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“The French Revolution awakened more thinking than any similar event in the history of man. During twenty-five years, every nation in the world, that ship could reach or traveller could penetrate, became interested in its issue : not an individual of the human species could be said to be placed beyond its attraction; and throughout all its changes of fortune it never ceased to be an object of fear, expectation, or curiosity, wherever its hopes and its terrors had once been known. It furnished subjects of conversation in almost every language under the sun, and at almost every moment of his daily circuit, in one corner or another of the regions which were visited by his beams. Even in the heart of China, and on the forbidden shores of Japan (where a new form of thought is as rare as a comet, and regarded with as much superstitious terror), the French Revolution, known only by the last echoes that carried its confused rumours to the ends of the earth, excited alarm and apprehension of evils as undefinable as those of enchantment. Meanwhile, through all the countries of Christendom, and more or less in every quarter of the globe, the anomalous war, commenced to suppress it at home, only served to confirm it there, and extend and perpetuate its miseries abroad. There is not a state on the
. Continent at this day which is nearly the same, in territorial form or internal policy, as it was before
the year 1789, or as it would have been if France had fallen quietly to dust, under the mouldering ruins of its old government. Its contagious revolution has thus, to an incalculable degree, influenced the character, the habits, and, if we may use the expression, the fate of all future generations in those lands where its arms have made way, or its principles have been insinuated.” And, finally, Sir Walter Scott speaks of this period of history “as the most important, perhaps, during its currency and in its consequences, which the ANNALS OF MANKIND afford."
From such distinguished testimonies as these it must be evident, even to the most superficial observer, and to those who are not old enough to recollect the deep impression of horror and consternation produced at the time, that the events of this period were of a nature far out of the common course of God's providence: that they were, in fact, such as might be supposed to happen—such as our judgment tells us were required to happen when God's purposes respecting the nations, at the time of the restoration of the Jews, should be on the point of accomplishment.
Such being the case, it now remains to be shewn, in order to prove the correctness of this proposition, “that the shocks among the nations which were caused by the French Revolution have corresponded to those which preceded and hastened Israel's fall and ruin," and that they
happened in general in unison with the inferential dates given in the above tabular view.
The great and leading characteristic of the French Revolution was the principle of Infidelity, or Atheism; the effects of which it most awfully developed; and the open avqwal of which, by the leading members of the National Convention, and by the nation in general, was a most extraordinary moral phenomenon. It had been primarily caused by the fatal persecutions and exile of Protestants, which had banished from the nation all who truly feared God and loved righteousness, and left it a prey to licentiousness of manners, to the bigotry of Popery, and to the scorn and venom of such men as Voltaire, Diderot, and D'Alembert. The first overt act which cherished and
gave impulse to this diabolical principle—a principle which had been most industriously, insidiously, and successfully disseminated by these and other infidels-was Louis XVI., in the year 1780, sending an army to the assistance of the revolted colonies of America in their attempt to throw off the allegiance to Britain. In this enterprise, under the command of the celebrated La Fayette, who has subsequently been a leading actor in almost every revolutionary movement, the army imbibed Republican notions, and on its return home spread them throughout France; and these notions being in perfect unison with the godless spirit of the nation—consisting alike in a resistance to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the laws of man, and every constituted authority ; alike to a hatred of royalty and contempt of the clergyin due time produced their correspondent fruits, and presented so “noisome and grievous a sore on the surface of society, as completely changed the whole political system. “The return of the
. French army from America thus brought a strong body of auxiliaries to the popular, and now prevalent, opinions; and the French love of military glory, which had so long been the safeguard of the throne, became now intimately identified with that distinguished portion of the army which had been so lately, and so successfully, engaged in defending the claims of the people against the rights of an established government....It was, accordingly, from its ranks that the revolution derived many of its most formidable champions; and it was their example which detached a great portion of the French soldiers from their natural allegiance to their sovereign ” (Life of Napoleon).
This event, by which the king of France, like the king of Judah in inviting the Assyrians to his help 2520 years before, took a serpent in his bosom, and nourished a principle which produced such bitter and awful consequences to himself, his family, his subjects, and the
constitution of the republic formally proclaimed; the Christian era abolished; all religious worship suppressed; and death declared to be an eternal sleep! Thus was the important event of Shalmaneser's carrying the Israelites into captivity, and irrecoverably destroying the well-being of their nation, responded to by an equally important event, that has shaken all modern kingdoms, previous to their restoration.
The next date is the year 1796, which brings us to the first appearance of God's modern scourge and destroyer of nations, Napoleon Bonaparte, who in this year began his victorious career as the leader of the infidel hosts against the Papal nations. In the year 1798, the French army took and entered Rome; making the Pope a prisoner, banishing the cardinals, and abolishing for the time the whole system of Popery: after which they fell upon the Italian states, ravaged and spoiled them, and annexed Savoy and other territories to the French republic.
The year 1806 is exceedingly remarkable, in the farther successes of Bonaparte, as marking the time when, after the deepest humiliation of the Emperor of Germany, he obliged him to resign his imperial headship over the Western empire; thus abolishing for ever the “sixth head" or form of government, and establishing in his own person the “seventh head;" making