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already; and, therefore, the effects of the last vial, which include his utter destruction, will not reach much more than two hundred years from this time, and, consequently, these effects will soon begin to take place, if they have not already began in some measure; for, as the pouring out, or running, of the seven vials is limited to the one thousand two hundred and sixty years of the continuance of the beast, there are not two hundred years for each vial, and some may run longer, and others a shorter time of this space.
Some acquaintance with the history of the calamitous events which have taken place, answering to the prophetic description under those vials which have been poured out, is necessary in order to know how and when it has been fulfilled, and how many vials appear to have already run out, and which is now running. Mr. Lowman has taken pains to show, from many credible historians, that the remarkable calamitous events which have taken place, and which have especially affected the beast and his followers and brought great and distressing evils upon them, have answered to the evils and events described in prophetic language under the successive first five vials of wrath; and there appears to be satisfactory evidence that the judgments predicted under these vials have already been executed on antichrist and his supporters and followers, and that the reformation began by Luther, and the remarkable events attending it, was the judgment predicted by the pouring out of the fifth vial, to be inflicted on the beast and the church of Rome. This vial was to be poured out on the seat, or, as it is in the original, the throne, of the beast; " and his kingdom was full of darkness, and they gnawed their tongues for pain.” (Rev. xvi. 10.) When the Protestant reformation came on, Protestants nad light — had discerning and wisdom, prosperity and joy; but the pope and his followers suffered great vexation and anguish ; every event turned against them; their light was turned into darkness; their policy and counsels, by which they had prospered and obtained their ends before, were now turned into foolishness, and they were baffled and confounded; and their attempts to suppress the northern heresy, as they called it, and to crush the Protestants, proved abortive, and turned against themselves in a remarkable manner. And those events proved like a lasting, painful sore to them, from which they have not recovered to this day. “And they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.” They blasphemed God, by attributing what took place in favor of truth and the cause of Christ to the exertions and obstinacy of wicked men, and
calling the truths of the gospel, and holiness, espoused and propagated by the reformers, the delusions and works of Satan, and treating the reformation, and the work of God, as if it were the work of the devil. They also blasphemed the God of heaven, by persisting in their gross idolatry, worshipping saints and images, in the face of the light exhibited by the reformers, which idolatry is called blasphemy in the Bible; and the famous Council of Trent, which was called by the pope at that time, and sat eighteen years, were so far from complying with the reformation, that they anathematized the persons, doctrines, and practices by which it was introduced and supported; and formed decrees in favor of the power and tyranny of the pope, and the superstition and idolatry of the church of Rome, and in some instances went beyond any thing that had ever been decreed by any council before, in favor of these abominations. “ Thus they repented not of their evil deeds."
This vial began to be poured out near the beginning of the sixteenth century, in the year 1517, when Luther began to oppose the wickedness of the church of Rome and the power and evil practices of the pope; and from that time the influence and power, or throne, of this man of sin has been diminishing, and he is in a great measure deposed, and has fallen almost to the ground from that high throne and unlimited power in church and state to which he had, before that, aspired and risen. As it is near three hundred years since the fifth vial was poured out, there is good reason to conclude that the sixth vial began to be poured out and has been running from the latter end of the last century, at least, i. e., for a hundred years or more; that it is near run out, and the seventh and last vial will begin to run early in the next century. Whether this be so or not, may be determined with greater and more satisfactory evidence, by attending to the prophetic description of the events which are to take place under those vials; and as the sixth vial is supposed to be now running, there is reason to pay a more particular and careful attention to the prophetic language by which the events under this vial are expressed, that the meaning may be understood and applied to the events which are pointed out, so as to be clearly discovered, and the signs of these times be discerned by all who will properly attend to this interesting subject.
" 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 of the east might be prepared." Ancient Babylon was a type of the anti-Christian church of Rome.
By that, the church of Israel was afflicted and reduced to a state of captivity seventy years, until it was taken by Cyrus and Darius, whose kingdoms were east of Babylon. So the church of Christ has fallen under the power of this anti-Christian church, and power is given to the beast to make war with the saints, and to overcome them, and to continue forty-two months; therefore, the church of Rome is called Babylon in the Revelation.
The River Euphrates ran through Babylon, under the walls of the city, and a wide and deep moat, filled with water from the river, encompassed the city on the outside of the walls; so that the river was not only a defence to the city, but afforded
supply of water and fish, and other provisions, brought into it by water carriage. Cyrus, who came against Babylon with an army of Medes and Persians, took the city, by turning the water of the river from the usual channel, in which it went under the walls of the city, and ran through it, and dried up the water in that channel, by which a way was opened for his army to pass into the city under the walls, in the dried channel, where the river used to run. Accordingly the army marched in and took the city in the night, when the inhabitants were either asleep or intoxicated with drinking, as that was the time of a great festival. In that night the king of Babylon was slain, and Cyrus took the kingdom for his uncle Darius, the Mede. (Dan. v.)
In this prophecy there is an illusion to this manner of taking Babylon, by Darius and Cyrus, the kings of the east. The church of Rome is the antetype of Babylon. By the kings of the east are meant those, whoever they may be, who are or shall be enemies to the church of Rome, and wish to reduce and destroy it, and shall be made the instruments of it; as the eastern kings took Babylon, by drying up the River Euphrates. The riches and power of the pope and the church of Rome, and whatever serves as a defence and support of that church, answer to the River Euphrates in old Babylon, and the removal of those is meant by drying up the river, which will prepare the way for the enemies and opposers of this church to take possession of it and destroy it.
The river, in this sense of it, has been drying up for a century or more, while this sixth vial has been running, and there have been more remarkable instances of it in this century, some of which have been mentioned above, by which the riches of the church of Rome are greatly diminished, and she is stripped and becoming poor; and the power and influence
* See Prideaux's Connection, Part I. Book II.
of the pope is become very small and inconsiderable, and he is but little regarded by those who once worshipped him; and the way is fast preparing for the pope and his church to be hated, made desolate, and burned with fire." *
John goes on to relate a further vision which he had of events which are to take place under this vial, in the following words : “ 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. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” (Rev. xvi. 13, 14, 16.) This is the first time that the false prophet is mentioned. And it appears from what is said of this false prophet, in the twentieth verse of the nineteenth chapter, that he is the same with the second beast, which is described in the thirteenth chapter, by which is meant the hierarchy of the church of Rome, or the pope and his clergy, in their ecclesiastical capacity, claiming to have the sole jurisdiction, and to be infallible dictators in every thing that relates to Christian faith and practice. The beast, as distinguished from the false prophet here, is the civil power of the Roman empire, with which the pope is invested, which he has claimed and exercised, by which he became a beast.
The dragon is the devil, who is represented as a powerful, invisible agent, having a great hand in all the wickedness in the world, and has set up and animates the beast and false * prophet, making them instruments to answer his ends, being the spirit who works with all his power and deceptive cunning in these children of disobedience, and who are his children in a peculiar sense. These spirits are, therefore, the numerous spirits of devils who unite in one design, working miracles or wonders, as the word in the original is sometimes rendered, which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world; that is, to all men who dwell on the earth, great and small, high and low. What is the tendency and effect of these invisible, evil spirits, what they design and do aceomplish, when thus let loose, and suffered to go forth into all the world, there can be no doubt. They will corrupt the world, and promote all kinds of wickedness among men, to the ut. most of their power and skill, and excite mankind to rise against God and the Redeemer, and oppose and despise all divine institutions and commands; and, at the same time, to
See Edwards's Humble Attempt, &c, p. 153.
hate and destroy each other, and attempt to gratify every hateful lust of the flesh and of the mind, without restraint.
If any distinction is to be made between those evil spirits which are united in this same design, and like frogs pervade all places and assault all men, as the frogs did the Egyptians, in their attempts to seduce and corrupt them, especially those who live in the Christian world, that which comes out of the mouth of the dragon promotes infidelity, and influences and persuades men to renounce all religion, especially that which is inculcated in the Bible. The spirit which proceeds from the mouth of the beast inspires men with a worldly spirit, by which they are strongly attached to the things and enjoyments of this world, and eagerly pursue them, either by gratifying their fleshly appetites and lusts, in beastly uncleanness, and intemperance in eating and drinking, frolic and wantonness, or by indulging an avaricious spirit, which leads to all kinds of unrighteousness, and oppression of each other, according to their power and opportunity, or they eagerly pursue the bonors of the world, in the gratification of pride and haughtiness, striving to outshine others in dress and high living, or in distinguished posts of honor. And though some persons, under the influence of the spirit of the beast, are more inclined to some one of these, and others to another, yet the same per. son will often pursue them all, and seek to gratify the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. And all these will prevail more and more, under the influence of the spirit of the beast, and at the same time promote infidelity, and are promoted by that. The spirit which comes out of the mouth of the false prophet is a spirit of false religion and delusion, by which false doctrines and gross errors in principle and practice are imbibed and propagated.
These spirits of devils unite and are agreed in one design, to promote all kinds of vice and wickedness among men, and, to as great a degree as they possibly can, leading them to infidelity and impiety, and an endless train of gross errors and delusions in matters of religion, and hurrying them on in a greedy pursuit of the enjoyments of this world, in the indulgence of their lusts, and the gratification of their love of their own selves, and their pride in the practice of injustice and oppression, living in malice and envy, hating and speaking evil of one another, and engaging in fierce contention, cruel and destructive war, and murder. By this the world in general will be in arms against God and his Son; and they will be gathered and knit together, as one man, in open war with heaven and all the friends of Christ on earth. This is, doubtless, , meant by these spirits of devils going out into the whole