« PreviousContinue »
scribing the deformity of Popery. Nor were those efforts vain, princes and people lent an at. tentive ear, multitudes were convinced that the charge was just,
The Second Vial,
“ And the second angel poured out his vial
upon the sea, and it became as the blood of a “ dead man; and every living soul died in the
sea,” Rev. xvi. 3.
When the second angel sounded his trumpet, the third part of the sea became blood. It signified then a diminution of the dominion of imperial Rome, for the dominion of a state protects the subjects, as the sea surrounds the land. Now, a diminution of the dominion of Rome was certainly the second step in the progress of the northern nations. In their first attack they plundered the subjects, but afterwards retired with their booty to their own country ; but in their following attacks they took possession of the countsies they invaded, erected independent kingdoms, detached whole provinces from the empire, and so diminished the dominion of the city: It appears to me obvious, therefore, that
by the second vial there will be a similar diminution of the dominion of Papal Rome. Of this event likewise, we have some view in a pa rallel event at the Reformation. Whole kingdoms renounced the Papal jurisdiction, and so lefsened the Pope's dominion; but it is probable the diminution will be very great, when this vial is poured out; for we are told, that“ every
living foul which was in the sea died.” In the second trumpet, a third part of the sea is mentioned, here the whole sea; the reason may be, that Imperial Rome never extended her conquests, nor claimed a dominion beyond a third part of the earth; but Papal Rome claims a dominion over the whole earth, and has in some respect established it among all nations, by her emissaries.
The Third Vial.
“ And the third angel poured out his vial upon
the rivers, and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel “ of the waters," chap. xvi. 4, 5, 6, 7. The rivers fitly represent all the rulers of a state, taken collectively; for as the rivers derive their origin from the sea, and return their waters to the sea, according to the wise man's obfervation, " All the rivers run into the sea ; from whence “ the rivers come, thither they return again," Eccl. i. 7.; so the rulers derive their authority from the dominion of the state, while they exércise their authority to support that dominion in return. Again, the rivers mentioned in the third trumpet, according to the best interpreters, represent the rulers of Imperial Rome, the fall of the star, or of the imperial form of government, must have chiefly afflicted them with bitterness or forrow, because that fall implied the lofs of their authority and power ; for though the government of Rome fubfifted for fome time after, it passed from the former rulers into the hands of the Goths. From the resemblance betwixt that trumpet and this vial, I cannot doubt, that the objects of the plague are the rulers of Papal Rome; and who are these but the superior clergy of the church of Rome? This is confirmed by the song of praise fung on that occasion: “ Thou art righteous O Lord, “ which art, and waft, and shall be, because " thou hast judged thus : For they have shed “ the blood of faints and of prophets, and thou “ haft given them blood to drink; for they are és worthy." This is faid of the Babylonish woman, chap. xvii. 6. “I saw the woman drunk" en with the blood of the saints, and with the “ blood of the martyrs of Jesus ;” and again, chap. xviii. 24. “ In her was found the blood " of faints and of prophets, and of all that “ were slain on the earth.” Now, the deed of the church of Rome, as a collective body, is the deed of the rulers, and in fact all the murders of Christ's faithfulfollowers, for a thousand years paft, have been perpetrated by them, or by their inftigation. Who raised an army of cross-bearers against the Albigenses and Waldenses? Who put to death John Huss and Jerom of Prague, notwithstanding the protection of the civil government? Who erected the infer. nal tribunal of the Inquisition ? Who contrived the several private assassinations and public massacres that difgrace the annals of Europe Since the Reformation? The fame answer will fuit all these queries. The clergy of the church of Rome. I cannot doubt, therefore, that they are the persons who have shed the blood of saints and of prophets, and to whom a righteous God, by the pouring out of this vial, will give blood to drink. This last clause serves to illustrate the nature of the plague, as the former points out the objects of it ; it snews that the deprivation or diminution of power (which is the spiritual meaning of it) shall be accompanied with bloodshed taken in its literal meaning ; so that these rulers shall drink plentiful draughts of the cup which they administered to others.
The angel of the waters refers to what is said, chap. xi. 6. “ These have power over waters, “ to turn them to blood,” which confirms the observation formerly made, that these plagues are inflicted by the witnesses, after their refurrection and ascension. Not that I imagine the ministers of the church will personally take up the temporal sword to punish the rulers of Babylon, but they will procure the punishment threatened by their prayers, and shall, shew that the time of punishment is come by their doctrine, while, after it is inflicted, they shall demonstrate the justice of God in the dispensations of his providence, as ground of praise and thankfulnefs to his church. The angel of the altar may represent those who' minister at the altar ; his declaring the righteous judgment of God may signify the heinousness of the fins committed by those persons on whom the vial is poured out; even the ministers of reconciliation an. nounce to them not pardon, but judgment; and the place where atonement was wont to be made, shall not afford to them any asylum, but procure certain destruâion ; yet still in a consistency with God's law, which ordains, that the murderers fhall be taken from his altar.