Page images

The Romans had also their festivals, and one in particular, which they called “ Quinquatria." This was a festival of five days, as the name imports. In like manner, the republic has appointed a festival of five days, and called it les Sans Culotides, and, like the Romans, spend it in all manner of riot and debauchery. Thus, in direct compliance with the prediction, he has “worshipped,” or paid such vene, ration to the policy of pagan Rome, as to revive both her civil and religionis cufioms, after they had ceased upwards of a thousand years, and adopted them as her own.

Ver. 13.-" And he doeth wonders ; so that ” he maketh fire come down from heaven upon «. the earth, in the fight of men.”

Here the prophet foretels, that the revolutionary spirit of the people of France, or the republic, shall $6. do wonders ;" so that she shall make, or caufe fire (or the wrath of God) to come “ down from heaven (or the throne of God) on the earth” (or on France in its ungodly and atheistical state), “ in the “ fight of men;" or in the fight of the powers and princes of Europe, who were to be the mere spectators of them, without interfering to prevent their magic effects. I have thus translated the text into its literal meaning, from other parts of Scripture, where I find the word fire, the most destructive and powerful of all the elements, made use of as a symbol of the dreadful wrath of God *, the word heaven, for the throne of God up; the word earth, for a sinful revolutionary power, as I have before shown, from Jerem. xxy. 29, 30. Matth. xxiv. 30, &c.

* Deut. iy. 24. Nahum, i, 6. Heb. xii. 29. * Psalm xi. 4.

With regard to the “ wonders" here predicted, it seems impoflible to consider the state of revolutionary France, withont perceiving a continued series of the most wonderful exploits; exploits and their effects so unnatural, fo eccentrical, and apparently impoflible, that the utmost degree of credulity, had they been foretold feven years before, could not have been persuaded, were within the confines of poffibility. Among the variety of these wonderful acts, we may reckon the rapid change in the mind of a great nation, consisting of upwards of 25,000,000 of people, enthusiastically devoted to their monarch and to their religion, from zealous loyalty to causeless rebellion, and from the most ardent superstition to the rankest atheism ! the sudden captivity, dethronement, and murder of one of the most powerful monarchs, lately fo beloved by his people, and commanding all the military force in the kingdom; the utter extinction of all the principles of their ancient government; of all the rights of the ancient nobility and clergy; of all civil order and subordination, which had continued for more than four. teen centuries ; and the reduction of the people to a state of anarchy, worse than a state of nature ! To these may be added, the extreme injustice and oppression of new laws, and the abject submission of the people! the wonderful effecis of fraudulent affignats, and of unjust and arbitrary requisitions, of the properties and persons of the people ! the unprovoked and sworn hatred and declaration of war against all the kings of the earth; their feeble refiftance, and inactive fiupor; and the amazing success of this irresistible enemy; the utter abolition of the national religion, and indeed of all divine truths, and of all the natural and moral obligations, which unite man to the great Author of his existence, and man to. man! and, laftly, the facility with which a syftem of atheism has been established in their stead, and



diffeminated its poisonous contagion through the four quarters of the globe !

Such is only a part of the wonders foretold by the prophet, and actually performed by the revolutionary spirit and power of France ! Are we then to be sure prised, that such atrocious deeds should be the cause of " making fire,” or the wrath of God, come down from heaven, even from the throne of God itself, “ upon the earth ?" upon such abandoned and daring perpetrators of all manner of evil ? or that he Thould withhold his divine grace and protection, and leave a nation, which has impiously rejected his providence, and even denied his existence, to the finful imaginations, or, as St. Paul expreffes it, to the \ ftrong delusion" of their own wicked hearts ?

What is man, when deserted by his Creator, “ in

whom he lives, moves, and bath his being * ?" when the fear, grace, and Spirit of God, no longer reftrain him from evil? He is more wild, more voracious and insatiable, more fierce and terrible in the gratification of his ambition and his lusis, than the worst of the brute creation! The truth of this reflection has been fully manifested by those party dissenfions, which raged in the Convention itself, in the time of the general malíacre, justly called the reign " of terror. The most fierce and unrelenting of the beftial tribes will not devour one another; and yet it was in that period of terror, that the rulers of the republic, those demons of revolution, thus forsaken of God, after having wantonly murdered many tens of thousands of their innocent fellow-creatures, turned their fury against, and murdered one another. Nor did the wrath of an offended God, referred to in the text, end here. It was farther manifested in

* A&ts, xvii. 28.


those numerous and long.continued tumults, Naughters, and civil wars, which broke out in many of the departments of France, and were prosecuted with more than barbarian ferocity and cruelty, until that devoted country became one shocking scene of devaftation and blood.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Moreover, these judgments, thus represented by "fire,are said, in the text, to come down from “ heaven in the fight of men'." The expression here, in the fight of men, means, within the view or knowledge of the kings, princes, and nations of Europe, who have been mere spectators of those dreadful calamities, which God has permitted the frantic and impious rulers and people of France, to inflict upon themselves. But why have they been mere spectators, and not partakers of those judgments ? The answer feems strongly implied in the text; and it is this, that it has been the divine pleafure, in the abundance of mercy, notwithstanding their degeneracy, to exempt them at present, from fimilar misery, that, having been, as it were, eye-witnesses of the dreadful nature of his wrath upon the ungodly, they might reject, with horror, their blasphemous tenets, and licentious practices; and, repenting of their fins, fubmit, in spirit and in truth, to that holy obedience, which is due from all his creatures to the eternal King of KINGS, the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Ver. 14.--" And he deceiveth them that “ dwell on the earth, by the means of those “ miracles which he had power to do in the “ fight of the beast : saying unto them that « dwell on the earth, that they should make

an image to the beast which had the wound " by the sword, and did live.

[ocr errors]


In this verse, the prophet foretels a great political deception, which “the beast of the earth" should practise on the people, and points out the particular means by which it should be accomplished. And as by this fraud a whole nation, described by them « that dwell on the earth," was to be deluded, cheated, ruined, it was to be, as St. Paul describes it *, replete with “ all deceivableness of unrigh6. teousness ;” and of the most extensive and mifchievous nature. Let us then inquire by what means the French republic has been reared. And here it will appear, from her own history, that the was generated by artifice and deception, nourished in her infancy, and her conftitution established by frauds, all of them leading to one great fraud, or, as St. Paul calls it," a lie,” viz. that there is no God: a fraud fo artful and mischievous, that it has never been equalled, by any heretofore impofed on man. kind, except that which Satan himself imposed on our first parents, by which they were precipitated from a state of innocence and immortality, to that of fuffering and death. And indeed the analogy is so strong, that St. Paul informs us, when predicting the rise of the fame power, that it shall come “ after the

working of Satan, with all power, with signs, and

lying wonders *.”. However, we shall compare the two frauds together, that the resemblance may more fully appear.

We have before seen the republic compared to a“ dragon," or serpent ; and we are informed that Satan, in the form of a serpent, “ deceived" the parents of mankind, by persuading them to violate their allegiance, and subordination to God, by eating of the fruit of the“ tree of the knowledge of good and

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »