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past events are first represented under the same kind of allegory.
Ibid. A Woman.] A woman, in figurative language, is used to signify a city, a state, a body politic. Such is the daughter of Tyre, of Babylon, of Jerusalem *; the latter of whom, when virtuous, is honoured with the high appellation of the espoused of God t; when wicked and idolatrous, .she is styled the harlot, the adulteress I. This method, of representing nations and cities under the symbol of women, was copied from the eastern by the western world. Roine is represented upon the ancient medals under the form of a woman. Britannia appears under the same emblem. There is, among the Roman coins, one of Vespasian, upon the reverse of which is a captive woman, hanging her mournful head, and the inscription is Judæa. She is there depictured, as by the master-hand, in Lament. i. 1-4, and in the 137th Psalm, where the daughter of Babylon and the captive daughter of Jerusalem, are contrasted. But the woman, the city now represented, is of heavenly origin, “ whose builder “ and maker is God,"' of which “ Christ is the corner "stone; the New, the heavenly Jerusalem, the mother of us all §.” She is, in short, the Church of Christ|l, * Psalms xlv. 12; cxxxvii. 8. 2 Kings xix, 21. + Isaiah liv. 1.5. Ixvi. 6-14. Jer. xxxi. 4. 2 Cor. xi. 2.
See notes, ch. ii. 20. xvii. 1. § Matt. xvi, 18. Gal. ir. 26, 27. 1 Cor. iii. 9, &c. 2 Cor. v. 1-3; vi. 16. Eph. ii. 21; iii. 9; iv. 12. 16. Col. ii. 7. 1 Tim. iii. 15. i Pet. ii. 3–7–10. Heb. iii. 6. xi. 10; xii. 22 ; xiii. 14. Rev. iii. 12; xxi. 2.
11 Methodius, one of the most ancient commentators on the Apocalypse, who wrote about the year 290, applies this symbol to the Christian Church. (See the commentary of And, Cæs. in loc.) In the Shepherd of Hermas, and in the apocryphal Esdras, a woman repre. sents the Church.
and is to be known as such, not only by these Scriptural marks, but by the seed, or offspring, attributed to her. For, after she has produced the great Shepherd of the Christian flock, “ Christ the first “fruits,” the rest of her offspring are said to be, “ those who keep the commandments of God, and “ hold the testimony of Jesus.” (ver. 17.) But who can be entitled to this character, unless the true sons of the Christian Church ? The mother therefore is the Christian Church. She is represented as arrayed in the most pure and splendid light; the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, those acknowledged symbols of pure knowledge, and of dignity, are employed to adorn her. The lustre of her attire; the elevation of her throne, expressed by the second luminary being her footstool ; her crown, not of diamonds or rubies, but of the stars of heaven ; all imply the greatness of the personage, and her high acceptation with the King of Heaven. In the vision of Joseph *, which displays the future glories of the patriarchal family ; of that family which was then the Church of God; in which all the nations of the earth were to be blessed; the same symbols are employed. The Sun, the Moon, the twelve Stars, represent the then infant Church. In her original purity, she was thus splendid ; and when purified from her corruptions, she will again appear in splendour t.
Vér. 2.) But pure and splendid as she appears,
* Gen. xxxvii. 9.
+ Ch. xxi. &c. The reader is referred to the following passages of Scripture, in which the Sun is used as an emblem of the Church :Judg. v. 31; Psalm 1xxxix. 36 ; Isa. xxx. 26; Mal. iv. 2 ; Matt, xiii. 43. The twelve stars seem to allude to the division of the Church under twelve Patriarchs, and afterwards under twelve Apostles.
(and (and such she was in the patriarchal and prophetic times, compared with the idolatrous nations surroundiug her,) she is not complete, until she can produce that seed, promised to the woman from the earliest times, which was ordained “to bruise the serpent's “ head.” She is now represented as labouring with this momentous birth. And such was the situation of the Church from the time of Adam, the first man, (to whom the seed was promised,) to that of Christ, the second man, “ the promised seed,” “ the Lord from "heaven.” The Scriptural writers express, under the same images, the earnest and unsatisfied desire of the ancient Church to possess the promised seed*.
Ver. 3. Another sign in Heaven.] - As the Church of God had been represented by symbols in the two last verses ; so are now her enemies. And first that ancient enemy who assailed her, in the days of our first parents, under the form of a serpent f. For this dragon is expressly asserted to be the same, “the “ ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan f." He appears in great worldly power, such as is attributed to him in other parts of Scripture, where he is called " the Prince of this world, the God of the “world, the Prince of the power of the Air *.” This power is here expressed by (1.) his size, which is great: (2.) his colour, which is fiery : (3.) his heads, which are seven; a large, complete, indefinite number 8: and these heads are so many mountains, or lofty seats of strength ý: for, as in ch. v, the seven horns and seven eyes of the Lamb denote his infinite extent of power and of knowledge; so, the seven heads, or mountains, of the dragon express an immense command of worldly power; such as he offered to our invincible Lord || :. (4.) his ten horns: for, horns are ever emblematical of strength : and ten, as well as seven, is a large indefinite number, becoming so by a different mode of calculation **. But the use of the number ten in this place, seems to have a further reference, even to those passages of the Apocalypse, and of the prophet Daniel, wherein are to be seen just so many kings or kingdoms, inimical to the Church of Christ, and proinoting the interests of the adversary. The dragon is to have great sway among the kings of the earth, whom he beguiles by the offer of that worldly power, which was rejected by the Son of God. This interpretation is further confirmed by observing, (5.) that his heads are crowned with diadems like those of eastern potentates ft. And, lastly, his tail, his ignoble and brutish part *, drags after him, as with a nett, a third part of the stars of heaven. This may denote the original apostacy of those : angels, who, corrupted by their rebellious leader, “ kept not their first estate ;” or, it may signify the artful machinations, by which he made the ministers of Religion subservient to his designs ģ; or, it may be understood to express both these apostacies; for the arch-fiend has succeeded in accomplishing such rebellions both in heaven and on earth.
Mich. v. 2, 3. Rom. viii. 22.
of Gen. jii. The devil, A.xboros being his name in Greek, Satan in Hebrew, See below, ver. 9. and ch. xxii. 2. This was seen clearly by the most ancient commentators, ο δρακων ο μεγας, κ. τ. λ. και διαβολος έσι. The same inferual agent seems also to have been specified by Melito Bishop of Sardis one of the seven churches; who, in his work upon the Apocalypse, treated in particular concerning this opposer of the Church. For the title of the book (which is the only part of it now extant) was, wigi të Axbore xai tñs amoxaduews 'Imamo. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. iv. c. 26. Moreover, in a passage of Theophilus, bishop of Antioch in 168, which is quoted by Lardner as alluding to this passage of the Apocalypse, the Devil is called “Satan, and the Serpent, and the “ Dragon.” (Cred. Gosp. art. Theophilus.)
called John xii. 31. 2 Cor. iv. 4. Eph. ii. 2. + See note, ch. vi. 4.
See note, ch. i. 4.
l| Matt. iv. 9. 9 See note, ch, v. 6.
** See note, ch. ii. 4. Ht The diadem was the crown, or mark of kingly power, adorning the eastern monarchs. It was cominonly a broad fillet, cr turban, richly set with jewels. The radiated crown was not worn by the Greek monarchs till about the sccond century. (Pinkerton on Medals, vol. i. p. 173.)
Ver. 4. & 5.] Thus arrayed in formidable power, the infernal spirit is prepared for the occasion,“ seek
ing to devour” that offspring who is ordained “ to “bruise his head;” but “ whose heel,” whose less vital part, he is permitted for a time to attack successfully 1. Such success does not satisfy his destructive rage; he aims at the total overthrow, the utter extinction of the seed, by whom the race of men is to be saved from his envenomed jaws.-For, the malechild now boru is evidently our Lord Jesus Christ; who is not only, the only-begotten Son of God, but the first-born of the Church, which is called after his name; for which right of inheritance it was necessary that he should be a male. To him alone belongs the description, “ the great Shepherd of Is“rael, who is to rule all the nations with an iron “ rod **" This is the Divine Shepherd's crook, dread. ful to the enemies of the fold, and to the disobedient of the flock; but a sure protection to the “ sheep,
* See note, sh.ix, 1-12.
Jude 6. & See note, ch. i, 16.
# Gen, iii. 15. Rom. viii. 29. Col. i. 15, 18. Heb. xii. 23. ** See note, ch. ii. 27. also Mutt. ii. 6. Rev. xix. 15; vii, 17. Isa xl. 11. Psalm xxiii.