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of that rod. This child is to be our final Judge, when he will exercise the rod of his power. This child frequently chastens with the rod of his love; this child is to tread the wine-press of his Father's wrath among the nations; and this child was caught up unto God, and to his throne, there to behold our actions, whether good or evil.
Verse 6: "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." This verse naturally draws our attention to that period of time when the church received earthly power, wealth, and honor, under Constantine, when he gave to it the key of the bottomless pit, A. D. 303. As Christ's kingdom, or church, was not of this world, consequently the woman, or true church, fled into, or was surrounded by a wilderness of error, ignorance, sloth, ambition, vainglory, and, in a word, of every kind of shameful impurity. Earthly gormandizing and luxuriousness never encouraged vital Christianity. The church cannot thrive in the soil of sensuality. Thus the church continued in this wilderness of error, war and disorder, till A. D. 1563, when the council of Trent ended. The Reformation then took deep root, and the Scriptures were printed. The difference between these two numbers is twelve hundred and sixty years, during which time, by the providence of God, she was fed or kept in existence.
Verse 7: "And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon: and the dragon fought and his angels,”
Verse 8: "And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven."
Verse 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 cast out with him."
Verse 10: "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven,
Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down which accused them before our God day and night."
Verse 11: "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."
Verse 12: "Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Wo to the inhabiters of the earth, and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."
This war between truth and error has been of long continuance-even from the days of our first parents. However, holy St. John the prophet, has, in these verses, drawn our attention to that period of time when the professors of Christianity began to make war with each other; and this commenced also in the days of Constantine, between the Arian and Athanasian warriors. Hence it is plain, that as the emperor Constantine was the seventh head of the Romish beast, he and Satan, with his angels, or Athanasian party, acted in conjunction, and error, war, and persecution are evidences against them. It is proved beyond a doubt, that they opposed the truth, though they could not prevail, neither was their place found any more in heaven. Hence it appears that they who support the Athanasian doctrine, are rejected. They are the outside court worshippers, and are separated from the true worshippers of God. For the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceived the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Strange, that protestant divines do not observe this.
As to the Arian party, little is known of their religious principles, only that they acted in opposition to the Athanasians, and are to this day held in utter abhorrence by them. History informs us, that when the Athanasians arrived at
great power, under the papacy, they banished the others, and destroyed their writings, by which means we have scarcely any thing on record to enable us to decide with certainty. Therefore all the truc information I can get on this subject, is from the prophets John and Daniel. But before I proceed, let be noted that Constantine divided the empire between his two sons. One he placed at Constantinople, who, with his descendents, became the Greek, or eastern, emperors. The other he placed at Rome, who founded the Latin, or western, empire. Thus was the Christian world situated when this war raged with its utmost violence. But at its commencement, Constantine governed the empire, and was the seventh head, and the head, also, of the Athanasians. The war having begun, Michael, whom Daniel calls the Great Prince, and his Arian angels, fought against the dragon, or Satan; and the dragon, with his Athanasian angels, fought. Now as the prophet has placed Satan at the head of one party, and Michael the champion of the other, let any impartial inquirer after truth determine which side fought for the truth.
The consequence of this war is, Satan and his angels were cast out into the earth; that is, among the earthly minded, or nominal Christians of those days. Ambition and covetousness were the reigning principles of the clergy in the western empire; the Athanasian creed was their guide in matters of faith, the canons and decrees of their councils were observed in preference to gospel precepts. The errors of one council were confirmed and made valid by the next, and thus were laid the strong foundations of popery and prelacy. In this war, the Arian bishops were as active as the others. History informs us that there were seventeen councils held on each side, who regularly opposed and condemned the doctrines of their opponents. These furious contests con tinued till A. D. 536, when the eastern, or Greek church, separated from the western, or Romish church, on account
of the abominable errors and idolatry of the latter pope at this time having nearly attained to manhood. this great division, or separation being effected, it caused great joy among the heavenly minded of the Greek Christians, they saying, "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast down which accused them before our God day and night."
St. John now gives a satisfactory reason and the true cause of this victory : "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them." The prophet next shows the miserable state of those who had come under the
dominion of the papacy. "Wo to the inhabiters of the earth, and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he has but a short time."
Verse 13: "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man-child." In this verse the prophet reminds us of the dreadful persecutions which Satan and Antichrist carried The papal hierarchy, animated by the spirit of the evil one, had a greater thirst for persecution than any other power on earth, that we read of. It is singular, that prelacy of every kind has such an aversion to the sovereignty of Jesus Christ, and the pleasure it took in destroying those who maintained it. The Romish priests placed salvation in their church, and denied it to be elsewhere, and thus she persecuted the woman, or true church, who held that salvation came by Jesus Christ.
Verse 14: "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." By this verse,
it appears that all the earthly protection which the woman had, was under the two wings of the eastern emperorsan eagle being the insigna of the imperial dignity; all the crown standards, etc., were decorated with the image of this bird. ere she remained, in a wilderness of war and disorder, for a time, and times, and half a time, equal to twelve hundred and sixty years, where she was nourished, or preserved in existence from the face of the serpent, or papal tyranny.
Verse 15: "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." This verse shows, and time has proved it, how active the Romish church was to seduce and carry over to their persuasion all who adhered to the truth. When the flood of false reasoning failed, they had recourse to threats of fire and to faggots. It was one of their principal characteristics, in the days of their power, to search after the truth, and then to ruin it. They always feared the truth, and therefore endeavored to suppress it.
Verse 16: "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." The gospel of truth is proof against all the flood tides of the wicked; for even the vicious conduct of the papists who swallowed up the Antichristian flood, helped the woman. Was it not the shameful impurities of the Romish church that caused the Albigenses, Waldenses, and Wickliffites to arraign her evil conduct, and by so doing help the woman? Did not several of the Romish clergy in France, Germany, and even in Italy, complain of abuses in the church, and thus help the woman? And even the hellish conspirations and persecutions of that apostate church helped the woman. For the blood of the martyrs is crying aloud against that church.
Verse 17; "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which