« FöregåendeFortsätt »
foretold the rise of the four great empires, predicts also their destruction. St. John foretells the fall as well as the rise of * Mohamed and the Pope. So here, having foretold the rise of the French Republic, he predicts its destruction toot; and this destruction is not mentioned generally as a plague, in which case it might mean famine, pestilence, war and conquest; but this vial of the wrath of God it is particuJarly said, is to be “poured out on the seat of the beast,” that is, upon his public authority, his throne, and his government. In this sense the word “ seat” is often used in Scriptures, and there is no reason to doubt but it means the same here : and as the wrath of God des, troys whatever it is poured out upon, it must overturn the government of the beast, and annihilate his authority. To this great event the prophet has before briefly referreds; and I have already commented upon it: and yet that we may have all that the prophet has said upon the same subject before us in one view, I shall here repeat the substance. the substance. It is there
It is there compared to
" A GREAT EARTHQUAKE,” which literally means a great convulsion and revolution of a government. It is there said that “a tenth part of the city,” that is, of the nation,
fell,” that “ in the earthquake," or in the course of the revolution, “ seven thousand men of name," or of men holding offices under the state, were slain.” If so many officers of
* Rev. xvi. 12.
+ Rev. xiij. 10. Ibid. xvi. 3. | Esther iii. 1. Ezek. xxviii. 2. Luke i. 52.
$ Rev. xi. 13.
government are to be slain, it is not improbable that a tenth part of the nation will fall in the dreadful convulsion, and that “the remnant,” though affrighted at the horrors of the scene, will not even then, “ give glory to the God of HEAVEN.”
However, it seems, that the distress and woes here described are to surpass, in an eminent degree, those which we have seen poured out upon this devoted nation, under two former vials : for, under the first, it was only to be
plagued” with“ a noisome and grievous sore, or with those lawless tumults and insurrections which we have seen come to pass before the destruction of the monarchy, and before it had become so lost to all truth, as to establish the atheistical republic. Under the second period of its “plagues,” which gave rise to the republic, and the avowed establishment of atheism, it was to be, and literally has been,“ scorched with fire and great heat :” that is, with those bloody factions and dreadful scenes of assassinations, insurrections, and desolating massacres, which took place during “ the reign of terror,” or despotic denomination of Roberspi
But however agonizing the torments of these vials may have been, the woes which are to attend the fall of this monstrous power are to be far more excruciating; for, we are here told, that the people, (like men in the agony and fury of madness) shall gnaw their“ tongues for pain,” and despairing of pardon," because of their pains and their sores,” shall blaspheme the God of Heaven," and repent not of their deeds." And thus it would seem, that the extreme sufferings of this monstrous enemy of God and man, are to keep pace with its increase in wickedness, until its final destruction.
Vial 6–Ver. 12.~" And the sixth angel " poured out his vial on the great river Ě1phrates; and the water thereof was dried
up, that the way of the kings of the East “ might be prepared.”
This vial also refers to future events; and yet seems to point to the country and people on which it shall be poured out, whenever it shall be the divine pleasure. We have before seen Germany described by the metaphor of “ rivers and fountains."
Here the prophet describes the country by " the great river Euphrates,” evidently meaning the country watered by that river, He had before* described the same country, by the same metaphor, where he foretells the rise and establishment of the Turkish or Ottoman empire, by “ the four angels of the great river Euphrates," who were loosed or permitted, in the course of divine providence, to establish that empire.-These angels were the four Sultans, or leaders of the Turks and Othmans; and this river has been in the possession of their successors, the Emperors of Turkey, ever since. The Eu
Chap. ix, 14, 15.
phrates is the largest river in Asiatic Turkey, and waters and enriches the whole country, and, therefore, it is a proper type for the Turkish or Othman empire itself. Here, then, the prophet again identifies the empire, upon which this vial should be poured out by the same metaphorical and descriptive appellation, “ the great river Euphrates." Hence, and from the tenor of the Revelation, which, in sundry places, assures the church of the divine favour and ultimate triumph over all its enemies, may we not conclude, that this vial of the wrath of God, is to be poured out upon the Turkish empire, and in it the Mohamedan apostacy, which has persecuted, or, as the prophet expresses it*, " trodden under foot the holy city,” or church of Christ, in the East, as the Papal hierarchy has done in the West, during the last twelve centuries ? And as the persecutions of these unrelenting enemies of that church began about the same time, and the period limited for the continuance of the same, and as that period is now near expiring, it does not seem an improbable conjecture, that the fall of the Mohamedan, will, in the course of a very few years, follow that of the Papal church.
This conjecture will appear yet more probable, from the sense of the following part of the verse. The prophet having described the empire, upon which this vial is to be poured out, proceeds to describe the state of the people when that event shall take place : " and the water thereof was dried up."
* Rev. xi. 2.
Water, which is the element that forms and feeds those great bodies the rivers, lakes, and seas, is an accurate metaphor for the people, who form and maintain a civil society. And we have the authority of the prophet himself*, that, in prophetic language, “ waters” mean peoples, and multitudes, and nations and tongues.” The water of the great river Euphrates must then allude to the “ multitudes of people of different nations and tongues,” who compose and are subject to the Turkish empire: and these, according to the text, are to be “ dried up.” But how dried up? The prophet could not mean, that the people should be dried up, and their Auids, as in a dried animal or plant, be carried off in vapour ; but, pursuing the metaphor, his meaning is that they shall become as useless and unserviceable to the state, as the bed of a river when dried up. Their loyalty and attachment to the state, which are as essential to its existence and preservation, as water is to a river, shall be “ dried up,” or cease to be useful, and leave the empire incapable of defending itself against an invading enemy. By what means the Turkish empire shall be reduced to this lethargic and helpless state (an empire for„ merly distinguished for its enthusiastic loyalty,
* Ibid. xvii. 15.