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the present argument. He says, sect. 6. « The saints and churches of France, God has made a wonder to me in all his proceedings towards them, first and last; and there would seem some great and special honour reserved for them yet at the last; for it is certain, that the first light of the gospel, by thát first and second angel's preaching in chapter the fourteenth (which laid the foundation of Antichrist's ruin) was out from among them, and they bore and underwent the great heat of that morning of persecution, which was as great, if not greater, than any since. And so, as that kingdom had the first great stroke, so now it should have the honour of having the last great stroke in the ruin of Rome.”
Sect. 5th, he says, on Rev. xi. “ By the earthquake here is meant a great concussion or shaking of states, political or ecclesiastical. The effect of this earthquake, and fall of this tenth part of the city, is killing seven thousand of the names of men.-Now, by men of name, in scripture, is meant men of title, office, and dignity. As in the case of Corah's conspiracy, so here a civil punishment falls upon these. For having killed these witnesses, themselves are to be killed (haply) by being bereft of their names and titles, which are to be rooted out for ever, and condemned to perpetual forgetfulness.'
The singular agreement of present events with what these authors foretold from the prophecies, so many years ago, is a circumstance which merits the serious attention of all wise and considerate men; for it certainly adds great weight to the conjecture, that what has taken place in France, is the beginning of the final downfal of the Papal usurpations and tyrannies. And if it should be so, woe be to them who attempt to uphold what God has willed to fall! In the ordinary wars which nations have waged, they have, perhaps, lost one or two hundred thousand lives, and slaughtered as many of their enemies; countries have been laid waste, and taxes incurred, to the oppression of the industrious; but in other respects they may have sat down much as they were; but if the present contest be what there is reason to suspect it, not merely a war of man against man, but of God against Antichristian usurpations and oppressions, the issue to those who oppose his designs, must be different. Though, as was the case with the Assyrians, and with Cyrus *,
* Isa. x. 5-7.
the instruments which he uses may not know him, or mean to fulfil* his will, yet they may be the rod of his anger to accomplish his councils.
Let us now revert to the question, What are to be the consequences of the resurrection of the witnesses? Soon after it, the seventh trumpet is to sound, which is the signal for the seven angels to pour out their vials of God's wrath upon the Antichristian kingdom.-Has this seventh trumpet been blown? Is it sounding? Or is it about to sound for the angels to prepare to execute the vengeance of God, on the mother of harlots and all abominations ? My heart trembles at the idea of those calamities which are to sweep the earth, and of those convulsions which shall shake kingdoms and nations ! “ Who would not fear thee, ( King of nations ? for to thee doth it appertain! At thy wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide thine indignation + !
As to the gathering of the harvest and vintage in the fourteenth chapter, the time seems not yet come for their elucidation. I am inclined to think that they properly fall under one or more of the vials. The latter, as Dr. Goodwin has explained it, seems to be a vision of the vengeance which is to be executed
the Protestant party z for the wine-press is said to be trodden without the city, i. e. without the jurisdiction or reach of the city of Rome; and is represented in a separate vision, on purpose to shew that vengeance will fall even upon such kingdoms and nations as had cast off the Pope's supremacy: Dr. Gill and others have supposed, that the Protestant nations will again return to Popery, and persecute with great violence. But Dr. Goodwin's idea is more probable. He says, in his Exposition, Part II. chap. i. “ Whether the wine-press will be brought into this country, he only knows who is the Lord both of the harvesť and the vintage;" (reader, mark well what follows,) “ only this may be more confidently affirmed, that those carnal Protestants in England and other places, who like the outward court have been joined to the people of God, shall yet, before the expiration of the beast's kingdom and number I, be more or less given up to the Papists, * Isa. xlv. 4.
t Jer, x. 7–10. The number of the beast, as we have endeavoured to prove above, is the tyranny of the French monarchs, and as to have the mark of the beast, is to pay homage to the first beast, the usurped power of the Pope and his clergy: so to have this number is to be devoted to the support of the tyranny of the second beast.
and be made to vail to them, if not all of them, by bloody wars and conquests, yet by some base and unworthy yielding to them, as a just punishment of their carnal profes, sion of the gospel." And the wine-press was trodden without the city, and the blood came out of the wine-press, even unto the horses bridles, by the space of a thousand and sir hundred furlong's. The Lord avert from this country such a judgment!
How incompetent is man to judge of the ways of God! -While the trumpet is blowing, and the angels are preparing to pour the divine vengeance on the heads of tyrants and their supporters, and to spread desolation and woe for the sins of men, the great army of saints and martyrs in heaven sing, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints !- All nations shall come and worship before thee, for thy judgments are made manifest! chap.
Rev. xvi. I. And I heard a great voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels, Go your ways and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.-It appears to me, that although we must suppose a conformity to the order of the vision, in inflicting the plagues of these seven vials, yet, perhaps, it will not be such a formal one, as to exclude all mixture. It strikes me, that although the vial which is to be poured out upon the earth, will commence first, and that on the sea follow, yet their falling streams will mingle; and although the full torrent of the latter vials may not commence, yet some small portion of them may be dashed upon the rivers, the sun, or the throne of the beast, while the first are pouring out; and although the plagues of the latter vials will commence last, as in the vision, yet the streams of the former may still be running. The angels saying of this woe, that it cometh quickly, and the circumstance of the seven angels with their vials all appearing, and being sent out at the same time, supposes that they will all be employed together, to execute their missions on the several objects of the divine displeasure. And we may hope that these judgments will soon be over.
Were I to detail half the opinions of authors on the following objects of the Divine vengeance, adding to them my own conjectures, this pamphlet would swell into a folio; but as I apprehend that the events which are here
represented have not yet taken place, or at most, are but now commencing, my reflections shall be short.
Ver. 2. And the first went-and poured out his vial upon the earth, and there fell a noisome and grieveus sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. The pouring out of this vial upon the earth may possibly refer to some particular country on the main, I suppose France, where the judgments of God are to commence; or, perhaps, we may be taught by this emblem, that the downfal of the Antichristian kingdom shall begin with terrible wars on land, in which God's wrath shall be manifested against those armies of land forces which have for so many ages been the basis of tyrannic power, and who, at the nod of despots, have slaughtered their fellow-creatures, without either thinking or caring about the justice or injustice of the cause ; who have been the base instruments, without a motive, of desolating nations, and of carrying unnumbered woes from one end of the earth to the other. But the time of judging the cause of the dead is come, and both they who have the mark of the beast, i.e. who are the subjects and slaves of the Papacy, and they (of whatever country or religion) who worship, or only serve and endeavour to , support the image of the beast, (which, according to what appears from chap. xiii. is the tyranny of the Antichristian party in France, all such as serve this image of the beast, though not Papists and slaves to Rome) shall experience such chastisements and disappointments in their attempts to support what God has determined to overthrow, and such violent and successful attacks on their power, that they shall be aillicted in their political body, with such a sore, as shall make them noisome to all nations, and be grievous to themselves.
Ver. 3. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea, and it became as the blood of a dead man, and every living soul died in the sea. As in Isa. Ix. 5. • The abun. dance of the sea shall be converted unto thee," means the inhabitants of islands, or of lands come at by sea, and as by the sea, chap. viii. 8. was intended the maritime countries of Europe, and as “ woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea,” chap. xii. 12, means woe to the inhabitants of coiitinents and of islands, all mankind with, in the reach of the dragon, so the pouring out of this second vial on the sea, may indicate those calamities which God will bring upon his enemies, the supporter
of Papal tyrannies, in maritime countries, and on their navies and commerce. And.so great will the destruction and miseries be, that the sea will not only be stained with blood, but become as the blood of a dead man; stagnant and putrid.
Ver. 4. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of water, and they became blood, &c. This may be a representation of those judgments which are to fall on the inhabitants of inland countries, and where rivers abound, and have their sources. The calamities which are to attend this vial, are to be peculiarly grievous. This may be concluded from the following circumstance: I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, 0 Lord !-Thou hast given thema blood to drink, for they are
rthy. The blazing star, or comet, which fell upon the third part of the rivers, and fountains of water, chap. viii. 10. appears to have had its fulfilment in the wars which laid waste the countries bordering on the Danube, the Rhine, and the Po, and especially the latter, when Attilla, with his Huns, made his terrible irruption about the year 452: it will therefore be worth our while to observe the progress of things in these countries.
Ver. 8. And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun. Mr. Mede
this sun to be some splendid potentate of Europe, as the Emperor or the King of Spain. But I should rather suppose it to represent despotism in general, more than any one individual monarch or monarchy, and that the judgment here signified is some great and very general affliction which is to fall upon the monarchs of the beast's empire. For as the scene of the vision is laid in the divided Roman empire, which is considered as one political universe; and as, from necessity, there can be admitted but one sun in such universe, hence all the sovereigns must be considered as so many component parts of that sun; as was the case with the three-fold division of the sovereign authority of the old Roman empire after the death of Constantine the Great, when the four
A friend has favoured me with an extract froin the works of Mr. R. Fleming, who, in a sermon, printed 1701, applies it to the French monarchy, and says: “ Whereas Louis XIV. took the sun for his emblem, and for his motto, Nec pluribus impar, he may at length, or rather his successor, and the monarchy itself, before the year 1794, be forced to acknowledge, that in respect to neighbouring potentates, he is singulis impar; but as to the expiration of this vial, I fear it will not be before the end of the year 1794.”