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blance to the tumultuous sea. And the tumultuous condition into which Italy was thrown, at the period of the second vial, shows that it was, indeed, a mystical sea. The sea is an emblem of any nation in the tempest of war; as Psalm xlvi. 3, " Though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled; though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof; alluding to the revolution of nations, in the battle of that great day of God. As the event in our text alludes to the tremendous judgment on the papal system; so the central part of this system, Italy, must be here denoted by the sea.
The event in the text may have been typified by the turning of the waters to blood, in the plagues on Egypt. Some of those plagues were manifestly typical of some of the vials in the last days, as will be shown in its place. And that judgment, of turning their waters to blood, may have been one of them.
It has been shown that the way had been preparing for the 16th century to open a new era of judgments on the Roman earth. The inventions of gunpowder, and of firearms, a little before this period ;—the training of regular standing armies, the extending of the prerogatives of the crown, so that the power of a nation might be brought into operation at the will of a despot;—and the fact, that a number of most warlike and powerful potentates had at that time ascended the thrones of the contiguous nations, as has been stated ;--these things portended the commencement of most disastrous and bloody times.
Charles V. was born in the year 1500. Upon the death of his father Philip, archduke of Austria, he became heir to the throne of Spain. And upon the death of his grandfather, Maximilian, emperor of Germany, Charles and Francis I., king of France, became competitors for the imperial crown of Germany. Pope Leo X. (then in the papal chair) trembled at what he saw, and predicted that “ the election of either Charles or Francis would be fatal to the independence of the papal see, to the peace of Italy, and perhaps to the liberties of Europe.” And events soon decided that Leo had not trembled in vain. Charles obtained the imperial crown; upon which the haughty Francis felt all the chagrin and rage of a disappointed rival. These two powerful monarchs now commenced vast
preparations for war; and Italy (the sea in our text) became the theatre on which the greatest powers of Europe, for fifty years, contended for victory. Its fairest fields were for this period turned to fields of blood. In nearly twenty campaigns, these two mightiest of potentates furiously contended for Milan, Naples, or some other Italian state ;-repeatedly leading into the field with them hosts of allies from other nations. Success smiled sometimes upon
the other. And the terrified pope was in alliance sometimes with the one; and sometimes with the other, attempting just to save himself from present destruction ;-vexed and terrified by the fury of these two bloody sons of his communion.
It must here be noted, that this second vial of wrath (poured upon the Italian sea, and turning it to blood) was not deferred till the first vial (exhibiting the abominations of popery) was finished. They were of such a nature, that they must, of necessity, be found operating at the same time;—the second to afford protection to the agents of the first. A writer says, “It is nowhere said that each vial is emptied before its successor commences its operation. And it is not unreasonable to conclude that two or more of the vials may be pouring out at the same time; though the effusion of the one commences before that of the other." The two first vials were of a nature wholly different; the second must commence soon after the first, to protect its operation. In this the divine wisdom and mercy were manisest. By the bloody events of the second vial, employment for the enemies of the Reformation was furnished, to prevent their being able to destroy the reformers, as they otherwise would have done. The first vial drew aside the veil from the papal abominations. But how soon and sorely must this have occasioned the ruin of the reformers, had the pope and the papal powers been at leisure to point and drive their thunder against them? They must, in such a case, have been sacrificed at once. To secure the effects of the first vial, the second must commence soon after the opening of it. The Reformation was of a nature to be of long continuance. The succeeding vials then, must commence while it was fulfilling. Were you about to destroy a nest of vipers that infest your premises, and you had directed a little son to throw off the cover under which they are hid; would you not be ready, at the same time,
with proper weapons, to commence, the business of their destruction, and thus prevent their destroying him? In viewing the events of the apocalyptic seals, trumpets, and vials, we find them commencing at unequal lengths of time; and their effects are sometimes synchronical. This remark holds true especially of the first four of the seals, trumpets, and vials; but not so of the last three. The latter were to be more interesting, and more distinct, in point of time, as well as event.
Soon after Charles had ascended the imperial throne, after the commencement of the Reformation, he was urged by the papal powers to repair to Germany, on account of the innovations in religion which had there taken place. He was assured that “unknown opinions in religion had been published, such as had thrown the minds of men into a universal agitation, and threatened the most violent effects; and that they had made such rapid progress, as to require the most serious consideration.” The emperor, consequently, convoked the diet of German princes at Worms; and in his address to them said, “ We are convened to concert the most proper measures for checking the progress of those new and dangerous opinions which threaten to disturb the peace of Germany, and to overturn the religion of our ancestors.” Now, had not this champion of papal influence, and the other papal authorities, been providentially diverted from this object, by the scenes of war into which they were plunged; how soon must the reformers have been utterly destroyed? But God speedily furnished these powerful enemies, now rising on tiptoe to crush them, with a sufficiency of other employments, and these of sufficient magnitude to be received as the fulfilment of the second vial. The principal actors in the bloody scenes of this vial were the emperor Charles V. (who was at the same time king of Spain and Naples), and the king of France, Francis I., combining at times the pope; Solyman, emperor of the Turks; the king of Hungary; the king of Bohemia; and, more than once, Henry VIII., king of Britain. The pope himself, more than once, was a prisoner to some one of the chieftains; and his capital was plundered. At a time when he was in alliance with Francis, a cardinal, who had been a rival for the papal chair, marched, at the instigation of Charles, at the head of an army, seized the gates of his capital, and dis.
persed his guards. The infallible pontiff fled to the casile of St. Angelo, which was soon besieged. The palace of the vatican, the church of St. Peter, and the houses of the pope's ministers and servants, were plundered. The pope capitulated; and was forced to grant to this cardinal a full pardon of all this treatment of his high dignity; and to engage an immediate withdrawing of his troops that were fighting against Charles. Bourbon, another imperial general, led against the pope 25,000 veteran troops. Terrified at this, the pontiff agreed to a suspension of arms against the emperor, and to pay 60,000 crowns towards the support of the armies of Charles. But even then, the 25,000 men pursued their march against Rome,-scaled its walls, and took the city. The pope and thirteen of his cardinals fled to the castle of St. Antonio; on his way to which, he had the inexpressible horror to see his troops flying before the enemy,
them no quarter; and to hear the cries and lamentations of the people of Rome. The scene that followed was dreadful. The leader of this invasion fell in the siege, and left his men unrestrained. And whatever a city, taken by storm, can dread from military rage; whatever horrors the ferocity of Germans, the avarice of Spaniards, and the licentiousness of Italians can inflict, these miserable Romans had to endure. Churches, palaces, and private houses were plundered without distinction. No age, character, or sex was exempt. Cardinals, nobles, priests, matrons, virgins, all were a prey to an enraged, brutal soldiery, deaf to every call of humanity. And these 25,000 armed plunderers had the undisturbed possession of that vast and rich city for several months, in which time their brutality scarcely abated. Rome had been taken and plundered at various times, in ages then past, by Huns, Goths, and Vandals. But good authority asserts, that it never experienced such severity from those ancient barbarians, as it found at this time. "If those ancient scenes then, were trumpets of divine wrath; this surely may be considered a vial of wrath, when viewed in connexion with those bloody scenes of fifty years, in that seat of the papel delusion. And, if we here find one of the vials of wrath; it must have been the second, with whose language and chronology these events fully agree.
While the pope and his thirteen cardinals were thus
confined in his castle of St. Antonio, the duke of Urbano, a general of the king of France, who was then in alliance with the pope, arrived at Rome with an army sufficient to have relieved the city. When the pope, from the ramparts of his castle, beheld them, he leaped for joy, believing that his deliverance had now arrived. But the duke having had a private pique against him, when he came in sight of the plundering invaders, wheeled about his army, as though an attempt to dislodge them was too hazardous, and left the pope
and his capital in all their wretchedness. Their scenes of horror were not yet to be closed, but were to be increased. The Florentines now cast off their allegiance to the pope; and, breaking in pieces his statue, they re-established their ancient popular government. The Venetians seized Ravenna, the pope's most delightful province; and other parts of his temporal dominion. Other princes too seized other property belonging to the pope, whom they considered now as ruined. And, to finish the climax of his wretchedness, three other generals of Charles, then in Italy, marched their armies to Rome; not to deliver it indeed; but to swell its tide of wo! These new armies, envying the plunders of the 25,000, who first scoured the vast city, set themselves with the utmost rapacity to collect the gleanings which had been left. These were, indeed, new times to his professed Holiness, who had set his seat above the stars, and “exalted himself above all that was called God or worshipped.”
The pope, after being reduced by famine, and after having been fed for a time on asses' flesh, capitulated, and hired his plunderers to retire-giving them a vast sum,—and surrendering to Charles all the places of strength belonging to the papal see ; and giving hostages, and remaining himself a prisoner till the articles of capitulation should be fulfilled. These tremendous scenes furnished him with a six months' imprisonment. And he then obtained his liberty_only with the additional sum of 350,000 crowns. Thus were swept from his coffers some of the treasures which he had amassed from the sale of indulgences, pardons, and hosts of other impositions ! At these things all Europe were struck with horror! They discovered such a contrast between such instances of furious treatment of the holy father, and any thing that