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of Luther, and the other Reformers, in proclaiming the distinguishing truths of the Gospel, and exposing the errors and vices of Popery, by which this great æra was distinguished; as well as by the countenance and support given to it by many kings and princes of the empire; seemed to encourge the hope and expectation that God was about to avenge the sufferings and blood of his faithful martyrs. After the death of Luther, however, an inconsistent and unsuccessful appeal having been made to arms, and the leaders of the Protestant cause having been taken captive by the Emperor Charles V., this hope appeared to have been on the point of being extinguished; when the wonder-working providence of God, influencing, in a most remarkable manner, the conduct of the Elector Maurice of Saxony, brought about the great TREATY OF Passau, signed A.D. 1552 ; by which the Reformed churches had many privileges confirmed to them, and were acknowledged as a separate religious body!
This particular point of time, when the seal of empire was thus, for the fifth time, put to mark an epoch of ecclesiastical history, appears to have been that when the language of this fifth opened seal of the Apocalypse was used by the souls of those who had been slain for the faith of Jesus. It expresses a feeling of disappointment at such a termination of the Reformation ;
and it is a feeling which meets with full sympathy in the breast of even a reader of its eventful history : for it left them rather in a state of hope and expectation, than of that joy and satisfaction which was promised by its first success. And the expression of such a feeling of disappointment, so unquestionably answers to the marks and characters of this seal ; and the reply which is given to the expostulation therein contained, agrees so exactly with the persecutions which have subsequently taken place, particularly that of Lewis XIV.; that it would not only be difficult to find any other event which will bear such an application, but there appears every reason to believe that it is to this, and to no other, to which it can truly and properly be said to belong.
“ And I beheld when he had opened the sixth
seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake ; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood ; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs when she is shaken of a mighty wind : And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains : and said unto the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be
able to stand ?” As the events represented by this seal form the termination alike of the “Fifth and Seventh Periods,” or the two periods of 2520 and 1260 years, and are another instance where the
symbolical and chronological prophecies point to the same æra, they will be found to occupy a large space in the subsequent parts of this work; and, therefore, in this place they will be noticed as briefly as possible. And as it will be perceived, by reference to these chronological periods, that their own DEMONSTRATIVE EVIDENCE brings such termination down to the opening scenes of the French Revolution, what appears particularly requisite here is, to shew, from the strongest internal evidence, and the certain meaning of symbols, that those of this seal do UNERRINGLY AND ACTUALLY point to the same scenes. And in doing so, it is not that we would attach undue importance to one event or another because they happen in our times: the real danger appears rather to be apprehended from a contrary feeling, that no such events can be of sufficient importance to form the subject of prophecy: but what we wish to do is, by the application of correct principles of interpretation, to refer the momentous events, which have characterized the present period of the world, to their proper place in the prophetic page.
And if they are of such overwhelming importance as appears to us—if the application which is here made of them commends itself to those who are competent to form a correct judgment—God grant, that the present feeble effort may not be without its use, in stirring up many to sigh and cry for the abominations of our own land, and to a sense of their own personal danger.
The first point of internal evidence, necessary in identifying the events of the French Revolution with those of the sixth seal, is their correct adaptation to its symbols.
The language used after the opening of this seal, commences by stating the fact itself, that there shall be a GREAT REVOLUTION; and then it goes on to shew the consequences of that revolution-viz. that it should occasion the entire extinction or obscuration of the imperial headship of the empire ; that the actual exercise of sovereignty throughout the empire, as existing in its various kingdoms and principalities, and amongst all ranks of society, should be marked by the most horrid scenes of blood and carnage;
that its ecclesiastical rulers and clergy should lose their dignity, by sudden and awful violence; that the political and ecclesiastical constitution of the empire should be completely broken up and changed ; that every kingdom and state should be subverted and removed ; and, finally, that so dreadful a consternation should overwhelm all descriptions of persons during these awful convulsions, as to produce a conviction that the day of the wrath of God was at hand.
Now the consequences of the revolution which, in the year 1789, broke out in France, answer, in the most minute circumstances, to all these particulars. The imperial headship of the Western empire was extinguished, by the renunciation of his official title of the Emperor of the Romans, by the present Emperor of Austria; the blood of every one of the Papal kingdoms was abundantly poured out, either by invasions, foreign wars, or civil discord, or by all united; the sovereigns of France, Spain, Portugal, Sardinia, Naples, Rome, as well as those of inferior states, were successively dethroned; the stars, or ecclesiastical
of all ranks, fell from the political firmament; the constitution of Western Europe was altogether changed; and almost every kingdom and principality was overthrown. These things, as will be in the recollection of many still living, produced a most awful