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THE FIFTH VIAL.
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, and blasphemed the God of heaven, because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. (Rev. xvi, 10, 11.)
The last capital scene of the fourth vial was some time after the middle of the 18th century. And it was to have this effect, as we have seen, to cause the men, who had the mark of the beast, to blaspheme God, and to persevere in their impenitence. This might be expected soon to bring on the events of the fifth vial, in the utter destruction of the Papal beast. The beast, on whose seat (throne) this vial is discharged, must be the Papal beast. For he is the great power, on which all the preceding vials were poured out. He was the enemy, with which the Church of Christ had the most immediate concern; and therefore was first to be attacked and destroyed. The preceding vials were preparing the way for his ruin. The fifth completes his ruin as a beast, or predominant power. The Papacy was the only beast on the Roman earth, till the Antichristian beast arose. The beast in the fifth vial therefore, must have been the Papal beast. Whether his seat (throne) and kingdom mean his temporal principality; or his pristine, independent influence in that delusion, which was his diverse characteristic; * or both, may be a question. Both in fact were to be subverted. Accordingly in the year 1789, sixteen years after the last most signal event of the fourth vial, in the subversion of the order of the Jesuits, the rev.
rect to construe one event in the place of another, on account of a coincidence in some point. Many a tyrant has scorched his subjects with the fire of his lawless despotism. But all such events cannot on this account, be viewed as the fulfilment of the fourth vial.
* Dan. vii, 24.
olution in France commenced. This opened a new and most interesting era, and did in its progress overturn the throne of the Papal beast, in both the senses afore hinted. It has filled the Papal kingdom with darkness; and has exhibited scenes probably the most terrific and bloody, which ever blackened the historic page.
The rise of Antichrist will be found, I apprehend, to have opened the scene of the fifth vial. The events of the four preceding vials greatly perplexed the Pápal beast. But they were not to subvert his throne, nor fill his kingdom with darkness. He still had light; hoped to continue his existence; yea, hoped to regain something of his former glory. But the fifth vial was to overturn his seat; and for the first time to fill his kingdom with darkness! And the French revolution has done both, in relation to the Papal see.
No light, no rational hope of a restoration remained to the Pope. His clergy in France were destroyed. His dominions in Italy were overrun.
His authority, and the Christian religion itself, were rejected. The person of “the Pope was seized. He was divested of his temporal dominions, restricted to a certain pension, and exiled from his royal city.”* The events, which have followed, are so well known to the people of this generation, and the impressions made by them are so deep, that they need not here be recited. The Papal power has ceased to be a beast; having fallen wholly under the power of the Antichristian beast, newly risen. The remains of the Papal power, now, and henceforth, till he shall be utterly destroyed, together with the Antichristian beast, constitute the false prophet, under the power and management of the Roman beast, under his last, a newly healed head.
The evidence, that the rise of Antichrist in France opened the period of the fifth vial, with awful precision, I cannot but conceive to be more clear, than what usually attends the fulfilment of ancient prophecies. In addition to the evidence arising from its period, in connexion with the preceding vials, the evidence arising
*Trumbull's Century Sermon.
from the events, in view of the prophetic description of the fifth vial, seems to be conclusive. Until the fifth vial, the Papal beast had a throne and a kingdom. After it, he has none! For the fifth vial is poured upon his throne, which must indicate its subversion. Consequently, his kingdom is filled with darkness. And till the rise of Antichrist in France, the Papal power may be said to have had a throne and a kingdom. Now he has neither. His throne is destroyed; and his kingdom is filled with darkness. Few fulfilments of prophecy were ever capable of equal demonstration. And have not the consequent blasphemies and events predicted in this vial, been fulfilled? The people of the Papal earth may well be said to have gnawed their tongues for pain. They have indeed languished under their pains and their sores. Their judgments have been, and are awful. How abundant have been the blasphemies of Atheism! and how obdurate the im. penitence!
And the sixth Angel poured out his vial upon great
river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. (Rev. xvi, 12.)
This vial some great authors have supposed will be fulfilled in the subversion of the Ottoman empire, that the way for the return of Israel and Judah to the land of their fathers may be prepared. Various writers have supposed the sixth vial to relate to the failing of the sources of Papal wealth and power, in order to facili. tate the overthrow of the Romish see: And that it is an allusion to the mode, in which Cyrus reduced ancient Babylon. But I must think those authors, who have viewed this vial as respecting the overthrow of the Turks, to have been correct. Five of the vials have been fulfilled on the Papal beast. The fifth subverted his throne and kingdom. The sixth then cannot relate
to the failing of the revenues of the Pope; an event antecedent to the fifth vial. It must relate to another of the great powers found in array against Christ; the Mohammedan. Both this and Popery have been terrible to the Christian cause. Both were to be destroyed; and probably by the same rod of iron, or Antichrist. And can it be viewed as too much, that one of the seven last plagues should have an exclusive reference to the overthrow of the vast Mohammedan imposture? It has been believed that the Ottoman empire is to be overturned at a period not far from the present. And the judgment of the sixth vial appears strikingly to predict the accomplishment of this event. The sixth trumpet, or second woe, gave rise to the Ottoman empire, by loosing the four Angels, or Turkish sultanies bound upon the river Euphrates, whose capitals were Bagdat, Damascus, Aleppo, and Iconium. Those Turkish powers were long circumscribed there, by the crusades, and by the attacks of the Tartars. The second woe took off those restrictions; formed the Ottoman empire; and aided their bloody excursions into Europe. And the drying up of the waters of the Euphrates seems a striking expression of the counterpart of the judgment of the sixth trumpet; a striking expression of the overthrow of the Euphratean empire.
With respect to the time of this event, we are not left wholly in the dark. The Euphratean horsemen, at the establishment of the Ottoman empire, were “prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a
If these sums were to be added, they make in prophetic calculation, 391 years, and two weeks. These added to 1453, the year in which the Turks took Constantinople, bring us to the year 1844, for the overthrow of the Turks. But if we read the passage as President Langdon explains it, the time of their subversion is nearer at hand. He supposes the sums are not to be added: According to his sense of the passage, those sultanies, when loosed, were to make successive incursions into Europe, as of an hour, a day, a month, and a
*Rev. ix, 15.
year; or each incursion thus exceeding its predecessor in length and terror. The first should be a short ex. pedition for plunder, like the alarm of an hour, or a few weeks. In the next, the plundering Turks should
proceed further, and waste and pillage for a prophetic day, or a year. In their third attack, they should be still more terrible, and continue their depredations for a prophetic month, or 30 years; and then retire, and afford a respite. And in their last attack, they should take Constantinople, make it their seat of empire, and continue for a prophetic year. The history of the events (all excepting the last, whose termination is still fu. ture) is thought to accord well with this representation. The Turks at first broke into Europe for plun. der, and soon retired. This was like the alarm of an hour. Bajazet afterward made a longer incursion, and threatened the speedy conquest of the Greeks. But an attack of the Tartars at home called him away; and the danger appeared to subside. After an interval of rest to Europe, Mahomet I commenced a new attack, took Adrianople; and his successor took a considerable part of Greece. This "was an alarm which continued a month, or 30 years." And after a considerable season,
“Mahomet II took Constantinople, and established the Turkish empire upon the ruins of that of the Greeks.”* This probably was to continue a prophetic year, or 360 years. If the above solution be correct, the 360 years added to 1453, the year in which Constan tinople was taken, brings us to the year 1813 for the overthrow of the Turks. And if the year, for which the Turks were prepared, be to be reckoned 365 days, or years, according to the present true reckoning, it brings us to the year 1818 for the time of the fulfil. · ment of the sixth vial. Whether any of these calculations be correct, time will soon decide. But sooner or later the sixth vial will be fulfilled. And its accom. plishment will probably be in the subversion of the Ottoman empire.
Relative to the means of the overthrow of the Turks, we read, Dan. xi, 40,-concerning the great infidel Power of
*Langdon on Revelation, p. 133.