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is cleared for the increase of that kingdom which will continue for ever. *
In the accomplishment of these awful, but in the end, glorious designs of God, by the execution of the seven last, plagúes, we may, I think, rationally expect that there will be a considerable correspondence of events with those of the trumpets, which gave birth to the present kingdoms of Europe. The symbols used, and the similarity of the objects affected, strikingly indicate this; but yet, seeing that circumstances so materially differ, we are not to expect an exact conformity : for although there may be a general likeness between the events of the vials poured on the earth, the sea, the rivers, and the sun, and those under the first four trumpets, yet it does not follow that in their ex. tent or duration they must be the same. This, or that rial, may bring calamities, more or less extensive and severe, than those of the trumpets; and yet the nature and the objects of the judgments may possess so distinct a conformity, and so general a likeness, as to assist us in ascertaining, with tolerable precision, the progress of them.
I beg leave also to observe, that though the hypothesis, that the present calamities in Europe are those last plagues which are to bring Babylon to an end, should be just, yet we are not to expect, in the present unfinished state of things, to be able to discover such a clear and perfect agreement between events and prophecy, as to remove every difficulty, and place the evidence in such a point of light as to produce irresistible conviction; especially on minds unused to such investigations, or which are biassed by prejudice. This is not to be expected till the whole scheme of Providence is completed, or, at least, farther advanced.
Indeed, it was never intended that prophecy should be without shade; nor that it should be easily understood and applied, before its completion. " It has been ob“ served (says Dr. Hurd) that, as the completion of pro" phecy is left, for the most part, to the instrumentality of “ free agents, if the circumstances of the event were pre“ dicted with the utmost precision, either human obstinacy as might be tempted to form, the absurd indeed, but cri" minal purpose, of counteracting the prediction. On “ the contrary, by throwing some part of the predicted
* Daniel, vii. 14.
" event into shade, the moral faculties of the agent have “ their proper play, and the guilt of an intended opposi" tion to the will of heaven is avoided. This reason “ seems to have its weight; and many others might still or be mentioned.” * But the same degree of shade is not always to remain. “ A certain degree of light (says the
same elegant writer) we will say, was to be communi56 cated from the date of the prophecy; but it is very “ conceivable, that the ages nearer the completion of it “ might be more immediately concerned in the event pre« dicted; and that till such time approached, it might be “ convenient to leave the prediction in a good degree of “obscurity. The fact answers to this presumption. Pro“phecies of very remote events, remote, I mean, from "s ihe date of the prediction, are universally the most ob
As the season advances for their accomplish“ ment, they are rendered more clear." +
At the beginning of this book, attention to its contents is enjoined ; and in this sixteenth chapter, a blessing is pronounced on those who watch; we shall therefore be found in our duty if we do what we can to know the signs of the times, and should we be able, for the present, to obtain only such a glimmering' evidence as may properly affect our minds, and induce us to act a suitable part, that we may be prepared for all events, our time will not be lost. The singularity of recent and passing events, is certainly such as to justify us in expecting some awful.crisis in human affairs; and such as to vindicate the Christian against the charge of wild enthusiasm, although he should entertain an unusual expectation of the fulfilment of those prophecies, which relate to the ruin of Babylon, and the coming of the kingdom of the Messiah.
And the first angel went and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. By comparing this vision with that of the first trumpet, which set all the north in motion, and brought a storm of hail and fire upon the earth, there are reasons for concluding that this first vial, which is poured upon the eurth, will produce similar calamities; namely, great military destructions, or extensive continental wars. I * Vol. I. p. 55.
† Page 56, 57. I The general coinmand to all the seven angels, is, (ver. 1.) Go your ways, und pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth : that is,
What is said, in chapter xi. 12, to follow immediately after the sounding of the seventh trumpet, which is the signal for these judgments, very much favours this expectalion, And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come. And, if recent events be compared with this, and what follows, the agreement is such as to justify a suspicion that the pouring out of this vial has commenced. Were the nations erer so angry as at the revolution in France ? and was the interposition of Providence for their chastisement ever more conspicuous? All the elements have conspired their defeat; and one nation has chased them all. In the style of Hebrew poetry,“ The stars in their courses “ have fought against them.”
7 he nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great, and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. What are we to understand by the time being come for judging the deud? “ One meaning of the Greek word upoñver
says Daubuz), is to sevenge the cause of any one by “ condemning. According to this notion of the word, " the meaning is, that it is now the time to hear the cause “ of the dead, in order to condemn their murderers by de“stroying them, and thus to revenge their deaths.” Lowman on this passage, note (0), says,
Apsveiv, judicare, sæpe est vindicare, itaque vbv, quode est upivelv, vel
Sinasarv, judicare per endinelv, vindicare vertitur, as Gro. “ tius observes. (Grot. in loc.) So that to judge, or to
try the cause of the dead, or the martyrs for the truth “ of the Christian religion, may very naturally be under“ stood to mean, a vindication of their cause, by some “ eminent act of Providence in favour of it ; as to vindi
cate, is a proper sense of judging ; and, I think, more
proper to the order and intention of the prophecy, than “ to understand it of the general judgment.
Thus far, upon the inhabitants of the Antichristian territory. “All the plagues “ have one subject affected by them in general (says Daubuz, that is, “the Antichristian party); but for all that, every plague falls singly
upon a different subject.” Eurth then, in the second verse, where it is the object but of one vial, must have a somewhat different signification to what it has in verse the first. That difference appears to me to be, that, whereas, in the former, it is used in the above general sense; in the latter, it is used to distinguish the nature and object of the calamitics which the first angel brings, froin those of the second, which are on the sea: Inaritiine countries, and naval affairs.
#hat has taken place in France countenances tie opinion that the revolution there is the fall of the tenth part of the city, and that the seventh trumpet has sounded, and the pouring out of the vials commenced. The Constituent Assembly rejudged the cause of those who had been martyred for a good conscience; declared them an injured people, who deserved well of mankind ; and, by a solemn decree, reversed the cruel laws which had been made againsť the Protestants, inviting the exiles to return and take possession of the estates of their fathers, which had been confiscated. Thus were the dead vindicated; and we have seen how their deaths and sufferings have been avenged on those classes and orders of men which were the active agents of persecution, and which were still the supporters of the same system; and blessed are they who continue faithful in sufferings for the truth, they shall have the reward of prophets and saints, and of them that fear God. *
The probability is that the seventh trumpet sounded in ninety-two, at the fall of the French monarchy, or when the Duke of Brunswick invaded France. And if so, it fola lows that the first angel then began to pour out his vial of wrath upon the earth, as a libation to divine justice; † and which has continued to flow to the present time.
How lòng it may
continue no one can say. Like the calamities of the first trumpet, it may, perhaps, for a long time, run parallel with those which are to follow it; now with a scanty, and then with a fuller stream.
And there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. “ A durable plague of war (says Sir Isaac Newton) is signified by a sore and pain.” I The
* Although truth and justice oblige the Author to speak in severe terms of certain orders of men, yet lie means no offence to individuals; for many, even of the papal church, he has the highest respect. None would he abridge of that liberty of conscience he claims for hiinself; and instead of rejoicing in the sufferings of any, he wishes he had power to put an end to the distresses of all. It is system; it is the corporation; it is L'Esprit Du Corps.
+ In the pouring out of these golden vials, or howls, there appears. an evident allusion lo those libations which were made in the ancient worship, both among the Jews and Heathens. Thus the blood of the sin. offering (Lev. iv. 7.) was poured by the officiating priest, at the botton of the altar; and what are called drink-offerings (Numb. sv. 5, 10.) were thus poured out in honour of God.
noisome and grievous sore here, appears to signify those extreme and dreadful calamities in the body politic, which bear some analogy to mortal sores and diseases in the natural body.*. And were men ever so chastised for their folly and crinies, as the confederates of Pilnitz, whose power has received a mortal wound; and whose kingdoms are not likely ever to recover from that disease, which they have contracted in the present contest ?
All our commentators have taught us, that the men on whom this sore falls, are the papal party. It would be happy if the vision justified us in concluding, that these only are to be atfected; but it fell upon the men teho hud the mark of the beast ; and upon them zeho worshipped his image. Every one knows who they are that have the mark of the beast; that they are those who are the slaves of the papacy, and the champions for ecclesiastical usurpations and corruptions; such as the Emperor, and others, with their subjects. But here appears to be an evident distinction of characters. Beside those who have the mark of the beast, those are also noticed who worship his image. To worship, is to honour and serve; and this image of the beast, appears to be that peculiar tyranny which Louis XIV. perfected in France; the image of the papacy; and though formed for the support of papal corruptions, was yet (contrary to every thing which is found in all other Catholic countries, where all ecclesiastical affairs are under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, and officers of his appointing), entirely dependent on the sovereign power of the French monarch, in whose court, by whose officers, and under the authority of whose edicts, Protestants were prosecuted for their religious tenets. Now, although those who have the mark of the beast, may also be the worshippers of this image, this similitude, of the papal beast; yet, this worship is not necessarily confined to them: Protestants may also devote themselves to support and defend this image-or, in other words, this government-when these last plagues are poured upon the Antichristian party; and who, as a punishment for becoming parties with those who are the enemies of God and men, and for allying themselves with them to resist
* What prayer, or what supplication soeder, shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shull know his own sore, and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hunds in this house; then hear thou from heaven. 2 Chron. vi. 29. Sore and grief are synonymous.