« PoprzedniaDalej »
"done, and there is nothing new under the "fun." Nor can we wonder at this fimilarity of events in every period, when we reflect that the fame God carries on the fame end, and governs the fame fubjects; for," as face answer"eth to face in a glafs, fo does the heart of "man to a man." Now an attention to the conduct of Providence would rectify that love of the marvellous, and that expectation of extraordinary interpofitions, which have frequently led to error, in the application of prophecy. To the influence of these principles, are owing partly the blindness of the Jews, in applying the prophecies concerning the Meffiah, and the extravagance of the primitive fathers, in their conjectures concerning Antichrift; while Popish writers have availed themselves of the fame principles, for the defence of the Papacy against the charge of Antichriftianism, by describing 'Antichrift with fuch characters as neither have been, nor fhall be verified in the world. Directed by these observations, I proceed to illustrate the vials in their order, by offering probable conjectures concerning the events reprefented by them.
The First Vial.
"And I heard a great voice out of the temple, faying to the feven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the firft went, and pour"ed out his vial upon the earth; and there fell "a noifome and grievous fore upon the men "which had the mark of the beaft, and upon "them which worshipped his image," Rev. xvi. I, 2.
The church being now constituted, and bles fed with the divine presence, by the voice of her public teaching, directs to the time and manner of inflicting the last plagues on the adherents of Antichrift. Accordingly, having iffued her mandate," the first angel went and poured 66 out his vial on the earth." The firft trumpet brought a plague on the earth. The earth there represents the territory, or rather the subjects of Imperial Rome. Here it muft fignify the perfons fubject to the spiritual jurisdiction of Papal Rome. Accordingly the perfons affected by it, are the men who had the mark of the beaft, and worshipped his image. The plague occafioned
occafioned by it, is "à noifome and greivous "fore." This unquestionably refers to one of the plagues of Egypt, Exod. ix. 9. But a fore taken spiritually, fignifies fin, which is a disease and deformity of the foul. To this purpose the prophet uses thefe expreffions: "The whole "head is fick, and the whole heart faint; from "the fole of the foot even to the head, there is "no foundnefs in it, but wounds and bruifes, "and putrifying fores," Ifa. i. 6. which reprefent figuratively what he had faid plainly, (ver. "4.), Ah! finful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a feed of evil doers, children that are corrupters." I humbly apprehend, therefore, that the event pointed out in this vial, is, That the impiety and immorality of the Popish superstition shall be convincingly urged on the followers of the beast at the period specified, fo that the boldeft defenders of that fuperftition shall not be able to contradict the evidence, but must retire with fecret anguish from the field of argument, like the magicians of Egypt, who would not stand before Mofes, because of their boils, Exod. ix. 11. I am the more inclined to this opinion, because the witneffes are the agents, by whom all these plagues are inflicted; and the Reformation furnishes an event fimilar to the plague of this vial. At that time every tongue was employed, every pen was occupied, in defcribing
fcribing the deformity of Popery. Nor were thofe efforts vain, princes and people lent an attentive ear, multitudes were convinced that the charge was juft,
The Second Vial.
"AND the second angel poured out his vial upon the fea, and it became as the blood of a "dead man; and every living foul died in the "fea," Rev. xvi. 3.
When the fecond angel founded his trumpet, the third part of the fea became blood. It fignified then a diminution of the dominion of imperial Rome, for the dominion of a state protects the fubjects, as the fea furrounds the land. Now, a diminution of the dominion of Rome was certainly the second step in the progress of the northern nations. In their first attack they plundered the fubjects, but afterwards retired with their booty to their own country; but in their following attacks they took poffeffion of the countries they invaded, erected independent kingdoms, detached whole provinces from the empire, and fo diminished the dominion of the city, It appears to me obvious, therefore, that by
by the second vial there will be a fimilar diminution of the dominion of Papal Rome. Of this event likewise, we have fome view in a parallel event at the Reformation. Whole kingdoms renounced the Papal jurifdiction, and fo leffened the Pope's dominion; but it is probable the diminution will be very great, when this vial is poured out; for we are told, that" every living foul which was in the fea died." In the fecond trumpet, a third part of the fea is mentioned, here the whole fea; the reafon may be, that Imperial Rome never extended her conquefts, nor claimed a dominion beyond a third part of the earth; but Papal Rome claims a dominion over the whole earth, and has in fome refpect established it among all nations, by her emiffaries.
The Third Vial.
"AND the third angel poured out his vial ' upon the rivers, and fountains of waters; and
they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters," chap. xvi. 4, 5, 6, 7. The rivers fitly reprefent all the rulers of a state, taken collectively; for as the rivers derive their origin