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the aspect under which it is contemplated is changed, and it is seen either in heaven or as coming from heaven. So soon as the economy of redemption appears to be deprived of the element of imputed righteousness, on which it depends for its efficiency, so soon it appears open to the assaults of the adversary.

As it is said of a state of things somewhat similar, represented by the dissension in the family of the patriarch Abraham: He that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, (Gal. iv. 29.) We do not say that Ishmael was a type of the dragon, or that Isaac occupied precisely the position of this woman in the wilderness; but we feel no hesitation in assuming that the spirit of accusation, as an offspring of man's position by nature, under the law, and dependent upon his own merits, may be said to resemble him that was born after the flesh. So the element of justification represented by the child of the woman is the offspring of sovereign grace, without any intervention of human merit, and thus bears an analogy with that provision of sovereign mercy, which we suppose to have been typified in some respects by the child of promise. In these particulars, the persecution of Isaac by Ishmael is not unlike that of the woman by the dragon. The persecution of the son of the bondmaid consisted only in mockery, while that of the dragon was, as we shall see, an effort to overwhelm and to destroy. The spirit and purpose in both cases, however, is the same, that is, to set at naught, and to bring to naught, the object of aversion.

V. 14. And to the woman were given Και εδόθησαν τη γυναικί δύο πτέρυγες two wings of a great eagle, that she might του αετού του μεγάλου, ένα πέτηται εις την fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and έρημον εις τον τόπον αυτής, όπου τρέφεται times, and half a time, from the face of exci xalqóy xaừ xaipovs xoè iudou zaigoû, the serpent.

από προσώπου του όφεως.

. $288. “And to the woman were given,' &c.—The wings of an eagle we have before supposed to indicate the support and protection of the Holy Spirit—the Comforter and evangelical Teacher, ($ 128.) This idea is rather confirmed by the use of the term greattwo wings of a great eagle. The duplex character of this symbol also reminding us of the twofold, or cloven tongues of fire exhibited on the occasion of the descent of the Holy

pirit; an appearance indicative of the double sense of the language of revelation. The exhibition of the economy of grace is preserved in the written word of revelation by the Holy Spirit, both in a literal and spiritual sense, but for a certain period it is thus preserved as in a state of seclusion, or as not being perceived in its true character; this temporary position being spoken of as a place prepared for the woman. This economy has its place in the Scriptures, even in their literal sense, but it is not recognized; or, if recognized, appears as it were childless or desolate, as the Greek

term derived from the word rendered wilderness sometimes implies, Rob. Lex. 261.

• That she might fly into the wilderness, into her place.'— The wildernesses of Judea were mountainous, and we may reasonably suppose such to be the desolate place contemplated in this passage. A mountain is to a city a foundation, as a rock is to a place of defence. This place of the woman was therefore her mountain—her rock—that upon which she could rest; as, in reference to the circumstances of the disciple, it is said, Ps. xi. 1," How say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain ?" and Ps. Iv. 6, 7, “Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo! then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness.” As in reference to the same mountain it is also said: If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? As a besieged party when hard pressed falls back to his fortified position on some neighbouring height; so the economy of salvation finds its means of preservation from the elements of accusation, amidst all the disadvantages of self-righteous construction and literal interpretation, in the simple position that Christ alone is the rock or foundation upon which the disciples' hopes of salvation are to be placed ; every doctrine tending to a different position, being manifestly erroneous. In Christ, and in him only, the sinner can be saved ;—this is the fundamental truth, by whatever variety of figures the doctrines emanating from it may be illustrated. In the midst even of the earthly system, the economy of grace, however imperfectly understood, is to be found resting upon Christ as upon a rock. Upon this foundation neither the rage of the accuser, nor the gates of Hades, (the powers of condemnation,) being able to prevail against it. Into this position it is conveyed by the two wings of the Holy Spirit, the literal and spiritual sense of revelation; and here it is preserved till the period of perfect development.

$ 289. Where she is nourished* for a time, times, and half a time,' &c. -Comparing this expression with what has been before said of the same sojourn of the woman in the wilderness, (verse 14, we perceive this term to be equivalent to a year, two years, and half a year of three hundred and sixty days, or altogether twelve hundred and sixty days. We are at a loss to assign a reason why the designation of this period should be thus repeated in the same chapter and in this form, unless it be that a similar expression is employed in a remarkable prediction of the prophet Daniel, where the reign of the fourth beast is spoken of as enduring until a time,

* The words feed in the sixth verse of this chapter and nourished in the fourteenth verse, are both expressed by the same Greek term; the repetition probably being intended to indicate the identity of the periods expressed in one place by days, and in another by times.

times, and the dividing of time, (Dan. vii. 25 ;) the dividing of time and half a time being equivalent terms. The expiration of this period being also afterwards spoken of by the same prophet as the time of the end, (Dan.

xii. 7.)

Whatever construction be put however upon these predictions of the prophet, we are still governed in our views of this period as mentioned in the Apocalypse, by the declaration of the mighty angel, time shall be no longer; and accordingly, for the reasons before given, ($$ 251, 278, 230, 240,) we assume this mystical expression to be a sign of parallelism, indicating, not the synchronical character of certain events, but what we may style the correlative and interchangeable character of the peculiar features of a certain doctrinal system; all these pictures being so many representations of one mystery-symbolical representations, involving each other.

The woman is assigned a place in the wilderness, and she appears there desolate, (Gal. iv. 27,) for the same reason that the outer court of the temple is given to the Gentiles; and it is, instrumentally, because they have possession of this outer court, and of the Holy City, and because the witnesses prophesy in sackcloth, that the woman appears as in a wilderness : so wherever the two witnesses prophesy in sackcloth the woman will appear desolate ; as the children of the bride-chamber fast when the bridegroom is taken from them ;-a bride deprived of her spouse, or a woman without legitimate offspring, being alike figures of that state of desolation to which the economy of redemption appears to be reduced, when Christ is no longer discerned as the Redeemer and Husband; or when his imputed righteousness is not perceived to be the fruit of the plan of sovereign grace.

We find, for example, the covenant of grace spoken of by learned divines ever since the gospel was first preached; if not in terms, at least by implication ; but the offspring of that covenant, the imputed righteousness of Jehovah, has been nearly lost sight of : strictly speaking, we may say it is not to be met with in any earthly view of the plan of redemption. So amidst the multiplicity of views of Christian doctrine we find Christ universally admitted to be the Redeemer; but we hardly find in any of them that exhibition of the covenant, of grace showing the identity of the redeemed with this Redeemer, which enables the children of the bride-chamber to rejoice.

· From the face of the serpent.'—This expression is not, we apprehend, a mere redundancy. It is probably designed to give greater prominence to the peculiarity of the woman's position in the place assigned. That she is there entirely out of the reach of the serpent, the accuser, or prosecutor,not even subject to accusation or trial ;-as the rule of the Roman law, well known in the time of the apostles, was, that no one should be tried without being permitted to meet his accuser face to face: so, to be removed from the face of the accuser, may be figuratively equivalent to being removed from a position of trial.

Vs. 15. 16. And the serpent cast out of Και έβαλεν ο όφις εκ του στόματος αι. his mouth water as a flood after the wo- του οπίσω της γυναικός ύδωρ ως ποταμόν, , man, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth

να αυτήν ποταμοφόρητον ποιήση. Και helped the woman; and the earth opened εβοήθησεν η γη τη γυναικί, και ήνοιξεν η her mouth, and swallowed up the lood γη το στόμα αυτής και κατέπιε τον ποταμόν, which the dragon cast out of his mouth. αν έβαλαν ο δράκων εκ του στόματος αυτού.

$ 290. “And the serpent cast out of his mouth.'—The serpent is the accuser of the brethren, the counsel for the prosecution, the advocate of condemnation. Whatever comes from his mouth must be of the nature of an argument opposed to the side of mercy; as it is said of similar characters, Ps. xxii. 13, “ They gaped upon me with their mouths as a ravening and a roaring lion ;" Ps. v. 9, “ Their throat is an open sepulchre.”

· Water as a flood.'-As a fountain, water is an element of life; as a food, it is an instrument of destruction. As a fountain, it is the figure of a Saviour's atonement; as a flood, it represents the vindictive agent of offended justice. The flood from the mouth of the accuser of the brethren must have been a flood of accusation ; a flood of elements opposed to the covenant of mercy, or economy of redemption; an allusion to which may be made, Is. lix. 19 and 20: “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him, and the Redeemer shall come to Zion,” &c.; the pouring forth of this accusation being in effect the means of placing in a prominent point of view the provision to meet and to counteract it.

• That he might carry her away with the flood.'--As the legal adversary would have swallowed up or devoured the provision of imputed righteousness, or vicarious element of justification ; so he would now, by an array of all the arguments to be drawn from the principles of the law, and from the admitted fact of the sinfulness of sin, overwhelm the gracious purpose of divine sovereignty, showing if possible its insufficiency to protect the transgressor from the punishment justly merited. This figure may be designed to represent the tendency of the broken law in the nature of the case; or the action of the element of divine vengeance when exhibited or brought forward to try the strength of the economy of grace. As if a polemical advocate for the legal system should bring forward, in argument, the strict requirements of the law in heart and mind, as well as in outward deportment, and should then show the immensity of the sinner's offences, and his infinite short-coinings, together with the necessity of an adequate vindication of divine justice; thus endeavouring to prove salvation by grace to be

inconsistent with the perfection of the Deity, and so to carry the doctrine away as he supposes with a flood.

We are not told how long this persecution of the accuser continues; but the presumption is, that so long as the woman remains in her desolate state, so long she is subject to this trial ; while on the other hand, so long as she is found in her place-zon her mountain-she is safe ;-as it is said of the house built upon a rock, Matt. vii. 25, “ The floods came, the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock ;'' the case of the woman being parallel with that of the individual believer, whose shelter from the wrath to come rests upon this rock of his salvation. Time indeed, apocalyptically, is here also out of the question ; but the action and counteraction of the principles represented may be considered simultaneous, and the general rule applied Where the carcass is, there shall the eagles be gathered together.”

· And the earth helped the woman,' &c.-We do not suppose the earthly system to be professedly opposed to the economy of redemption ; on the contrary, it contains this economy, but contemplated under a literal aspect, and subjected to a relf-righteous misconstruction. This helping, however, may not be viewed as a voluntary action, but rather as something arising out of the nature of the case. The earthly system is a literal exhibition of revealed truth ; it receives the economy of redemption, but as in a desolate state, not yet at least as the bride adorned for her husband. Such a system is therefore open to the attacks of the adversary, and the flood of accusation, which cannot affect the true plan of mercy, falls upon this misrepresentation of it. The accuser pours out his flood of legal elements and principles of condemnation, drawn from man's state by nature, upon the earthly system ; and by this it is absorbed before it reaches the woman, whose place, besides, is a sufficient protection for her. Thus the earth helps the woman by causing a diversion.

• The earth opened her mouth ;'—that is, this system puts forth or exhibits its elements and principles ; and in doing so shows itself to be obnoxious to the flood of wrath from the mouth of the accuser, against which the true plan of salvation is secured. It thus swallows or takes up

the element of destruction intended for another. We are not told what is the further consequence to the earth, but we may suppose the swallowing up of this flood to be one figure of the wo, to which the earth and those dwelling upon it are now exposed : we say one figure, because we take the next chapter to be the commencement of a new series of figures of the same wo ; covering ground already past over. The swallowing up of the flood by the earth, we may suppose to represent the termination of the contest, so far as the woman is concerned. The covenant of grace itself is no more directly attacked, but the same spirit of hostility exhibits itself in another direction.

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