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vials. And as we know, from the annals of the world, that God has ever punished the wicked in all ages, pulling down kingdoms and states whenever the measure of their iniquities * has been full, and setting up others in their stead, according to his righteous purposes, can it be supposed, with any degree of reason, that his justice and his power are now asleep, when his all penetrating eye fees men sure' passing all former times in sinful and ungodly lufts? when he sees whole nations, “mockers op of his holy word, and, with the most daring impiety, and outrageous blasphemy, proclaiming to the world, that HE DOES NOT EXIST; and when he sees these fons of Belialk, with unceasing exertions, disseminating, throughout the world, the poison of atheism, with design to frustrate the purposes of his holy will? I say, can we suppose that a God, whose "eyes are too
pure to behold evil, or to look upon iniquity y, has suffered them to proceed in their nefarious design, without pouring out the jut wrath of his in. dignation, to abate, if not to stop, its progress ?. .ll
But, for farther fatisfaction on this point, let us take a view of the state of Europe, during the course of the last thirteen years. Has the been at peace with God, and enjoyed his merciful and all-powerful protection? On the contrary, we have seen her afflicted with wars, in which all her princes' and states have been parties, and in which all their suffering people have, more or less, been involved. We have seen unheard-of scenes of public rapine and devastation; of insurrections, rebellions, and civil wars; of poisonings, assassinations, and massacres ; of revolution upon revolution; of the wrecks of kingdoms and the fall of Nates; and of the destruction of incalculable millions of the human race:
* Dan. ii. 44. ^ Jude, 18. San. ii. 12.
S Hab. i. 13.
Surely these are the wrathful judgments of indignant and offended OMNIPOTENCE!
These judgments, no serious mind can doubt, but that the French nation, in its revolutionary career, has alone called down; and, therefore, the prophet in foretelling the events of the seven vials, in the order of time in which they were to come to pass, represents the first vial, as poured out upon that ungodly and atheistical nation. “ And,” says he, " the first (angel) went and poured out his vial “ upon the earth ;” meaning the same nation, which he had before described, in the thirteenth chapter and eleventh verse, as “coming up out of the earth;" and which, in the comment upon that chapter, I have shown is a prophetic figure of France, in her atheistical state. But, as the word earth is often used, in prophetic language, as a figure for divers nations, he adds a more particular mark, to show that he here alludes to the fame nation he had before described. And there “ fell a noisome and “ grievous fore upon the men which had the mark « of the beast, and upon them which worshipped « his image:" evidently referring to the people of France, who wore the national marks of the red bonnet and tri-coloured cockade; and who worshipped the image of their god, Liberty, as the objects wbo were to be afflicted by the “ noisome and grievous 66 fore."
But what does the prophet mean by a “ noi“ fome and grievous fore?” He could not mean that a great nation thould be afflicted with a “fore, " in the manner of a man, or other animal. This seems highly improbable; and yet this is the literal lente of the word. We must then look for his meaning in allegory, of which the Apocalypse for the molt part confifts. And here, we shall find, that, in a beautiful figure, he compares the government, or body politic of the French nation in its atheistical state, to the body of a man when afflicted with “a noisome and grievous fore.” To do justice to the allegory, we must consider the disease of a man in a leprous state, from its commencement to its termination in death, and then compare it with the late wretched ftate of the French nation. The human body is sick, when the fluids become vicious and corrupt, and no longer perform the offices assigned them by nature. When the vicious and corrupted parts of the fluids break out into ulcers through the skin, that covering which protects the whole body from harm, it is said to be fore; and when the ulcers become offensive and putrid, and spread over the whole body, it is then afflicted with a “noisome and grievous fore,” which must end in its diffolution. So it is, in every respect, with the political body of a civil society; for this, like the natural body, is subject to disease and death. If the political fluids, or the people, who, while they perform the duties of citizens, assigned them by the nature of their government, nourish and support it in health and vigour, become discontented, licentious, and tumultuous, it is feeble and fick. When this licentiousness breaks through the laws, the political skin, which covers and secures the society from injustice and wrong, into insurrections and civil wars, it is distressed and fore. And if these insurrections and civil wars become general, and break out into open rebellion and treason against the state or body politic, attended by all the horrors of impiety and licentiousness of atheism, it may be said, with the strictest propriety, to be afflicted with “a “noisome and grievous fore,” or a political leprosy, which must also terminate in its destruction. Such is the picture of a sinking state, at the crisis of its diffolution, drawn by the allegorical pencil of
the propbet in five words. Is it not beautiful throughout ? How brief the figurative expression, and yet how comprehensive in description! Can we find, in Homer, Virgil, or Milton, a figure equal to it in elegance and sublimity? It is, however, the real portrait of the French monarchy from the year 1788, to the year 1792, when it was deltroyed, and a republic eltablished in its stead.
During this period (the period which embraces the events of the first vial) the political body of the French nation was covered over with political boils and ulcers, from the crown of the head to the foles of her feet. The monarch, the head of the state, was weak and ever undecided, resolving and receding, rejecting and then embracing the very measures he had before rejected, however corrupt and ruinous; in short, fo enfeebled by the ulcerated condition of the whole politic body, that he was incapable of executing any, when nothing but the strongest meafures could heal the distempered ftate. The mem. bers of his cabinet were corrupt, perfidious, and ambitious; adding to the public confusion, in hopes to ride prosperously even in the whirlwind of anarchy, and to direct the storm. The national councils, which, for the most part, consisted of the illiterate dregs of the people, were often changing from bad to worse. The most folemn and important of their debates were attended by anarchy and uproar, ever filencing the voice of reason and juftice. Their decrees were formed by factions without, and passed by the intimidating clamours and vociferations of the lowest dregs of the people in the galleries, hired for the purpose, within ; all tending to increase the public disorder, and, in short, to deftroy the constitution. The magistracy, to whom the execution of the laws, and the preservation of the public peace, were committed, not only entirely
neglected the duties of their offices, and thus let the people loose from all the restraints of law; but joined with others to break through the laws, and to aggravate the public diftemper. Thus the fluids of the head, and that part of the civil society called the State, no longer able rior fit to perform the offices assigned them by the constitution, becaine vitiated and corrupted, as it were, like the blood of a man when tending to a deadly and incurable leprosy.
But this is, ' by no means, all that is implied in this prophetic figure. The powers of the State, or body politic, foretold, must not only be corrupt. ed, but the corruption must break through the laws, the political skin, fo as not only to be grievous to the patient, but to be so fraught with injustice, villainy, and wickedness, as to be disgufting and offenfive to all upright and good men : for nothing short of this can answer to the figure of “ a noisome and grievous" political " sore. Now, to show the fimilitude bez tween such a fore, and the late political state of France, I shall only have occasion to take a summary view of the prominent facts, which produced the revolution. It is well known, that before the year 1788, and when the monarchy was in the foundest bealth and vigour, the great mass of the people of France, of all ranks and degrees (a small reminant excepted), had drunk large dranghts of that most destructive of all poisons, atheism.
They had been taught to believe, that there was “ no God! no " future state of rewards and punishments ;" and that “ death was 'only the eternal sicep of the soul." Having thos loft all sense of their duty and obedience to the GOD OF HEAVEN, it was not to be expected that they would long retain a sense of their subordination to a man, to their: king. Hence it became the fashionable topic, to speak of their fopereign, of the Son or God, and even of GOD HIM