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city, caused, as we have seen, ihe remnant of the seed of the woman to give glory unto the Lord: but the effusion of the vials upon God's enemies produces not the least tendency to repentance. We must not therefore look for any further reformation from Popery ; * for the vials are instruments of God's wrath, not of his mercy. France accordingly has nominally returned, like a dog to its vomit, to her old alliance with the blasphemous corruptions of Popery : but, according to every account of eye-witnesses, she still really and individually strengthens herself in the yet more blasphemous abominations of Antichrist.
Yet, although there will be no further reformation, it does not appear, that the inspired writers give any intimations of some still more dreadful persecution of the witnesses, than that which they have already undergone from the two Latin beasts : on the contrary, Scripture seems to me at least rather to lead to a directly opposite opinion. I mean not indeed to deny, that individual protestants, those for instance who reside in popish countries, may experience persecution ; these will continue to prophesy in sackcloth to the very end of the 1260 days : I would only be understood to intimate, that I can discover no warrant for expecting that Protestantism in general, as nationally professed, will ever be so far subdued by Popery, as to undergo throughout the whole world a grand universal persecution. The troubles, produced by incessant war with the atheistico-papal powers, will be the great means of purifying the Church ; not, I think, any persecution resembling those of the Pagan Emperors or the Roman Pontiffs in the plenitude of their power.
I am led to form this opinion by observing, that all the vials of the last woe-trumpet are represented as being poured out upon the Papal and Mohammedan Roman empire ;ť upon those, that have the mark of the beast; upon those, that have shed the blood of saints and prophets; upon those, that have blasphemed the name of God by
* I have already stated other grounds, besides this, when treating of the ten-borned beast, for adopting such an opinion. + “ Phiale omnes,” says Mr. Mede, “in bestiam (scil
. Romanam) effunduntur.” (Com. Apoc. in loc.) « Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth” (Rev. xvi. 1.) The eartb throughout the Apocalypse denotes the Roman empire.
reason of the noisome sore of atheism; upon the seat and kingdom of the beast. None of these particulars are descriptive of such protestant states, as have held fast the faith of their ancestors, and have not apostatized, like Holland, Switzerland, and protestant Germany, to the lye of Antichrist. The last plagues, comprehended under the third woe-trumpet, are poured out only upon papists, blaspheming atheists, and Mohammedans : and, although under the seventh vial" there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation,” yet it is a time of trouble to none but the beast, the false prophet, and the congregated kings of the Roman earth. At the glorious era of the Reformation, the voice of the Lord called aloud from heaven,
“ Come out of the mystic Babylon, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Surely then we must unavoidably conclude, that those, who did come out of her, who obeyed the warning voice, who ccased to be partakers of her sins, who suffered themselves not a second time to be deluded by the yet more gross lie of atheism, will likewise receive not of her plagues. Whether the mighty king of the North, who is neither papist nor protestant, and whose ample territories are without the limits of the great Latin city, be des. tined to inflict," at the time of the end,” its deathwound upon the spiritual empire of Mohammed, events alone can determine. The position of his dominions gives him immediate access to the realms of both Persia and Turkey : but upon this point I presume not to be wise above what is written. It is however written, that, although the dragon shall direct the rage of his favourite minister Antichrist against the remnant of the seed of the woman ;* yet the vials shall be exclusively poured out upon the enemies of God.
Hence I conjecture,t that this final attempt of the dragon will totally fail of success, because it exceeds the peculiar commission of the infidel king :, and hence I conclude, that, as the great protest
* Rev. xii 17. f I may do more indeed than merely conjecture that such will be the case : tlecome pleie failure of this last attempt of the dragon is expressly predicted in the overthrow of the false propbet and his adherents at the battle of Armageddon, in the region between the tous
ant states of Europe have hitherto been marvellously pres. served amidst the plagues of the papal Babylon, so they will be preserved even to the time of the end.
“And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast: and his kingdom was full of darkness, and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven, because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds."
In the Apocalypse mention is made of two beasts, the secular and the ecclesiastical ; and it might be doubted which of the two was here intended, were we not assisted in our inquiries by the general context of the whole prophecy. Whenever the beust is simply mentioned, by way of eminence as it were, I believe it will invariably be found, that the ten-horned or secular beast is meant,* not the two-horned or ecclesiastical beast. In addition to this general proof, the particular context of the present passage may be adduced. The angel is said to pour his vial upon the seat of the beast. Now the first beast is expressly said to have had a seat or throne given him by the dragon; because, although nominally Christian, he exercised his secular authority, like his predecessor the pagan empire, in persecuting the Church of God : whereas no mention is made of the seat of the second beast, and for this plain reason ; the secular authority of the Pope was confined within the narrow limits of an Italian prin. cipality, and all the persecutions which he ever excited against the faithful were carried into effect by the first beast through the instrumentality either of his last heud or of his ten horns. Hence I think it manifest, that the beast, upon whose seat the present vial is poured, is the first or secular beast.
What is precisely meant by this judgment it is impossible at present to determine with any certainty, inas
See Rev. xiv. 9, 11. xvi. 2. xix. 19.
Rev. xii. 2. All the different martyrs, who were persecuted to death as heretics, after they had been found guilty by the ecclesiastical courts were formally delivered over to the secular arm for punishment. “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death," was the constant language of tbe two-borned beast, as it heretofore was of the Jewish priests when demanding the death of Christ. Sometimes even, with a crocodile affectation of clemency, the secular beast was besought by his merciful colleague not to deal too harshly with the condemned.
much as it is yet future. If however we may argue from analogy, since the giving of a seat or throne to the beast by the dragon evidently means the investing him with the same secular power of making war with the saints as that exercised by him while in his pagan state, the pouring out of a vial upon that seat so as to fill his whole kingdom with darkness seems most naturally to represent some grievous calamity which should materially affect that secular power of persecution, and fill his whole kingdom with consternation and confusion.
The beast here spoken of is the beast under his last head : but what power will be that last head, when the present vial is poured out, must be determined by the event. *
* I have already observed, that the last bead of the beast is by the Apostle termed the beast bimself.
Since this was written, the battle of Austerlitz has been fought, and possibly the fifth vial has been poured out. From the ambiguous nature of the Carlovingian bead of tbe beast, which has sometimes been attached to one kingdom and family and sometimes to another, I dare not even now positively say, that the effusion of the fifib vial has commenced; but I am strongly inclined to believe that it bas commenced, and that the house of Austria now feels its baleful effects. This vial is said to be poured out on the throne or secular authority of the beast under bis last bead, the representative of which previous to the late campaign was the German emperor of the Romans ; and it produces the effect of filling luis kingdom with darkness. Let the reader turn his eyes to the present state of that unfortunate prince, and of (what anciently and indeed till very lately properly constituted his kingdom) Germany and Italy: and he will behold the power of the imperial throne subverced, and the Emperor degraded to the condition of a mere king of Austria, elbowed out of his empire, stripped even of his hereditary dominions, and trembling at the nod of an implacable enemy, who seems even now to be meditating his entire destruction; he will behold Germany passing under the yoke of a new Charlemagne, and parcelled out according to the sovereign pleasure of a daring usurper, its ancient constitution annihilated, and itself full of political darkness and confusion; he will behold Italy equally degraded, equally dark, equally confused. And what is the consequence of these calamities? " They gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds." And do we find any thing like a reformation in Germany and Italy? They present only the hideous spectacle of the abominations of Popery blended with the blasphemies of Infidelity.
Though I scruple not to say, that there are strong reasons for believing that the fifth vial has begun to be poured out, I repeat that I am unwilling at present positively to make such an assertion. Whenever the waters of the mystic Expbrates are completely dried up under the sixth vial, we shall then know with certainty that ibe fiftb vial, which precedes it, must have been poured out; we shall then consequently be able to derermine, whether the fifth vial was poured out at the close of the year 1805, or whether it relates to some yet future calamity about to befall tbe preser! Carlovingian head of the beast. This last however I fear we have not much reason to expect. The fall of the Turkisk 9. marchy will throw a wonderful light on the study of the apocalypse; because it will definitely teach us in what part of it we are now living, and will prove that all the five first vials (let them relate to what they may) must have been previously poured out. If no events therefore, answering to those described under ile fiib cial, shall take place between the present time and the down
“ And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings from the East might be prepared. 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. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he, that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk paked, and they see his shame, And he gathered them together into a place, called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon."
Under the sixth trumpet, the four Turkish sultanies, the mystic waters of the Ottoman empire, issued from the river Euphrutes : under the sixth vial, the waters of the same Euphrates are to be completely dried up. We cannot therefore reasonably doubt, that the symbolical Euphrates means in both cases the same power.
all of the Turkish monarchy, I hesitate not to say, that tbat vial, which immediately succeeds the commencement of the scorching military tyranny predicted under the fourth, must have begun to be poured out in the late disastrous campaign. June 3, 1806.
Since this was written, I have seen a paper in the Christian Observer for January 1805, in which the Eupbrates, here mentioned by the prophet, is connected with Rome ; on the ground that the literal Euphrates is connected with the literal Babylon :whence it is argued, that the drying up of the Eupbrates implies the impending destruction of Antichristian Rome. Had the writer attended to the uniformity and strict exactness of the apocalyptic language, he would probably not have hazarded such a conjecture. Tbe mystic streams of the Eupbrates under the sixtb trumpet manifestly relate to the in fancy of the Turkish empire : the drying up therefore of those mystic streams under the sixth vial must relate to its destruction. So again : if the Euphrates of the sixth vial is to be connected with Rome, the Euphrates of the sixth trumpet must likewise be connected with Rome ; for, unless we violate completely the definiteness of the whole Revelation, what tbe Eupbrates means in one passage, it must mean in another. Consequently, if the Eupbrates of the sixth viel be the papal nations of the Roman empire, or (what the writer of this paper seems to insinuate) the influence of the Papacy over those nations : then we must conclude, unless we are willing to give up all consistency of Language in the Apocalypse, that the Euphrates of the sixtb trumpet means the same ,
in which case we shall at length arrive at the absurd position, that the four Turkish sultanies issued from the papat nations of the Roman empire, or that tbe Turkish monarchy originated from the influence of the Pizpacy. The fact is, as I have already abundantly shewn, rivers typify nations; and, when a particular river is mentioned, the nation upon its banks is intended. The Euphrates therefore of the sixtb trumper is the symbol of the Turkish monurihy: whence it will follow, that ibe Euphratis of the sixth vial must be tbe same.
Unless this be allowed, St. John uses the same symbol in different senses, and consequently puts an entire end to all certainty of interpretation. (See the beginning of Chap. ii. of the present work.) The wrier of this paper seems to have taken his idea from some of the commentators cited by Poic. Sec Synop. in loc. VOL. II.