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its prophetic chronology. May the Lord preserve us and our children, from this tremendous slaughter! children now born, may live to see and hear all its horrours, and also the end of desolations.
PREPARATION TO THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES.
The preceding chapter finished the third line of pro-, phecies, which branches out from the main body of the Revelation, after the blast of the seventh tumpet, and runs parallel with the other prophetic lines to the commencement of the glorious Millennium. This chapter now again opens a new scene, in which the Lord exhibits the preparations made in heaven, to accomplish a fresh system of measures distinct from the foregoing, and in immediate connexion with the history of the beast and the fourth line of prophecies. Here again, the opinions of authors are much at variance. Some confound the seven vials with the third wo, while others contend that the seven last plagues will precede the last wo; both which conceptions, as to the time and nature of these judgments, appear to me erroneous. For the discerning reader must have observed, that the three woes in this series of prophecies, are pointed out and distinguished by extraordinary numbers, marking their commencement, and limiting their time of duration in the Church; the two first of which are the Saracens, and the wars of those four nations inintermixing on the theatre of that empire, and the third, the tyrranny of the two beasts in the West for the space of 666 years, and the Turks in the East. But the seven vials carry no extraordinary numbers, and have moreover a totally different object. They are designed to destroy
the tyrannic powers which occasioned the third wo, and thus procrastinate its further influence and effects in the Church. The Church was the sufferer under the third wo, but the judgments of the vials are designed for different purposes; they hurl destruction on the head's of her enemies, and abate her woes. For this reason they are not called woes, but the seven last plagues ; because in them is filled up the wrath of God against the enemies of his Church. Woes, though severe calamities, are yet chastisements to advance us in perfection ; but manyang plagues are distributive justice and retaliation for atrocious crimes or bloodguiltiness. These observations in my opinion, authorize the following deductions.
1. That these vials will begin to be poured out, at the close of the 666 years of the beast, and will be the very measures, to terminate his period of power and prosperity.
2. That these seven vials of the wrath of God, will comprise the whole of that time, between the termination of the 666 years of the power of the beast, and its final doom at the Lord's second Adventio introduce the Millennium.
3. That, as there are no other judgments mentioned in this prophecy, which could be supposed to synchronize with the termination of that period, except the seven vials; (the vintage terminating that whole period.] and since that event presupposes a cause of such a nature and importance, as these vials contain ; I deduce from this high degree of probability, that they terminate the third wo, by destroying the power of the beast in the West, and that of the Turks in the East.
These vials are here represented as being poured out in regular chronological succession, but not so that we would be authorized to conclude, that the effects of the first were to cease, before the second would be emptied, as was the case with the three woes. They successively affect all the countries within the ancient limits of the
Roman empire, each vial a particular part, and enlarging their influence as they increase their number; until the whole present political economy in all those countries, is shaken to the foundation by one general and tremendous revolution, of which we have lately seen the portentous forebodings in France. All these vials seem to continue their influence and calamitous effects, with short pauses between public commotions, which they produce, until the seventh vial, the vial of consummation is poured out into the air, and thus prepare the way for the final manifes.' tation of God's wrath by terminating their effects in the vintage.
Though these vials are poured out in regular succession, yet it does not appear that they are emptied at equal distances of time ; but in comparison with the trumpets, the three last comprise a larger space of time between them, than the four first, as the nature of their effects would also require, which tbey are intended to produce.
Now if these general observations on the nature and disposition of the seven vials, should be proved erroneous by completion, and the first vials not terminate that period of 666 years of the beast, of which however I have some doubt, yet this mistake would only affect my explanation of the vials, and not invalidate the whole system of prophetic chronology, or the rest of my exposition. One pillar only would be transposed, but the fabric itsell would remain unimpaired. But if that period is actually terminated by the pouring out of the vials, nothing can be more important, than to find the precise time of the vials, and their different periods. In order to illustrate this subject, I would observe, that the number seven, under which the vials are arranged, surely indicates a certain measure of time, as well here, as in the seals and the trumpets ; but this precise measure can only be discovered by a comparison with parallel and synchronizing periods of other prophetic lines of this prophecy. It cannot comprise
the same number of years as the seven seals, or the seven trumpets ; for that measure would be too large, and not accord with other periods of determined numbers. And yet the number seven must be the key-number to this measure of time here, at least to ascertain the number of years comprised by the whole, if not of each vial in particular. After considering this subject with all the care and attention I am capable of, the following is the result.
1. That these seven vials comprise precisely fifty years, from the time of the effusion of the first vial, to the time when the seventh begins to be poured out, but their united effects then continue on to the vintage, at the great day of God Almighty, and thus terminate the present order of things, immediately before the Millennium.
2. That these fifty years commenced A. D. 1789, when probably the first vial was poured out, and terminate A. D. 1839, when the seventh will begin to be poured out into the air; so that this whole line of prophecy, as connected with the history of the beast, arranges itself into the following series :
A. The beast arose out of the sea, A. D. 1073
1123 D. Duration of power and prosperity
666 E. Commencement of the vials
1789 F. Time of the vials
50 G. The first pouring out of the seventh, 1839 H. Termination of all into the vintage
This remarkable solution of all the ordinary and ex. traordinary prophetic numbers, in the whole line of the beast, at the year 1850, is not merely a surmise, founded on vague conjecture; but may be established by many reasonable arguments, and the concordance of the whole system of prophetic chronology, as it terminates in every