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drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth; that is, he subjected the third part of the princes and potentates of the earth: and the Roman empire, as we have seen before, is represented as the third part' of the world. He stood before the woman, which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born:' and the Roman emperor and magistrates kept a jealous watchful eye over the Christians from the beginning. As Pharaoh laid snares for the male children of the Hebrews, and Herod for the infant Christ, the son of Mary; so did the Roman dragon for the mystic Christ, the son of the church, that he might destroy him even in his infancy. But notwithstanding the jealousy and envy of the Romans, the gospel was widely diffused and propagated, and the church brought many children unto Christ, and in time such as were promoted to the empire. She brought forth a man-child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron,'-ver. 5. It was predicted, that Christ should rule over the nations, Psal. ii. 9,- Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel:' but Christ, who is himself invisible in the heavens, ruleth visibly in Christian magistrates, princes, and emperors. It was therefore promised before to Christians in general, ii. 26, 27,-He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; (And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels. of a potter shall they be broken to shivers,) even as I received of iny Father,' But it should seem that Constantine was here particularly intended, for whose life the dragon Galerius laid many snares, but he providentially escaped them all ;* and notwithstanding all opposition, was caught up unto the throne of God,' was not only secured by the divine protection, but was advanced to the imperial throne, called the throne of God,' for, Rom. xiii. 1,'there is no power but of God; the powers that be, are ordained of God.' He too ruled all nations with a rod of iron;' for he had not only the Romans, who before had persecuted the church, under his dominion, but also subdued the Scythians, Sarmatians, and other barbarous nations, who had never before been subject to the Roman empire:† and as the learned Spanheim informs us, there are still extant medals and coins of his with these inscriptions, the subduer of the barbarous nations, the conqueror of all nations, every where a conqueror,' and the like. What is added, ver. 6, of



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* Euseb. de Vita Constant. lib. 1, cap. 20. Lactant. de Mort. Persecut. cap. 21. Auctor ignotus ad calcem Amm, Marcellini, p. 656, edit. Valesii, Paris, 1681.

Euseb. de Vita Constant. lib. 4, cap. 5, &c.

Spanhemii Dissert. Decima Tertia de Præstantia et Usu Numism. Antiq. p. 636, 638 Observat. ad Juliani Imp Orat. 1. in laudem Constantii. p. 66.

'the woman's flying into the wilderness' for 'a thousand two hundred and threescore days' is said by way of prolepsis or anticipation. For the war in heaven between Michael and the dragon, and other subsequent events, were prior in order of time to the flight of the woman into the wilderness: but before the prophet passeth on to a new subject, he giveth a general account of what happened to the woman afterwards, and entereth more into the particulars in their proper place.

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 cast out with him.

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 accuseth them before our God day and night.

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.

12. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants 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.


It might reasonably be presumed, that all the powers of idolatry would be strenuously exerted against the establishment of Christianity, and especially against the establishment of a Christian on the imperial throne and these struggles and contentions between the Heathen and the Christian religions are represented, ver, 7, by war in heaven' between the angels of darkness and angels of light. Michael was, Dan. x. 21, xii. 1, the tutelar angel and protector of the Jewish church. He performs here the same office of champion for the Christian church. He and the good angels, who are sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation,'-Heb. i. 14, were the invisible agents on one side, as the devil and his evil angels were


on the other. The visible actors in the cause of Christianity were the believing emperors and ministers of the word, the martyrs and confessors; and in support of idolatry were the persecuting emperors and heathen magistrates, together with the whole train of priests and sophists. This contest lasted several years, and the final issue of it was, ver. 8, 9, that the Christian prevailed over the Heathen religion; the Heathens were deposed from all rule and authority, and the Christians were advanced to dominion and empire in their stead. Our Saviour said to his disciples casting devils out of the bodies of men, Luke x. 18,- I beheld Satan, as lightning, fall from heaven.' In the same figure Satan fell from heaven, and was cast out into the earth' when he was thrust out of the imperial throne, and his angels were cast out with him,' not only all the heathen priests and officers civil and military were cashiered, but their very gods and demons, who before were adored for their divinity, became the subjects of contempt and execration. It is very remarkable, that Constantine himself and the Christians of his time describe his conquests under the same image, as if they had understood that this prophecy had received its accomplishment in him. Constantine himself, in his epistle to Eusebius and other bishops concerning the re-edifying and repairing of churches, saith, that, “liberty being now restored, and that dragon' being removed from the administration of public affairs, by the providence of the great God, and by my ministry, I esteem the great power of God to have been made manifest even to all."* Moreover a picture of Constantine was set up over the palace gate, with the cross over his head, and under his feet, "the great enemy of mankind, who persecuted the church by the means of impious tyrants, in the form of a dragon,"† transfixed with a dart through the midst of his body, and falling headlong into the depth of the sea; in allusion, as it is said expressly, to the divine oracles in the books of the prophets, where that evil spirit is called the dragon and the crooked serpent. Upon this vic

• Νυνι δε της ελευθερίας ἀποδοθεισης, και το δρακοντος έκεινε από της των κοινων διοικησεως, τι θα το μεγιςο προνοια, ήμετέρα δ' ὑπηρεσία ἐκδιωχθέντος, ἡγομαι και πασι φανεραν γεγενησθαι την θειαν δυναμιν, κ. τ. λ. Nunc vero cum libertas restituta sit, et draco ille providentia quidem Dei optimi, maximi, ministerio autem nostro a reipublicæ administratione submotus; equidem existimo divinam poteutiam omnibus clarissime innotuisse, &c. [Translated in the text.] Euseb. de vita Constant. lib. 2, cap. 46. Socratis Hist. Eccles. lib. 1, cap. 9. Theodoret, lib. 1, cap. 15.


† Euseb. de Vita Constant. lib. 3, cap. 3, τον δε έχθρον και πολεμιον θηρα, τον την έχε κλύφιαν το Θεό δια της των άθιων πολιορκησαντα τυραννίδος, —ἐν δράκοντος μορφη. Hostem illum et inimicum generis humani, qui impiorum tyrannorum opera ecclesiam Dei oppug naverat, sub draconi forma. [Translated in the text.]


tory of the church, there is introduced, ver. 10, a triumphant hymn of thanksgiving for the depression of idolatry, and exaltation of true religion for now it was no longer in the power of the heathen persecutors, as Satan accused holy Job before God, to accuse the innocent Christians before the Roman governors, as the perpetrators of all crimes, and the causers of all calamities. It was not by temporal means or arms that the Christians obtained this victory, ver. 11, but by spiritual, by the merits and death of their Redeemer, by their constant profession of the truth, and by their patient suffering of all kinds of tortures even unto death: and the blood of the martyrs hath been often called the seed of the church.' This victory was indeed, ver. 12, matter of joy and triumph to the blessed angels and glorified saints in heaven, by whose sufferings it was in great measure obtained; but still new woes are threatened to the inhabiters of the earth;' for though the dragon was deposed, yet was he not destroyed; though idolatry was depressed, yet was it not wholly suppressed; there were still many Pagans intermixed with the Christians, and the devil would incite fresh troubles and disturbances on earth, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time,' it would not be long before the Pagan religion should be totally abolished, and the Christian religion prevail in all the Roman empire.

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13. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the manchild.

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.

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.

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.

17. 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.

When the dragon was thus deposed from the imperial throne, and cast unt> the earth,' ver. 13, he still continued to persecute


the church with equal malice, thougn not with equal power. He made several attempts to restore the Pagan idolatry in the reign of Constantine, and afterwards in the reign of Julian; he traduced and abused the Christian religion by such writers as Hierocles, Libanius, Eunapius, and others of the same stamp and character: he rent and troubled the church with heresies and schisms; he stirred up the favourers of the Arians, and especially the kings of the Vandals in Africa, to persecute and destroy the orthodox Christians. "These things," as Eusebius saith upon one of these occasions, "some malicious and wicked demon, envying the prosperity of the church, effected."* But the church was still under the protection of the empire, ver. 14,—' and to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle.' As God said to the children of Israel, Exod. xix. 4,—' Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself;' so the church was supported and carried as it were on eagle's wings; but the similitude is the more proper in this case, an 'eagle' being the Roman ensign, and the two wings' alluding probably to the division that was then made of the eastern and western empire. In this manner was the church protected, and these wings were given, that she might fly into the wilderness,' into a place of retirement and security, from the face of the serpent.' Not that she fled into the wilderness at this time, but several years afterwards; and there she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time,' that is, three prophetic years and a half, which is the same period with the thousand two nundred and threescore days' or years before mentioned. So long the church is to remain in a desolate and afflicted state, during the reign of Antichrist; as Elijah, 1 Kings xvii. xviii., Luke iv. 25, 26, while idolatry and famine prevailed in Israel, was secretly fed and nourished three years and six months in the wilderness. But before the woman fled into the wilderness, the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood,'-ver. 15, with intent to wash her away. 'Waters' in the style of the Apocalypse, xvii, 16, signify peoples' and 'nations;' so that here was a great inundation of various nations, excited by the dragon or the friends and patrons of the old idolatry, to oppress and overwhelm the Christian religion. Such appeared plainly to have been the design of the dragon, when Stilicho, prime minister of the emperor Honorius, first invited the barbarous heathen


* Ταυτα μεν ὧν φθονος [forsan φθονερος] τις και πονηρες δαίμων, τοις της Εκκλησίας βασκαίνων ἀγαθοις κατειργάζετο. Hæc livor invidia, at malignus dæmon ecclesiae felici tatem semper ægre ferens, in nostram perniciem machinatus est. [Translated in the text.] Euseb, de vita Constant. lib. 2, cap. 73.

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