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They seemed, as it were, to have vanished froin of the face of the globe. The gross absurdity of their system was detected. Common sense began to resume its empire. The cry of an impracticable equality, and the avowal of . resolution to exterminate Christianity, were heard no more. Infected as many individuals might be with the principles of infidelity, Atheism itself was displaced; and Christianity, the apostate Christianity indeed of the Church of Rome, was re-established.
“ 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.”
We are repeatedly informed by St. John, that the little book extends through the whole period of the 1260 days, through a more particular account of the last times under the seventh trumpet is reserved for the prophecy that immediately succeeds the little book. Such being the case, it is evident, tirat this war of the dragon against the woman, being mentioned at the very end of the whole history of the dragon's machinations, will take place at the very end of the 1260 days, or, as Daniel expresses it, at the time of the end*. But, if it take place at the time of the end, it must be the same as the expedition of the infidel king predicted by Daniel,
* I have already observed, that the four chapters of the little book run parallel to one another; each extending from the beginning to the end of the whole 1260 days.
and as the war foretold by St. John as about to be undertaken by a confederacy of the beast, the false prophet, and the kings of the Roman earth, under the seventh vial. As yet therefore it is future. It will be the last great effort of Satan against the Church previous' to the commencement of the Millennium; an effort made by his two agents, Infidelity and Popery, unnaturally then as at present leagued together, 'to oppress the faithful worshippers of God, and to prevent the restoration of the converted Jews*. From the declaration, that it shall be a war against the remnant of the woman's seed, and from other parallel declarations t, I think we may infer, that it will be a sort of crusade or holy war; a war, entered upon by Infidelity and Popery, under the pretext of religion and under a pretence of zeal for the catholic Church, against those that have come out of the mystic Babylon, and against such of the Jews as have been converted to Protestantism. If I be right in this opinion, the powerful protestant kingdom of England will certainly be one of the principal olojects against which the wrath of the dragon will be directed. Her courage and wisdom have long been the main instruments under God, of con founding all his measures, and of frustrating all his attempts. While he yet reigned in the symbolical heaven, she was his grand opponent, and
* More will be said upon this subject hereafter. + These will be considered in a future chapter.
thence obtained the glorious title of the bulwark of the Reformation: and now that he has been cast ont into the earth, she hath still proved his most indefatigable and successful adversary, blasting his schemes, exposing his nefarious projects, and withering the arm of his wretched vassals. Hence we must expect, that his almost exclusive rage will be directed against her. The end however is not yet. This war, professedly undertaken against the woman and the remnant of her seed, has not yet commenced: and, when it does commence, whatever temporary and partial success may attend Antichrist and his rebel rout, it will eventually and speedily terminate in their confusion and utter overthrow. Towards the close of the 1260 days, the dragon shall begin to gather together by secret diabolical agency the beast, the false prophet, and the kings of the papal earth, to the appointed place of their destruction at Armageddon; and shall cause his minister the infidel tyrant, then become the avowed champion of the false prophet, to“ go forth “with great fury, to destroy, and religiously to “ devote to extermination, many." But, although lie shall succeed in “planting the curtains of his “ pavilions between the seas in the glorious holy “ mountain:" yet in vain shall he “sanctify war;" in vain shall he assemble his enslaved multitudes against that mighty maritime rutinn
's dest?d to take a lie lead in turni
“ unto a nation dragged away and plucked, unto “ a people wonderful from their beginning hitherto,
a nation expecting, expecting, and trampled “ under foot, whose land” the symbolical “rivers" of foreign invaders “have spoiled;” unable to frustrate the least of the high purposes of Jehovah, this lawless despiser both of things human and things divine shall, in the fatal battle of Armageddon, “come to his end, and none shall help “ him *.” Into these yet future matters however we must not dare to pry bevond what is expressly written. The book of futurity is as yet sealed ; and who shall open it before the appointed season? We have in our hands the prediction of the war between the dragon and the remaining seed of the
We have it in strict chronological connection with other prophecies. We have abundant reason to conclude, that this war will commence at the close of the 1260 days, in the last times of atheism and profaneness. We know, that it must commence after the dragon has been cast out of heaven; after he has taken his station upon earth; after he has vomited forth a flood against the mystic woman; after the earth has swallowed up
* The proposition, that some griat maritime and commercial nrition will be very much concerned in bringing about the conversion and restoration of the Jews, is admirably proved by Bp. Horsley, in his letter upon the 18th chapter of Isaiah. Whatever degree of probability there might be in the conjecture, his Lordship, does not venture to assort, that England will be this greut maritime and commercial nation; and his prudent reserve upon that point I cannot do better than imitate.
the flood; when every current event bears testimony, that the third woe-trumpet is sounding, that the vials of the last plagues are pouring out, and that Satan is come down to the inhabiters of the earth and the sea having great wrath; and when prophetic truth and chronological computation declare with united voice, that “he hath but a short time,” that the period of the great Apostasy is nearly expired. To this era, thus variously pointed out, the time of the end, or the close of the 1260 days, alone corresponds in every particular. May we, like Daniel, “ rest, and stand “ in our lot at the end of the days."
Concerning the ten-horned beast of the sea.
The prophet, after having conducted us as it were behind the scenes, and 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 acquainted with the characters of the ostensible agents, by whose instrumentality and through whose instigation the Church was to be in a persecuted state through the long period of 1260 years.