« PreviousContinue »
state then existing within its limits. The world, exhausted with the miseries of the symbolical harvest, and wearied with the wild struggles of licentious anarchy, should tamely submit to the lawless domination of an unrelenting despot. In pointing out the particular government intended by this scorching sun of the Latin or Papal firmament, the reader will doubtless have anticipated
The present Popish states are France, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sardinia, and Etruria. Of these, I apprehend, no one will be inclined to deny, that France is by many degrees the most powerful; and consequently that its government must inevitably be esteemed the sun of the system *. To observe then the accurate com
* Should the present usurper of the throne of France, who already emulates the imperial rank of Austria, or should any successor of his at some future period, proclaim himself Emperor of the Romans, and thus transfer the crown of Charlemagne from Germany to France, as it was heretofore transferred from France to Germany: he would then, like Charlemagne, be the representative of the last head of the beast. Buonaparte is already in fact master of Italy, and appears to be upon the ere of reviving the ancient kingdom of Lombardy. 1804.
Since this note was written, the usurper of the throne of the Bourbons has formally proclaimed himself king of Italy, and has encircled his brows with the ancient iron crown of the Lombard sovereigns. Thus is one of the great maxim's of German jurisprudence completely overturned ; namely, “ that the “ prince, who was elected Emperor in the German diet, ac“ quired from that instant the subject kingdons of Italy and “ Rome” (See Gibbon's Hist. of Decline and Fall. vol. ix. p. 191.). May 1805.
pletion of the prophecy of the fourth rial, in which it is said that power was given to this sun to scorch men with fire, and that they were scorched with great heat, we have only to cast our eyes over the continent. A system of tyranny, hitherto unknown in Europe except in the worst periods of the Roman history, has been established, and is now acted upon by him who styles' hiinself Emperor of the French : and the scorching rays of military despotism are, at this moment felt; more or less, throughout France, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and the west of Germaiiy. A regular plan of making each man a spy upon his neighkjour destroys all the comfort and all the confidence of social life : and France, with her degraded provinces, or, as they are termed with diplomatic mockery, allies, groans under the weight of endless requisitions, levies, and extortions, at once tormented herself, and the savage tormentor of others *
1.1 I have now to add, that the disastrous termination of the campaign of 1805 has made the chief of the French goveror ment the undoubted representative of Charlemague, and consequently the last head of the beast. The house of Austria seems tacitly to have exchanged the title of Emperor of the Romans for that of Emperor of Austria : and, although Buonaparte bas nut „yet formally assumed it, it can add nothing to his power when che does assume it, tor he is already the uncontrould emperor of the western continental Luomun world, June 3. 1806.
Since this was written, a second disastrous campaign, that is of 1806 and 1807, has completed and confirmed the overwhelming influence of France: the Germanic body has been dissolved: the empire of Germany has been transferred under a new title to France : and the head of the house of Austria bas formally resigned the Carlovingian imperial dignity. Nov. 23. 1807. dd 4
(i.) It is not unlikely, that the influence of this vial will extend to the very commencement of the vintaget. The violence of democratical and atheistical inadness, that dreadful harvest of God's wrath, has now abated : but, since part of the business of the intermediate vials is first to prepare that popish and infidel confederacy which will be finally broken in the days of the vintage, and afterwards to collect the kings of the Latin earth to the great battle of the Lord at Armageddon; the sun of military tyranny will most probably glare with unabated violence to the very time of the end, and be the principal immediate instrument both of forming and of directing that confederacy *
* Even before the era of the Revolution, and previous to the vast acquisition of power made by France, since that con vulsion, the sovereigns of the Capetian dynasty were so conscious of their preponderating influence in Europe, that, with a kind of arrogant fatality, they assumed for their distinguishing badge the sun, with this motto, Nec pluribus impar, alone equal to many. This notion of superiority indeed was so familiar to Frenchmen, that the health of his sovereign is said to have been once proposed by a French Ambassador to Lord Stair, under the very name of the sun. With the same idea no doubt the largest ship in the French navy was called the royal sun. Upon this sun, or the government of France, we have now beheld the fourth vial poured out, enabling it to scorch men with fire,
+ Since this was written in the year 1804, the sphere of the influence of this scorching sun has been tremendously increased; and there is pow scarcely any part of the western Roman empire unaffected by its intolerable blaze. June 3. 1806.
I need scarcely add, that this sphere has recently been yet more increased. Nov. 23, 1807,
(2) The effect, produced both by these plagues and by the following ones, will only be blasphemy and hardness of heart, instead of a reformation of principles and practice. The earthquake, which overthrew the tenth part of the city, caused, as we have seen, the remnant of the sced of the woman to give glory unto the Lord : but the effusion of the vials upon God's enemies produces not the least tendency to repentance. We must not therefore look for any further reformation from Popery t; for the vials are instruments of God's wrath, not of his mercy. France accordingly has nominally returned, like a dog to its vomit, to her old alliance with the blasphemous corruptions of Popery: but, according to every account of eyewitnesses, she still really and individually strengthens herself in the yet more blasphemous abominations of Antichrist.
(3.) Yet, although there will be no further reformation, it does not appear, that the inspired writers give any intimations of some still more dreadful persecution of the witnesses, than that which they have already undergone from the two Latin beasts : on the contrary, Scripture seems to me at least rather to lead to a directly opposite opinion. I mean not indeed to deny, that individual protestants, those for instance who reside in popish countries, may experience persecution; these will continue to prophesy in sackcloth to the very end of the 1260 days: I would only be understood to intimate, that I can discover no warrant for expecting that Protestantism in general, as nationally professed, will ever be so far. subdued by Popery, as to undergo throughout the whole world a grand universal persecution. The troubles, produced by incessant war with the atheistica papal powers, will be the great means of purifying the Church; not, I think, any persecution resembling those of the pagan Emperor's or the Roman pontiff's in the plenitude of their power.
* Mr. Sharpe thinks, that the scorching of the Sun means unlimited monarchy in general, operating in the keeping up of standing armies and martial law. But this extension of the symbol, from the figurative sun of the divided Roman Empire to every separate star of its firmament, seems to be unnatural and unwarrantable.
+ I have already stated other grounds, besides this, when treating of the ten-horned beast, for adopting such an opinion.
I am led to form this opinion by observiog, that all the vials of the last woe-trumpet are represented as being poured out upon the Papal and Mohammedan Roman Empire*; upon those, that have the mark of the beast.; upon those, that have shed
*“ Phialæ omnes," says Mr. Mede, “ in bestiam (scil. " Romanam) effunduntur" (Com. Apoc. in loc.). ." Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God
the “ earth” (Rev. xvi. 1.). The earth throughout the Apocalypse denotes the Roman empire.