28: Revelation, 12th Chapter: Some Thoughts Concerning It

Writ in Abington, the Seventh Month [September] 1736:

Revelation 12: 1And there appeared a great wonder in heaven (the kingdom of heaven is within faith, Truth, the true church); a woman clothed with the sun (pure, Light and brightness), and the moon under her feet (all changeable things put down, trodden under, in the soul), and upon her head a crown of twelve stars (very bright and beautiful to behold).

Verse 2: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth (until Truth was formed in her, you little children, for whom till Christ be in you, the hope and glory), and pained to be delivered (brought forth into victory over all sin).

Verse 3: And there appeared another wonder in heaven (in the heart of man); and behold a great red dragon (a furious beast and bloody monster), having seven heads, and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. (It may be he had gotten seven victories over the saints, but was overcome at last.)

Verse 4: And his tail (the beastly nature) drew the third part of the stars of heaven (bright men), and did cast them to the earth (enlightened men that had received part of the ministry, as Judas did, yet betrayed the Truth for gain, as our slave-keepers do now; I know what I write): and the dragon (the beast) stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered (of the heavenly birth), for to devour her child as soon as it was born. (To be sure, for fear it should grow strong and break his head, and take away his crowns and name of blasphemy, which he is so proud of.)

These men—these fallen stars—have been and are accounted the greatest of antichrists and worst of devils. The true church has had, and has still, to encounter with wicked spirits in high places—as I can, if it be desired, produce many worthy authors to justify what I write. In almost all ages of the world, former and latter times—as many of our worthy elders George Fox and many others set them forth and that very justly—[these fallen stars are] much worse and more dangerous than the common hirelings of the times.

Verse 5: And she brought forth a man child (begotten and born of the Truth which is God, that good Spirit in the soul of man), who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron (in his own time); and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne (preserved in safety, and gloriously exalted in the soul, and the soul in him; he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are one.)

Verse 6: And the woman (the true church) fled into the wilderness (a very solitary place to weep and mourn out her days, fearing at times her spouse had forsaken her altogether, and then O the distress she was in for her beloved; but this was but to prove her constancy), where she hath a place prepared of God (though she knew it not for a time), that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. (If in adversity yet for her advancement in the end: Glory to the pure spouse forever, and to the bride, the Lamb’s wife, for she is beautiful.)

Verse 7: And there was war in heaven (what: in that peaceable place, which we read is so glorious and full of sweet delight?): Michael and his angels fought (what: must the saints fight then for heaven? yea, verily or else they never enter, and valiantly too) against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his (black) angels (for his gain to enslave the bodies and souls of men: the very worst part of the old whore’s merchandise—nasty, filthy whore of whores—Babylon’s bastards.

Verse 8: And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven (in the hearts of the faithful, after they have gained the victory for the Lamb; and his true followers shall be victorious: in due time be made more than conquerors.) 

Verse 9: And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent (that has bitten so many), called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world (no doubt because the worldly, covetous spirit is always blind: very easy to be deceived): he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (out of heavenly into earthly minds, where he made devilish work no doubt and not much to be thought strange of: but that the [believing] saints of the most high God should lick up what some such earthly [preachers’] minds in several professions have spewed up as being too hellish and too hard for them to digest or for their stomachs to bear—to my thinking is almost beyond compare—slave-keeping).

Verse 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” (all this is experienced within, when men and women are born again, then Truth reigns and rules in its own kingdom): “for the accuser of our brethren is cast down (it was so, and I with some of my oppressed Friends do hope it will be so again: the devil), which accused them before our God, day and night.

Does the same to this day, for if you reprove or admonish one of our preachers which keep a slave or slaves, he will be in such a rage and fury, beyond that moderation I think that becomes a meek follower of the blessed Lamb of God—which suffered the just for the unjust, to take away all Sin: then surely slave-keeping, the worst of sins. I say reprove one of these for that wicked practice, and see if he will not accuse you day and night, from [Quaker] Meeting to [Quaker] Meeting, in Meeting and out of Meeting, right or wrong as he thinks fit, and set his brethren in iniquity—slave-keeping preachers and others against you—all he possibly can, and so proceed to get you disowned if possible, as several worthy Friends have been, for testifying against this sinful, soul-hellish practice, the mother of enormities. We may safely say as Solomon of a whore or harlot that stands by the wayside to catch who she can: her guests are in the depths of hell.

Verse 11: And they overcame him (the accuser) by the blood of the Lamb (blessed, dear Lamb: O that all would follow him wherever he goes, ministers especially and all others; then we should never trade in slaves and souls of men for cursed gain), and by the word of their testimony (they kept their testimony clear and pure its like, or else they had not overcame); and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Then they were not afraid to reprove wicked men, it is very evident, or worse: preachers, which are a sort of devils, that preach more to hell than they do to heaven, and so they will do forever, as long as they are suffered to reign in the worst and mother of all sins—slave-keeping.)

Verse 12: Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. (They have great cause so to do, that know their warfare to be accomplished and Zion in the soul to be a quiet habitation free from the accuser of the brethren, these do no evil, commit no sin. But) Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! (which are people) for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth he hath but a short time. (Great wrath indeed, and so have his ministers too. Although they seem and would be thought to be meek followers of the Lamb, yet do but reprove them for their gross sin, and tell them they are the strongest instruments in the church that the devil has to uphold and carry on and continue that hellish trading in slaves and souls of men, and let them know that they are the very greatest stumbling blocks the devil has to lay in the way of honest inquirers, and you shall soon see what metal they are made of. Yet they have cast down many wounded, yea many strong men it is thought have fallen by their means, as Solomon said of a whore.

Verse 13: And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman that brought forth the man child. (When the dragon, beast serpent, whore, and false prophet—all one—saw he was discovered by some members of the true church: the woman that brings forth the man child, the true heir of God and joint heir with Truth, or Christ—all one—then he shows himself in his proper colors in his natural element: hellish, as it is. To persecuting of the woman he goes—the true church, that brings forth the man child, Christ, God, and man. Them that read, let them understand in Spirit.

Neither enter themselves, or suffer others: as Christ said of former hypocrites, we may safely of these latter ones.

Verse 14: And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place; where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. (Great wings may signify swiftness and strength, but where shall we fly but to the Lord, our Rock, for nourishment and strength? The Lord in his wisdom may have been pleased to hide some from the face of the serpent for some time for reasons best known to himself, but now I believe the time is near at hand that some may or must come forth of the wilderness, yet leaning on their beloved, to meet the serpent, although with their lives in their hands, not loving their lives unto death.)

Verse 15: And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman (out of the foul mouths of his instruments: lying, slandering, and false accusations, persecuting with the tongue until they have power to proceed further), that be might cause her (the church) to be carried away of the flood (of their lies in hypocrisy, which they are very generous of).

Verse 16: And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth (these messengers of satan, false ministers became so notoriously wicked in lying, slandering and false accusing, and other vile practices, that the very earthly minded opened his mouth to plead for the woman, the true church), and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth (made it appear that those things were false which the serpent in his instruments had accused her of).

Verse 17: And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed (very true: war is his natural element, killing and taking the plunder is his hellish delight since he was cast unto the earth again; pretty much like our slave-traders, killers, stealers, thieves, and receivers: cousin-germans all, the devil’s own children; let them pretend to what they please—preachers or hearers, professors or profane, all that help forward that work of hell—he was wroth with the woman and remnant of her seed), which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (which always testifies against such hellish practices, in every appearance).

For they that worshiped the beast or his image, or received his mark or name in his forehead or in his hand: the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation. Cups are wicked men. What do our slave-keeping preachers think of these scriptures? Do they believe, or are they infidels and atheists in disguise? They that have this blessed experience, they sing the song of Moses and the Lamb (Revelation 14:9–11, 16:2, 16:19–2015:1–4).