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into blood. This vial has been considered as effusing its contents from the latter part of the year 1792, till the general peace, which took place A. D. 1802.
It may be observed, respecting these three vials, that there are considerable shades of difference in the views of the various commentators who maintain that their effusion has taken place, in respect both to the dates, and to the particular subjects, to which they consider them as having reference: but they all seem to agree in the general outline given by Mr. Faber, namely, that the cups of divine wrath eminently describe the scenes of the French revolution, and the tremendous wars, and desolations, both moral and physical, connected with it; and that, in their chronology, they conduct us to the termination of that atheistical and anarchical republic which for a time existed in France.-The calamities and judgments predicted under these three first vials, will probably hereafter be more clearly defined than they are at present; so that there will be no uncertainty or obscurity in respect to the events which they were intended especially to prefigure.
The representation here given, by the effusion of these vials, affords us an awful view of the divine agency and power over the whole universe. How infatuated then must men be to fight against God! Upon all such he will sooner or later inflict the most grievous calamities. All those who mark themselves by their sin, will soon be marked out by the sore judgments of the Almighty!—These tremendous predictions are big with terror to all who persecute the Church of God, and who shed the blood of his saints and prophets. They will have blood given them to drink, and who will say they are not worthy ?-It is no wonder that the angels who witness or execute the divine vengeance on the implacable haters of God, of Christ, and of holiness, loudly celebrate the praises of divine justice and truth. When the Almighty retaliates upon bloody persecutors the tortures which they had inflicted on his people, the holy angels adore his awful dispensations. The whole church will also unite in this solemn applause, and add their cordial Amen to the true and righteous judgments of the Lord God Almighty.
The Effusion of the fourth and fifth Vials.
Chap. xvi. 8–11. AND the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun: and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 9. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphèmed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
It has been before observed, that the Roman empire may be considered as a world in itself, having not only its earth, sea, and rivers, but its sun, moon, and stars. The last-mentioned symbols are emblems of its supreme and subordinate governments. When the sun was eclipsed, on the sounding of the fourth trumpet, this imagery evidently denoted the fall of the imperial authority. The fourth vial (unlike its correspondent trumpet), though poured upon the sun, does not terminate upon it, but upon the people on whom it shines. The sun here, instead of being eclipsed and diminished, has its power greatly increased. Its heat is rendered more intense, so as to become a plague to all who are under its influence.By the sun here, is evidently to be understood, the supreme secular government of what is called the Holy Roman Empire ; which is represented as the beast, and in this character described in the next
chapter as carrying or supporting the harlot. By the sun's scorching men with fire, cannot be understood the persecution of the faithful; because it would not lead them to blaspheme. This imagery, therefore, seems to refer to the galling tyranny by which the adherents of the beast would be oppressed under this vial. But the extreme distress of the sufferers, instead of inducing them to glorify God, by confessing, repenting of, and forsaking their sins, would irritate them to blaspheme the name of God, and thus tend to the increase of their guilt and to their final condemnation.
The sun under this vial, is supposed by Mr. Faber and others, for whose hypothesis there appears to be sufficient evidence, to denote the government of Napoleon Buonaparte; who, in the beginning of the present century, virtually became the head of the Roman empire. From the agitated sea of republican discord and atheism, arose a sun which was soon identified to be the sun of the Roman world. But, unlike the Sun of righteousness, he arose not with healing in his wings. In the year 1800, Buonaparte received the title of First Consul of the French Republic, at which time he was virtually in possession of the Roman empire. In the year 1802, he became, in fact, the lord of the western empire, by assuming the title of First Consul for life, and establishing kind of perpetual dictatorship. But this ambiguous title was changed, A.D. 1804, for that of Emperor of the French, extending his sway directly or indirectly over the whole continental Roman empire. In 1805 he became King of Italy and Rome, at which period he degraded the ancient capital of the empire by denominating it the second good city under his government; reserving the title of King of Rome as the official appellation of the heir to the throne. Thus, this sun of the Roman world arose out of the bosom of the revolutionary ocean of anarchy and atheism ; and the contents of the fourth vial were poured out upon him, and he received power to scorch men with fire; as the sun in the natural world appears to rise out of the bosom of the sea, and scorches some parts of the world with his heat. The calamities, therefore, of this vial, were fulfilled in the military emperorship of the French, established by Napoleon Buonaparte. This modern sun of the Roman empire may be considered to have arisen in 1802, at which period Buonaparte received the title of First Consul for life. When the natural sun rises in the morning, he hastens towards the meridian: and thus this emblematical sun rapidly hastened to his zenith. In the year 1804 he was proclaimed Emperor of the French; and in 1805 he received the additional title of King of Italy and Rome. Thus the government of the Francic empire, united with the Italian kingdom, is fully identified as the Roman sun; for no other dynasty appeared within the boundaries of the Latin empire, after this period, which assumed imperial rank, but that of the French. Here then existed the power of the empire; and in the year 1806 the Emperor of Austria formally abdicated the title of Emperor of the Romans. Nothing, therefore, can be more evident, than that the Roman sun now existed in France. Some further arguments will be adduced, in the exposition of the next chapter, to demonstrate that the Francic emperorship was one of the heads of the Roman beast: for the present I shall take it for granted.--As this emblematical sun advanced in his progress, he blazed with burning heat and scorched men with fire. It is said, respecting the first vial, that its contents fell “upon the men which had the mark “ of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his
image.” This circumstance limits its effects to the Papists; and accordingly, the contents of this vial were almost entirely confined to papal nations. But the expression under the fourth vial is more general: it does not fall alone upon those who worship the beast, but scorches men with fire. Hence it may be concluded, that some of its effects would fall upon Protestant as well as upon Popish nations. Accordingly, for the space of ten or twelve years subsequent to 1802, all the nations of Europe were more or less afflicted with the effusion of this vial poured out upon the sun. They were all scorched, though the heat fell principally upon the popish countries. Austria, Flanders, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Prussia, Poland, and almost all the other nations of Europe, not excepting Great Britain, as sharing the calamity in some measure and degree, groaned under the despotism of France. Devastations, dethronements, conscriptions of men and money levied on the subjugated nations, together with a system of commercial tyranny, scorched all the countries of Europe, more or less, with fire; the effects of which are felt to the present day, and, it is to be feared, will continue to be felt for many years to come.
10. And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast ; und his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, il. And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
If the Roman sun be the emperorship of France, then the throne of the beast evidently represents the same thing, though under a different and less figurative imagery. The prediction then implies that the throne of the Francic emperorship will be violently attacked, and that the attack will be successful. The bestial kingdom will, in consequence, be filled with darkness, like one of the plagues brought upon the Egyptians*, the emblem of sorrow and affiction ; and this calamity will be so distressing to the adherents of the throne, thạt they will be filled with rage, like persons who bite their tongues for madness and the extremity of anguish. But this will pro
But this will pro * See Exodus, x. 21–23.092