Imágenes de páginas

specting the nature and merit of maxim of this illustrious reformgood works.*

The next trea- er, that the people should be intise, which came from his pen, structed in the errors, which per: was on the celibacy of the clergy, vaded the religious service of the and on monastic vows in gene- church, and that after they were ral. On this subject Melancthon thoroughly persuaded of their had frequently conversed with existence, that they should be hiin; but Luther, aware of the abolished without disorder or danger, which might ensue to turbulence, to prevent the fatal the reformation from the pro- consequence of precipitate chanmulgation of an opinion, which ges in the established worship. controverted one of the most an- Following out this maxim, sevecient practices of the church, hes- ral of the Augustine monks, who itated immediately to embrace it. had come to Wittemberg, from Melanethon, however, was deter different parts of Germany, to mined not to conceal his senti. enjoy the advantages of Luther's" ments, when, in consequence of instructions, which they regardhis influence and instructions, a ed as the light of heaven, began curate of Kemberg in Saxony publicly to preach against the having, in defiance of the law of doctrine of private mass, and celibacy, entered on a married communion under one kind. life, an opportunity was afforded They were checked by the prior of giving them publicity. The of the monastery ; but persisted curate was summoned to appear in their opinion, and discontinubefore the Archbishop of Mentz; ed the practices, which they imand Philip prepared an apology pugned, on which, complaint was for him, addressed to the offi. made against them to the court. cials of Magdeburg. This apolo- The unanimity and peace of the gy was an unanswerable refuta. society being thus broken, in ortion of the Popish tenets respect. der again to cement them, the ing the marriage of Priests, and Elector, on being informed of it, paved the way for Luther's trea- sent Gregory Pontanus to Wita tise on the general topic of reli. temberg, who appointed deputies gious vows. These he showed to receive the reasoas of the to be unsupported by either pre- malcontent monks for resisting cept or example in the New the established order, and to reDestament; to be contrary to port them along with their own Christian liberty ; subversive of opinion to Frederic. The deputhat very spirituality and purity; ties being attached to the refor. of which it was pretended they mation, represented the reasonwere the bulwarks ; and a bur: ings of the innovators as sound den imposed by hellish policy and unanswerable ; gave it, as on the consciences of men.t their own opinion, that some alte

During Luther's residence at rations were necessary, though Wartburg, a reformation took they did not insist on the total place in the public worship at abolition of private mass; and Witteinberg. It was a wise conjured the Elector to maintain

that gospel, which God had . Seckend. $ 101, p. 164.

caused to revisit his church. † Ib. SS 104, 105, p. 170.

Frederic, on receiving their re

port, recommended moderation ner more consonant to the spiritto both parties ; requested the uality of its nature, put away immonks to do nothing without se: ages, abolished the elevation of rious deliberation, and to wait till the host, and made preparations the people were better informed for suppressing the order of on the subject before they ven- mendicant friars. All the Autured to introduce changes, gustines throughout Thuringia which interested the whole and Misnia soon after met in a church, and which might go to chapter at Wittemberg, and gave subvert many ancient institu- their sanction to these important tions, and to alter the whole sys- changes. Luther received these tem of ecclesiastical administra- transactions with raptures of tion. The deputies, not being joy, and congratulated his felsatisfied with this mode of pro. low-citizens on their courage cedure, sent a second remon- and zeal, in giving the first exstrance to Frederic, on the ne. ample of a public reformation. cessity of correcting the abuses It was on this occasion that he of which they complained ; and composed his treatise on the Abnotwithstanding his repeated ad- olition of Private Masses, though vice, not to make their proposed it was suppressed by order of alterations, though he allowed the court, and not printed till them publicly to declare that the beginning of 1523.* some reformation was necessary, under the direction of Beyer, a * Beausobre, tom ii. lib. 4. p. 185– member both of the senate and 198. university, they regulated the Seckend. Sec. 54. SS 129, 130. Worship of the sanctuary in a man

(To be continued.)

Religious Communications.

A DISSERTATION ON JOHN's miracles, which go forth unto SIXTH VIAL.

the kings of the earth and of the

whole world, to gather them to Revelation xvi. 12–16.

the battle of that great day of

God Almighty. Behold, I come, " And the sixth angel poured as a thief. Blessed is he, that out his vial upon the great river watcheth, and keepeth his garEuphrates, and the water there- ments, lest he walk naked, and of was dried up, that the way of they see his shame. And he the kings of the east might be gathered them together into a prepared. And I saw three un place, called in the Hebrew clean spirits, like frogs, come tongue Armageddon." out of the mouth of the dragon, The moral and religious state and out of the mouth of the of the Christian world makes it beast, and out of the mouth of evident to every careful observe the false prophet. For they are er, that we are now under one or the spirits of devils, working other of the latter vials. Under Vol. II, No. 1.


the preceding period of the literal Babylon. We well know trumpets, the sensible effect of how that was taken by the kings God's judgments was the in- of Media and Persia, whose crease of the various kinds of countries lay east of her, who superstition and idolatry in the therefore, in relation to her, degenerate and apostate church; were literally " the kings of the as appears from chap. ix. But east.” The waters of the Euunder the latter vials, the effect phrates, which ran through that of God's judgments is the in- city, and were the means of her crease of infidelity, and a conse wealth and defence, were dried quent dissipation of morals. up, or diverted from their old “ Men blaspheme the God of channel, so that the besieging arheaven, and repent not of their my entered and took it almost deeds."

The rapid increase, without resistance. That Babextensive spread, and undisguis- ylon should be taken in this ed arowal of infidelity in all manner was expressly foretold parts of the Christian world, not by Jeremiah. “ A sword is upexcepting our own favoured on the inhabitants of Babylon, country, strongly mark the pe- a drought is upon her waters, riod, in which we live. At least, and they shall be dried up. I they show that one or other of will dry up her sea, and make the latter vials is now running. her springs dry, and Babylon The circumstances and events shall become heaps." of the times will most naturally By " the kings of the east" point us to the sixth. This we we are to understand, not literalwill endeavour to explain, and ly kings whose territories lie will inquire, whether events do east of Rome, the mystical Babynot correspond with it.

lon, búť her enemies in general. “ The sixth angel poured out By “ Euphrates," we are to unhis vial upon the great river Eu- derstand, not the river so called, phrates, and the water thereof nor any other remarkable water, was dried up, that the way of the but any sources of riches and kings of the east might be pre- strength, which have rendered pared.”

her formidable ; and any impedWe are to interpret this via! iments, which, in time past, have according to the analogy of the restrained 'her enemies from inprophetic part of the book, which vading her, or have prevented is wholly figurative, and borrows their success. Who are the enits language and allusions from emies, that shall finally destroy the Old Testament.

her, John has told us in the 17th As the Roman church is call- chap. of this book : “ Those ed Babylon, and as under the kings, who had once agreed to next vial, this "great Babylon give their kingdom to the beast," comes into remembrance before i. e. to the Roman power,“ will, God, that he may give ber the when God's word is fulfilled, cup of the wine of the fierceness hate the whore, that sits on the of his wrath ;" so the judge beast, make her desolate and ments, coming upon her under naked, and burn her with fire." this vial, are described by an The kings of the earth long allusion to the destruction of the felt the tyranny and oppression

[ocr errors]

of papal Rome. But the dread freedom of religion ; for it not of her fulminations, while she only tolerates, but supports Prowas blindly adored by the igno testantism, as well as Popery ; rant and deluded multitude, re so that means of reformation' strained these kings from as may now be applied with safety serting their sovereignty and re- and without interruption. The dressing their injuries. This way for the introduction of light Eupbrates, for a considerable and truth, which was shut under time, has been drying up. The former monarchs, is now openabolition of convents and of the ed. Accordingly, in the short inquisition in many. Roman interval of peace between the Catholic countries, and the gen. last and the present war, Proteseral suppression of the order of tant missionaries visited France Jesuits, the extension of com without danger, and preached merce, and the consequent diffu. there without molestation ; and sion of knowledge, have greatly complete Bibles and many Prodiminished the weath, and weako testant books were distributed ened the strength of this Baby- among the people, and received lon. But no event has been with apparent gratitude and joy." so fatal to the papal power, as The eruption of the war put a the subversion of the French' sudden stop to these pious mea. monarchy. The justice of this sures; but, whenever peace revolution in a moral view, or shall return, it is hoped they will the wisdom of it in a political be renewed. view, is not a subject of our John goes on to say, “I saw present inquiry. Be this as it three unclean spirits, like frogs, may, the consequence of it in re come out of the mouth of the lation to the papal power is ob dragon, and out of the mouth of vious. It has almost dried up the beast, and out of the mouth the river, which was the source of the false prophet.It will be of her wealth, and removed the necessary to ascertain the char. barrier, which was the means of acters, intended by these names. her defence. The French na And let us remember, they are tion, which had long supported, three, and must not be confoundhas now annihilated the Pope's ed. temporal dominion, and has left Our first inquiry will be conhim but the shadow of a spirit- cerning the dragon. He is deual supremacy in the church. scribed chap xii. “ There apThus St. John's prophecy is ful. peared a sign in heaven," or in filled; “The ten horns, the sky, “a great red dragon, kings, which gave their power having seven heads and ten horns, to the beast, these, or some of and on his heads seven crowns." these, shall hate the whore, who. This must intend the heathen sits on him, and make her des Roman empire, as it existed in olate,

John's time. The place is de The present government of signated by the seven heads, which France, in a political view, is as the angel says, are seven moun. absolute, as was her former gov. tains, on which the city, or seat of ernment. But it is certainly the dragon, was built. This cir, much more favourable to the cumstance points out Rome,


which, all know, was þuilt on. divided by the incursions and seven hills. The seven heads de. conquests of the northern barbanote also seven kings, or seven rians. This was after Christian, successive forms of government; ity was established and greatly five of which, the angel says, were corrupted in the empire. This fallen, one then existed, and one beast therefore can be no other,

was to come. The sixth, which ex than the papal Roman empire. i isted in John's time, was the impe The dragon gives his power

rial, or the government by em throne, and authority to the perors.

The seventh, which beast. The dragon and beast was to come, was the ducal, or are no longer distinct characters. rather the papal government. They are become one. The The crowns, at the time of the power has passed from the for. vision, were on the heads of the mer to the latter. “Men wordragon, and had not passed to the ship the dragon, which gave horns of the beast, mentioned af power to the beast, and they worterward, i. e. the government ship the beast, saying, Who is was then seated at Rome, and like to the beast?" was not divided among the king. By the dragon then, under the doms into which the empire was sixth vial, we cannot understand afterwards split. So that the the dragon existing in his first dragon must signify the Heathen form, or the Heathen Roman emRoman government.

e pire ; for in this form he existThis dragon is indeed called ed no longer after he had given the devil, verse 9th, But this his power to the beast. But by must mean the pagan empire, as this name we must understand. actuated by the devil. For, the dragon and beast united, or whenever the devil is introduced the papal empire, exercising the in this book, he appears as carry, tyranny and corruption of the ing on his designs by wicked, heathen empire. agents. It is agreeable to the Such a power certainly exists style of prophecy to call tyrants some where under this vial. by the name of a dragon. The And where shall we find it, but kings of Egypt and of Assyria in the German empire? This is are so called.

very extensive. In the time of After the dragon John saw " a Charles V. and his successor it beast rise up out of the sea, hars, comprehended the greater part ing seven heads and ten horns, and of the western empire, and still on his horns ten crowns; and to, comprises a considerable part of him the dragon gave his power it. It is that empire continued. and throne, and great authority.” It is called the holy Roman em

In the lime, wben this beast pire. The person, crowned King appears, the crowns, importing of the Romans, succeeds on the sovereign power, have passed demise of the emperor, to the imfrom the heads of the dragon to perial throne. Popery is the esthe horns of the beast. The do- tablished religion of the empire. minion, which was before cona It has exercised great tyranny, fined to Rome, is now spread and violent persecution. It has among the ten kingdoms, into retained all the discriminating, which the Roman empire was marks of the dragon, as 4. tyran

« AnteriorContinuar »