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in the world. Her chief glory and fupport is Chrift. Her fyftem of religion is that which was taught by the twelve apoftles. The Jewish dif penfation was preparatory to the Chriftian, and was accomplished and abrogated by the death of Chrift, that great event which opened up the Christian difpenfation. The heathen Roman emperors did not attempt to corrupt the church of Chrift in her doctrines, precepts, worship or difcipline: But they carried on the most violent and bloody, perfecutions against individual Chriftians, her children, as has been fhewn under feals 2d, 3d, and 4th, in chap. 6th.

In the reign of Conftantine the Great, and of feveral fucceeding emperors, many of the ministers of religion were induced to admit into what might then have been called the church of Rome, rather than the church of Chrift, doctrines, modes of worship and rules of conduct and discipline, which were borrowed from heathen theology, and from civil governments. The Chriftian church had many votaries, notwithstanding all the dangers to which they were expofed. To this day fhe hath many votaries, who are all known to God, who worship him in fpirit and in truth, who enjoy communion with him, who refpect his authority and laws, and are protected and defended by him. Though, in fome fenfe, they are invifible to men, they are all known to God. He fees fome to be Chriftians

Chriftians whom men do not believe to be fuch. He knows that fome are not Chriftians, whom many men believe to be Chriftians. Probably he fees fome Chriftians in churches or focieties, in which fome men think there are few or perhaps none; and he fees fome not to be Chriftians in churches or focieties, where fome men think they are almost all Chriftians. The time is not yet come, when this child of the woman fhall rule the nations with a rod of iron. It is ftill at a confiderable distance. The exact time fhall appear, as we proceed in this book. When the predicted time fhall come, we have the best reason to expect, that the event predicted fhall also take place.

Verfe 6th.-And the woman fled into the wilderness where fhe hath a place prepared of God, that they fhould feed her there a thoufand and two hundred and threescore days.

Having told us in the preceding verfe in what fituation the child was placed until the time should come when he fhould rule the nations with a rod of iron; John tells us in this verfe in what fituation the woman is placed for that period of time. She fled into the wilderness, where fhe had a place prepared of God where the fhould be fed for 1260 prophetic

prophetic days; that is, as explained in chap. xi. 1, 2. 1243 folar years. When these 1243 years fhall commence, and confequently when they fhall end, fhall appear from the commentary on verfe 14th, and fhall be ftill farther cleared up on chapter xiii.

During this period, the church is faid to be in the wilderness, in an obfcure and diftrefsful fituation. During that period, the hath no place prepared of men. There is no vifible established church, in which nothing is to be found except what exactly accords to the conftitution of the Chriftian church as it is delineated in the bible, and in which none can be found except thofe who are real Chriftians.

But the hath a place prepared of God. He ftands in no need of human establishments to preserve his church in the world, nor to tranfmit his ordinances from one age or country to another. He hath effectually provided for the exilence of his church in the world; and he perfectly knows all those scattered individuals every where who entertain juft views of the Chriftian church, and who are her real votaries.

Even in this wilderness ftate, fhe fhall be fed. Chriftians, even in the worst times, fhall receive as much fpiritual food as fhall fupport them in their faith. Every thing confidered, the prefervation of the church of Chrift during this period fhall be fo extraordinary

extraordinary and fo much beyond the natural tendency of ordinary means, that it may well be compared to the miraculous feeding of the Ifraelites with manna in the wilderness.

Verfes 7th, 8th, 9th.-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 caft out, that old ferpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was caft out into the earth, and his angels were caft out with him.

Before the woman fled into the wilderness, there was war in heaven between Michael and the Dragon. Michael fignifies Jefus Chrift. In Daniel chap. x. 13,-21. Michael is reprefented as contending for, and standing by the fervants of God. From the defcription given of the conduct of Michael in these paffages and alfo in this verse, it is evident that fuch is the fignification of this fymbolical name. The very meaning of the word alfo fuggefts this interpretation. It is a Hebrew word, which in that language fignifies "He who is God." But Jefus Chrift is God. The parties in this war VOL. II.

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were,

were, on the one fide, Michael and his angels; and on the other, the dragon and his angels. On the one fide were Chrift and all true Chriftians; and on the other were the Devil and all thofe men who had embraced, and attempted to fupport and propagate thofe errors in religion which came originally from the Devil, and to the propagation of which he tempts men.

This war was in heaven, the Chriftian church. In it the Devil and his angels were defeated, banished from heaven, (the Chriftian church), and caft down to the earth, the Roman empire. The plain meaning of this fymbolical representation is, that by the fecret temptations of the Devil, through their fondness for pre-eminence, external pomp and riches, many members of the Chriftian church fhould take the most effectual method to corrupt the purity and fimplicity of the gofpel: that on the other hand, many other members of that church, through faith in Chrift, a facred reffpect for his authority, and the influence of his grace, fhould adhere fo clofely to the divine purity and fimplicity of the gofpel, that no worldly honours, preferments, or emoluments fhould make them adopt or approve the corruptions introduced by the other members; that the former fhould adhere to their corruptions, and the latter to the fimplicity of the gofpel fo firmly, that they fhould feparate from and no more hold religious commu

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