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a stone for a corner, nor stones for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the Lord. The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof." The substance then of the prediction is, that Rome, which, like Babylon, had been a destroying mountain, should be made a remarkable example of divine vengeance; that she should be visited with slaughter and desolation; that a large number should be destroyed by the wars in the provinces dependent on her; that the sources of her wealth and her naval power should in a great degree be cut off.
Turn to history, and see whether this was verified. The last trumpet conducted us to 453. Two years afterwards, Genseric at the head of his Vandals, came from Africa to Rome: for fourteen days and nights the captured city was given up to indiscriminate pillage; the empress Eudoxia and her two daughters were carried captive; and the city never recovered its former power. In 471, it was again besieged, taken, and plundered, by Ricimer, a Roman general, at the head of the barbarians who had served under him. In these and in similar manners, it was cast down from its elevation.
The third trumpet sounded; "and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp; and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood, and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters. because they were made bitter."
A star falling from heaven signifies in the prophetic language, the deposition of a prince, or the apostacy of a minister of religion. In the former sense, you recollect it is used of the king of Babylon: "How
art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" and so in other places. In this sense it must here be used, for St. John is speaking of the empire of Rome. The effect of the fall of this star was (not to turn the waters into blood,) not to produce slaughter, but to be made bitter; to cause great public distress by the inefficacy and confusion of government; to turn the streams and sources of defence and comfort into the bitterness of disappointment and disgust.
Turn again to history. You find Odoacer, king of the Heruli, in the year 476, taking Rome, deposing Momyllus, or Augustulus, putting a period to the western empire, and himself assuming the name of king of Italy. The consequence was, "that the great benefits of government were no longer enjoyed; all authority became despicable by weakness or mismanagement. Instead of protection and civil advantages, the people every where languished in .distress, and knew not where to apply for justice or defence. Such a state of things may with great propriety be represented by the rivers and fountains of water being made bitter with wormwood."
The fourth trumpet sounded, "and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise."
The darkening of the sun, moon, and stars, is, as you have seen, the constant and natural emblem of the diminution and destruction of political glory and influence. This is here foretold, with regard to the western empire. Notwithstanding the fall of the imperial star, yet the former government of Rome. its senate, its consuls, and its other magistrates.
nominally continued. They remained during all the wars and commotions that intervened from 476 till 568, when Justin II. emperor of the east, sent Longinus to Italy, who deprived Rome of all its authority, and reduced it to the form of a small duchy, of which he was the first exarch. Its authority was entirely destroyed by these humbling and striking events, and its political heavens eclipsed.
The chapter concludes with the annunciation of the three wo-trumpets, that will usher in events that are intended, not for reformation, but for punish
My brethren, I am sensible that there are parts of these lectures that do not appear highly interesting to you. This arises in part from not being perfectly acquainted with the symbolical language of prophecy. But every new lecture, or, as I may call it, new lesson, will remove this difficulty in some degree you will acquire the precise and definite meanings of the various symbols; and when this prophetical alphabet, as I may term it, is fully learned, will find this mode of instruction captivating for the blaze of metaphor, and attractive from the rich ornaments in which the most important truths are dressed. Besides, we are continually advancing to the consideration of those glorious predictions which are the object of our joyful expectation and hope; and the consideration of the predictions that have been fulfilled, not only strengthen our faith in the accomplishment of those blessed events that are promised, but also multiply the proofs that it is the God of providence, the ruler of the world, who is the author of the scripture.
1. Let this subject show us the manner and spirit with which we should study history; not merely to
admire the talents or exploits of men, but to trace the operations of Divine Providence, regulating all things for the display of his attributes, and the interest of his church.
2. Learn that great truth, that righteousness exalteth a nation; that sin is the cause of divine judgments; that, of consequence, he is the best patriot and truest friend to his country, who, instead of increasing by his private vices the sum of public guilt, is, by the holiness of his heart and life, and the fervency of his prayers, drawing down the blessings of God on the community of which he is a member.
3. In contemplating the judgments of God upon the guilty, meditate upon those eternal agonies which await his enemies in the world to come. You see the exhibitions of his power and holiness: let the terrors of the Lord alarm you, and induce you to seek his friendship through the Mediator.
4. Finally think continually, Christians, of the Angel of the covenant pleading for you. In darkness and sorrow and temptation, in the discharge of duty, and in the agonies of death, remember him who loved you upon the cross, who loves you in heaven. Go boldly to him, that you may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need.
LECTURES ON THE APOCALYPSE.
REVELATION, CHAP. IX.
You know that the predictions in this book refer to the world, as its state affects the interests of the church, or directly and immediately to the church itself. The former is the object of the trumpets. In explaining the first four of them, we have traced the history of the Roman empire, from the time that Christianity was established in it by Constantine, till the division of the western empire into several independent states. It was at this period that Antichrist, the man of sin, began to appear in his power and guilt; and an observance of the exact chronological order which we have seen hitherto pursued by the sacred writer, would have led him to the immediate consideration of those gross corruptions of religion; but with propriety he defers this subject to the pouring out of the vials, and proceeds to exhibit those circumstances which led to the destruction of the eastern empire. And when he has thus in order terminated the account of the overthrow of