Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels :

8 And prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven.

9 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.

10 And I heard a loud voice, saying in heaven, Nowiscome salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Chrift: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

11 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.

12 Therefore rejoicé, 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.

[ocr errors]

It might reasonably be presumed, that all the powers of idolatry would be strenuously ex

erted

2

erted against the establishment of Christianity,
and especially against the establishment of a
Christian on the imperial throne : and these
struggles and contentions between the Heathen
and the Christian religions are represented (ver.
7.) by war in heaven between the angels of
darkness and angels of light. Michael was
(Dan. X. 21. XII. 1.) the tutelar angel and
protector of the Jewish church. He performs
here the fame office of champion for the Chris-
tian church. He and the good angels, who are
sent forth (Hebr. I. 14.) to minister to the heirs
of salvation, were the invisible agents on one
side, as the devil and his evil angels were on the
other. The visible actors in the cause of chrif-
tianity were the believing emperors and ministers
of the word, the martyrs and confeffors; and in
support of idolatry were the persecuting em-
perors and heathen magistrates together with
the whole train of priests and sophists. This
contest lasted several years, and the final issue
of it was (ver. 8, 9.) that the Christian prevailed
over the heathen religion; the Heathens were
deposed from all rule and authority, and the
Christians were advanced to dominion and empire
in their stead. Our Saviour faid upon
casting devils out of the bodies of men, (Luke X.
18.) I beheld Satan, as ligbtning, fall from heaven.

his disciples

[ocr errors]

In the same figure Satan fell from heaven, and was cast out into the earth, when he was thrust out of the imperial throne, and his angels were cast out with him, not only all the heathen priests and officers civil and military were cashiered, but their very gods and demons, who before were adored for their divinity, became the subjects of contempt and execration. It is very remarkable, that Constantine himself and the Christians of his time describe his conquests under the same image, as if they had understood that this prophecy had received its accomplishment in him. Constantine himself, (6) in his epistle to Eusebius and other bishops concerning the re-edifying and repairing of churches, faith that‘liberty being now restored, • and that dragon being removed from the ad• ministration of public affairs, by the provi• dence of the great God, and by my ministry, 'I esteem the great power of God to have been 'made manifest even to all. Moreover (7) a picture of Constantine was set up over the palace gate, with the cross over his head, and under

his (6) Nurede 795 E2 BvDepias catrodo- libertas restituta fit, et draco θεισης, και το δρακοντος εκεινε απο ille providentia quidem Dei opτης των κοινων διοικησεως, τε Θεε τα timi maximi, minifterio autem μεγιση προνοια, ημετερα δυτσηρεσια noftro a reipublicae adminiftraεκδιωχθεντος, ηγεμαι και tione fubmotus; equidem exifÇuvecav Yey:18,00 ao amv Devoir dye timo divinam potentiam omni

bus clariffimé innotoisie. &c.

Euseb,

[ocr errors]

Nunc vero cum

[ocr errors]

his feet the great enemy of mankind, who perfecuted the church by the means of impious tyrants, in the form of a dragon, transfixed with a dart thro" the midstof his body, and falling headlong into the depth of the sea; in allusion, as it is said expresly, to the divine oracles in the books of the

prophets, where that evil spirit is called the dragon and the crooked serpent. Upon this victory of the church, there is introduced (ver. 10.) a triumphant hymn of thanksgiving for the depresfion of idolatry, and exaltation of true religion: for now it was no longer in the power of the heathen persecutors, as Satan accused holy Job before God, to accuse the innocent Christians before the Roman governors, as the perpetrators of all crimes, and the causers of all calamities. It was not by temporal means or arms that the Christians obtained this victory, (ver. 11.) but by spiritual, by the merits and death of their redeemer, by their constant profession of the truth, and by their patient suffering of all kinds of tortures even unto death; and the blood of the martyrs hath been often called the feed of

the Eufeb. de Vita Conftant. Lib. 2, Cap. 46. Socratis Hift. Ec κησαντα τυραννιδος,--εν δρακοντος clef. Lib. 1. Cap.9. Theodorit. porón hoftem illum et inimicum Lib. I. Cap. 15.

generis humani, qui impiorum (7) Euseb. de Vita Constant. tyrannorum operâ ecclefiam Lib. 3. Cap. 3. Tov öz exogou xan Deioppugnaverat, sub draconis πολεμιον θηρα, τον την εκκλησιας forma.

(8) Tauta

[ocr errors]

της των αθεων

[ocr errors]

P 3

the church. This victory was indeed (ver, 12.) matter of joy and triumph to the blessed angels and glorified saints in heaven, by whose fufferings it was in great measure obtained ; but still new woes are threatened to the inhabiters of the earth; for tho’the dragon was deposed, yet was he not destroyed; though idolatry was depressed, yet was it not wholly suppressed; there were still many Pagans intermixed with the Christians, and the devil would incite fresh troubles and disturbances on earth, because he knoweth that be hath but a short time, it would not be long before the Pagan religion should be totally abolished, and the Christian religion prevail in all the Roman empire.

13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he perfecuted the woman which brought forth the man-child.

14 And to the woman were given 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, from the face of the serpent,

15 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.

16 And

[ocr errors]

(8) Ταυτα μεν εν φθονος [forfan φθονερος] της και πονηρος δαιμωχ,

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »