Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

origin from the fea, and return their waters to the fea, according to the wife man's observation, "All the rivers run into the fea; from whence "the rivers come, thither they return again," Eccl. i. 7.; fo the rulers derive their authority from the dominion of the ftate, while they exercise their authority to fupport that dominion in return. Again, the rivers mentioned in the third trumpet, according to the best interpreters, reprefent the rulers of Imperial Rome, the fall of the ftar, or of the imperial form of government, must have chiefly afflicted them with bitterness or forrow, because that fall implied the lofs of their authority and power; for though the government of Rome fubfifted for fome time after, it paffed from the former rulers into the hands of the Goths. From the refemblance betwixt that trumpet and this vial, I cannot doubt, that the objects of the plague are the rulers of Papal Rome; and who are these but the fuperior clergy of the church of Rome? This is confirmed by the fong of praise fung on that occafion: "Thou art righteous O Lord, "which art, and waft, and fhall be, because "thou haft judged thus: For they have shed "the blood of faints and of prophets, and thou "haft given them blood to drink; for they are "worthy." This is faid of the Babylonish woman, chap. xvii. 6. "I saw the woman drunk

"en

"en with the blood of the faints, and with the "blood of the martyrs of Jefus ;" and again, chap. xviii. 24. "In her was found the blood "of faints and of prophets, and of all that "were flain on the earth." Now, the deed of the church of Rome, as a collective body, is the deed of the rulers, and in fact all the murders of Christ's faithful followers, for a thousand years paft, have been perpetrated by them, or by their inftigation. Who raised an army of cross-bearers against the Albigenfes and Waldenses? Who put to death John Hufs and Jerom of Prague, notwithstanding the protection of the civil government? Who erected the infernal tribunal of the Inquifition? Who contrived the feveral private affaffinations and public maffacres that difgrace the annals of Europe fince the Reformation? The fame answer will fuit all these queries. The clergy of the .church of Rome. I cannot doubt, therefore, that they are the perfons who have shed the blood of faints and of prophets, and to whom a righteous God, by the pouring out of this vial, will give blood to drink. This laft claufe ferves to illustrate the nature of the plague, as the former points out the objects of it; it fhews that the deprivation or diminution of power (which is the spiritual meaning of it) shall be accompanied with bloodfhed taken in its literal mean

ing,

ing; fo that these rulers fhall drink plentiful draughts of the cup which they administered to others.

The angel of the waters refers to what is faid, chap. xi. 6. "Thefe have power over waters, " to turn them to blood," which confirms the obfervation formerly made, that thefe plagues are inflicted by the witneffes, after their re furrection and afcenfion. Not that I imagine the minifters of the church will perfonally take up the temporal fword to punish the rulers of Babylon, but they will procure the punishment threatened by their prayers, and shall shew that the time of punishment is come by their doctrine, while, after it is inflicted, they fhall demonftrate the juftice of God in the difpenfations of his providence, as ground of praife and thankfulness to his church. The angel of the altar may reprefent thofe who minifter at the altar, his declaring the righteous judgment of God may. fignify the heinoufness of the fins committed by thofe perfons on whom the vial is poured out; even the minifters of reconciliation an nounce to them not párdon, but judgment; and the place where atonement was wont to be made, fhall not afford to them any afylum, but procure certain deftruction; yet ftill in a confiftency with God's law, which ordains, that the murderers fhall be taken from his altar.

In a word, the princes of the world, and the ministers of the fanctuary, the people and the paftors of the church, fhall mutually join in an hymn of praise, when the judgment threatened in this vial fhall be executed.

The Fourth Vial.

86

"And the fourth angel poured out his vial on "the fun; and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were fcorched with great heat, and blafphemed the name of "God, which hath given power over these plagues; and they repented not to give him glory," Rev. xvi. 8, 9.

[ocr errors]

ઃઃ

SECTION VI.

[ocr errors]

The fun, moon, and ftars, in prophetic language, represent the government of any state, including the supreme and fubordinate powers. Darkening the fun, moon, and stars, fignifies the extinguishing of the government, destroying either its religious or political existence. Thus, when the fixth feal was opened, "the fun be"came black as fackcloth of hair, and the moon "became as blood; and the ftars of heaven fell

unto the earth," Chap. vi. 12, 13. Expreffions which intimate the diffolution of the PaDd gan

gan Roman empire, as to its religious exiftence, an event fulfilled by Conftantine. So, when the fourth trumpet founded, "the third part of the "fun was fmitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the ftars, fo as "the third part of them was darkened, and the day fhone not for a third part of it, and the "night likewife." Expreffions denoting, according to the best interpreters that the government of Imperial Rome, as to its political existence, fhould be destroyed. An event fulfilled by Totila.

ઃઃ

66

The fun therefore affected by the

plague of this vial, must be the supreme power in Papal Rome. Now, the fupreme power in Papal Rome, muft be the Pope. Some indeed, for obvious reafons, pretend that the fupreme power in the present Roman empire belongs, in temporals to the Emperor; in fpirituals, to general councils. But to remove the doubts which may arife from this variety of opinions concerning the fupreme power in Papal Rome, it will be fufficient to obferve that this prophecy invariably represents the ruler of Rome and its territory, as the head of the beaft, typifying the Roman empire, even he who exercises the fe venth or laft form of Roman government within the city. This defcription cannot apply either to the Emperor of Germany or to councils; but the uniformity of the emblem requires that the

head

« PoprzedniaDalej »