter 1260 years.
2. The purport of the clause now before us is manifestly this.
When the attempt to destroy the mystic woman, by the agency of the flood or antichristian conspi
Rev. xii, 17.
racy which the dragon vomited out of his mouth, had entirely failed ; the evil spirit abated nothing of his rancorous malice, but still continued to make war against the great collective body of the faithful who keep the commandments of God and who have the testimony of Jesus Christ: and this war, under one form or another, he ceases not to wage until the very end of the latter 1260 years.
3. With regard to the precise mode in which the war is conducted, whether by the agency of popery or of infidelity or of an unnatural combination of the two against the sincere Gospel of Christ, the prophecy is silent. The greatest part of what it predicts is as yet future: we must patiently, therefore, await the decisions of time, that best and most certain of all expositors. This only we know with positive assurance, that, in some form or other, war on the part of the dragon will be incessant until his figurative binding shall be accomplished '.
1 Rev. xx, 2.
RESPECTING THE THIRD SECTION OF THE LITTLE OPEN *«. BOOK, OR THE VISION OF THE TEN-HORNED BEAST OF
The prophet, after having conducted us as it were behind the scenes, and after having shewn us that every string both of the great Apostasy and of the tyranny of Antichrist is in reality worked by the infernal serpent, next proceeds to bring us more closely acquainted with the characters of the external agents, by whose instrumentality and through whose instigation the saints of God, throughout the western peculium of the little Roman horn, should be worn out and harassed during the allotted period of the latter three times and a half.
These two external agents of the dragon are, a wild-beast with seven heads and ten horns which rises up out of the sea, and a wild-beast with two horns like a lamb which comes up out of the earth.
We are at present concerned with the first wildbeast, or the beast with seven heads and ten horns.
Of this wild-beast, the prophet presents us with two accounts, which serve mutually to explain each other, and which therefore must be discussed conjointly.
The first account constitutes the third section of the little open book : and it is couched in the following terms.
I was stationed on the sand of the sea. And I saw a wild-beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the wild-beast, which I saw, was like unto a leopard ; and his feet were, as those of a bear; and his mouth was, as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his own power and his own throne and great authority. And I saw one of his heads, as slaughtered to death : and the stroke of his death was healed: and the whole earth wondered behind the wild-beast. And they worshipped the dragon, because he gave power unto the wildbeast: and they worshipped the wild-beast, saying ; Who is like to the wild-beast, and who is able to make war with him? And there was given to him a mouth, speaking great things and blasphemies: and there was given to him power to make war during forty two months'. And he opened his mouth for blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle and those who dwell in heaven. And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to conquer them: and power was given to him over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all that
' Gr. rouñoal Trólepov, according to some copies; according to others, simply rouñoai, to act; according to others, noleuño oui, to make war.