Page images
PDF
EPUB

pired, in consequence of the formal abolition of its official title and its deprivation even of the shadow of effective sovereignty. The person, to whose single reign, its brief term of existence was limited, returned no more, decked with the trappings and adorned with the name of royalty, to his late insular dominion. Studiously degraded to the mere subject rank of a general officer, we behold him, a new Prometheus, bound by the adamantine chains of Strength-and-Violence to a tempest-beaten Antarctic Caucasus.

But, though the seventh head of the wild beast was lopped without the pullulation of a successor, and though his body (in strict accordance with the economy of nature) sank forthwith into a state of death: yet tiiat body no inore, than the decapitated body of a literal wild beast, vanished from off the face of the earth, or ceased to maintain a bare material exist

Stretched over many a rood, the huge carcase still lay visibly prostrate on the earth: the wild beast was dead, but he was not buried. With the picturehistory of the symbol, the verbal language of the prophecy minutely corresponds. The THRONE indeed of the wild beast was to be overturned: but his KINGDOM, though now deprived of all its seven political heads, was not to be annihilated. On the contrary, we read, that his KINGDOM, even after the fifth vial bad done its work of destruction upon his THRONE, was full of DARKNESS: it continued therefore to exist, though wrapped in the profound shades of gloomy night. Such being the case, the DARK

ence.

NESS

[ocr errors]

NESS of his yet-e.risting KINGDOM in the verbal

prophecy plainly corresponds with the DEAD STATE of his yet-existing carcase in the hieroglyphical picturehistory. I need scarcely remark, that this metaphorical phraseology is familar to perhaps every nation in the world. In the ordinary language of Scripture, and in the technical language of the old pagan Mysteries on which is industriously founded the machinery of the apocalyptic drama, DEATH is ever described as a condition of palpable DARKNESS *. Since then the effusion of the fifth vial was to produce THE DEATHLIKE DARKNESS of the still existing BESTIAL KINGDOM : we may be sure, that its contents will not be completely exhausted, until that DARKNESS OF DEATH shall have passed away, or (in other words) until the wild beast shall be retored to Life by the predicted rise of the eighth form of Roman government which is to be one of the preceding seren raised anew to the functions of vitality; though very probably, in accordance with the analogy of the other vials, the sixth may have begun to flow before the complete exhaustion of the fifth t. This being the case, it is manifest, that the term of the fifth vial comprehends within its limits the whole period of the wild beast's DEAD STATE or (in the language of the interpreting angel) the whole period during which the wild beast is not.

Such is the political condition of the bestial kingdom throughout the appointed period of DARKNESS

#See below Dissert. vi. sect. 3.

+ Rev, xvii. 8, 11. See above Chap. xi. in init. VOL. III.

F

or DEATH Or HEADLESS NON-EXISTENCE. But the wonderfully minute prophet not only describes the political condition of the Roman Empire subsequent to the excision of the seventh head, precisely as we may now behold it with our own eyes : he perfectly represents also, with a single stroke of his pen, the irritated feelings of those who had battened and gorged themselves under the vulture banner of the Francico-Imperial king. According to every account which we have received relative to the state of the public mind in France, whether from the friends or from the enemies of the Bourbons, the extreme rage of the soldiery, which in fact may almost be deemed the entire adult male population of the country, at finding their favourite chief violently expelled by the sword to make room for a proverbially non-equestrian prince, cannot be more accurately depicted than in the emphatic language of prophecy: THEY GNAWED THEIR TONGUES FOR PAIN

* A very conceited and ill-principled modern work, entitled France, after making every due deduction for the temper of a fanatical partizan, will at least serve to shew, in no equivocal light, the present very general feelings which pervade the country under discussion. The burden of a favourite anti-Bourbon song, which, according to the author, “ was given with infinite “ humour and received with rapturous plaudits," may alone speak volumes. While the general subject is the imposed yoke of the old dynasty and the unwise confession of the king that he owed his crown to the English, the exhilarating burden at the end of each stanza is Ça ne tiendra pas : and, agreeably to the old proverb of Ex pede Herculem, the same refreshing motto is prefixed as the appropriate title of the song itself.

Nor

Nor has the last part of the prediction been less minutely accomplished : “they blasphemed the God " of heaven because of their pains and their sores, " and repented not of their deeds.” The infatuated Capets, pertinaciously adhering to the unscriptural superstitions of Popery in which the name of God is blasphemed by the idolatrous worship of images and dead men, are labouring with lubbard force to roll up this stone of Sisyphus to its ancient situation: while their reluctant subjects, overawed indeed by the presence of foreign armies, but plunged (as I am credibly informed) in the very grossest practical abominations, despise the theological mummeries and baby processions of their restored princes, not as enlightened scriptural protestants, but as determined infidels or athiests, but as avowed members of the great predicted Antichrist of the last ages.

III. It has now been shewn, by a careful comparison of prophecy with history, that we have lived to witness the extinction of the short-lived seventh head by the sword of foreign violence, and that the predicted period of the wild beast's political non-existence (described by the interpreting angel in the phrase the wild beast is not) has now actually commenced.

It has further also been shewn, that the fourth and fifth vials exhibit the origin, the rise, the military character, the vast power, the decline, and the final excision, of that seventh Roman head; which is depicted, as continuing only a short space, and as being ultimately SLAIN BY THE SWORD.

Lastly

F 2

Lastly it has been shewn, that the fifth vial not only foretells the violent overthrow of the seventh head; but that, extending beyond that overthrow, it comprehends the whole of that intermediate prophetic period, which stretches between the original life of the wild beast and his second term of vital existence subsequent to his announced resurrection from the dead. The wild beast was, and is not, and yet is OT SHALL BE. Of these three consecutive periods, the term, expressed by the phrase the wild beast WAS, is past and gone: the term, expressed by the phrase the wild beast is NOT, is at present in actual lapse; having commenced at the time, when the seventh head was lopped by the sword of England: but the term, expressed by the phrase the wild beast is or SHALL BE, is as yet future; though it will immediately suceeed the present term of the wild beast's political death or non-entity.

Thus it appears, that we are now living, under the influence of the fifth vial, and in the intermediate prophetic period during which the wild beast is NOT *. It further appears too from the far evolved roll of history, that all the seven heads of the Roman wild beast have successively risen and fallen : so that we need only look upon what is actually passing before our eyes, to be fully satisfied that he is now for the first time HEADLESS and therefore DEAD. Five had fallen, when the apostle wrote: the sixth was then in existence : the seventh was not

* I write in the year 1817.

yet

« PreviousContinue »