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« which he has determined against the empire of “ the beast for its utter subversion."*
Having ascertained the general nature of the events predicted in the seventh vial, I must now recall the attention of the reader to certain conclusions at which I arrived, in a former part of this work.
In considering the sixth seal I endeavoured to prove, that the earthquake which is described in it, is the same as that of the seventh trumpet and seventh vial, and that all these passages afford different views of the last great revolution, which immediately precedes the second advent. I also showed, that the vision of four angels holding the four winds of the earth in the seventh chapter, relates to an interval of peace in the midst of the earthquake, which is granted for the purpose of the
* I shall here give a further quotation from Vitringa on the words of the 18th verse. “ Sensus verborum planus est et facilis, effectum “ sive consequens hujus Phialæ effusæ, fore maximam totius imperii “ adversarii concussionem et commotionem, conjunctam cum demon. “stratione clarissima Divinæ Majestatis, et terribilibus speciminibus “ Justitiæ judiciorumque ejus quæ magnum hostibus Ecclesiæ ejus “ incuterent terrorem, graviora hoc tempore mala experturis, et gra“ viorum metu ad summas redigendis angustias. Totus antichristianæ “ civitatis et ecclesiæ status jam ante concussus, hoc tempore subver“ teretur, qui terræ motus longe ad huc esset gravior et notabilior
quam extiterat in subversa Hebræorum Republica et æconomia vetere per Romanos dequo Haggai vaticinatus erat; et cum quo
comparari potest. Quanto enim Imperium bestiæ cujus Roma caput “ est, se extendit latius quippe in plura divisum ampla potentium po
pulorum regna ; tanto etiam hujus civitatis politicæ et ecclesiasticæ “ destructio et abolitio res esset majoris moliminis et difficilioris
operæ ; et tanto etiam illustriora et sonantiora indicia Divinæ Ma“jestatis sanctitatisque (quæ alibi jam monuimus per voces, Fulgura “ et Tonitrua designari,) quæ cum hoc terræ motu hoc est subver“sione status imperii pseudochristiani toti patefierent orbi, omnium
percuterent oculos et au mortaliumque omnium excuterent stu“ porem."
sealing of the elect. And from the correspondence of the late wonderful events on the continent of Europe, with the description given of the holding of the four winds, I concluded that we have actually arrived at the pause shadowed forth in that vision, and that the four angels holding the winds, are a typical representation of the mighty confederacy led on by four great powers which lately gave peace to Europe, and continue to occupy France for the preservation of tranquillity.
Now if these conclusions be just, it follows as a necessary consequence from them, that a corresponding pause must take place in the effects of some at least of the vials. The elements of discord and disorder which have hitherto produced such fearful consequences must for a time suffer unwilling coercion. A period of tranquillity must ensue, in which however shall be discernible on the one hand the mingled effects of lassitude and extreme exhaustion; and on the other the feverish agitation of revolutionary principles still working, but prevented from breaking out into action.
I leave it to those who are carefully studying the moral and political history of our own times, to judge how far the above description, answers to the actual state of affairs. I myself believe, for the reasons already given, that the operation of the seventh vial is for the present suspended, and that as it is yet only in part poured out, some passages of the narrative of that vial, cannot in consequence apply to any past, or present events, but wait their accomplishment at a future period, when the calamities of the earthquake shall be renewed with more
awful fury. The use to be derived from these remarks will appear in considering the next clause of the prophecy. I have therefore thought it proper to introduce them here, rather than in another place.
“And the great city was divided into three parts.” -Some commentators have supposed, that these words are to be understood as analogous to the declaration of God concerning Jerusalem, in Ezek. v. 12. “A third part of thee shall die with the “pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed “ in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by “ the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a “third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a “ sword after them.” If interpreted in this
the tripartite division of the great city must mean its destruction by three different kinds of plagues. It seems however more probable, that a division either territorial, political, or religious, is designed. The great city signifies the Roman empire as constituting a great federal state. If by its being formed into three parts, a religious division be intended, it may be something similar to what has lately taken place in the Germanic confederacy, where, as already observed, one of the first principles settled at the Congress of Vienna was, that henceforth perfect equality shall subsist between the three religious persuasions, Catholic, Lutheran, and Calvinistic. This principle was never before recognised in its full extent. But should the tripartite division be one of a political nature, then it may be analogous to what has already in some degree been effected. The European republic is at the present moment distinguishable into three political parts : Ist. the great
confederacy which occupies France with its armies : 20. France: 3d. the other parts of Europe, including Spain, Portugal, Italy, &c. There is one other mode in which this division may be formed, viz. a partition of the whole territories of the Western empire between three great powers. It is not however easy to reconcile the idea of such a division as this, with those passages of prophecy which seem to announce, that the ten kingdoms which arose in the Western empire, in consequence of the Gothic irruptions and conquests, are in one shape or another to continue until the last great battle. Upon the whole then it appears to me probable, that the division into three parts will be either religious, or political, and not territorial. But I cannot with confidence apply the prophecy to any thing that has yet taken place. The division is probably future, and will receive its accomplishment in events, which are either not begun or are only in part developed.
“ And the cities of the nations fell.”-As the great city signifies the Roman empire considered as one great federal republic, so by analogy the cities of the nations must denote the individual political and ecclesiastical communities and governments, which form the component parts of that republic. The late venerable Granville Sharp supposed the cities of the nations to signify all governments within the Roman empire which could not be deemed regal; as those of Venice, Genoa, the German electorates, the Italian states of Florence and Parma, the states of Holland and Switzerland. In either sense of the symbol, we have seen at least the inchoate accomplishment of this prophecy, by the fall of nearly all the govern
ments of Continental Europe since the French Revolution, or by their being shaken to the foundation. And though in consequence of the late settlement of Europe they have been again erected; yet the forms of the greater part of them are no longer the same, or the basis on which they rest, as well as their civil and religious institutions, are changed : so that the whole of this new political fabric may be compared to a fallen building rebuilt with its old materials, and somewhat of its ancient shape, but still so altered as to be substantially different from what it was before. Above all, the principles which formerly cemented it, seem to be for ever departed.
And great Babylon came up in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. The great city is Rome secular, considered as one great federal republic; and great Babylon is Rome ecclesiastical, or the Roman church, viewed as a great spiritual community.
The awful judgments which have fallen upon the catholic clergy, the spoliation of the Romish church in the greater part of Europe, and the seizure of the ecclesiastical state, seem to be the incipient fulfilment of this passage. The pope has indeed lately recovered his temporal principality : but I have been assured, that the territory of the church is beyond every other part of Italy and Europe, the scene of the most abject misery. The mere re-establishment of the papal government under such circumstances of wretchedness, does not therefore take away from the evidence, that this part of the vial is receiving its accomplishment.