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“ ternity! or DEATH! Alas! the last was the
only one that was realized !”.
I could have added the faithful testimony of other historians at large, to confirm the events alluded to in this vial; who tell us of civil wars the most barbarous ; of cities burnt; palaces, archives, forests, and private mansions prostrated and destroyed, and of universal plunder ; of men, women and children, without notice, and without trial massacred; and who further represent the rivers of this devoted country as groaning under loads of human carcases, and flowing with humar blood: but surely the mind of every reader of sensibility and humanity must be already appalled, and shrink back from the hideous picture ; and surely enough has been said to convince him, that correspondent with the figurative sense of the text, the people of France have been "scorched with fire,” and with “great heat,' and that the prophecy in this respect has literally been fulfilled.
Such were the woes poured down by a justly offended God, upon a blasphemous and atheistical nation. It seems to have been the divine will, that they should rage with unremitting violence and fury, during the long period of eighteen months, from the death of the king inclusive, on the 21st of January 1793, to the death of those monsters of cruelty Roberspierre and his faction, on the 8th of July 1794. These wretches were betrayed by their own colleagues, tried and condemned by that very Convention, which they were upon the point of destroying, and suffered
death under the same guillotine, and on the spot where they had murdered their lawful chief magistrate, and many hundreds of their fellow citizens. And thus, it seems to have pleased God to abate the fury of his wrath, at least for a time, to give the French nation an opportunity of returning to that truth which they had so wantonly, so publicly, and so blasphemously denied.
But the events foretold in this verse are not yet finished: there was another remarkable fact to come to pass ; viz. that, notwithstanding the just severity of those plagues, the people upon whom they were to fall should “blaspheme the name of “God, who had power over these plagues, and
repent not to give him the glory.” This division of the verse may refer either to that part of the nation, who miserably perished under the plagues of this vial, or to that which has survived them. In respect to the first, we know, that those who had rejected the cup of atheism, and who retained their faith in God, and the gospel of his blessed Son, had been inost violently persecuted, and had either fled or been banished or massacred: so that there remained only a nation of hardened, lustful, and atheistical revolutionary anarchists and republicans, upon whom this vial could be poured: and such was the rapidity of the plagues, that it is not reasonable to believe they on whom they fell could have had time, even had they been disposed, to “repent,” in sincerity and truth, of their sins, and to have “
given the “glory to that God who had power over these plagues,” and before whose awful and immacui
late presence they were soon to appear, covered, loaded, polluted with the blackest atheism. In regard to those who yet live, it is equally notorious, that, after seven years mercy, there is no prospect that the French nation will desert the principles of atheism. Their God Reason, or Liberiy, their demons, or impious atheists deified, yet remain in the church of St. Genevieve, late the house of God, but now their atheistical pantheon, a house of blasphemy! Their (I will not prophane the name of Religion) their system of atheism and its priests are encouraged, supported, and honoured; their contempt for the God of Heaven and his blessed Son rides yet paramount over all religion, all virtue and principle; nor has their pride, their ambition, their dissipation, and the gratification of every lust, diminished. And thus, as the prophet says they would, they continue to “ blaspheme the name of God who had pow“ er over these plagues, and repent not to give “ him the glory.”
Vial 5.-Ver. 10.-" And the fifth angel “poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast, “and his kingdom was full of darkness, and “they gnawed their tongues for pain.”
Ver. 11.-" And blasphemed the God of “ Heaven because of their pains and their
sores, and repented not of their deeds." We have seen that the first four vials, bring down the events to the present times. The events of this, and the two which follow it, are yet to come. Aware of the impossibility of foreseeing the time when, the manner how, and the means by which they are to be fulfilled, I shall not attempt an explanation of them, farther than by making such general observations as naturally arise out of the texts, and are countenanced by other parts of Scripture ; and this only to give the reader a general view of the objects upon which they are to be poured out, and to show that the chain of prophetic events, foretold in the first century, and which has been brought down to the present times, is continued by the prophet to the end of time!
I have often had occasion to mention, that the prophet has described the French republic by the symbol of a beast ; as, “ the beast as“cending out of the bottomless pit ;"_" the “ beast coming up out of the earth ," and often emphatically, with the article the before it, as "the beast,” to point out its consummate wickedness. We may therefore safely conclude, that he here refers to the same monstrous power. But he gives us another sign, which can be applied with propriety to no other; for he adds, as a reason for pouring out this vial upon “ the beast,” that“ his kingdom was full of darkness;" that is, destitute of all sense of religion and morality, and full of blasphemy and atheism, the very state in which France now is, and in which in all probability, she will remain.
When this is to take place it is impossible to say. Future events are mercifully concealed
from human foresight; and yet when we consider the rapid completion of the events foretold under the four first vials, it is not an improbable conjecture, that the period between the completion of the fourth and fifth will not be a long one; more especially when we review the innumerable deceptions, frauds, and fair promises with which the people have been wretchedly amused and cheated, the dreadful and unceasing calamities they have suffered during the course of ten years, in consequence of the most flagrant breaches of those promises; the recollection of their former peace and happiness; the instability and anarchy of their minds; the natural, indeed the necessary effects of that atheism, of which they have drunk such plentiful draughts; the want of principle, both in religion and morality, to controul their pride and ambition, and to cool their passions; added to the oppressive, continued, and unbounded despotism of their tyrants : I say, when we consider all this, it is scarcely to be supposed that “ a great and enlightened nation, as they are called by their own historian, should, under such circumstances, long remain passive and peaceable. But this is conjecture only.
But to attend to the dreadful consequences of this vial : I find no instance in the prophecies where a prophet has foretold the rise of a wicked power, and enemy to the word of God, and omitted its fall.
* Daniel having
* Dan. vii. 11. 12.