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The earth is the Roman empire: the men, who bear the mark of the beast and worship his image; are the once superstitious, but now atheistical, members of the Latin Empire and Church : and the noisome and grievous sore, which is represented as first openly breaking out after the great earthquake which overthrew a tenth part of the city, and after the commencement of the reign of anarchy at the first blast of the third woe-trumpet, is the delusive spirit of atheism, or that gross lie of Antichrist the denial of the Father and the Son *.
• This mode of expression is perfectly agreeable to the scriptural practice of describing spiritual by natural maladies (See Isaiah i. 5, 6.). Sir Isaac Newton supposes, that “ “ duruble plague of war is signified by a sore and pain:" and Mr. Bicheno has followed him in this opinion, applying the effusion of the first vial, which he thinks like myself was poured out in the autumn of the year 1792, to the calamities which the confederates of Pilnitz experienced from the arms of the French republic, But I cannot find, that we have any authority for annexing such an idea to the word sore. In 2 Chron. vi. 28, it is used in a general sense, including war indeed, but including likewise many other calamities. Signs of the Times. Part iii. p. 166, 167.
Nov. 20. 1807. Mr. Bicheno, like myself, places the sounding of the third woe, and the effusion of the first tial in the year 1792: but he objects to my mode of so placing them, on the score of the last trumpet bringing judginents on the enemies of the Church, not on the Church itself. I am not conscious of having said any thing, which warrants such an objection.. In considering the third woe as introducing Antichrist, I conceived it to bring very heavy judgments on the papal enemies сс 4
Since this imagery is borrowed from naturat maladies, for the right understanding of it we must consider how such maladies operate upon the human frame. As the humours then, which at length produce a sore in the body natural, secretly work for some time previous to their
eruption ; so the humours, which produced this figurative sore in the body politic, had long been concocting previous to its open appearance. Atheism indeed, or at least principles closely connected with Atheism, existed in the very days of the Apostles; for even then were there many * antichrists, even then was the spirit of Antichrist in the world: but it began to be more systematically disseminated by the dragon, that original father of all lies, when he quitted his old station in the figurative heaven of the Latin church, and took a more advantageous position upon the earth. For a season, the noisome sore broke out only upon a few individuals; but, in the course of the latter half of the eighteenth century, the infernal ingenuity of Voltaire and his associates spread the poisonous humour far and wide through
of the true Church; and I believe, that it will ultimately pro. duce their destruction, along with that of Antichrist himself. Where then is the contradictoriness, with which I am charged ? The general character of the three woes is, that they should be woes to the inhabiters of the earth or the apostate Roman ema pire (Rev. viii. 13.). Has my supposed revelation of Antichrist been less strikingly a woe to them, than either the Saracens or the Turks? Supplement to the Signs of the Times,
out Europe. Still however we did not behold the full effect of the devil's labours upon the Roman earth. The great earthquake of the French Revolution was to take place in the year 1789, and the third woe-trumpet was publicly to introduce the anarchical principles of Antichrist on the 12th of August 1792, ere the noisome sore of Atheism broke out under the first vial. But, when that memorable 12th of August. was past. and when on the no less memorable 26th of the same month an open profession of Atheism was made by a whole nation once zealously devoted to the papal superstition; then was the first vial poured out upon the earth, then commenced the eruption of the noisome sore. At this period, in consequence of the success of the French revolution, corresponding societies and atheistical clubs were every where held fearlessly and undisguisedly. All Europe seemed to have drunk deep of the cup of trembling. Scarcely a Christian was to be found within the limits of the papal Latin earth : and, in protestant countries, many, who had clean escaped from them that live in error, had been allured, through the lusts of the flesh, by vain promises of liberty, of a lawless freedom from all restraint both civil and religious, to forsake the religion of their fathers. At this period moreover, the project of converting all the kingdoms of the earth into atheistical republics framed after the model of the misshapen democracy of France, was unreservedly and trium
phantly avowed by infidel demagogues, and loudly and incessantly applauded by the populace throughout the whole. great Roman city. When all these signs of the times concurred together, when the poisonous humours were perfectly concocted, then it was that the noisome sore broke out. The principles of Antichrist were now publicly developed in the face of the whole world : and, since all the prophetic periods of the Apocalypse are dated, not from the secret cogitations of the heart which are known only to the Almighty, but from some overt and prominent display of those cogitations reduced to actual practice and manifested to the eyes of all men; to what era shall we look for the first undisguised avowal of national atheism, for the first open eruption of the noisome sore predicted under this vial, except the 26th of August 1792, on which day the denial of a God was for the first time formally established by law * ?
* Mr. Butt supposes Infidelity to be the third woe; and thinks, that the first rial " describes the shafts of ridicule pointed by
false philosophy against Popery." Conceiving however that the 1260 years expire at the termination of the second woe, and that the second woe ended in the year 1697, he is obliged to place the commencement of the third woe and the first vial immediately afterwards, when he says “ Infidelity began to organize its conspiracies against the Christian religion, which have proved the grand instruments of destruction to Popery”--The period however, which he assigns for the commencement of the first vial, is not that of the breaking out of the symbolical sore, but only that of the concocting of the humours which afterwards produced it; and those humours did not begin to be concocted then, but much earlier. Comment, on Daniel's last vision. p. 56-59.
2. “ And
2. " And the second angel poured out his vial
upon the sea : and it become as the blood of a “ dead man; and every living soul died in the
The pouring out of this vial immediately suç ceeds that of the first : and it relates, I conceive, to the dreadful massacres of revolutionary France which commenced early in the September of the year 1792 *; massacres, which, extending from the metropolis to the provinces, converted that un happy country into one great slaughter-house. The sea symbolizes a nation in a violent state of ef'ervescence and revolution : and, when it is said to become as the blood of a dead man, we are evidently led to conclude, that the nation thus conyulsed with intestine discord is deeply stained with the blood of its slaughtered citizens. That such has been in an eminent degree the case with France, in consequence of her being infected with the noisome sore of Atheism, we have all unhappily beheld, as it were, with our own eyes. We have seen murder accumulated upon murder; and the life of man, which every civilized legislature has
* The massacres which took place before this time, are not comprehended under the second vial, because they were perpen trated previous to the sounding of the third woe-trumpet on the 12th of August 1792. They belong on the contrary to the great earthquake of the first revolution, which commenced in the year 1789, and the last shock of which produced together with the downfall of the limited monarchy of France the atrocities of the 10th of August 1792,