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God's judgments upon the kingdom of the beast, or Antichriftian empire, are hitherto denounced, and described only in general terms under the figures of harvest and vintage. A more particular account of them follows under the emblem of feven vials which are called (ver. 1.) the feven last plagues, for in them is filled up the wrath of God. These seven last plagues must neceffarily fall under the seventh and laft trumpet, or the third and last woetrumpet: so that as the seventh feal contained the seven trumpets, the feventh trumpet comprehends the seven vials. Not only the concinnity of the prophecy requires this order; for otherwise there would be great confufion, and the vials would interfere with the trumpets, fome falling under one trumpet, and fome under another but moreover, if these seven last plagues and the consequent destruction of Babylon be not the fubject of the third woe, the third woe is no were defcribed particularly as are the two former woes. When four of the seven trumpets had founded, it was declared (VIII. 13.) Woe, woe, woe to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels which are yet to found. Accordingly at the founding of the fifth trumpet (IX. 1.) commences the woe of the Saracen
or Arabian locufts; and in the conclufion is added (ver. 12.) One woe is past, and behold, there come two woes more hereafter. At the founding of the fixth trumpet (IX. 13.) begins the plague of the Euphratéan horsemen or Turks; and in the conclufion it is added (XI. 14.) The fecond woe is past, and behold, the third woe cometh quickly. At the founding of the feventh trumpet therefore (XI. 15, &c.) one would naturally expect the description of the third woe to fucceed: but as it was before observed, there follows only a short and fummary account of the feventh trumpet, and of the joyful rather than of the woful part of it. A general intimation indeed is given of God's taking unto him his great power, and deftroying them who deftroy the earth: but the particulars are reserved for this place; and if these | laft plagues coincide not with the last woe, there are other plagues and other woes after the laft; and how can it be faid that the wrath of God is filled up in them, if there are others befides them? If then these seven laft plagues fynchronize with the seventh and last trumpet, they are all yet to come; for the fixth trumpet is not yet past, nor the woe of the Turkish or Othman empire yet ended: and confequently there is no poffibility of explaining them in fuch a manner as when the prophecies may be parallelled with
histories, or evinced by ocular demonstrationThe many fruitlefs attempts which have hitherto been made to explain them, are a farther proof that they cannot well be explained, the best interpreters having failed and floundered in this part more than in any other. But before the vials are poured out, the scene opens with a preparatory vifion, which is the subject of this chapter.
As feven angels founded the feven trumpets, fo feven angels are appointed to pour out the feven vials, angels being always the minifters of providence and in order to fhow that these judgments are to fall upon the kingdom of the beast, the true worshippers of God and faithful fervants of Jefus, who had escaped victors from the beaft, νικωντες εκ τ8 VIXWVTES EX TX Inge, and had never fubmitted to his tyranny or religion, are described (ver. 2, 3, 4.) like unto the children of Ifrael after their deliverance and escape out of Egypt. For as the children of Ifrael, (Exod. XV.) having paffed thro' the red fea, ftood on the shore, and feeing their enemies overwhelmed with the waters, fung the triumphant fong of Mofes: fo thefe having paffed thro' the fiery trials of this world, fland on the fea of glass mingled with fire, which was mentioned before, (IV. 6.) and seeing the vials ready to be poured out upon their enemies,
enemies, fing a fong of triumph for the manifeftation of the divine judgments; which is called the fong of Mofes and the Song of the Lamb, the words in great measure being taken from the fong of Mofes and other parts of the Old Testament, and applied in a christian sense. After this the most holy place of the temple is opened, (ver. 5.) and the feven angels come out of the temple, (ver. 6.) to denote that their commiffion is immediately from God, clothed like the high priest but in a more august manner, in pure and white linen, to fignify the righteoufnefs of thefe judgments, and having their breafts girded, to fhow their readiness to execute the divine commands, with golden girdles, as emblems of their power and majefty. A vial then is given unto each of the seven angels (ver. 7.) by one of the four living creatures, the representatives of the church; by which it is intimated, that it is in vindication of the church and true religion that thefe plagues are inflicted. Moreover the temple is filled with fmoke from the glory of God and from his power, so that no man is able to enter into it; (ver. 8.) in the fame manner as the tabernacle, when it was confecrated by Mofes, and the temple when it was dedicated by Solomon, (Exod. XL. 34, 351 Kings VIII. 10, 11.) were both filled with a VOL. III. T
cloud and the glory of the Lord, fo that neither Mofes nor the priests could enter therein; a farther proof of the majeftic prefence and extraordinary interpofition of God in the execution of these judgments.
AND I heard a great voice out of the temple, faying to the feven angels, your ways and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
In obedience to the divine command (ver. 1.) the feven angels come forth to pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth: and as the trumpets were so many steps and degrees of the ruin of the Roman empire, fo the vials are of the ruin of the Roman church. The one in polity and government is the image of the other; the one is compared to the system of the world, and hath her earth, and fea, and rivers, and fun, as well as the other; and this is the reafon of the fimilitude and refemblance of the judgments in both cafes. Some resemblance too there is between these plagues, and those of Egypt. Rome papal hath already (XI. 8.) been distinguished by the title of Spiritual Egypt, and resembles Egypt in her punishments as well as in her crimes, tyranny, idolatry, and wickedness.