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16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood, which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
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 tertimony of Jesus Christ.
When the dragon was thus deposed from the imperial throne, and cast unto the earth, (ver. 13.) he still continued to persecute the church with equal malice, tho' not with equal power.
He made several attempts to restore the Pagan idolatry in the reign of Constantine, and afterwards in the reign of Julian ; he traduced and abused the Christiam religion by such writers as Hierocles, Libanius, Eunapius, and others of the same stamp and character ; he rent and troubled the church with heresies and fchisms; he stirred
the favorers of the Arians, and especially the kings of the Vandals in Africa, to persecute and destroy the orthodox Christians. These things, as (8) Eufebius faith upon one of these occafions, some malicious
τους της εκκλησιας βασκαινων αγαθοις κατειργαζετο. Ηec livor in
and wicked demon, envying the prosperity of the church, effected. . But the church was still under the protection of the empire, (ver. 14.) and to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle. As God said to the children of Jírael, (Exod. XIX. 4.) Ye kave seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles wings, and brought you unlo myself ; so the church was supported and carried as it were on eagles wings : but the fimilitude is the more proper in this case, an eagle being the Roman enlign, and the two wings alluding probably to the divifion that was then made of the eastern and the western empire. In this manner was the church protected, and these wings were given, that she might Hy into the wilšerness, into a place of retirement and security, from the face of the serpent. Not that she fed into the wilderness at this time, but several years afterwards; and there she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, that is three prophetic years and a half, which is the same period with the thousand two hundred
vidio, et malignus dæmon ec- perfidæ et dolofu gentis genere clefiæ felicitatem semper ægre editus, parvipendens quod fub ferans, in noftram pernicicm imperatore imperabat, Euchemachinatus est. Eufeb. de Vita rium filium suum, sicut a plerisConttant. Lib. 2. Cap. 73. que traditur, jam inde Chriftia,
(9) Interea comes Silicho, norum persecutionem a puero Vandalorum in bellis, avaræ," privatoque meditantem, in im
and threescore days or years before-mentioned. So long the church is to remain in a desolate and afflicted state, during the reign of 'Antichrift; as Elijah, (1 Kings XVII. XVIII. Luke IV. 25, 26.) while idolatry and famin prevailed in Israel, was secretly fed and nourished three
and fix months in the wilderness. But before the woman Aed into the wilderness, the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood, (ver. 15:) with intent to wash her away. Waters in the stile of the Apocalyps (XVII, 16.) fignify peoples and nations; so that here was a great inundation of various nations, excited by the dragon or the friends and patrons of the old idolatry, to oppress and overwhelm the Christian religion. Such appeared plainly to have been the design of the dragon, when (9) Stilicho, prime minister of the emperor Honorius, first invited the barbarous heathen nations, the Goths, Alans, Sueves, and Vandals, to invade the Roman empire, hoping by their means to raise his son Eucherius to the throne, who from a boy was an enemy to
perium quoquo modo fuftinere imbuturum fe regni primordia nitebatur. Quamobrem Alari- minabatur, &c. Orofii Hift. cum, cunctamque Gothorum Lib. 7. Cap. 38. p. 571. Edit, gentem &c.-Eucherius, qui ad Havercamp. Vide etiam Jorconciliandum fibi favorem Pa- nandem de Rebus Geticis et ganorum, reftitutione templo de Regn. Succeff. et Paulum rum et everfione ecclefiarum Diaconum. Lib. 13.
the Christians, and threatened to signalize the beginning of his reign with the restoration of the Pagan, and abolition of the Christian religion. Nothing indeed was more likely to produce the ruin and utter subversion of the Christian church, than the irruptions of so many barbarous Heathen nations into the Roman empire. But the event proved contrary to human appearanče and expectation ; the earth swallowed up the flood; (ver. 16.) the Barbarians were rather swallowed up by the Romans, than the Romans by the Barbarians; the Heathen conquerors instead of imposing their own, submitted to the religion of the conquered Christians; and they not only embraced the religion, but affected even the laws, the manners, the customs, the language, and the very name of Romạns, so that the victors were in a manner absorbed and lost among the vanquished. This course not succeeding according to probable expectation, the dragon did not therefore desist from his purpose, (ver. 17.) but only took another method of persecuting the true fons of the church, as we shall see in the next chapter. It is said that he went to make war with the remnant of ber feed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus; which implies that at this time there was only a remnant, that corruptions were
greatly increased, and the faithful were minished from among the children of men.
! AND I stood upon the sand of the sea,
and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads, and ten horns, upon
his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion : and the dragon gave him his power, and his feat, and great authority.
3 And I saw one of his heads, as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
4 And they worshipped the dragon which
gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5
And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blafphemies; and
power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphe