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.
The earth helped the woman. By common consent "the woman" here means redeemed humanity, or the children of God collectively, or, in other words, what is called the Church.
1. Her appearance is wonderful. "Clothed with the sun."
2. Her progeny is wonderful. "She brought forth a man child."
3. Her antagonist is wonderful. The devil is the great enemy of redeemed humanity, and the description given of him indicates that he is a being of stupendous force and malice.
4. Her influence is wonderful. Supernatural beings engage in fierce conflict on her account. There was war in heaven. The subject here is Nature serving Christliness. The earth - nature - "helped the woman" - embodied Christianity. Nature helps Christliness in various ways.
I. BY ITS GRAND REVELATIONS. Nature reveals all the grand subjects that constitute the very foundation of Bible discoveries.
1. There is God. All nature proclaims, not only his existence, but his personality, unity, spirituality, wisdom, goodness, power.
2. There is law. Every part is under the rigorous reign of law. Any infraction of nature's laws carries penalties.
3. There is mediation. The principle of mediation runs through all nature. One element, one agent, one being, everywhere serving another.
4. There is responsibility. In the human world men are everywhere recognized as responsible, men everywhere feel their responsibility.
5. There is mystery. There is a haze over all nature. Every part has arenas which no intellect can penetrate. The whole universe seems to float on the dark sea of mystery. Now, all these subjects which we find in nature we find also in the Bible. Hence nature comes, also, to illustrate the meaning of the Bible and confirm its truth. It is a grand parable. Hence "the earth helps the woman."
II. BY ITS MORAL IMPRESSIONS. Nature is suited to make impressions upon the earth corresponding exactly with those which Christianity essays to produce.
1. The sense of dependence. How infinitesimally little man feels beside the great hills, confronting the ocean billow, and under the awful stars! Amidst the majesty of Nature's appearances he feels himself to be nothing, and tess than nothing. He feels borne along as a straw upon the resistless flood of destiny.
2. Reverence. How great does God appear in nature, in the minute as well as the vast! "An undevout astronomer is mad." There is a spirit in nature that seems to say to every thoughtful soul, "Take thy shoes from off thy feet," etc.
3. Contrition. The streams of Divine goodness seem to well up from every blade, flow down on every ray, beat in every wave of air, and are vocal with reproof to guilty man for his ingratitude and disobedience towards his Maker.
4. Worship. In reason's ear a thousand voices speak to man. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, sing forth the honour of his Name." Now, these are just the impressions that the gospel aims to produce; and thus nature serves Christianity by endeavouring to produce the same spiritual results; and in this way, again, "the earth helps the woman."
III. BY ITS MULTIPLIED INVENTIONS. Men, by studying nature and employing its laws, elements, and forces for their intellectual and temporal uses, have attained those arts which are highly conducive to the advancement of Christianity.
1. There is merchandise. Trade brings the remotest nations together in a common interest. The means for exporting commodities are available for exporting the Word of God.
2. There is the press. The press is an invention of nature, and an invention which is admirably suited to advance Christianity. It has already borne the gospel to the most distant part of the earth.
3. There is painting. The art by which man transfers the forms of nature, and embodies his own conception of beauty on the canvas. By this noble art the scenes and characters of the Bible, and even our blessed Lord himself, are brought with a vivid reality under the notice of men.
4. There is music. The magic art which catches the floating sounds of nature and weaves them into strains of melody that stir the deepest feelings. Never does truth come with such strange majesty to the heart as when it comes floating on the wave of melody.
5. There is government. Government is of the earth, earthy; but it helps Christianity. The Roman government, in the first ages, did it good service, and all civil governments that keep to their true province serve it now. - D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.