Page images

Vial 3.-Ver. 4.-5. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and

fountains of water, and they became blood."

This vial gives us a more literal and unequivocal description of the country and people, upon which it was to be poured out, than the laft. It is to be poured out upon that country which contains the greatest number of « rivers and fountains of 6. water.” If this be the natural sense of the verse, there can be no doubt but ihat Germany is that country. It contains a greater number of rivers and fountains than any other country upon the earth. Examine the map of the world, and then cast your eye upon Germany, and you will see the great river Oder emptying its waters into the Baltic, upon the north ; the Elbe, the Weser, the Rhine, and the Meuse, into the German Ocean on the weft; the

; Rhone and the Adige on the fouth. Og and the Drave into the Black Sea on the east ; and all their innumerable tprings and fountains rifing in ancient Germany; and, after watering that country, pouring out their floods into their respective oceans. So many and so great rivers and fountains are not to be found in any other country whatever, and therefore we may fafely conclude, it is the country upon which this vial was to be poured out. Ancient Germany heretofore has had her wars, in common with other nations. They have been partial only; nor has her independence been in danger.” But never until the last has the whole of Germany been involved. Never before has fhe fuffered such havoc and defolation, loft so much territory, fo many of her people, and so much blood. The Netherlands, Holland, Switzerland, and all the ftates of the left bank of the Rhine, after they have endured all the woes, that the rapine and cruelties of war could inflict, have been reduced from a state of independence


among nations to the galling yoke of republican and atheistical despotism; from a state of commerce and wealth, to poverty; and from a state of social order, peace, and happiness, to that of internal discord and anarchy, the worst of all woes. Nor has the defolating arms of France stopped here. They have penetrated into the heart of Germany, not as common enemies, but as rapacious and blood-thirsty vultures ; destroying the people, levying the heaviest contributions; and seizing upon property wherever found; until the emperor, trembling for the fate of his throne, has been obliged to accept of a most ignomi. nious peace, dictated by his unprincipled and unrelenting enemy himself: a peace which will enable that enemy, at his pleasure hereafter, to overwhelm Germany with numbers, and to trample upon its throne. Such seem to be the judgments of an Almighty God, lately inflicted upon this, unhappy country, for her apoftasy from his holy'word to papal idolatry, and the innumerable cruelties and perfecutions committed upon the church of Christ.

I am naturally led to the last fentiment, by the two following verses. In them the prophet informis us, that after the first thrée vials were poured out, he heard " THE ANGEL OF THE WATERS” say, “o thote “ art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wait, and “ Thalt be, because thou hast judged thus *: For " they have shed the blood of the saints and pro

phets, and thou hast given them blood to drink f? We ask here, where are the nations to be found which history declares have been remarkable for “ shedding the blood of the faints and prophets," save Papal France, Papal Germany, and Papal Rome? From the calculations of fome authors, they have put to death thirty millions of Chriftians,

[ocr errors]

* Ver. 5.

ť Ver. 6,

in the short space of forty years (how many then must they have destroyed in many centuries ?) for no other crime but because they would not defert their faith in the word of God, and embrace abominable idolatry,

But who is this ANGEL OF THE WATERs An angel is a person, either spiritual or temporal, whom God employs to perform his will. The word is generally applied to intellectual and spiritual beings, the ministers sent to execute the orders of his providence *. But it is also made use of by the prophet himself, to denote an elder or chief, presiding over a Chriftian church. Where he is ordered to write to the seven churches, he is directed to address his epistles to the respective “ angels” or presidents of those churches f. In this sense only can the word

angel,” in this verse, be properly understood. But it still remains to be inquired into, who is this president or chief ruler of a church? The text gives at least a probable answer. It is the angel of the “ waters," or a person whom God, in the course of his providence, has sent to prefide with power on or over the waters. Hence it seems, that “ the angel o of the waters" here is not only a metaphor for a chief ruler of a Christian church, but a defender of its interest and safety, upon the ocean or the great waters; one whose naval force is superior to all others upon the sen. If I am right in this consiruction of the text (and I think it will admit of no other), may we not, with a degree of hope, if not of confidence, look up to OUR BELOVED SOVEREIGN, George III. (and under him this greatly favoured nation) as the object here alluded to ? From his youth he has been a fingular example of virtue and piety, to all the kings and princes of Europe. He is the head of the Pro

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

* Heb. i. 7.

+ Rev. ii. 1. 8. 12.


teftant church. He is not merely the nominal, but real defender of the faith. While in these dreadful times, the designs of other nations have been smitten with weakness and folly, he has been highly blest in the wisdom and steadiness of his councils, in the sup, pression of the traiterous designs of his intestine, and in repelling the invasion of his foreign enemies, and more especially, in his naval victories over their formidable feets. They were victories fo miraculously seasonable, that they have saved Great Britain, if not the world, from anarchy and ruin; and victories so decisive, that the greater part of the naval force of the enemy has been destroyed, and the remainder compelled to seek for safety under the ftrong walls of their fortifications, and to leave the King of this island, the 'unrivalled sovereign of the

THE ANGEL OF THE WATERS." GRACIOUS God! how undeserved, and yet how abundant are thy mercies! Whilst thou art thus pouring out the vials of thy wrath upon surrounding nations, thou art not only sparing us, but crowning us with triumph and honour! O that the fons and daughters of Great Britain, with hearts deeply impressed with thy goodness, would rightly consider their temporal and eternal interests, and seek thee whilst thou art to be found ! that they would redouble their gratitude, their love of thy divine truths, and their obedience to, thy holy will, that they may, when these dreadful vials shall be emptied, be thought worthy to proclaim to the world, “ Thou art worthy, O LORD, which art, " and wast, and shalt be, because Thou hast judged ( thus."



Vial 4.-Ver. 8,9:-"And the fourth angel “ poured out his vial on the sun : and power was « given unto him to fcorch men with fire. And

men were scorched with great heat, and blafphemed the name of God, who had power over

66 these

R 2

* these plagues, and they repented noť to give
- Him the glory."

cil. I have shown before, that the first vial refers to the state of France under thofė bloody tumults, insurrections, and massacres, which led to the destruction of the monarchy, and the confequent revolution: the fecond, to the deposition of the Pope ; and the third to the devaftation of the French armies in Germany. Here, in the fourth, he refumes the prophetic hiftory of the events in France, which followed those of the first vial. He begins with the most remarkable event, the murder of the King and proceeds, in due order, to those which immediately followed, down through the reign of terror, to the death of that frightful monster Roberspierre. This will appear not improbable, when we translate the text into its literal meaning. This vial was to bé « poured out upon the fin." The Sun is a great, powerful, and fplendid body, in the natural world. It is therefore an apposite and beautiful type for a great and powerful monarch in the political world, keeping a brilliant and magnificent court. It is the lame type which was made use of by Ifaiah for the king of Babylon, when foretelling the destruction of that grand and powerful empire *. The fame'is used to denote the emperor by the prophet, when predicting the decline and fall of pagan Rome, while in the zenith of her power, splendour, and glory. Now the monarchy of France had been for ages before, and was, at the time of the late revolution, the most powerful of any in Europe. The surrounding nations have often been obliged to combine their forces, to save themselves from her inroads and oppreffion. Her Kings have displayed, in their court, the utmost splendour and magnificence, far

[ocr errors]

Chap. xiii. ro. Ezek. xxxii. 7.

+ Rev.'vi. 12.


« PreviousContinue »