« AnteriorContinuar »
more deeply the bitter cup of Divine wrath! At one fell blow, hundreds of thousands of her best troops perished, in all the agonies of defeat, rage, and disappointment, in the wilds and snows of Russia; and of one of the finest and best-disciplined armies the world ever saw, not a tenth part returned to tell the tale of destruction. For three successive years, nothing but defeat, disgrace, and mortification, with a tremendous loss of human life, attended the march of those armies, whose steps on former occasions were wont to be attended with victory and conquest.
It is very remarkable, as Mr. Faber expresses it, that “the undisguised principle on which the allies embarked in their final war against Bonaparte, was no other than the charateristic badge of the fifth vial. They did not fight to restrain the French Emperor within reasonable bounds; but they fought to DETHRONE him. Without the least reserve they declared that their principle in the year 1815 was the very same as their principle in the year 1814 ; in other words, they unequivocally declared that they fought exclusively against the throne of Napoleon. Success attended their efforts, because prophecy had foretold, respecting the seventh form of the Roman government, that, when it cometh, it must continue a short space.” And in adverting to the history of this period, one is struck with the determined and infatuated ob
stinacy or Napoleon, in refusing on all occasions to listen to terms of accommodation, till it was too late. It can be compared to nothing but that judicial hardness of heart, exhibited by Pharaoh on the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt; and can only be accounted for, by the necessity that existed that thus it should be, in order to the infallible accomplishment of prophecy.
The remaining part of this vial, in strict accordance with the symbolical language of the former one, which speaks of this throne as “ the sun,” then names its natural consequences ; that it shall be "FULL OF DARKNESS; that they shall gnaw their tongues for pain, shall blaspheme the God of heaven, and repent not of their deeds. How far this has agreed with the actual state of things, everyone at all conversant with passing events has full power of judging. France is still the same: the characteristics by which infidelity is delineated in the Prophetic Scriptures, and other parts of the word of God, are fearfully predominant through all ranks of society, and in all parts of that kingdom : and so far from repenting of their deeds, they FORGET God, and would shut him out of the world he has made. A more awful state a state more ripe for overwhelming judgmentsit is almost impossible to conceive !-From 1812 to 1815, which ends the sixth seal.
“ And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was siLENCE IN HEAVEN about the
space of half an hour.”
In endeavouring to give the interpretation of this seal, consistency appears to require, that we should consider it to be of the same general description and purport as the former ones--that is, Ist. That it should have a distinct and determinate meaning of its own; and not involve, as is generally supposed, the seven trumpets : 2d. That it should form a regular continuation of the same historical events, and have a reference to the same previous object: and 3d. That it should have, as on former occasions, the SEAL of empire attached.
Now, admitting for a moment that the interpretation I have given to the former six seals is correct, it must follow, that the operation of the SEVEnth is now rapidly going on; and that for the last nineteen years we have been living under its influence. For, as the commotions and wars which characterized the sixth seal and first five synchronical vials, ceased after the battle of Waterloo, in 1815, and were succeeded by a most remarkable and PERMANENT CHANGE in both the civil and ecclesiastical affairs of Europe ; the period which has succeeded, and which has unquestionably a character of its own, must form
the subsequent, and, as there is but one other, the last seal.
In looking back on the fifth and six seals as the harbingers of the final downfall of Popery, one cannot but be struck with the different means that were used in each, for the accomplishment of the proposed end. Under the fifth, the wound which this anti-christian hierarchy received was effected by the diffusion of the light of Truth, by the faithful preaching of the Gospel, and by the abundant influences of the Holy Spirit. Under the sixth, all its moorings were loosened, and it was set afloat, preparatory to its final destruction, by revolution, war, and violence, and by the prevalence of Infidelity and Atheism. The character of the seventh is widely different from either of the above: it is neither that of expectation, nor of retribution, but it is the character of SILENCE-of most awful suspense: a state in which all calculation is set at defiance, and the mind feels at a loss what is to come next. It is an interval--a pause in the work of desolation-such perhaps as preceded the Deluge during the building of the ark, or such an one as preceded the destruction of Jerusalem after the death of Christ ;-and it is here signified by four angels holding “the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.”
The event which marked its opening, and gave it the SEAL of empire, was the final a BDICATION of the Emperor Napoleon. After the achievement at Waterloo, on the 18th of June, there was a most awful and remarkable pause, suspense, or “silence, for half an hour,” or fifteen days, in the political universe, among the powers
government-or, as it is here termed, “heaven"- that is to be found in the whole range of history. Armies of almost all the nations in Europe, amounting, according to a declaration made by Lord Castlereagh in the House of Commons on February 19, 1816, to 1,140,000 men, were actually on the soil of France; and which, had the war continued two months longer, would have increased to a million and an half:-these, in common with their sovereigns and fellowsubjects, were in a state of breathless suspense regarding the issue of events; when, on the 3d of July, exactly fifteen days after the battle, the opposition of the French authorities to the will of their conquerors ceased, and peace was certain! During this season of suspense, Napoleon, on the 23d of June, solemnly signed his final abdication; and thus gave the LAST SEAL of the authority of the Roman empire, of which he was the seventh and last head, to the state of things brought about by his own defeat and dethronement! This great act is confessedly connected with an epoch in the history of