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the controversy arose concerning the worshiping of departed saints, images, and the infallibility of the church at Rome. In this controversy, many privately withdrew themselves and settled in the northwest part of Asia and in the northeast part of Europe, and after a number of years colonies were sent by them into Piedmont and vallies of the Alps, where it is supposed the true worship of God was retained during the dark ages of Papal ignorance, bigotry and superstition. (See Milner's Church History, and Benedict's History of the Baptists.). “That she might fly into the wilderness, into her place.” A separation from the world, as says the voice from heaven, Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Rev. xviii. 4. “Where she is nourished for a time, times, and half a time.” Fed and nourished by the spirit and word of God 1260 years. From the face of the serpent.” From the knowledge of Papal Rome.
Verse 15, “And the serpent cast out of his mouth waters as a flood after the woman.” Waters, in prophecy, means people. Rev. xvii. 15. Therefore I understand this prophecy to have been fulfilled when the Pope, the head of Papal Rome, sent forth his armies and inquisition to subdue the heretics, as he called them, who dwelt in the vallies of the Alps, which was about the beginning of the thirteenth century “That he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.” Exterminated and destroyed by his armies and inquisition.
Verse 16, “And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of bis mouth.” This verse was fulfilled in the wars which followed the above mentioned time of persecution, in which the German princes belped their subjects against the armies of the Pope, and destroyed and swallowed up many of the Papal armies from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. Or, as some authors have supposed, that the waters which the dragon cast out of his mouth was the flood of errors which arose about the time of the French revolution, under the name of Deism, which was calculated to destroy the doctrine of the Gospel as they vainly supposed, backed up by the republican armies of France and afterwards by the power of Bonaparte, who was finally subdued by the combinations of the kings of the earth. But, as this transaction seems to me to be too
late to effect the woman in her exiled state, I have inclined in my humble opinion to my first exposition of these texts.
Verse 17, “And the dragon was wroth with the woman." Papal Rome was angry with the true church, "and went to make war with the remnant of her seed." This war has not yet come ; for it is evident by the expression remnant of her seed," that it means the last of the church who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”. This is the last struggle of this anti-christian beast, and is described in many places as the last great battle, or the supper of the great God. Such expressions as “and went," as though this power would go to some place out of their own territory, and “the kings of the east might be prepared," shows that they will go west. I am, therefore, constrained to believe that this battle of the dragon's last power will be in America, and if so, it must be mainly in these United States. It will be a battle on political principles, as we may learn by the passage in Rev. xvi. 13-16, " And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” The “unclean spirits," shows that it is political principles; and, like the frogs in Egypt, it will pervade all the departments of life, the social, civil and religious. By“ dragon," we must understand the kings of the earth. By the beast,” Papal principles or the church of Rome. By the “ false prophet,” Mahometan power;" for they are the spirit of devils working miracles, that is, spirit of deceit, separating friends, dividing kingdoms, states, societies, churches, and families, and crumbling every man-made institution, and levelling to the dust all law, order, and bond of union, which the wisdom of man may have invented. “Which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world." This shows the universal spread of this fanatical spirit of disorganization, and it will finally lead to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” “Behold, I am come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." We are here notified that his coming will be like a thief to those who are engaged in this political warfare, and in those popular and men-made societies of the day, and we are told that those will be blessed who watch, that is, for his coming and the signs of the times, and that
keepeth his garments unspotted from these worldly institutions which engender strife and animosity among brethren. Be warned, dear christian, “enter into thy chamber and hide thyself, for a little moment, until the indignation be over and past, that ye need not be ashamed before him at his coming.” It will also be a battle of religious principles, as is evident by the following scripture, Rev. xix. 11-16, - And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns;
and he had a name written that no man knew but he himself, and he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood : and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations : and he shall rule them with a rod of iron ; and he treadeth the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.". This passage proves that there will be at the close of this dispensation, immediately preceding the marriage of the Lamb to his bride, a great and last struggle between error and truth, between infidelity, and the word of God. And you may inquire perhaps, and with propriety too, how shall we know on which side we are engaged in this great war of principle? I answer, "in righteousness,” he doth make war. But, say you, we are so prone to follow tradition or prepossessed notions, and think we are right, that like Paul, we may be found at last fighting against God. You must see to it, that
you are " faithful and true,” have faith in his name, is The Word of God.” This is your only rule, The Word of God. Be careful, lay yourselves on this word. Try yourselves by this standard. If your life, faith, experience and hope are built on this foundation, you can never fail ; for he that is The Word of God, is “ KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Again : it is to be a literal battle with the sword, for Christ says, “ He that taketh the sword shall die by the sword.” And kings, Papal Rome, and the Mahometans, have ruled the world by the sword, and their swords, during all the days of their power, have been red with the blood of their subjects, and the innocent victims of their hate. And in Rev. xix. 17—20, it is evident by the “fowls” spoken of in the 17th verse, is meant
Cand his name
the serpent.” We must consider it in a state of obscurity, this was true in the time we have stated, A. D. 538. Historians tell us but little about any regular church, but the Roman church and this has never been in an obscure state ; of course the Roman is not the church in the wilderness. But they do tell us that in the days of Justinian, emperor of Constantinople, there were many schismatics as they were called who opposed the power of the bishop or pope of Rome and doings of councils in the east and west, and a large share of the latter part of Justinian's life was spent in religious broils, and expelling from his kingdom these schismatics, and the code of laws which he published about A. D. 533, forbid any christians any rights or privileges as citizens in his empire who would not acknowledge the Bishop of Rome as head. And in these laws, he gave the Bishop power to hold courts and try all matters of faith within his kingdom. These, and other things of like import, drove all true followers of the word of God to seek a rest out of the jurisdiction of the city of nations, and of course became outlaws to the Roman government. Then if we fix the beginning of the exile of the church at the same time of setting up anti-Christ, A. D. 538, then the church was in its exiled state until A. D. 1798, which would be the 1260. years. It is here worthy of remark, that the code of laws passed by Justinian, were in full force in the kingdoms belonging to or under the control of the pope of Rome, respecting the rights and privileges of those who might differ from the Catholic faith, until the French took Rome in 1798, and declared Italy a Republic, when free toleration was given for any religious opinion or privilege whatsoever. Here, then, the church in whatever form she might appear, was permitted to enjoy the rights and privileges of citizens, and to worship God as their conscience might dictate. This is the first time during the 1260 years, that free toleration of religion was granted in any kingdom where the Catholic church had power; and although Catholic princes and popes have since had rule in Italy and France, yet they have never dared as yet to pursue their former intolerant course of conduct towards Protestants. And it is very evident, my dear friends, that the church is now out of the wilderness, that is, if she ever was, for there never has been a time since the days of the apostles, no, nor even then, that the church in all its several branches has enjoyed greater privi