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shall mourn, and all they that cast angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish.” This is expressed in the prophecies of drying up the waters, i. e. the supplies of Egypt ; and this probably is implied in the prophecies of drying up the waters of that city that is spiritually called Egypt. And it may be noted, that this is not only a supply that the church of Antichrist has literally out of the waters, but is that part of their temporal supply which is eminently the supply and food of their Antichristian superstition, or which their Popish religion makes necessary for them. These things duly considered, I imagine afford us ground to suppose, not only that the effect of this sixth vial is already begun, but that some progress is already made in it, and that this vial is now running apace. And when it shall be finished, there is all reason to suppose that the destruction of Antichrist will very speedily follow ; and that the two last vials will succeed one another more closely than the other vials. When once the river, Euphrates was dried up, and Cyrus's way was prepared, he delayed not, but immediately entered into the city to destroy it. Nor is it God’s manner, when once his way is prepared, to delay to deliver his church and shew mercy to Zión. When once impediments are removed, Christ will no longer remain at a distance, but will be like a roe or a young hart, coming swiftly to the help of his people. When that cry is made, Isa. lvii. 14. “Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, &c. The high and lofty one that inhabits eternity, is represented as very near to revive the spirit of the contrite, and deliver his people with whom he had been wroth.” Ver. 15, to the end. When that cry is made Isa. xl. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the descrt an highway for our God ; every valley shall be exalted,” &c. God tells his church, that her warfare is accomplished, and the time to comfort her is come, and that the glory of the Lord now shall be revealed, and all flesh see it together, ver. 1.....5. And agreeably to these things, Christ, on the pouring out the sixth vial, says, Behold I come, Rev. xvi. 15. The sixth vial is the forerunner of the seventh and last, to prepare its way. The angel that pours out this vial is the harbinger of Christ; and when the harbinger is come, the king is at hand. John the Baptist, that was Christ's harbinger, who came to level mountains and fill up valleys, proclaimed, The kingdom of heaven is at hand ; and when he had firefiared Christ’s way, then the Lord suddenly came into his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, Mal. iii. 1. It is true, that we do not know how long this vial may continue running, and so Christ's way preparing, before it is fully prepared : But yet if there be reason to think the effect of this vial is begun, or is near, then there is reason also to think that the beginning of that great work of God’s spirit, in reviving of religion, which, before it is finished, will issue in Antichrist's ruin, is not far off. For it is pretty manifest, that the beginning of this work will accompany the sixth vial. For the gathering together of the armies on both sides, on the side of Christ and Antichrist, to that great battle that shall issue in the overthrow of the latter, will be under this vial ; (compare Rev. xvi. 12, 13, 14, with chapter xix. 11, to the end) And it is plain that Christ's manifesting himself, and wonderfully appearing after long hiding himself to plead his own and his people’s cause, and riding forth against his enemies in a glorious manner, and his people's following him in pure linen, or the practice of righteousness and pure religion, will be the thing that will give the alarm to Antichrist, and cause him to gather that vast host to make the utmost opposition. But this alarm and gathering together is represented as being under the sixth vial. So that it will be a great revival, and mighty progress of true religion under the sixth vial, eminently threatening the speedy and utter overthrow of Satan's kingdom on earth, that will so mightily rouse the old serpent, to exert himself with such exceeding violence, in that greatest conflict and struggle that ever he had with Christ and the Church, since the world stood. All the seven vials bring terrible judgments upon Antichrist; but there seems to be something distinguishing of the three last, the fifth, sixth and seventh, viz. That they more directly tend to the overthrow of his kingdom, and accordingly each of them is attended with a great reviving of religion. The fifth vial was attended with such a revival, and reformation, that greatly weakened and diminished the throne or kingdom of the beast, and went far towards its ruin. It seems as though the sixth vial should be much more so for it is the distinguishing note of this vial, that it is the preparatory vial, which more than any other vial prepares the way for Christ's coming to destroy the kingdom of Antichrist, and set up his own kingdom in the world. A great outpouring of the Spirit accompanied that dispensation that was preparatory to Christ's coming in his public ministry, in the days of his flesh : So, much more, will a great outpouring of the Spirit accompany the dispensation that will be preparatory to Christ's coming in his kingdom. And besides those things which belong to the preparation of Christ's way, which are so often represented by levelling mountains, drying up rivers, &c. viz. The unravelling intricacies, and removing difficulties attending Christian doctrines, the distinguishing between true religion and its false appearances, the detecting and exploding errors and corrupt principles, and the reforming the wicked lives of professors, which have been the chief stumbling blocks and obstacles that have hitherto hindered the progress of true religion ; I say, these things, which seem to belong to this preparatory vial, are the proper work of the Spirit of God, promoting and advancing divine light and true piety, and can be the effect of nothing else. And that the beginning of that glorious work of God's Spirit, which shall finally bring on the church's latter day glory, will accompany that other effect of this vial, viz. The turning the streams of the wealth of the world, the bringing its treasures, and the gains of its trade and navigation, into the true Protestant church of Christ, seems very manifest, because this very effect is spoken of as that which shall be at the beginning of this glorious work. Isa. lx. 8, 9. “Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as doves to their windows 2 Surely the Isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the holy one of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.” So that it is to be hoped that before this effect of this vial, which is now probably begun, is at an end, the Spirit of God will so influence the hearts of Protestants, that they will be disposed to devote to the service of God the silver and gold they take from their Popish enemies, and the gains of their trade and navigation, both to the East and Westindies, so that their merchandize and hire shall be holiness to the Lord. Agreeably to what has been supposed, that an extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit of God is to accompany this sixth vial ; so the beginning of a work of extraordinary awakening has already attended the probable beginning of this vial ; and has been continued in one place or other, for many years past; although it has been, in some places, mingled with much enthusiasm, after the manner of things in their first beginnings, unripe, and mixed with much crudity. But it is to be hoped a far more pure, extensive and glorious revival of religion is hot far off, which will more properly be the beginning of that work, which in its issue shall overthrow the kingdom of Antichrist, and of Satan through the world. But God will be inquired of for this, by the house of Israel, to do it for them. ANs. 5. If notwithstanding all that I have said, it be still judged that there is sufficient reason to determine that the ruin of Antichrist is at a very great distance, and if all that I have said, as arguing that there is reason to hope that the beginning of that glorious revival of religion, which in its continuance and progress will destroy the kingdom of Antichrist is not very far off, be judged to be of no force ; yet it will not follow that our complying with what is proposed to us in the late memorial from Scotland, will be in vain, or not followed with such spiritual blessings, as will richly recompense the pains of such extaordinary prayer for the Holy Spirit, and the revival of religion. If God does not grant that greatest of all effusions of his Spirit, so soon as we desire, yet we shall have the satisfaction of a consciousness of our having employed ourselves in a manner that is certainly agreeable to Christ's will and frequent commands, in being much in prayer for this mercy, and much more in it than has heretofore been common with Christians: And there will be all reason to hope;’ that we shall receive some blessed token of his acceptanceIf the fall of mystical Babylon, and the work of God's Spirit that shall bring it to pass, be at several hundred years distance, yet it follows not that there will be no happy revivals of religion before that time, that shall be richly worth the most diligent, earnest and constant praying for.
I would say something to one Objection more, and then hasten to the conclusion of this discourse.
OBJEct. VI. Some may be ready to object, That what is proposed in this memorial is a new thing, such as never was put in practice in the church of God before.
ANs. If there be something circumstantially new in it, this cannot be a sufficient objection. The duty of prayer is no new duty : For many of God’s people expressly to agree, as touching something they shall ask in prayer, is no new thing : For God's people to agree on circumstances of time and place for united prayer, according to their own discretion is no new thing : For many, in different places, to agree to offer up extraordinary prayers to God, at the same time, as a token of their union, is no new thing; but has been commonly practiced in the appointment of days of fasting and prayer for special mercies. And if the people of God should engage in the duty of prayer, for the coming of Christ's kingdom, in a new manner in that respect, that they resolve they will not be so negligent of this duty, as has been common with professors of religion heretofore, but will be more frequent and fervent in it; this would be such a new thing as ought to be, and would be only to reform a former negligence. And for the people of God in various parts of the world, visibly, and by express agreement, to unite for this extraordinary prayer, is no more than their duty, and no more than what it is foretold the people of God should actually do, before the time comes of the church's promised glory on earth. And if this be a duty, then it is a duty to come into some method to render this practicable : But it is not practicable (as was shewn before) but by this method, or some other equivalent.