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mankind, to raise and conduct parties, But let us apply directly to their un&c., have mighty influence on human derstandings by reason and argument, affairs; and both united, seem equal and we cannot fail of succeediog to to the greatest undertakings. Here convince them of the folly of idolatry the instruments to work with may be and false religion, and of the reasona. gotten, and the matter to work upon bleness and excellence of the true; or is within your reach. But if you at- to persuade them to abandon the one tempt to change the religion of a and embrace the other. In this way people, to extirpate, for instance, it will certainly be very practicable, idolatry, and to introduce the true by merely human means to extirpate religion of the one God by merely idolatry, and establish the true relihuman means, how will you effect it? gion. Perhaps so, provided sound Religion, whether true or false, is reason were the only governing prinsituated in the sentiments of men's ciple of human determinations and minds, and in the affections of their actions; but the truth of facts dehearts; and how will you come at cides it otherwise. Prejudices have a these to take away some and intro- mighty influence over the generality duce others? Idolatry and false reli- of men; the senses, passions and ap. gion are supported by erroneous petites are their sovereign guides, and sentiments, by false prejudices and where all these concur, as they do in corrupt dispositions; but how will support of false religion, the voice of you come at these to eradicate them, reason is little attended to, her clearest and to take away the foundations on demonstrations are overruled, and which idolatry is built? Will you use strongest remonstrances neglected. power to suppress it, and enforce the This is not the only case in matters of practice of true religion? It is in religion, but in all the other concerns vain : the spirits and consciences of of human life. And if this be the men are like the elastic air, which you true state of facts with the generality may compress, and may keep com- of mankind, as it certainly is; in vain pressed, to a certain degree, by a pro- will you prepare for them the best portionable force, but if any accident chain of reasoning, and study every remove the pressure, it immediately art of address; they will hold fast expands with violence to its former their prejudices; they will listen to or greater dimensions. In like man- their passions and appetites, which per, though tyrants may lay con- your stoutest attacks of reason and straints on the consciences and reli- argument can never come at or take gion of mankind, whatever be its away from them. They will reve. quality, as soon as ever the death of rence as sacred the customs of their the tyrants, or any other of the many ancestors, and regard their religious accidents to which human power is ceremonies and worship as their own subjected, delivers them from the birth right. constraint, they immediately return If you would carry your point, in to the former practices with redoubled favour of truth and reason, with men eagerness. One of the ancient mo- who are under the influence of preju. parchs of Persia, having conquered dice and sensual passions and lusts, Egypt, demolished the temples, broke you must present unto them motives the images of the gods, and slew the which they theniselves shall feel to be sacred animals, and forbade the Egyp- of greater importance in themselves, tians to practise their ancicut super. aud which shall operate on their sutions: this injunction was obeyed hearts more powerfully than the ob. for some time; but as soon as a jects which have bitherto attracted change of times and circumstances their attention and regards-motives in the Persian government allowed, which shall arrest and overpower the old national religion was imme. their affections and passions, expel diately restored in Egypt with great their prejudices, and dissolve the enzeal. Yes, perhaps some will say, to chantment by which their souls were attempt by external force to constrain captivated. But what motives of this the consciences and religious prac. powerful quality do you expect hutices of men, is undoubtedly no less mau reasoning and argumentation absurd than it is cruel, and will cer- alone will furnish you with?
You tainly prove unsuccessful in the end. may even despair.
But observe; in opposition to the these forces I will certainly overthrow argument I am endeavouring to esta. the Persian empire, aud establish my blish, I cannot admit of any instances dominion over all its numerous and of the propagation of Christianity in extensive provinces," the declaration any Pagan country, as proofs of the would justly have been accounted probability or practicability of extir. rash and arrogant; yet he had several pating idolatry and false religion, and fair probabilities on his side: partly of establishing the worship of the one from his own military and political true God, by human means only: all skill, and the experience, intrepidity these instances are our own property, and discipline of liis veteran comand plead in our cause. In all these manders and troops, and partly from cases the influence of this prediction the degeneracy of the Persians. In of our Saviour operated. Christianity fact, he acccomplished his undertakattacks idolatry, and recommends it- ing, overturned the Persian, and estaself by arguments, which human rea- blished the Macedonian empire. On son alone could never discover; and the other hand, Socrates attempted supports those arguments with evi- to reform the morals of the people dences, which bumay reason could of Athens, and to introduce amongst never produce; and is attended with them some juster sentiments in relithe secret energy of a power, which gion; a very honest and laudable debuman reason could never pretend to. sign, in which he bad some apparent All I aim at, at present, is only to probabilities and means of success, in shew, that from the best knowledge his own great knowledge, engaging we are capable of gaining of the state way of reasoning, and in the friendof mankind, at and before the time ship and support of several of the wben this prediction was delivered, principal persons of the city. Had and from the exactest observations he at the first presumed to foretell, on human nature, and the ordinary “I will certainly reform the manners course of human affairs, there appears and improve the religion of the people little probability, yea, many and great of Athens,” or had he delivered any improbabilities, and scarcely a possi- thing like this prediction of Christ in bility, that the events foretold in this the text, how'shamefully would he prediction should have been effected have been disappointed and confuted by any merely human means; that by the event! For, in fact, though pothing like them had ever been done Socrates did not pretend to set aside in the world before; and one cannot the idolatrous worship then practised, discover by what human means they and to establish the spiritual worship could be effected: from whence it will of the one true God only, but merely follow, that if Jesus, who delivered endeavoured to jutroduce gradually a this prediction, and undertook these few juster sentiments concerning the things, had depended only upon hu- Deity and religion, the people took man abilities, he must, in all likeli- the alarm; he was dragged to the hood, most certainly have miscarried, tribunal, accused of subverting the and his prediction failed. I shall only established religion; and Socrates, add, by way of confirmation of the though still a Heathen, and worshiper observation I made above, that as the of idols himself, was condemned and state of the world then stood, it was executed by a decree of the people, much more practicable to overthrow, out of zeal and jealousy for the supand to establish the greatest empire port of idolatry. that ever was on the globe, than to Thus I have endeavoured to shew, suppress idolatry, and reform the reli- that if we attentively consider the gion of a single people by mere human nature of the things themselves, and means. Two examples of facts, which the generally-prevailing principles of happened a few centuries before our human nature, there will appear no Saviour's time: Alexander set out probability, but many and great imfrom Macedon with about 33,000 men, probabilities, that the events foretold to attack the vast, populous and in this prediction, should ever have wealthy empire of Persia. The en- taken place by any human means. terprise was daring and hazardous, 'VIGILIUS POSTHUMUS. and had he, at his departure, publicly declared, by way of prediction, “With
On the Contents of the Book of 5, whilst another messenger takes Revelation.
fire from the altar and casts it to the No. II.
earth; denoting that the divine judg
ments about to take place are from last essay (pp. 42—45] ended divine appointment. ( Exod. x. 2.) 6.
MY . ) 6
chapter, including in it a sketch of trumpet of war. (Jer. iv. 19.) This the political and ecclesiastical state of preparation may be considered as the Christianity, to A. D. 313. We have interval between the reigu of Coustanseen the Pagan empire overturned at tine and that of Theodosius the Great. Rome, and the Christian name seizing 7. The first trumpet sounded, is on the throne of the Pontifex Maxi- followed by bail, attended with lightmus, and ruling the Eastern and ning and blood, which destroys the Western empire, taking possession of third part of the earth, of the trees, the revenues of their temples, and as- and of the green herb. References to suming the servile titles of the officers the Psalms and Prophets shew that of idol deities, and with them their these are divine judgments: the earth dress, and their paraphernalia. is the Roman einpire, peculiarly the
The seventh chapter is a continu- land of Christians; the trees are the ation of the sixth seal. 1-3. The middling and superior classes ; and the judgments of God about to be poured green herb is the lower class, or comout on the Roman emperor, are re- mon people. strained, till the servants of God are The Huns and Goths were ready sealed, i.e. till the appointed extent to enter the Roman empire, but were of the peace and prosperity of the restrained by the powerful arm of the church had been established; 6-8, great Theodosius: his death released describes their numbers; 9-17, de. them from this terror, as also from clares the happiness of the countless the hopes of his liberality. His sons multitudes, who, by their fortitude succeeded him, Honorins in the Wesunder sufferings and death had ob- tern, and Areadius in the Eastern emtained the triumphs of Christianity. pire. Theodosius died January 395.
Chap. viii. 1. We are now come to Before the end of the winter, the Goths the opening of the seventh seal, and were in arms. Alaric, at the head of must here observe, that we shall often the barbarous nations of Scythia, enfind the word heaven used, and that it tered Greece and compelled Honorius invariably signifies temporal power. to honour him with the title of MasterThe conclusion of the Smyrna state General of the Eastern Illyricum, was the victory over Maxentius, and whilst the barbarians elevated him on the decree of Constantine and Licinus, their shields, and, proud of his vicwhich ended the persecution of the tories, proclaimed him king of the Christians. This state of war is fol. Visigoths. After having desolated the lowed by half an hour's silence, or Eastern empire, A. D. 400 to 403, the forty-eighth part of three hundred Alaric returned to the bank of the and sixty days, a space of about seven Danube, and there, recruited by fresh and a half days; denoting the small. barbarians, he went through Panness of the period of peace before the nonia and over the Julian Alps into trumpet of war would be again Italy, “where," says the poet, " fame, sounded; and so it was, even in the encircled with terror, on gloomy tpidst of their rejoicing for their vic. wings, proclaimed the march of the tory, Constautine was called to repel barbarians, and filled Italy with teran inroad of the Franks, and Lici. ror." The remainder of the sounding bus to fight with Maximin for his of this first trumpet is but the history throne.
of increasing troubles, when it closed It has been noticed that the Roman A. D. 450, being through the whole empire had now become Christian. Western empire one scene of conIo conformity to this language, the tinued invasion, revolution and slaughscene is here laid in the temple, or ter, in which it was scarcely possible. chorch of God, before the morning ser. for less than one third of the inha. vice. 2,9. During this silence God's bitants of every rank to have permessengers are preparing, and have ished. given to them seven trumpets ; 4, Chap. viii. 8, 9, the second trumpet prayer ascends from the saints of God; sounds. A burniog mountain, Attila
and his Huns, is thrown upon the sea, gistrates who receive splendour from upon the congregated nations of the it. A total eclipse of these is a subWestern Roman empire, and the third version of the goverument; a partial part of the fish, i. e. the men in the eclipse represents a change, and not empire, were destroyed by his inva- an overturning of the national polity, sions, and with them the third part in 476. This took place when Augus. of the shipping. The dreadful con- tulus, the son of Orestes, was chosen sequences of these invasions may be emperor, under the guardianship of judged of by their effects. Aquilea his father. The barbarian soldiers was totally destroyed ; Atinum, Con. demanded one third of the lauds of cordia and Padua were reduced to a Italy, as a recompence; but being heap of stones. The families that fed refused, they murdered Orestes, refrom his fury made some compen- moved Romulus Augustulus from the sation for the ruin of the maritime throne, and made Odoacer, their genestrength of Italy, by taking refuge in ral, king of Italy. A. D. 490, Odoacer the Adriatic islands, for they laid suuk under the superior genius of there the foundation of the future the king of the Ostrogoths, who reglory of the Venetian Republic. This stored Italy to order and peace. second blow at the Western Roman About ihis time Clovis, or as it empire ended in A. D. 452: 10, should be pronounced, Louis, began 11. This dreadful trumpet was im- to rise into power. He was the head mediately followed by the sounding of the Salian tribe in the isle of of the third trumpet, and the calling Batavia, and the dioceses of Tournay fresh bosts of barbariaus to the de- and Arras, comprehending at most struction of the civilized, but euer. five thousand warriors. He first devated Romans. The Vandals and feated Syagrius, the king of the diocese Alani under Genseric, between A. D. of Soissons, enlarging his own small 439 and 445, bad seized upon the dominious with the cities of Belgia fertile territory of Africa, from Tan- and the diocese of Tongres. Having, giers to Tripoli. Haviug increased his A. D. 490, conquered the Alemani in subjects with the inhabitants of Africa, the bloody battle of Tobiae, he pene and enlarged his fleets, he made con- trated their forests and united their quest of Sicily; and A. D. 45i, on country to his dominions. After the the invitation of Eudoxia, the walow battle of Tobiac, Clovis and three of the emperor Valentinian, he made thousand of his soldiers were baptized a descent on Rome, plundered it for at Rheims, and being the only Catho. fourteen days, and carried the empress licking they existing, was much and her two daughters captives with aided by their clergy in all bis afterhim to Africa. This star, or rather conquests ; so that the French mometeor, by his frequent incursions ou narchy may in a great degree be various parts of the empire, dried up ascribed to the firm alliance and steady the nations whose influx had kept up union of one hundred prelates, who the population of Rome; whilst his reigned in the discontented and indepredatory invasions of all the coasts pendent cities of Gaul. of Spain, Italy and Africa, cut off A. D. 497, Clovis, by an honour. the resources of the Romav people, so able capitulation, increased his power that, when Genseric had taken away by an equal union with the Armorican her patrimony, and robbed ber of her republic; this was followed by the wealth, those temporal charms were conquest of the kingdom of Burgundy, faded which brought into her city the and in 508, of Aquitaine. A. D. 510, contius of uatious. The rapidity of theemperor Anastasius couferred upon his attacks was swift as the descent Clovis the honour of the cousulship, of a meteor, and was death to the aud this about A. D. 531 was fully greatness, riches and freedom of confirmed to the son of Clovis, by the Rome.
emperor Justinian ; and whilst it comChap. viii. 12, 18, is the sounding pleted the prophecy of ibe fourth of the fourth trumpet. This produces trumpet, by a change of persons only, the darkening of one third of the sun, whilst the government itself nominally of the moon, and the stars. These remained as it was, being only parfigures describe the ruling or imperial tially eclipsed, it laid the foundation for authority of the Western Roman em- the Germanie Roman empire, whose pire, and also of the princes and ma- empire, under the character of the first
beast, takes the place of the Roman 2, he opens the abyss, and the nations dragon.
come forth to execute the wrath of We have now seen how the sonnd- God, (Ps. xviii. 8, Isa. xiv. 31, Deut. ing of the four trumpets overturns the xxix. 20,) and the imperial throne Western Roman empire. The church and kingdom is darkened by it. Ver. 3, during this eventful period of desola- the Arabian horsemen are represented tion, from A. D. 313 to A. D. 531, as locusts. The remaining verses of is written to, Revelation ii. 12-17, this trumpet go on to describe the under the name of Pergamos, “ The Arabian cavalry and mode of warfare, exalted Assembly.”. Christianity tri- &c. in figures so plain, that they are umphant was raised up to the throne the resemblance to the nation and of the Cæsars; the ecclesiastical purple manners of the people. This trumpet became blended with the imperial appears to begin about A. D. 606 to dignity. The state of the church is 610. described as 1, laborious in works; Chap. ix. 13—20, brings in the and let any one refer to Mosheim or sixth trumpet, or Turkish power, who any ecclesiastical writer for the his- were to complete the destruction of tory of these centuries, and they will the Eastern empire. They began find that the praise Jesus here gives their predatory warfare in A. D. 1281, was merited by the extraordinary took Constantinople A. D. 1453, and exertions of the Christians at that the last of their conquests from the period to Christianize mankind; 2, Christians, was Cameniec, in 1672, the seat of Christianity was to be at being for three hundred and ninetythe seat of imperial power, which we one years the instruments of punishalso see was verified; 3, they were to ment to the Christians, as foretold. glory in the Christian name, and to Chap. x. The preceding chapter boast in bis doctrines whilst their had brought down prophecy, as it actions tended to destroy them. And regards the Eastern church, till the there needs no other argument than period of the final destruction of the the history of the Romish church to Eastern Roman empire: a new order prove that all these things were so; of things is now introduced, the im4, they were to permit those to remain portance of which appears in the greatin the church who taught idolatry, ness of the messenger who proclaims and who held the doctrine of sub- them. Passing over therefore the duing the people. And this, eccle- whole of this chapter, as only intro. siastical writers, without having their ductory, we come to the eleventh eye on this prophecy, acknowledge chapter. was the case, for they introduced Chap. xi. After this sublime introidolatry into Christianity, that they duction to this chapter, we are told, might more easily subdue the idola- ver. I, that John was to take the reed trous nations to the banners of the cross. that was given to him, and measure
Chap. ix. 1-12, relates the sound- the temple of God, that is, he was in ing of the fifth trumpet, called this chapter to shew the true state in the first woe trumpet. This relates to which the church was to be for fortythe Mahomedan Arabians, who were two months, or twelve hundred and in the way of Providence appointed sixty prophetic years; for, it is evident to prepare the way for the destruc- that the only measure John takes is of tion of the Eastern Roman empire, duration, and not of extent. Ver. 3. and appears to have been accom- During this twelve hundred and sixty plished in the person of Mahomed years, the old and new witnesses of the and his followers. Ver. 1, a star falls truth, that God has revealed himself from heaven to earth, i.e. 1, having in all ages unto man, shall prophesy, ruling power, becomes a common man. i. e. teach in a state of mourning By the death of his father, the power and tribulation and without temporal of Mahomed was taken away by the power, yet they are the olive trees and avarice of his uncle, and became the the lamps to mankind. Ver. 4. From inducing cause of his being the mes. the mouth of the true Christian prosenger to the nations, and receiving ceedeth the knowledge of the divine the key of authority over the nations, judgments, penetrating to the con. by which he became to the Eastern sciences of the adversaries ; ver. 6, and church the messenger of destruction; that all the afflictions that shall befal