« ÖncekiDevam »
pious part of the French nation, who fled from atheistical persecution. To these were given the wings of a great eagle,” the most rapid and swift of all birds to denote the suddenness of their danger, and the rapidity of their flight. For the massacres were so very quick in succession, that these unhappy people had no time to remove their property which was afterwards confiscated. Many of them fed pennyless, and have been since supported by public or private charity. By the same figure God himself describes the hasty flight of the Israelites from Egypt, when pursued by the 'wrath and vengeance of Pharoah :
" Ye have seen what I * did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you
upon eagles wings, and brought you unto my“self* :" and their flight was, as it were, into “ the wilderness ;" for they fled to countries where they were utter strangers, without a place of residence, without property, without friends, and where they were bewildered, not knowing what step to take towards their safety or preservation : and yet they fled “ into their place ;” because it was the place where the mercies of Providence had prepared the hearts of men to « nourish them for a time and times, and half a time,” that is, during THREE YEARS and a HALF, from the face of the serpent, from the horrid and bloody measures by which the professors of christianity, who remained in France, were soon after inhumanly massacred.
* Exod. xix. 4.
In ascertaining the time in which “ the woman was to be nourished in the wilderness,” I have followed the prophet Daniel, when interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream : he there uses the word TIME to signify one year ; " and seven times shall pass over thee*,” meaning, that the period of his insanity should be seven years. How wonderfully have the events, foretold in this verse, been fulfilled by the revolutionary power of France ! Had the Convention seen the verse before them, and studied to fulfil the events predicted, they could not have done it more accurately. They have persecuted the woman, or the church of Christ, either by driving suddenly into exile, or murdering every person in France, who dared to profess a belief in God and Jesus Christ. The exiles and refugees have fled into strange countries, or wildernesses to them. They have fled “ into their place," where they have been charitably and hospitably received and nourished : and yet, after this persecution, the Convention passed a decree, not only tolerating the christian, but all religions. Many of the exiled and refugee clergy, and others, have returned to France, under the protection of that decree, to the practice of their religious duties : and the period between the execution of the decree for the banishment of the clergy, and the decree of toleration, was exactly a“ time, times, and half a time," or THREE YEARS AND AN
HALF ; during which they had been nourished, from “ the face of the dragon," or the persecution of the Convention.
Ver. 15.-“ And the serpent cast out of “ his mouth water as a flood, after the wo
man, that he might cause her to be carried atoay
of the flood.” It has been shown that the devil has come into France “ with great wrath,” determined to destroy the christian religion ; and that the professors of christianity have fled into the wilderness, or the neighbouring countries, for safety. It cannot be supposed that his “s wrath” was abated by the escape of many christians, whom he had devoted to destruction, and the asylum afforded them by foreign nations. The text asserts the contrary; and the conduct of the dragon, or his agent the Convention, has confirmed it; for, not satiated with the blood of tens of thousands of innocent and unoffending christians, who had not been able to fly from his wrath, he left no measure unessayed to get them within his all-devouring jaws. “ He cast out of his mouth water after them, as
a flood, that he might cause her to be carried away
of the flood.” He remonstrated against the asylum afforded to them ; demanded that they should be given up, and threatening vengeance, at length declared war against the nations who were protecting them “ from his face,” or his power. But his threats and his wars have been in vain : like water spilt upon a stone, or a flood raging over a bed of rocks, they have made no impression. The nations have continued their hospitable care of them, agreeably to the prophecy in the next verse.
Ver. 16.-" And the earth helped the wo
man ; and the earth opened her mouth, “ and swallowed up the flood, which the dra
gon cast out of his mouth." It was to England and Germany, but principally to the latter, that the professors of Christianity fled from the persecutors of the republic. Coblentz was the most convenient door of escape. Thither they resorted in great numbers, and passed to the different states of that country. The apostate empire, Germany, typified by the word earth, cordially received and protected then, and, in her turn, “opened her mouth, and declared war against the dragon, or France. And although she has carried it on with variable and inferior success to her enemy, yet she has so far distinguished herself as precisely to fulfil the fact here foretold. She has, by a long, firm, and virtuous perseverance in the war, induced France to make a peace, without delivering up the proscribed and attainted Christians, whom the dragon had so loudly demanded, and determined in his wrath to devour.
Ver. 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.” The prophet now passes from the peace, lately made between France and Germany, to the great event that should succeed ; namely, the continuation of the war with Great Britain: for he describes the country, against which the dragon was to go to make war, by " the remnant of the seed of the woman ; meaning that nation, or associated body of Christians, who, notwithstanding the artifices, frauds, and persecutions of Papal idolatry, the delusive promises, and captivating doctrines of French atheism, should at the very time of the event, have best preserved the knowledge and fear of God, and their faith in Christ. Taking the text in this light (and I apprehend it can be taken in no other,) it can, with propropriety, be applied to no other nation but GREAT BRITAIN. It was BRITAIN that
gave to the world a WICKLIFF, that great and unwearied reformer and opposer of the church of Rome. It was through the labours and doctrines of this great and good man, the Gospel of Christ was rescued from Papal superstition, and settled in England, Bohemia, and other parts of Germany. It was GREAT BRITAIN where the reformed religion became first established, as the national religion. It has been GREAT BRITAIN which has been its chief pillar and support, by aiding, on many occa