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Præfectures were reduced to three. Compare Rev. viii. 12. with Gibbon, vol. ii. p. 42. 133. and Dr. Cressener's Judgments of God, &c. p. 34–40.
Ver. 10. And the fifth ungel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast. This must be considered as referring to those calamities which God intends to bring more immediately upon the papal government and cause, and unon that city and country where the throne of the beast stands: and which are to be such as will fill the kingdom of the beast with darkness. For though this judgment will not at once effect the ruin of the Papal empire, yet, as from a centre, misfortunes and miseries shall spread far and wide.
Ver. 12. And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the greut river Euphrates, and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. The Turkish empire also shall experience the wrath of God for their abominable oppressions, and not only tidings from the north (Russia) but from the east (Persia and Arabia) shall trouble him, as predicted Dan. xi. 44. and thus a way be prepared for the return of the Jeivs to their own land, previous to their conversion to Christianity. But the beast does not yet expire.
Ver. 14. 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
* From comparing this passage with chap. xii. I am induced to suppose, that by the dragon here the emperor of Germany, the more immediate successor of the Roman emperors, is intended; by the beast, the Pope as the bend of the spiritual monarchy of Europe; or, in our more common style, the evil genius of that spurious christianity established in Europe; and by the false prophet, (as Bishop Newton and Dr. Doddridge understand it) the second beast in chap. xiii. 11. (i. e. the French monarchy.) This will evidently appear to every impartial person, to be the second beast, if we compare this place with chapters xli. 13. 14. and xix. 20. He is thus called, because, like the false prophets of old, he engages himself in support of tyranny and idolatry. The word Naba, the root of Nabia, a prophet, signifies in general to declare the mind of another. Thus Aaron, (Ex. vii. 1.) is styled Moses's prophet. And with equal propriety might the French monarchy, in the hieroglyphic language be styled the false prophet of the Pope. These tyrannic powers are to exert themselves to engage all the kings of the earth, in that war in which all the kingdoms and churches of the beasts empire will suffer a general wreck.
They are the spirits of devils working miracles. No one supposes these to be true miracles. This figurative language is used to set forth those violences, impostures, lies, and frauds, with which they are to deceive or trighten men, and thus bring them into their destructive measures.
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. Here it may be proper to remember, that in symbolic hieroglyphics, a frog was the figure by which the ancients represented an impostor, and hence the Oneiro-critics, or interpreters of dreams, taught, that as to dream of a dragon signified majesty; of a serpent, disease ;
a viper, money, &c. so to dream of frogs signified impostors. See Warb. Div, Leg. B. iv. sect 4.' These unclean spirits, therefore, (for God condescends to speak to men in their own way) represent the odious impostors who are to act as the agents of these tyrannies to betray the kings of the earth and their armies into those hostile measures which will be so overruled by the Providence of God as to terminate in their general destruction,
Ver. 15. Behold I come as a thief! Blessed is he that watcheth. This will take place at a time when men in general will have no expeetation of it, but will say in their heart*, " Where is the promise of his coming ? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning:”. They will calculate events on common principles, and deceive themselves into ruin. Blessed is he that watcheth.
Ver. 16. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon, or the mountain of Megiddo, thus called because it shall be a place more remarkable for slaughter than Megiddo, ever was, Judges v. 19. 2 Kings ix. 27. and Zech. xii. 11. May our country, in that day, whether it be near or afar off, if not engaged on the side of the King of kings, be far from the mountain of slaughter! Though much blood lies at our door, yet in this country, above most others, the civil and religious rights of mankind have been protected. Let us hope, therefore, that when the Judge of all the earth shall make inquisition for blood, our portion will not be unmixed wrath, for though, with the rest of the nations who are to be purified by affliction, we must expect to share in the cup of trembằing, here is ground for confidence in prayer, that mercy may be mixed with judgment; for the judgment of God will be a judgment of proportion. Where there has been most oppression, where sin has been most triumphant, and especially where there has been most persecution of conscience, there will the heaviest woes
. 2 Pet. üi. 4.
fall. Let us therefore repent and seek God: This is at all seasons necessary, but an additional motive enforces it, when the signs of the times suggest some very signal crisis to be at hand. For wbether men will see it or not, all things do not continue as they were from the beginning, *** For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord.”
It is but to read a few of those propbecies which speak of the wars and judgments of the latter times of the world, to conceive the most tremendous idea of the carnage which will be made of mankind, and of the fury of the vengeance then to be poured out. When the prophets describe these judgments, it is generally, though not always, under the names of those nations which bordered upon Palestine, and which were the most inveterate and dangerous enemies of Israel, such as Assyria, Egypt, Moab, Edom, Tyre, and others. This must be concluded, as Lowth, Niede, and others of our most able commentators argue, because those judgments which they denounce are often spoken of as decisive strokes, that should thoroughly vindicate the cause of oppressed truth and innocence, and put a final period to idolatry, and to all the miseries and oppressions of God's people. They are often represented as the immediate preludes of the restoration of Israel, and the season of universal peace.
To times yet to come are such prophecies as these to be referred. Isa. xiv. 24. " The Lord of hosts' hath sworn, surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass, that I will break the dssyrian in my land; then shall bis yoke depart from off thee.—This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all nations.” -Chap. xxvi. 20. “ Come, my people, enter into thy chambers, hide thyself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation be
overpast. For behold the Lord coming out of his place, to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. The earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. In that day (chap. xxvii.i.) The Lord with his sore, and great, and strong sword, shall punish Leviathan, the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent, and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea." Chap. Ixiii. 1.--6. " Who is this that cometh from Edom, with died garments from Bozrah:-1 that speak
* Ps. xii. 5.
in righteousness, "mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that tread. eth in the wine-fat ?-1 have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me; for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my rajment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.”
The prophet Joel, also prophecying of these calamities, says, (chap. iii.) “ Behold, in those days, and in that time, (when God will shew wonders in the heavens, and in the earth, chap. ii. 30.) (namely, the political heavens and earth, states and kingdoms,) when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, (which may mean any place where the Lord will execute judgment, for so the word Jehoshaphat signifies in the original,) and will plead with them there for my people.” Ver. 9. " Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles, prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. Beat your plough-shares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. (Thy mighty angel, says Lowth, to discomfit thine enemies.) Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come, get ye down, for the press is full, the fats overflow, for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision."
By Ezekiel, (Chap. xxviii.) God says of the Tyrus of the latter day, “ Because thine heart is lifted up; and thou hast said I am a God, I sit in the seat of God in the midst of the seas--I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations, and they shall draw their sword, against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness, they shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of those that are slain in the midst of the seas. By the multitude of thy merchandise they liave filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned ; therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God, () covering cherub, &c.” Should this prophecy prove to refer to this country, as there is some
reason to fear, it is not difficult to gather what the nature of the awful punishment is, which our sins are preparing for us.
In Zech xiii. 7.-9. there seems to be a prediction of the same times. All are agreed, that the twelfth and fourteenth chapters refer to the restoration, conversion, &c. of the Jews, nor is there but one objection that is at all plausible, to the whole of this thirteenth being applied to the same times. Part of verse 7, at least the sense of it, is applied (Matth. xxvi. 31.) to the scattering of Christ's disciples at his death. I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But this appears to have been only an accommodation of this passage, or of the sense of this and of other passages, a usual practice with the New-Testament writers. (See Matth. ii. 15,-17. xiii. 35. John xv. 25.) Or our Lord might speak thus in conformity to a common place maxim, " Smite the shepherd, cut off the leader, and his followers will disperse. The thread of the prophecy seems to require a different interpretation than what has been usually given to this passage. Unity of design should always be attended to in the study of the prophetic writings, as well as of other compositions; nor should we suppose so violent a break in the discourse of a prophet, as some suppose here, unless we should be involved in an evident contradiction without it.
In chap. xi. is predicted the rejection of the Messiah by the Jews, and their punishment and dispersion on this account. In chap. xii. we have their return and conversion. In the beginning of the xiiith the pardoning grace which shall be extended to them. Then follows the destruction of idolatry, and the contempt under which the Antichristian clergy, who have the mark of the beast in their hands, (Rev. xiv. 9.) and who have worn garments to deceive the simple, shall fall, and the shifts to which they shall be reduced to escape the vengeance of mankind.
. Verse the seventh is a call to the sword of justice, to awake against the man of sin, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped ; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God, 2 Thess. ii, 4. He calls himself the vicar of Christ, and God's vicegerent upon earth, arrogating to himself the attributes and prerogatives of deity, and is here therefore ironically called God's fellow. Against him is God's sword to awake, and the priesthood, and all