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a consequence of pouring out the first vial. But it may justly be considered a chief one, as it was not confined to France. It broke out, with more or less malignancy, over the whole world; and it has been one of the great hindrances to the progress and triumph of republican institutions; for it must be admitted that infidelity and republicanism have gone in company too much for the good of the latter. But it will not be so when men have learned to distinguish between true and false religion-when the church becomes entirely divorced from her paramour, the political power.
I have been studying the prophetic symbols in this part of the Word of God for some months past; and, should the unfolding of the great schemes of Providence prove that the above exposition is correct, I should not be disappointed, for I have much faith in its correctness. While, on the other hand, should the true exposition be found in something entirely different, it would equally confirm my faith in the prophecy as from God, for I am not so presumptious as to suppose that it must be this or nothing.
Admitting the reasonableness of the supposition that we have found the fulfillment of the symbols of the text, you will, I trust, allow me a single reflection. The thought, that these old prophecies are being fulfilled in our day, is intensely interesting and startling. More than eighteen hundred years ago, an old exile sat among the rocks of Patmos, a barren island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. He had been driven there, in his old age, by persecution; but, in the scheme of Providence, he was to receive, amid those solitudes, the most interesting book of the whole Bible, if we except the history of Jesus. Then the book of the future history of the Church was opened by the Lamb, and disclosed to the old prophet, by symbols always striking, sometimes sweet and beautiful, sometimes terrific in their significance, and sometimes sublime and awful in their portrayal. With his spiritual vision sharpened, he gazes down the shadowy vista of the future. These striking and thrilling symbols rise upon his view. Seal after seal of the great book is opened, and the wondrous events are passed before When the seventh seal is opened, the seven trumpeters
prepare to sound. Under their successive blasts, he sees innumerable men and horses rushing to battle; the bottomless pit opened, evil powers, like locusts, swarming over the world, and desolating it; hears earthquakes shaking continents, sees the terrified mountains and islands flying away; heaven opened-angelic contending with evil powers, symbolized by fearful monsters-and hears the loud heavenly anthems of triumph rolling up, like the voice of many waters, from that vast multitude whose number is ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands. Then, when the seventh angel sounds, the seven angels having the seven last plagues come forth from the temple, prepared for their fearful tasks. Seventeen hundred years have passed. The darkness is deep, but the dawn approaches. The first angel goes and pours out his vial upon the earth. A plague and sore follows. The subtle influence shakes the thrones of kings and ecclesiastical hierarchies, and they totter to their fall. We look on with awe and wonder as we see these events transpiring almost in our own day and before our eyes. We see God in history. He has taught us to expect these terrible wars and commotions, and their coming meets our expectation, and assures our faith in His Word.
It is the conviction of your speaker, that in the millennium, for which the events of this period are preparing the way, republican institutions will prevail. Hence, any question affecting the possibility of such institutions, is properly discussed here. It is sometimes charged upon republics that they are inherently aggressive, and that they can only flourish by nurturing and giving activity to the military spirit, as if it must necessarily co-exist with them. Hence, no such form of government can exist when wars shall cease to
the ends of the earth." Such, it is contended, was the history of the Roman Republic; such, the democracies of Greece; such, the French Republic. The fallacy consists in assuming that the aggressive spirit which confessedly distinguished the peoples alluded to, is an offspring of their form of government, and not of something else. We could make a stronger argument against monarchism, in the same way, but we do not propose to do it, as both arguments would be fallacious. There is no such connection. The Roman
Republic and Grecian democracies existed in ages when the aggressive spirit was universal among all nations, and a pacific spirit, in connection with power to make aggression, was scarcely known. That republican Rome, or democratic Greece, should partake of the same spirit, is nothing strange. Indeed, the Empire of Rome was even more aggressive than the Republic. It can be shown that so far from a military spirit being necessary to their existence, it is that which usually destroys republics. It was that which subverted the Roman Republic. It was that which destroyed the French Republic.* The great mistake of France was her emulation of those old, warlike nations, leading her to suppose that her mission was to conquer the world by arms. Her danger would have been great enough if she had only used her military power to repel aggression. But in throwing down the gauntlet to the nations of Europe, to meet her on the field of Mars, she assured her own destruction. We may be safe in saying that as long as our own nation adheres to the pacific policy recommended by her founders, she will be safe. Existing thus for almost a hundred years, she furnishes an unanswerable refutation of the charge thus made against republican institutions.
*Note 8, Canto I, stanza 41.
ENGLAND AND ITALY IN PROPHECY.
Ere the first woe is spent, another comes.-CANTO I, STANZA 44.
And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea, and it became as the blood of dead men; and every living thing died in the sea.
And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters: and they became blood.
And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.-REV. XVI. 3-7.
IF our interpretation of the symbolism of the first vial be received, of course, we must look for the fulfillment of the second and third in events closely connected and nearly contemporaneous.
We should look for that of the second in events mainly transpiring upon the sea-some terrible naval war, which would result disastrously to the supporters of political and ecclesiastical despotism. And as France and Spain had been the chief naval powers which had, hitherto, supported the despotism of Rome, we should naturally expect that the disasters would fall mainly on them. While, on the other hand, we should expect that success, in any such struggle, would strengthen the hands of them who fought most in the interest of liberty. In studying the history of those times, we find, such were the complications of affairs, that England-though a monarchy, and much of the time fighting against the French Republic, and a declared enemy of republican institutions was contending mainly for the rights of man. The sympathies of a disinterested lover of his race, therefore, naturally incline toward her. The naval war which she
waged, about this time, was one of the most fearful, if not the most fearful, of history. It lasted twenty years. Her chief opponents were France and Spain, though Holland, Denmark, Prussia, Russia and Sweden were, at different times, arrayed against her.
We purpose to show that, supposing it was the design of revelation to foretell, by a fitting symbolism, the events of this terrible period, a vial of wrath poured out upon the ocean, by an angel of vengeance, taken in connection with other fearful symbols disclosing contemporaneous events, would be a most striking and appropriate method of doing it. If John's prophetic vision should catch, through the vista of distant ages, the gloom, the fires, the thundergust and the flowing blood of naval warfare,* such as this period discloses, a mighty angel-rushing over the sea on the wings of the storm, throwing into it some potent substance, which raises the winds, the waves, and the thunders, and tinges its waters with the blood of living creatures, slain in the commotion-would, best of anything, carry to the mind an adequate image. Seeing scores of great naval battles, as it were, condensed into one view, in the glass of prophecy, what better conclusion could be formed of it than that it was the result of some tremendous outpouring of wrath upon an offending world?
We may observe that it is not necessary to suppose that John meant to say that all the sea became as the blood of dead men. If that portion of it which was affected by the vial, assumed such an appearance, it would justify his language. The expression, "Every living soul died in the sea, is designed to convey to the mind an image of the dreadful destruction of life in this war. It commenced between England and France, at Toulon, where a large French fleet was destroyed by the English, soon after the French Republic had risen to power. Then followed the great battle of Ushant, under Admiral Howe, in which the French were completely routed. The West Indies were, one by one, wrenched from the hands of France, by successful naval expeditions. The capture of the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch, added South Africa to the British Empire, and
*Note 10, Canto I, stanza 45.