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mistaken in her reckoning, in the fourth century; he represents her as having come to her full time, and bringing forth " a man child." I have endeavoured to prove, that this full time was in the seventh century. I shall however here add one argument more to elucidate the same truth. The natural and full time of a woman, is when she has brought her child to a certain degree of maturity; after which she becomes unfit and no longer able to sustain and bear her burden, and is therefore delivered of it. This was exactly the case of the church in the seventh century. She had laboured during the course of six centuries, in propagating the Gospel of Christ, She had brought it to a certain degree of maturity, by proclaiming, and making it known in all parts of the earth; but by falling into false doctrines, and abominable heresies, altogether inconsistent with it, she had now become no longer fit or able to labour in the vineyard of Christ, and to carry the burden of a farther propagation of his Gospel, and therefore she is here represented as delivered from it.
And she "brought forth a man child." It is certainly a question of the first importance to ascertain, what the prophet means by "a man child." Bishop Newton, and others since his time, have considered it as a type of Constantine the Great, but without the least countenance from the text to warrant it. I will venture to assert, that there are no figures in the prophecies, which are not natural and perfect. To make a woman with child, travailing in birth, and bring
ing forth, a perfect figure, the child must be brought forth, and delivered out of the thing typified; but how have they contrived to bring this emperor forth, or to deliver the church of him as a woman brings forth, or is delivered of a child cut of herself, I cannot imagine. Yet this is the plain meaning of the text. It is true, that she brought over this emperor from paganism into herself, into her own faith, as she had brought over millions before, but she never brought him forth, nor was ever delivered of him as a woman is delivered of a child out of herself, because he never returned to pagan idolatry, but died a member, within the Christian pale. And would the text admit of that construction, it could not be a distinguishing mark of the child, and therefore a nugatory expression, rather tending to confound, than explain the true sense of it. Again, the child to be brought forth by the church is not described as a male child or infant, but as a MAN CHILD; a child in a state of manhood at the time of its birth, to denote that it should be strong and powerful, and as essentially so when born, as it would ever be: a mark which will apply to no temporal prince, or human creature. To these arguments I shall add, that the great characteristic mark of this child is, that he was to rule all nations with a rod of iron;" that is, as iron, in its natural state, is the most firm, strong, and inflexible of all metals, so this child was to rule, not some only, but all nations, with infinite power, and the most perfect justice and righteousness: a mark which cannot be rightly applied to Con
stantine, or any other temporal prince, as no such ever did, nor can it be supposed ever shall, rule over all nations, and much less with perfect justice and righteousness.
Seeing then that no temporal prince or human being, can answer to this prophetic type of a MAN CHILD, let us search the Scripture, the only source whence we can draw right information upon the subject: and as it will not be denied, that a woman must have previously conceived that, which she is to deliver up, let us inquire what it was, that was sown in, received, or conceived by the church, and with which she had laboured and travailed in birth; because it will lead to that of which she was to be delivered. Now these unerring oracles of truth tell us, it was the WORD OF GOD, or Gospel of Christ.Christ, in the parable of the sower, says, "the seed of the church is the word of God*." St. Paul tells the church of Thessalonica, "she had "received (or conceived) the word of God, which (says he) effectually worketh in you that believet. St. Peter, treating of the new birth, says it is produced not" of corruptible, but of incorruptible seed, by the word of God, which "liveth and abideth for ever;" that wORD which is the true gospel of Christ, or spiritually Christ himself; that word which the Psalmist tells us shall break the kings of the earth with a "rod of iron§;" and the prophet here, that word which" shall rule the nations with a rod of iron,
+ 1 Pet. i. 23.
Luke viii. 11. 1 John, i. 1.
+1 Thess. ii. 13.
"as the vessels of the potter, easily broken to "pieces;" and which he here describes in the
But to leave prophetic allegory; it was that divine system of theology and morality, that sublime, unchangeable, and eternal fitness of things, founded in the wisdom and truth of an infinitely righteous and perfect God, revealed to mankind through Jesus Christ. Here then we have the man child, with which the woman was to travail in birth, and of which she was to be delivered; the child which "the dragon was to "stand before the woman, for to devour as soon "as it was born;" and the child " which was "to be caught up to heaven unto God, and to "his throne." How completely and remarkably do the events meet this interpretation! The church had laboured in propagating the word of God nearly six centuries, suffering many pangs and persecutions from the Jews and Romans; at length, in the seventh century, having fallen into divers abominable schisms, she became no longer fit or capable of discharging her trust, and supporting the labour of propagating the word of God, and therefore was delivered of it. It was now that the Pope, being clothed with the powers of universal bishop, and having firmly established his idolatry, "stood before" the church to "devour" the word of God. But although he was permitted to drive the church. into the" wilderness," yet, as the prophet foretels, her child, the word of God, which she had bro't forth into the world, was not destroyed, but
"caught up unto God, and to his throne;" that is, it was taken under the especial protection of his almighty providence, and, notwithstanding all the exertions of the Pope, preserved in a" remnant" unto this day: that so, mindful of his everlasting covenant with Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of his eternal purpose of restoring it to the church, through his blessed Son, he might in his own time* enable her to purify herself, to triumph over all her enemies, and to rest in peace and everlasting felicity in the kingdom of Christ, and bosom of her Redeemer. And accordingly we know from history, that through the merciful providence of God there has been a "remnant" of the church (though small indeed, compared with the numbers of which she consisted in the fourth century,) who have never ceased to bear faithful testimony to the word of God; notwithstanding all the tricks, forgeries, frauds, and persecutions of the church of Rome, even unto death.
Ver. 6. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared "of God, that they should feed her one thou“sand two hundred and threescore days."
Before the Gospel dispensation, the heathen world, having fallen from the righteous instructions of Noah into pagan darkness, had no light to direct reason, thus perverted, back to the
*Rev. xiv. 6.