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rounded by the vices of a lifeless clergy, and the moral depravity of church-members. They often exclaimed against them with more zeal than prudence, and when their testimony became loud, were persecuted and stigmatized as heretics by the ruling church-power. However, I will not deny, that there often were hypocrites among them, who were only converted to a certain form of Godliness after the will of man, (Johm 1, 13.) and actually turned teachers of heresy ; though even these were almost universally proceeded against with a lion's rage ; but the churches also persecuted Christians, whose shocs they were often not worthy to bear. This special seed of the Lord was often compelled to retire into desolate, uncomfortable places for shelter, and frequently they fled before the violence of their persecutors even to Pagan countries, where they have been a great blessing in propagating the Gospel. Such places of refuge were the valleys of Piedmont, between France and Italy, Savoy, Bohemia, Silesia, Moravia and Germany, as history abundantly testifies.
The 1260 days, according to Bengelius' system of coinputation, is a term of 677 years. This prophetic period refers, both to the time of her flight into the wilderness, and of her exclusive dependance on others for her nourishment. If we add these 677 years to 832, the commencement of this period, the first flight of the woman will terminate A. D.
- 1509. This is a most remarkable year in the annals of the Church, in which Luther, the great Saxon reformer, accepted the theological professorship in the university of Wittemburg, where he now laid the foundation for the glorious Reformation ; which has been such an immense blessing to the Church, to the republic of letters and philosophy, over all Christendom. In this wilderness she has a place prepared of God. A wilderness is a desolate and dreary habitation; she therefore had a place in it prepared for her reception and re
tirement, promised to her during the whole of these 677 years. And where is that chosen place here particularly pointed at, to which the heart and centre of the Church had been transferred ? Surely there, where she commenced her second flight. In that place, it is said, they should feed her. The original teeQw, here rendered to feed, sig'nifies to nourish, foster, cherish, to educate, and seems to be derived from the Hebrew TEREPH, cibus, meat. This word seems to be of a mystic signification in this place. It does not appear to have an exclusive reference to her spiritual nourishment, by a succession of faithful pastors, administering the word and ordinances of the Gospel ; in which case the. Church would have nourished herself, whereas it is expressly asserted in the text, that others should feed her,* during her first flight. In my opinion, her meatliere alluded to, consisted like that of her Redeemer John iv, 34. in the enlargement of the Church, by propagating the Gospel among the Heathen, receiving and incorporating them into her own body. In accomplishing this she was all this time fostered, cherished, and trained by the power and assistance of the secular princes. They seem to be that guardian power of the Church here intended, to procure her room, nourishment and protection.
The propagation of the Gospel in Asia does not properly belong to this flight; we shall meet with it in another place. The Revelation still observes its direction from East to West.
* Taulerus was the first who preached in the German language, 4bout the year 1330.
WAR IN HEAVEN.
Verse 7. And 'there was war in heaven : Michael and his angels
fought against the dragon : and the dragon 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 deceiveth the whole world ; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were çast out: with him.
Here the powers of the visible and invisible world again appear on the great theatre of action, and we behold in the language of the prophet Daniel, chap. x, 13. 20. 21. chap. xi, 1. a most tremendous conflict, between Michael and the dragon. The issue is glorious. It terminates in the total overthrow of Satan in the garb of Paganism, and the victory of the Church is celebrated by a company of saints in heaven. No book of scripture affordš such clear views into the invisible world, as does the Revelation. Here we behold heaven and hell engaged in accomplishing the eternal decrees of the Almighty, con-. cerning his Church. Most exalted, angelic powers, and heavenly hosts, contend against the deceiver of the whole world, and afford the Church a powerful succour. They. observe among themselves a blessed subordination ; in which there are thrones, powers, princes, rulers and mighty angels. Col. 1. 16. II, 10. Eph. 1, 21. II, 2. IV, 12. Even Satan has his angels under his command, who enter the field of battle with him, and fight under his ban
Heaven, or the kingdom of heaven, the Chorch militant on earth, is here the theatre of war; but the important conflict is decided, both in the visible and invisible world at the same time. Two mighty heroes at the head of numerous armies of immortal spirits ! what a sight in the face of Heaven! The great prince Michael
and his host, espouse the cause of the Church, and he di. rects every movement in obedience to the Lord. Satan at the head of his angels, defends Paganism against the propagation of the Gospel, and the enlargement of the Church. But it is also evident from the ninth verse, that this prophecy indicates events which are brought about by instruments on carth under the influence of an invisible agency, and in which the invisible scene is to be considered the prototype, of what passes in the Church militant. in accordance with this view of the text, Michael being represented Daniel xi, 1. as particularly 'engaged with the rulers of the world, may denote all the civil authority in Christendom ; and Satan the succession of princes and rulers in Pagan countries. The word angel is not a personal name, but a name of office, and always implies commission. It here signifies, according to its emblemati. cal signification in the three first chapters of this book, on the part of Miclrael, the successions of the Gospel ministry in those different countries, now the theatre of this war; and on the part of Satan, the Pagan priesthoods in these countries, as they defended the worship of their different idol deities, against the Gospel of Christ. Psalm LXVIII, 12. Eccles.v, 5. Mal. 11,7.
This war then, must be understood of that great conflict between the Church of Christ and Paganism, in all those countries to which the woman came, during her flight into the wilderness. To this tremendous warfare, and the numerous engagements of these powerful armies, history bears ample testimony. We are even surprised in our days, to read of that powerful aid, and of the great sacrifices, which were then made by the princes and rulers of the world, in order to second the exertions of the Church to extend her banners into the kingdom of Satan on every side. - How much are those princes exalted above the common rulers of this world, who have become the nurses and guardians of the Church of Christ
in their own dominions, and her protectors abroad. The princes of those days have been highly censured, for dra. gooning many savage nations into the pales of the Church, by booted apostles; and it is impossible to exonerate them of violence, in those scenes of missery and desolation, so repugnant to the genuine spirit of Christianity. All we can say on this subject, is, that it was a war in heaven, and not a conversion or reformation, in as far as such means were employed, and Heaven entitles it nothing more than that, in the text. But perhaps the state of those nations was such, that if these violent measures had not been used, they had remained Pagans to this day. And now I would ask, which is the greater evil of the two? and whether it is actually injustice in the Lord, to subject us to temporal afflictions, in order to bring about our eternal felicity?
Verse 8. And prevailed not.* Though the engagement was often severe, and the enemy defended every foot of territory with resolution and cruel rage ; yet was he vanquished and the Church prevailed over Paganism in all the countries of Europe. Satan on this occasion met with a terrible defeat. He forfeited both the right and possession of his late residence, by a fair trial of real worth and valour; and the firmament of the Church extended itself over all this region of his domain, where he had not a temple left, consecrated to his service. His last efforts were indeed characterised by fury and despair. Beside the long and tedious wars between the Christian and Pagan princes, of which that in Prussia alone lasted fifty years, in which there was much blood and slaughter; many pious and eminent servants of Christ also lost their lives among the Pagans, of which I will only mention a
*The Latin Vulgate has, et non valuerunt, and they prevailed not ; which is a more accurate translation of the original than our common version.