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Europe, as important as has ever been recorded. It was one in which the interests of the church of Christ, involved as they are in the existence of the Papacy, were vitally affected: and it left the Roman world, for the first time, without a head ; thus stamping upon it a most permanent change! These are facts, which no nearness or distance of time to ourselves can possibly affect: and they are facts which possess such distinctive marks, as, under all or any circumstances, identify them as belonging to those eras of the world which are the subjects of prophecy.
And I am not acquainted with any other acts, having the legitimate seals of the Roman empire, besides the seven that have been above explained, which will stand the test of this application of the three axioms I first laid down. The deposition of Augustulus the last Emperor of the West, and the extinction of the Eastern empire in the person of Constantine Paleologus, were similar events to the fall of Napoleon; but they wanted the seal of empire, and therefore, as will be shortly noticed, come under a different series of symbols! With the most charateristic significancy, therefore, are these seven great epochs represented by the opening of seals ; and thus remarkably do they fit “the aspiring heads” “the MOUNTAIN
TOPS whence mists have rolled away”-of eccleslastical history:
the first four marking the rise of that tyrannical power which usurped so fatal a dominion over all other churches; and the last three marking its irremediable fall.
As, however, the duration of the seventh seal has yet to run out, and therefore this awful consummation has yet to take place, the question will naturally be asked, -How the events of a period, merely having the character of “silence," can operate so as to bring about such an allimportant termination ? In reply I would observe, that as the complicated events of the sixth seal were arranged and explained by the first five vials ; so, in like manner, those of the more simple and quiet character under this seventh seal, will be found to be explained by the sixth vial : and that THERE we shall find what the nature of that silent operation is, which at the present moment must be rapidly going on, to produce this great result. But as this vial contains the symbolical representation of two such silent operations, one of which is connected with the ceasing of the sixth or Turkish “trumpet," it will serve to place the subject in a more striking point of view, if, before we proceed with its explanation, we consider the whole series of trumpets up to this point of time.
Of the six distinct subjects of Old Testament prophecies that were noticed as having to be fulfilled at the time of the Apostle John, and which it was argued were likely to be amplified and explained by the Revelation which he was commanded to write, only two have yet come under our consideration—viz. those relating to the history of POPERY and INFIDELITY. There yet remains the destruction of the UNDIVIDED Roman Empire--the division of the Western Empire into TEN KINGDOMS—the rise of MOHAMMED ANISM on the ruins of the Eastern Empire—and, in the disRUPTION OF ALL THE GENTILE MON ARCHIEs in one indiscriminate ruin, the fall of all the above three horrible systems of apostasy. With regard to all these, AS FAR AS THEY HAVE BEEN ACCOMPLISHED, the voice of history is clear and distinct, that they have been brought about by a series of events the very reverse of those connected with the seals of empire, and yet that each event has in an equal degree possessed the marks and properties of a prophetical æra.
The nature of the events signified by THE TRUMPETS, may be briefly summed up in the following particulars :
1st. They have been produced, not by means of international wars, but by the instrumentality of barbarous nations situated BEYOND the bounds of the Roman earth.
2d. They have been caused by great external violence, of the nature of INVASIONS, RAPID CONQUESTS, and COMPLETE OVERTHrows. And
3d. They have uniformly been characterized with the very worst evils attendant on war; such as indiscriminate slaughter, rapine, devastation, and EXTERMINATING RUIN.
They are therefore, with the highest regard to the propriety of symbolical language, and as contrasted with the former series of events, denoted by the SOUNDING OF TRUMPETS.
“The first angel sounded, and there followed
hail and fire mingled 'with blood, and they were cast upon the earth : and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass
was burnt up." Previous to the sounding of this trumpet, or to this first epoch of destruction, there were great wars and commotions; which are named in the 5th verse of this chapter, as " voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake;" and which probably allude to those which were occasioned by the admission of the Goths -- who even from the time of Constantine had been perpetually at war with the Romansinto the empire, by the Emperor Valens, in the year 376. They had been kept in a state of
apparent subjection by the firm and temperate character, and by the war-like abilities, of
Theodosius; on whose single life the safety of the tottering state seemed to depend. But no sooner was this great prince laid in his grave, than the first eruption of these Northern barbarians, THIS GREAT NORTHERN HAIL-STORM, took place-A.D. 396—and descended
the whole “earth,” or empire, with such overwhelming and impetuous destruction, that it might well be compared to “hail and fire mingled with blood.” The political consequences of such a desolating invasion are here expressed by what would take place in the natural earth from such a storm. As in the one case “a third part of the trees, and all green grass, was burnt up,” or parched-by which its beauty and fertility would be destroyed --so, on the other hand, a third part of the lustre, dignity, and comforts of the higher orders, or the “ trees” of society, being gone; and the prosperity of the inhabitants in general,
“ the green grass,” being destroyed; the beauty and glory of the empire would have departed. And such was the situation of the Roman Empire in consequence of this tremendous invasion. Under the terrible ALARIC, the fertile fields of Greece were in the first place ravaged and laid waste. The whole territory of Attica—“Corinth, Argos, and Sparta-yielded without resistance to the arms of the Goths : their villages and cities were burnt, their males massacred, and their beautiful females driven