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(PERIOD VII.)

First aspect-Third Prophecy.

CONTENTS.

Struggle between Christianity and Paganism-Triumph of

the former--Popery- Its persecutions-Value of these prophecies under such persecutions-Fall of PoperyThe mystical Babylon.

THE PROPHECY. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 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. 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. 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. Woe 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. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her piace, where she is nourished for A TIME, AND TIMES, AND HALF A TIME, from the face of the serpent. 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. 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. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which kept the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."-Rev. xii. 7–17.

FIRST ASPECT-THIRD PROPHECY.

The former part of this prophecy refers to the struggle between Christianity and Heathenism, to the triumph of the Gospel, and to the final expulsion of Paganism from the Roman empire : and it is over the victory thus obtained that the members of the church triumphant are called upon to rejoice. Prosperity and happiness, however, did not, as we have seen in the consideration of the first four seals, attend this conquest. Satan, in his defeat, having lost his strongest hold—that which he had held for so many hundred years—was “ filled with wrath,” and broke in upon the peace of the church ; first, by causing heresies to abound, particularly that of Arianism ; and when foiled in this attempt to overwhelm those “who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus,” he had recourse to the awful apostasy of Popery, which diabolical device unhappily succeeded; and what was left of the true church ultimately fled from sight. There was then given unto her that which is here symbolically expressed by “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.

The mention of this chronological period in the very terms used by Daniel, appears to have been for the express purpose of shewing, without the possibility of mistake, that the persecutions here alluded to are those which the church was to experience under the PAPAL DOMINION; from that “ horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things; whose look was more

stout than his fellows;” which should “ speak great words against the Most High,” “wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given,” it is said, “ into his hand, until a time and times and the dividing of time(Dan. vii.).

The church, therefore, in its wilderness state, in its long night of suffering—when driven into the mountains and fastnesses of Piedmont, and only a small remnant appeared to be lefthaving these prophecies, had the strongest motives for faith and patience. The assurance was here given that this apostate power, which persecuted its members with such unrelenting cruelty, was that which is mentioned by Daniel as foredoomed to destruction ; that it was to last only for an appointed period: "until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High ; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom” (Dan. vii. 22). Then shall “a mighty angel take up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all!" For “in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (Rev. xviii. 21, 24).

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