Page images
PDF
EPUB

But, as for them, who have been thus persecuted and martyred, they shall be received triumphantly into heaven; and shall hear the gracious invitation of God, calling them up to their crown and glory; and their very enemies shall be witnesses of their blessed exaltation.

XI. 13 And the same hour was there a great carthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were afrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. And, at the same time, when these revived abettors of God's truth shall bestir t'iemselves, there shall be very great commotions and stirs in the Church; and a great part of the Roman adherency shall fall off from her; and many thousands of them, who have, against the light of their own consciences, upheld the errors and abuses of the times, shall be swept away, with the just judgments of God: and the remnant shall be afraid of the like measure, and shall give glory to the God of Heaven, and embrace his holy truth.

XI. 14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woc cometh quickly. The Fifth and Sixth Trumpet have their sereral sounds of fearful plagues that shall befal to the Christian world: the Second of those Woes, denounced by the sixth angel, is now so past, as that the main force of it is abated; and now the Third Woe, which the Seventh Trumpet shall proclaim, is near at hand.

XI. 15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, suying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the Seventh Angel, who sounds an utter and final destruction to all the enemies of God and his Church, blew the trumpet; and immediately there were heard joyful acclamations in heaven, of the Saints and Angels, which said, Now the enemies of God are quite vanquished, and the kingdom of God and his Son Christ is advanced, and submitted unto by all the nations of the world, and established for ever.

XI. 16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God.

Then those four and twenty Elders, which represented the Patriarchs and Prophets of the Ancient Church of God, sitting before the throne of God in glorious seats, fell down upon their faces, and worshipped God: Saying, &c. verse 17.

XI. 18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest gite reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And those profane eneries of thine, which were exasperated against thy Church, and offered all manner of affronts and vio. lences unto it, shall now find, that the time of thy wrath is come;

and the season of thy last judgment, wherein all that were formerly dead shall appear before thee, and receive their retribution, according to their works : wherein thy servants the Prophets, and thy Saints, and those that fear thy name, both small and great, shall receive a happy reward of life and glory; and the persecutors of thy Church shall be recompensed with everlasting destruction.

XI. 19 and the temple of God reus opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail. Then was an open way set forth (to the world) not only to the true Evangelical Church, tigured by the Temple; but also to the very Holy of Holies, and therein to Christ the Saviour, figured by the Ark of the New Testament: and, withal, there was thereupon a terrible execution of judgment upon those wicked enemies of the Church and Gospel of Christ, in all variety of plagues and punishments.

XII. 1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars : Hitherto hath the estate of the Church been represented in Two several Visions: now, it pleased God to shew the same unto me, more at large, in a Third Vision; beginning at the primitive times thereof, and continuing till the end of all things. The primitive Church was therefore represented unto me, as a woman resplendent and glorious; though of herseif, in respect of her nature and sex, weak and feeble, yet made pure and majestical, by the perfect beams of Christ's righteousness shining upon her: the moon

was under her feet, to signify her treading upon all the transitory , and changeable things of this life, now in the times of her first sim

plicity: and upon her head was a crown, not of gold, but of heavenly matter, even of stars, to signify, that she is honoured as a queen in heaven; of twelve stars, to signify the heavenly doctrine of the twelve Apostles, the maintenance whereof is the only glory of her:

XII. 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And she, that had been formerly barren, was now fruitful, and great with child; ready to be delivered of her happy burden; longing to bring forth children unto God.

XII. 3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns upon

his heads. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; for there was represented to me a fearful image of that opposition, which should be made to the Church; víz. that the Deril, which was resembled by a great red dragon cruel and bloody, whose chief seat and city standeth upon seyen hills, being crowned with the command and government of the world, and having under it many confederated kingdoms wherein the strength thereof consisteth, should stir up the tyrants of the Roman Empire, to set themselves against it in all violent courses.

XII 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And the issue of this tyrannical persecution, raised by Satan, was such, as that, by this means, very many, who were and might have been lights to others, were miscarried from their Christian profession, and drawn back to Pagan Idolatry: and these bloody persecutors, agents for the then Roman Empire, stood ready to watch for any that would or durst profess the Name of Christ; and, so soon as any man did but offer to stand out for the maintenance of the Christian Faith, were ready to seize upon him, and to proceed cruelly against him.

XII. 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rol of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. But, in spite of all the malice and opposition of enemies, the Church brought forth, through the power of the Gospel, a masculine issue of true and faithful professors; in whom Christ was truly formed anew; even Christ Mystical, that Son of God who should rule over the nations, and in whose right his members partake of the same glory: and this blessed issue of hers was taken into the special protection of God, and in their several times glorified with bim.

XII. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a pluce prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. And the Church, viz. the faithful professors of Christ's Name, being, after this, persecuted, were glad to retire themselves into deserts and solitary places; where the Providence of God had prepared maintenance and safe protection for them ; where they continued during the heat of that persecution.

XII. 7 And there was war in heaven : Michael and his angels fought against the dragon ; and the dragon fought and his angels, And the Devil, the arch-enemy of man's salvation, raised up war against Christ and his Church: and there was a very great and sore conflict, betwixt Christ and his faithful servants on the one part, and Satan and his complices on the other,

XII. 8 And prevailed not: neither was their place found any more in heaven. But Satan, notwithstanding all his power and malice, prevailed not against the Church; neither was permitted to atchieve any thing against the salvation of God's elect.

XII. 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 carth, and his angels were cast out with him.

over.

And the Great Dragon, the Devil, and Satan, even that Old Serpent, which bore a deadly and perpetual enmity to Christ and his holy seed, and who is the great Deceiver and Tempter of the sons of men, was utterly defeated of all power to prevail against God's Church; and was put over, and limited to the exercise of his tyranny, upon those earthly and carnal men, whom he prevails

XII. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And I heard a loud voice of Saints and Angels, triumphing in heaven, at this victory of Christ, and defeat of Satan, saving, Now, is salvation without all impeachment prepared for God's chosen; and the strength and the kingdom of our Godi, and the power of Christ bis Son, is enlarged: for Satan, who is the great Tempter and Accuser of God's children, urging their sins against them, and pleading for revenge of their misdeeds, and raising calunnies and slanders against them, before God and men, is foiled and dejected.

XII. 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. And these elect children of God have overcome him; not by any power of their own, but by the blood of Christ, that Immaculate Lamb, applied to them by a lively Faith; and by the power of that mighty word of truth, which they have given their confession un. to; and by their resolute and patient suffering, and yielding up their lives to a most bitter death, for the maintenance of the Gospel.

XII. 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Voe 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. Therefore rejoice, Oye Heavens, and ye blessed Angels and Saints that dwell therein, for this your happy victory in Christ your Redeemer. But, woe be to you, earthly and carnal-minded men, whose affections are wholly set upon worldly things! for, since Satan cinnot have his will of God's faithful ones, he will be sure to tyrannize over you; and, for that purpose, is he labouring, in his extreme rage against mankind, to execute his wrath upon you; wherein he is so much the more eager and vehement, because he knows his kingdom draweth near to an end.

XII. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And, when this malicious Dragon saw, that he was defeated of his purposes, of hindering the salvation of God's Saints, he turned all his rage against the Church Militant on earth; raising up, by his wicked instruments, all manner of persecutions against her, who had brought forth that masculine issue of faithful professors.

XII. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might flee 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. But unto the Church were given, by the wise and gracious Providence of the Almighty, many both forcible and speedy means of her delivery; that she might retire and betake herself to a place of more obscure safety; where he took order for her preservation and nourishment, during all the time of her persecution.

XII. 15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a food af. ter the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the Serpent, when he saw that the speed of her rescue was such, as that he could not overtake and surprise her; he cast forth, after her, whole floods of lies, slanders, and reproaches, by the mouths and pens of her blasphemous enemies; and broached store of erroneous and heretical doctrines, wherewith, if it were possible, he might draw her, either into detestation or apostasy:

XII. 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. But this attempt of his was also in vain; for the Providence of God so ordered it, as that all these false reproaches and attempts of infection prevailed not, but vanished away, even as a flood of landwater is swallowed up of the earth, and is seen no more.

XII. 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 testimony of Jesus Christ. And the Devil was so much the inore exasperated against the Church, for that he saw himself disappointed in all his projects; and, therefore, he ceased not to stir up war against those children of the Church, which professed the truth of the Gospel, and endeavoured to keep sincerely the commandments of God, and the only-true religion of Jesus Christ.

XIII. 1 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, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And I stood upon the shore of the island Patmos, and, behold, there was a further vision presented to me: for I saw out of the ambitious stirs and tumults of the world, there arose the great Roman Empire, in the form of a beast, by reason of the brutish conditions of those that swayed it; whose chief seat was placed upon seven hills; and whose government was managed by seven several forins of sovereignty; and wbose strength consisted in ten several kingdoms, which were under the command of that Empire; and divers profane and wicked governors of that Monarchy made profession of horrible blasphemies and impieties, in that they challenged to be stiled and adored as gods.

XIII. 2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and

« PreviousContinue »