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the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and 11 whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them 15 white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth 16 on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither 17 shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For

the Lamb, which is the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.



Seventh Stage of the Manifestation of the Mystery.

The religion of Jesus is at length accepted, being completely made known to the Roman world for the obedience of faith; the anger of God is appeased; there is no more occasion for divine judgments; and the earth may experience repose, however short, so long as it can preserve the truth, which it has gained, immaculate. Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation. Zech. ii. 13.

VIII. 1. And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.




The Accession of our Lord to the High-Priesthood of the Empire.

By the overthrow of Paganism our Lord at length accedes to the high-priesthood of the Empire, which had been hitherto filled by the Pagan Imperial Pontiffs; and in that capacity He is seen standing as Mediator between God and man, offering the prayers of the church, which through him are accepted. But most probably through its subsequent corruptions, instead of sending peace, he sends fire on the earth by the Council of Nice, which was held A.D. 325, in which the doctrine of the Trinity was first imposed upon the church as a necessary article of faith, concerning which, for 300 years past, every one had been left to his own private opinion. By this council, much bitterness was occasioned between the so-called orthodox and the dissentients. Four distinct systems existed concerning the nature of the Trinity, that of the Arians, that of the Tritheists, that of the Sabellians, and that of the Orthodox; and eighteen creeds were formed out of the Arian opinion. A counter-revolution of religion also happened in the Empire, the restoration of Paganism by the Emperor Julian, A.D. 361-363.

2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden 4 altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God 5 out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with the fire of the altar, and cast it upon the earth; and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.


And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.


First Stage of the Public Sounding of the Mystery.

The four Prætorian Præfects were by this time no longer able to restrain the Northern Barbarians from invading the Empire-the 144,000, or first-fruits, were all sealed-and the first public sounding of Christianity brought with it Alaric and his Goths to ROME, then containing 1,200,000 inhabitants, who made a cruel slaughter of them, and filled the streets of the city with dead bodies, which remained without burial during the general consternation. Whenever the Barbarians were provoked by opposition, they extended the promiscuous massacre to the feeble, the innocent, and the helpless. They pillaged and set fire to the city, and gratified their sensual appetites without discrimination upon their female captives. Whatever might be the numbers, of equestrian or plebeian rank, who perished in the massacre of Rome,

it is confidently affirmed that only one senator lost his life by the sword of the enemy. But it was not easy to compute the multitudes, who from an honourable station, and a prosperous fortune, were suddenly reduced to the miserable condition of captives and exiles. This awful catastrophe of Rome filled the astonished Empire with grief and terror. So interesting a contrast of greatness and ruin, disposed the fond credulity of the people to deplore, and even to exaggerate, the afflictions of the queen of cities. The clergy, who applied to recent events the lofty metaphors of Oriental prophecy, were sometimes tempted to confound the destruction of the capital, and the dissolution of the globe. A.D. 410. Gibbon, v. xxxi.

7 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 the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.


Second Stage of the Public Sounding of the Mystery.

Attila and his warlike nation of Huns were cast, like a volcano, into the Roman Empire, carrying fire and sword wherever they went. Five or seven hundred thousand the Barbarian was able to bring into the field. Illyricum, Gaul, Italy felt the fierceness of the Scourge of God. But of the three præfectures into which the Roman Empire was divided, it was Illyricum upon which the whole weight of his fury fell. The whole breadth of Europe, as it extends above five hundred miles from the Euxine to the Hadriatic, was at once invaded, and occupied, and desolated, by the myriads of his Barbarians. From the Hellespont to Thermopyla and the suburbs of Constantinople, he ravaged, without resist

ance, and without mercy, the provinces of Thrace and Macedonia; and seventy cities were totally extirpated and erased. And such was the concomitant of the second public sounding of Christianity. A.D. 433-452.

8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea and the third part of the sea became 9 blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.


Third Stage of the Public Sounding of the Mystery.

Of the ten nations who eventually settled themselves in the Empire, the Ostrogoths, the Visigoths, the Burgundians, and the Vandals, about a third part, with some lesser tribes, as the Heruli, and Suevi, were imbued with the doctrine of the Arian church, who, being driven from the Empire by persecution, sought refuge among these barbarians, and taught them persecution in return. The celebrated Bishop Ulphilas introduced Arianism among them. The irreconcileable difference of religion between the invaders and the invaded was a perpetual source of jealousy and hatred; and the reproach of Barbarian was embittered by the more odious epithet of Heretic. Euric, king of the Visigoths, suspended the Catholics of his dominions from the exercise of ecclesiastical, or, at least, episcopal functions; exiled or imprisoned the bishops of Aquitain, and confiscated their estates. Genseric, king of the Vandals, A.D. 429-477, oppressed his Catholic subjects by intolerant laws and arbitrary punishments. His palace and dominions were stained with frequent executions of the Catholics. Hunneric,

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