« AnteriorContinuar »
for our God. The crooked things shall be made straight." Chap. xlii. 16. “I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight."
If any should object against understanding the river Euphrates in Rev. xvi. 12, as signifying what has been supposed, that when mention is made of the river Euphrates, in another place in this prophecy, it is manifesly not so to be understood, viz. in chapter ix. 14. “ Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates ; and that there is no reason to understand the river Euphrates in the vision of the sixth vial, as signifying something diverse from what is meant by the same river in the vision of the sixth trumpet ;
I answer, That there appears to me to be good reason for a diverse understanding of the river Euphrates in these two different places : The diversity of the scene of the vision, and of the kind of representation, in those two divers parts of this prophecy, naturally leads to it, and requires it. It is in this book as it is in the Old Testament ; when the river Euphrates is spoken of in the Old Testament, both in the histories and prophecies, it is mentioned with regard to a twofold relation of that river ; viz. Ist. With regard to its relation to Babylon. And as it was related to that, it was something belonging to that city, as its defence and supply, as has been represented. Thus the river Euphrates is spoken' of in many places that have been already observed, and others that might be mentioned. 2dly. This river is spoken of with regard to its relation to the Land of Israel, God's visible people. And as it was related to that, it was its eastern boundary. It is so spoken of Gen. xv. 18. Exod. xxiii. 31. Deut. i. 7, and xi. 24. Josh. i. 4. 2 Sam. viii. 3. 1 Chron. xviii. 3. 1 Kings iv, 21. Ezra iv. 20. Agreeable to this diverse respect or relation of this river, under which it is mentioned in the Old Testament, so must we understand it differently in different parts of the prophecy of this book of revelation, according as the nature and subject of the vision requires. In the 16th chapter where the prophecy is about Babylon, and the vision is of God's plagues on Babylon, preparing the way for her de
struction, there, when the river Euphrates is mentioned, we are naturally and necessarily led to consider it as something belonging to Babylon, appertaining to the mystical Babylon, as Euphrates did to old Babylon. But we cannot understand it so in the 9th chapter, for there the prophecy is not about Babylon. To mention Euphrates there, as something belonging to Babylon, would have been improper ; for the nature of the vision, and prophetical representation, did not lead to it, nor allow it. John had had no vision of Babylon ; that kind of representation had not been made to' him ; there is not a word said about Babylon until we come to the second part of this prophecy, after John had the vision of the second book, and Christ had said to him, Thou must prephesy again before peoples, and nations, and kings, chap. xi. The scene of the vision, in the former part of the prophecy, had been more especially the land of Israel ; and the vision is concerning two sorts of persons there, viz. Those of the tribes of Israel that had the seal of God in their foreheads, and those wicked apostate Israelites that had not this mark. Compare chap. vii. 3.....8, and chap. ix. 4. The vision in this 9th chapter is of God's judgments on those of the tribes of Israel, or in the land of Israel, which had not the seal of God in their foreheads. And therefore when mention is made, ver. 14, of a judgment coming on them from the river Euphrates, this river is here spoken of in the former respect viz. with regard to its relation to the land of Israel, as its eastern border ; and thereby we must understand that God would bring some terrible calamity on Christendom from its eastern border, as he did when the Turks were let loose on Christendom.
If these things that have been spoken of, are intended in the prophecy of the sixth vial, it affords, as I conceive, great reason to hope that the beginning of that glorious work of God's Spirit, which, in the progress and issue of it, will overthrow Antichrist, and introduce the glory of the latter days, is not very far off.
Mr. Lowman has, I think, put it beyond all reasonable doubt, that the fifth vial was poured out in the time of the reformation. It also appears satisfyingly, by his late exposi. tion, that take one vial with another, it has not been two hun. dred years from the beginning of one vial to the beginning of another, but about one hundred and eighty years. But it is now about two hundred and twenty years since the fifth vial began to be poured ; and it is a long time since the main effects of it have been finished. And therefore if the sixth vial has not already begun to be poured out, it may well be speedily expected.
But with regard to the first thing that I have supposed to be signified by the effect of this vial, viz. The drying up the fountains, and streams of the wealth and temporal incomes and supplies of the Autichristian church and territories, I would propose it to consideration, whether or no many things that have come to pass within these twenty years past, may not be looked upon as probable beginnings of a fulfilment of this prophecy. Particularly what the kings of Spain and Portugal did some years since, when displeased with the Pope, forbidding any thenceforward going to Rome for investitures, &c. thereby cutting off two great streams of the Pope's wealth, from so great and rich a part of the Popish world ; and its becoming so frequent a thing of late for Popish princes, in their wars, to make bold with the treasure of the church, and to tax the clergy within their dominions, as well as laity; or, which is equivalent,, to oblige them to contribute great sums, under the name of a free gift ; and also the late peeling and impoverishing the Pope's temporal dominions in Italy, by the armies of the Austrians, Neapolitans and Spaniards, passing and repassing through them, and living so much at discretion in them, of which the Pope has so loudly complained, and in vain ; receiving nothing but menaces, when he has objected against giving liberty for the like passage, for the future. These things make it hopeful that the time is coming when the princes of Europe, the ten horns, shall hate the whore, and make her desolate and naked, and cat her flesh ; as Rev. xvii. 16, which will prepare the way for what next so? lows, her being burnt with fire ; even as the sixth vial poured out, to consume the supplies of Antichrist, and strip him naked of his wealth, and as it were to pick his flesh off from his
VOL. III. 3 N
bones, will make way for what next follotvs, the seventh vial, that will consume Antichrist by the fierceness of God's wrath.
Besides these things that have been afready mentioned, are also worthy to be considered the things that have lately happened to dry up the fountains and streams of the wealth of the Antichristian dominions : As, the so far ruining the trade of France and Spain, that are the two chief Popish kingdoms, the main support of the Popish cause, and from whence the kingdom of Antichrist has had of late its main supplies. The almost miraculous taking of Cape Breton, in the year 1745, whereby was dried up one of the main sources of the wealth of the kingdom of France; and the no less,but yet more wonderful disappointment of the French, in their great attempt to repossess themselves of it, and the confounding of their great Armada, under the duke D'Anville, by a most visible hand of God-against them, the last year; and in now again baffling a second attempt of our obstinate enemies, this year, by delivering up their men of war, with their warlike forces and stores, in their way to America, into the hands of the English Admirals, An*son and Warren : The strange and unaccountable consuming of the great magazines of the French Eastindia company, at Port L'Orient, with their magnificent buildings, the last year; and its so wonderfully coming to pass, that scarce any thing of the great stores there laid up, was saved out of the flames ; the awful destruction, by an earthquake, the last year, of that great and rich city of Lima, the centre of the South sea trade, and the capital of Peru, the richest country in the world, from whence comes more of its silver and gold than any other country, from whence Spain is principally -supplied with its wealth, and where the French had a great trade ; the destruction of the city being attended with the destruction of all the ships in the harbor, 'which were dashed in pieces as it were in a moment, by the immediate hand of God; many of which were doubtless laden with vast treas-ures. I might have mentioned the taking of Porto Bello, not dong before this, by a very small force, though a place of very great strength, where the Spanish galleons used principally to go, to carry the wealth of Peru to Spain. Besides the tak ing from the French and Spaniards so many of their ships, Jaden with vast riches, trading to the south seas, the East and Westindies, and the Levant.
And here it is especially worthy of notice, that when the French seemed to have gotten so great an advantage of the English factory at Madrass, they were so frustrated of the benefit and gains they expected by it, by the hand of heaven against them, immediately pursueing the conquerors with tempest, wrecking their ships laden with our spoils ; and after that, delivering up into the hands of the English their Eastindia fleet, with their stores and immense treasures, intended for the confirming to themselves the advantage they seemed to have gained by the forementioned conquest : At the same instant, also delivering into our hands their strong force intended for the regaining that great fountain of their wealth, which they had lost at Cape Breton. And since that, delivering into the hands of Sir Peter Warren so great a part of their vast and rich fleet from the Westindies.
And one thing with relation to the taking of Cape Breton, though it may seem trivial, yet I do not think to be altogether inconsiderable in the present case ; and that is, that hereby the Antichristian dominions are deprived of a very great part of their fish, which makes no small part of the food and support of Popish countries; theirsuper stition forbidding thein to eat any flesh for near a third part of the year. were supplied with much more from Cape Breton, than any place in the world in the possession of Papists. And the contention of France with the Dutch, deprives them of most of their supply of this sort, which they had elsewhere. When the prophet Isaiah foretells the depriving Egypi of its wealth and temporal supplies, under the figure of drying up their rivers, this is particularly mentioned, that they should be deprived of their fish. Isa. xix. 4, &c. “ And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel Lord. And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the rivers shall be wasted and dried up; and they sball turn the rivers far away, and the brooks of defence shall be emptied and dried up. The fishers also