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great apostacies, the Mahometan and the Papal. There may be allusion likewise to the blood shed by these cruel fanatics, who in their bigoted rage slew millions of the saints; and then turned their arms upon their own brethren, wallowing in blood. The bloody wars, which raged between the Saracens and Turks and Tartars, and between the
popes and western emperors; between the parties denominated Guelphs and Ghibelines; and the deadly contests between the two great antichristian divisions, the Papal and Mahometan, in the crusades, seem to have amply fulfilled this bloody prophecy.
The fourth Vial is poured on the great heavenly luminary, the Sun*. A similar stroke under the corresponding Trumpet, had produced darkness and igno
But there is a further progress, insomuch as the deprivation of the light of true Religion produces also religious feuds and animosities which are found to rage most bitterly in the persecuting party, ever most deficient in the knowledge and practice of what is good and true.
The fifth angel pours his Vial on “ the throne of " the beast;" on his chief seat of empire and dominion. Pergamus, at the time of the vision, was declared "the " throne of satan t:" and satan, or the dragon, gave his throne to the beast I. But at this period, the beast, by the ministry of the false prophet, had greatly extended his dominion, and his capital seat was elsewhere. He had now a vast two-fold empire; under the two horns of antichrist. But “ his kingdom becomes “darkened.” During the antichristian reign, there has been a long and dark age; an age of deplorable ignorance and superstition. The fanatical disciples of Mahomet, at their first outset, forbade the cultivation of all learning, except that which is contained in the book of their false prophet. The papal usurpers encouraged only monkish dreams and lying legends, and scholastic quibbles; and prohibited the free and general use of the fountains of knowledge; the Sacred Scriptures. This operated not only as a great hindrance to the cause of Christianity, (represented under the corresponding Trumpet,) but also as a wangn, an inflicted punishment upon
* See note, ch, viii. 12.
+ Ch. ii. 13. NN 2
Ch. xiii. 2. learning,
the wicked authors and abettors of this spiritual ignorance; men who “ loved darkness better than " light, because their deeds were evil.” For as “they “ who love silver, shall not be satisfied with silver * ;" so they who love darkness, cannot be satisfied therewith. It recoils upon them, and torments t.
The sixth Vial is poured out on the great river Euphrates, which is dried up, to prepare the way of the kings, who come from the east, or sun-rising. Euphrates is the river on which stood Babylon, the enemy and corrupter of God's ancient Church I. And as Babylon is used, symbolically, to represent the corrupt Christian, or, to speak more justly, antichristian Church; so Euphrates may represent that region : or, having been the grand boundary, in ancient times, between those countries generally connected together
* Eccl, v. 10.
+ We have before us a modern instance of this truth. The extinction of Christianity in France, so far as it could be accomplished, was the most unwise policy which its infatuated rulers could have devised; that which afforded them the greatest embarrassment, and involved them in the utmost danger. To this cause is to be attributed the most formidable of their rebellions; and so far as their mad devices took place, they undermined and eradicated in the minds of the subjects those principles which render them inost governable. This was writs ren about the year 1795. Note, ch. ix. 3.
by a reciprocation of interests, and the more remote nations to the east, and being also the limiting line of the Roman empire, it may likewise be used to denote that which separates and prevents an union in religion between the now eastern and western worlds. The kings and their nations were destined by the original counsel of God, declared by his prophets *, to flow into the Christian Church. This prophecy, in the western hemisphere has been most wonderfully fulfilled: but the eastern nations remain idolatrous, or immersed in mahometan superstition. And it is this superstition, settled upon the whole range of the modern Euphrates, which seems to be a principal impediment to their conversions. But this is not all; there is another Euphrates, another Babylon, which impedes. Not only this eastern branch of Antichrist, but his western horn also, more particularly denominated Babylon t, is found to place great obstacles in the way prepared for these kings and nations to pass over to the Christian Church. The Indian Mahometans are described by modern writers to be a kind of Christian heretics, most averse to the Romish superstition; and till that superstition shall be in a greater degree removed, it is said there are little hopes of converting many of them to the Christian Church I. This enmity of the Mahometans to the papal religion is so great in the east, that there are said to be treasures of Christian manuscripts among them, copies of which might be obtained, if the owners could be assured that the copyists were not of the same party as the Pope 9. " The writers of the Romish “ communion, by endeavouring to defend their own
* Is. ii. 2; 1xvi, 12. 18, 19, 20; xlix. 23. Mic. iv, 1.
Sir Wm. Jones, Asiatic Researches,
“ idolatry “ idolatry and superstition, have rather contributed to “ the increase of that aversion, which the Mahometans “ now entertain against the Christian Religion *." Hence it appears that Antichrist, in both his horns or branches, (one of which is now seated on the Euphrates, and the other is scripturally known by the name of that Babylon which was formerly seated there,) occasions impediments, which must probably be removed, before the eastern nations with their kings can flow into the Church of Christ.
In the prophecy of Daniel, (ch. vii. 12.) a continuance in life is assigned to the three first beasts, or empires, after the fourth, or Roman empire, shall be subdued to the Messiah. Accordingly the eastern nations, beyond the pale of the Roman empire, are the latest converted to Christianity. But the difficulties will be removed; their conversion will take place; and “there “ will be one fold and one Shepherd.” These observations may perhaps afford some light to the prophecy contained under the sixth Vial; which must remain involved in some obscurity, till the time when it comes to be fulfilled. This prophecy appears not only to bear some analogy and relation to that of the sixth Trumpet, but also to be in some degree cotemporary with it; with that part of it which runs the course of the 1260 years, to the end of the Gentile period t.
Ver. 13. And I saw from the mouth of the dragon, &c., three unclean spirits, as it were frogs.] Under the sixth Trumpet, as hath been before remarked, the prophecy stretches beyond its primary object, (the armies led by the angels from Euphrates,) into the 1260 years, the period of the Gentiles, even to the end of it I. Thus also the sixth Vial, having discharged its plague upon Euphrates, opens a wider field, preparatory to the final wrath of the seventh Vial. The dragon, the beast, and false prophet, are now seen to act with united force, each contributing to the common cause, “ against the “ battle of the great day,” which is expected under the seventh Seal, the seventh Trumpet, the seventh Vial. The evil spirits sent into the world on this occasion, are three; each antichristian chief having produced one. They come forth from the mouths of their wicked parents; may probably therefore be employed in spreading those doctrines by which the kind of apostacy, to happen “in the latter days,” is promoted: and which is described by St. Paul as effected πνευμασι πλανoις και Sidecomandes des poulwy, by seducing spirits and doctrines of devils *. There is a striking resemblance in the two passages ; πνευματα δαιμονιων ποιονία σημεια, spirits of “ dæmons working wonders,” that is, the same kind of wonders, as we have seen before worked by the false prophet, who πλανά δια τα σημεια , seducetle by the wonders which he worketh. Of this nature seems to be this three-fold attack on the Christian Church; to seduce the kings and leading men; and to range the civil powers on the side of Antichrist. The seducing doctrines are personified; they are like frogs; they have the appearance of that loathsome and unclean animal, which infested Ægypt, when suffering her plagues. They are here as plagues; as plagues upon the antichristians; for, such only are poured out in the Vials. They levy war indeed against Christianity; but since they appear, in the present instance, under the Vials, and not under the Trumpets, they are to be
+ See note, ch. x. l.
• Sale's Koran, Preface, p. viii.
Note, ch. x.l.