« EdellinenJatka »
ced into the church. The second shews the means by which they are introduced, the mi. nistry of the word, supported by the civil authority, spread by the zeal of the preachers, and urged upon the rational mind by the completion of prophecy. The third shews the happiness of the church then constituted, arising from the clear manifestations of the divine presence given by the liberal influences of the Holy Spirit.
Observations on the Vials.
Let us now take a view of the progressive steps by which Antichriftianism is brought to its final ruin. These are represented by the vials, and the vials are included in the seventh trumpet, so that they begin to be poured out when the angel preaching the gospel flies through the midst of heaven. Before I offer a particu. lar illustration of each, I shall make some general observations on the whole, to fhew the grounds on which I attempt to illustrate them.
1. It is obvious, that the application of any or of all these vials to events already pást, must be erroneous ; for all are included in the se
venth trumpet, and the seventh trumpet has not yet sounded; it is then only when the second wo is past, that the third wo cometh, Rev. xi. 14.
2. That the vials begin immediately as the seventh trumpet sounds, and follow one ano. ther rapidly, or at shorter intervals of time than those that intervened betwixt the plagues of the trumpets, we may infer from that expression, the third wo cometh quickly. That they follow one another after long periods of time, or at equal intervals, which Jurien infers from the term vial, supposing it an allusion to an hour. glass, is a mere play of imagination, without the smallest support from Scripture.
3. All the vials have the same object, namely, to destroy the remaining power of the An. tichristian fyftem, called the Beast. The first brings a grievous sore upon them that had the mark of the beast, and worshipped his image, Rev. xvi. 2.; and when the last is poured out, the beast and false prophet are taken and cast into the lake of fire, Rev. xix. 20.
4. Most of the vials have an obvious reference to the plagues of Egypt; now the empire of the beast is “ spiritually called Egypt,” Rev. xi. 8. We may therefore infer that the plagues which were in ficted corporally, or, in a literal sense, on the Egyptians, shall be in inflicted spiritually on the followers of Antichrist.
5. There 5. There is a manifest resemblance betwixt the first four trumpets and the first four vials. The resemblance implies, that the power of Papal Rome shall be reduced gradually by steps, in lome respects similar to those which destroyed the dominion of Imperial Rome. The subjects affected by the plagues are the same in both. Thus, the first trumpet brought a plague on the earth, the second on the sea, the third on the rivers, the fourth on the sun ; so the first vial brings a plague on the earth, the second on the fea, the third on the rivers, the fourth on the sun. If therefore we know what is meant by the earth, sea, rivers, and sun, in the government of Imperial Rome, we can be at no lofs to discover what is parallel to these in the government of Papal Rome. The effects pro. duced are the same in the second and the third of both. The second trumpet turns the sea to blood, to the second vial; the third trumpet makes the rivers bitter, so that they are pernicious to life; the third vial turns the rivers to blood, which produces a similar effect, but in a higher degree. The effects of the first and fourth in both are indeed different. The first trumpet burns the earth and its productions ; the first yial occasions a noisome fore. The fourth trumpet decreases the heat of the sun ; the fourth vial increases it. However, the con
trast here is so striking, that it makes the meaning as obvious as the resemblance in the two preceding. .
The three laft vials have no resemblance to any of the trumpets; but to compensate the want of this index to their meaning, an enlarged explication of each is added. The whole of chap. xviii. is a comment on the fifth vial; chap. xix. from the beginning to the roth verse, is an illustration of the sixth vial ; and from the with verse to the close of the same chapter is a far. ther account of the seventh vial. Add to this, that the earthquake or revolution occafioned by the seventh vial, is expressed in terms similar to, that represented at the opening of the sixth seal: Compare chap. xvi. 18, 19, 20. with chap. vi. 12, 13, 14.
6. The agents under God, to inflict the plagues of the vials, are conscious of their being inftru. ments in his hand to fulfil prophecy; and in this respect they widely differ from the agents employed in the preceding plagues of the trumpets. The northern nations, the Saracens and the Turks, were all ignorant of their being scourges in the hand of God, to punish a degenerate church. It might be said of each as of Sennacherib, “ O Affyrian, the rod of mine an“ ger, and the staff in their hand is mine indig« nation. I will send him against an hypocri.
“ tical nation, and against the people of my “ wrath will I give him a charge to take the « spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them “ down like the mire of the streets. Howbeit, " he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart " think so, but it is in his heart to destroy, and “ cut off nations not a few," Isa. X. 5.-8. They were fotely actuated by ambition, covetousness or resentment, those selfish paflions, so natural to the human heart, though the Almighty over-ruled them, for the purposes of ex, ecuting his counsel. But the angels that pour out the vials are members of the church: “ They
came out of the temple, they are clothed in 6 pure and white linen, having their breasts “ girded with a golden girdle ;" that is, they are habited like priests, to intimate that they have no selfish end in view, by inflicting pụnifh. ment, but perform a folemn sacrifice to God, Again, they receive their directions from the ministers of the church : “ And one of the four 66 beafts (living creatures) gave unto the feven “ angels feyen golden vials full of the wrath of A6 God,” Rey. xv. 6; 7. Now these living crea, tures, first introduced in the fourth chapter, re, present the ministers of the church. This is confirmed by what is said of the witnesses, chap. xi. 6. " These have power over waters to «s furn them to blood, and to smite the earth