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tation of a fiege of the city of Jerufalem is a prophetic fign that Jerufalem fhall in fact be befieged in a manner ftrictly correfpondent to this model or fign of a fiege. Matth. xii. 38, 39, 40. "Then certain of "the Scribes and of the Pharifees answered, faying, "Mafter we would fee a fign from thee. But he "answered and faid unto them, An evil and a"dulterous generation feeketh after a fign, and "there fhall no fign be given unto it but the fign "of the prophet Jonas. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, fo "fhall the Son of man be three days and three "nights in the heart of the earth." Here Jonas being three days and three nights in the whale's belly, and afterwards appearing alive on dry ground, is fixed upon as a prophetic fign that Chrift should die, be buried, and should rise from the dead on the third day, Luke ii. 11, 12, "For unto you is born this day, in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ "the Lord. And this fhall be a fign unto you, ye "shall find the babe wrapped in fwaddling clothes, lying in a manger." Thus, by their finding a babe lying in a manger, an unusual place, they fhould fee a fign of the extraordinary birth of Jefus, and be fatisfied of the truth of the declaration of the angel, who told them, "that that day was "born a Saviour, who was Chrift the Lord."
Hence, when in the verse under our view it is faid "there appeared a great sign in heaven," the
import of this expreffion is, that this vifion which John faw, and which is expreffed in this hieroglyphic, is a symbolical description of an appearance of the Chriftian church, by which it may be diftinguished from all other churches in the world.
She is like a woman for her beauty, her gentlenefs, her fruitfulness, and her dependance upon a more powerful perfon for her protection, provifion, and defence.
She is clothed with the fun. Her chief ornament and protection is Chrift, the Sun of righteoufness. In the natural world, the fun is the centre of motion to all the planets in the folar fyftem, hath light and heat in itself, and reflects these on all the other parts of the fyftem; hence, in the fymbolical language, the fun fignifies Jefus Chrift, who is the centre of knowledge, righteousness and joy to the Christian church, hath these effentially, inherently, and underivedly in himself, and communicates them to every part of his church, in that proportion which beft accords to the whole fyf
The moon which is a fatellite of this earth, and which continually moves round it, which has no light in itself, which reflects the light of the fun only upon the earth, and which fhines in the abfence of the fun only, is a moft ftriking fymbol of the Jewish church. As the moon is a fatellite of this earth, that church bore a great refemblance to the
the kingdoms of this world, in its external ceremonies, pomp, and civil and political laws. As the moon gives no light but what she reflects from the fun, the Mofaic difpenfation can be understood only when it is viewed as typical of Chrift, the fun in the kingdom of God. As the moon fhines only in the absence of the fun, the Mofaic difpenfation was in force only until Chrift by rifing from the dead proved himself to be the Son of God with power, established the Chriftian church, and made the Mofaic difpenfation disappear like the moon at the rifing of the fun. Hence, the moon is faid to be under the feet of the woman, because the law of Mofes was as a fchoolmafter to bring men unto Chrift; and all its ordinances and ceremonies were accomplished in and abrogated by the death and refurrection of Chrift, on which the Chriftian church was established..
This woman has on her head a crown of twelve ftars. Stars always fignify minifters of religion. The twelve ftars fignify the twelve apoftles of Chrift, the first minifters of religion in the Chriftian church. They are her crown, because her doctrine, worship, and discipline, exactly correfpond to what these apoftles taught, and recorded in the facred fcriptures, and because all her real minifters infucceeding ages preach only what was first taught by these apoftles. They have no powers as minif ters of Chrift's church to teach any new doctrine, worship,
worship, or difcipline, which were not taught by the twelve apoftles of Chrift, by divine authority. Thus the apostle Paul, fpeaking of Chriftians as a church or collective body, faith, Ephef. ii, 20. "Ye "are built upon the foundation of the apostles "and prophets, Jefus Chrift himself being the "chief corner ftone." This church, thus conftituted, fhall bring forth many children. Her votaries and difciples fhall be formed through much fuffering and with much difficulty.
Verses 3d, 4th, 5th.-And there appeared another wonder in heaven, and Behold, a great red dragon, having feven heads, and ten horns, and feven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did caft them to the earth: and the dragon ftood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child affoon as it was born. And the brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
In these verses, the apoftle mentions another fign, (antior), which should appear in the church of Chrift; even "a great red dragon, having fe
"ven heads and ten horns, and feven crowns up"on his heads." This dragon fignifies "that old ferpent, called the Devil and Satan," as it is explained in verfe 9th of this chapter. By the feven heads with feven crowns upon them, is meant the Roman empire until the termination of the imperial government, with the city of Rome for the feat of government. In chapter xvii. 9, 10. we are informed, that the seven heads fignify the feven mountains on which the city of Rome was built, and the feven kings, or forms of civil government which have that city for their feat, as fhall be fully fhewn in the commentary on that paffage. The city of Rome was built on the following seven hills, Palatinus, Cœlius, Capitolinus, Aventinus, Quirinalis, Viminalis, and Esquilinus.
From the foundation of the Roman government to the present day, there have been exactly feven diftinct forms of government, which have had the city of Rome, (the Urbs Septicollis) for their feat. The diftinguished hiftorian, Tacitus, who wrote a little before the time of this vifion, fays, in his Annals, lib. i. cap. 1. "Rome was first governed by kings, then by confuls, by dictators, by decemvirs, and by military tribunes with confu"lar authority." All hiftorians agree, that these five diftinct forms of civil government had taken place in fucceffion in Rome, before the commencement of that of emperors. These five were all