Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

earth or the perfecutors of the Christians. The fore and grievous wound here infiicted, means a grievous punishment, which falls upon those who have the character or mark of the beast, that is, on the pagan emperors of Rome and their governors of the Roman provinces, as they bore in a special manner the mark of the beast or of idolatry, by employing their whole power in the support of it, and in perfecuting the Christian Religion. The same punishment allo falls upon those who adore the image of the beast, that is, on the idolatrous people of the Roman ema pire. The Roman ftate was the principal seat and bulwark of idolatry. Hence the pouring out of the firft vial of the wrath of God announces the divine judgments on the monarchs of Rome and their subjects, for their supporting idolatry, an abomination so odious to God, and for the persecuting his Church and his people.- How this was fulfilled the following short account will discover :

Nero the first Roman emperor, that imbrụed his hands in Christian blood, had hy his cruelties made himself the detestation of mankind. The people of Rome would no longer bear with him; hisarmies revolted from him and set up a new emperor. He was deserted by his own guards, and the Roman fenate. pronounced fentence of death against him. In this desperate and forlorn condition he fled from Rome into the country to a house belonging to his freedman, where, by the help of others, not having resolution himself, he got himself dispatched with a dagger. Thus fell Nero a victim to the vengeance of God..

But Heaven was not appeased with this sole victim. The weight of divine justice, conformably to the tenour of the vial, fell also upon the whole Ro. man state, which was torn to pieces by inteftine convulsions. Galba succeeded Nero ; but soon after rose

up Otho, who got himself proclaimed emperor by the foldiers. Galba was murdered in the Forum,

is patient in his anger, and waits for the conversion of his undutiful and rebellious children, but their obftinacy arms at last his justice, and compels him to strike. “ The Lord is a jealous God,” says the prophet, “and a revenger; the Lord is a revenger and has wrath : The Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries, and he is angry with his enemies," Nahum i. 2.

Apoc. Chap. XVI. v. 1. “ And I heard,” continues St. John, “a great voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels: Go, and pour out the feven vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.”

A great voice is heard from out of the temple or sanctuary, as coming from God who resides there; and delivering this order to the seven angels who hold the seven vials : “Go, and pour out the seven vials of the wrath of God upon the earth."

Conformably to the remarks we made before the opening of the feals, and before the founding of the trumpets, 23 & 29, so here, before the pouring out of the vials appears another scene of paffing from the Jewish establishment to the Christian Church; the Jewish tabernacle with its fanctuary represented in heaven, being left by the angels going forth to pour out the vials of the wrath of God, which belong to the Christian age. The pouring out the first Vial of the wrath of God.

“ And the first (Angel) went, and poured out his vial upon the earth, and there fell a sore and grievous wound upon men, who had the character of the beast, and upon them that adored the image thereof."

Let us begin with observing that, as at the sounding of the first trumpet the shower of hail, fire, and blood fell upon the earth, that is, on the good part of the earth or the Christian Church, fo here the first vial of the wrath of God is likewise poured out upon the earth, that is, upon the guilty part of the

V. 2.

earth or the perfecutors of the Chriftians. The fore and grievous wound here intiicted, means a grievous punishment, which falls upon those who have the character or mark of the beast, that is, on the pagan emperors of Rome and their governors of the Roman' provinces, as they bore in a special manner the mark of the beast or of idolatry, by employing their whole power in the support of it, and in perfecuting the Christian Religion. The same punishment allo falls upon those who adore the image of the beast, that is, on the idolatrous people of the Roman empire. The Roman ftate was the principal seat and bulwark of idolatry. Hence the pouring out of the first vial of the wrath of God announces the divine judgments on the monarchs of Rome and their subjects, for their supporting idolatry, an abomination so odious to God, and for the persecuting his Church and his people.-How this was fulfilled the following short account will discover:

Nero the first Roman emperor, that imbrụed his hands in Christian blood, had by his cruelties made himself the detestation of mankind. The people of Rome would no longer bear with him; hisarmies revolted from him and set up a new emperor. He was deserted by his own guards, and the Roman fenate pronounced sentence of death against him. In this desperate and forlorn condition he fled from Rome into the country to a house belonging to his freedman, where, by the help of others, not having resolution himself, he got himself dispatched with a dagger. Thus fell Nero a victim to the vengeance of God..

But Heaven was not appeased with this sole victim.. The weight of divine justice, conformably to the tenour of the vial, fell also upon the whole Ro. man state, which was torn to pieces by intestine 001vulsions. Galba succeeded Nero; but foon after rose up Otho, who got himself proclaimed emperor by the foldiers. Galba was murdered in the Forum, and the people were trampled under foot in the streets of Rome by the brutal foldiers. During these troubles in the city, the Roman legions in Germany created their commander Vitellius emperor. This new conteft between two competitors could not be decided but by the sword and the blood of many thousands of Romans. Four considerable battles were fought within the space of a few months, which gave the empire to Vitellius. But that fame year

the Roman armies in the East vefted their own commander Vespasian with the imperial purple in opposition to Vitellius. This continued the civil war, and a battle was fought between the two parties at the gates of Rome, in which the Vitellians loft the day. Rome was made a scene of Naughter, being taken and ravaged by its own subjects, and the Capitol was laid in alhes.

Eight years after this calamity sprung up a fresh one. Such a terrible plague infected the city of Rome, that according to Eusebius it swept away ten thoufand inhabitants in a day for several days together.

Domitian the second perfecutor felt also the weight of divine anger. His own friends and domestics, with his wife Domitia, confpired against him and flew him. And after his death the fenate of Rome rescinded all his edicts, ordered all his statues to be pulled down, his name to be erased in all the public registers, and never more to be mentioned.

The emperors Trajan, Adrian, and Marcus Aurelius, having rather tolerated than raised persecution, escaped such vifible judgments. But the Empire itself felt the dismal effects of the Christian blood that had been spilt during these reigns. In the eighteenth year of Trajan there happened a prodigious earthquake, which was almoft general in the East, but Syria chiefly suffered. Many great towns were ruined. In the city of Antioch, where the Emperor Trajan then refided, almost all the build

ings were thrown down, and many thousands of people lost their lives, the emperor himself hardly escaping by leaping out of a window. In the second year of Marcus Aurelius the Tyber overflowed a confiderable part of Rome, carried away a multitude of people and cattle, ruined the country, and caused an extreme famine. This inundation was followed by swarms of infects, which devoured all that the flood had spared. Four years after, Lucius Verus coming victorious from the Parthian war, brought the plague along with him, which communicated the contagion to all the Roman provinces through which he passed, and carried off multitudes of people.

Severus, the fifth perfecutor, among other mis. fortunes, had for fon Antoninus Caracalla, a most · vicious prince, who attempted to take away his father's life by stabbing him with his own hand, but was prevented by some that were present. This behaviour of his fon threw Severus into a deep mealancholy, which put an end to his life. The hand of vengeance pursued even his children. Caracalla murdered his brother Geta, and he himself underwent the fame fate, which extinguished the family.

Maxiininus, the fixth perfecutor, became odious to the whole empire for his cruelties and his avarice. Africa rebelled against him. The senate of Rome declared him an enemy to the state, and set up new emperors against him. He was so detefted, that while he was besieging the city of Aquileia, his own soldiers fell upon him in his tent, flew both him and his fon, fent their heads to Rome, and left their bodies to be devoured by dogs and birds of prey.

During the short reign of Maximinus, neither the city of Rome nor the provinces were free from wars, tumults, murders, and all sorts of calamities.

Decius the emperor, an execrable beast, as Lactantius ftiles him, in his war with the Goths being attacked by them, and seeing his eldest son killed

« EdellinenJatka »