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increased her resources for the further struggle that awaited her, really, as the event has proved, for the destruction of Papal domination, ostensibly, in part, for self-defense, and for the promotion of liberty, but largely—it must be admittedfor self-aggrandizement. The French and Dutch fleet sent to retake the Cape, soon after this, were also entirely routed. The tremendous battle off Cape St. Vincent, was a disastrous and crushing defeat of the naval powers of France and Spain. Then, soon after this, the great battle of Camperdown added its blaze and rack to the smoke and conflagration which had but just lifted from the sea; all adding nerve and sinew to the already gigantic power of England, whom invisible hands were preparing for still mightier struggles. Napoleon had now begun his career, as one of the generals of the Republic. His known ambition and increasing popularity with the armies of the Republic made the chamber of deputies afraid of him, and they were glad to assent to his desire to go on an expedition to Egypt, that they might be rid of his influence at home. He went, revolving vast schemes of ambition in his mind. The career of Alexander was before him. Perhaps he might pursue the same victorious path to the Indies, erect another great oriental empire, and thwart the English there. With vast naval and land forces, he landed at Aboukir, in Egypt. But scarcely were the latter disembarked and well under way, inland, when the British fleet, under Nelson, hove in sight. The cloud burst in thunder and hail upon the fated French,* and in the awful battle which followed—the battle of the Nile—their noble fleet became a complete wreck, or captive to the English—the tricolor of the Republic torn down, and the flag of England floating at the mast-head of the men-of-war that had escaped the wreck of battle. Thousands went down in the terrible battle, and the water “became as the blood of dead men,” for miles around.It was a fatal blow to Napoleon's career in the East, crippling his resources, and interfering with all his future plans. So, after a brilliant, but, on the whole, unsuccessful campaign, he returned home to figure still more largely in those terrible events foreshown by
* Note 11, Canto I, stanza 45.
+ Note 12, Canto I, stanza 46,
other prophetic symbols. But the naval wars continued. The northern nations, Russia, Prussia, Denmark and Sweden, became jealous of England's increasing power. They leagued against her to cripple it. The awful battle of Copenhagen soon after followed, again a great success to English arms. This gave her power and prestige for striking a last terrible and crushing blow upon the Papal powers of France and Spain. This occurred soon after, at the terrific naval battle off Cape Trafalgar, when their great navies (embracing all their marine forces) were wrecked, and England stood the acknowledged mistress of the world, on the sea, though at the price of the death of her gallant Nelson.* Elliott, as quoted by Barnes, remarks, with regard to these battles: “Altogether, in this naval war, from its beginning in 1793, to its end in 1815, there were destroyed near two hundred ships of the line, three hundred to four hun dred frigates, and an almost incalculable number of smaller vessels of war and ships of commerce. The whole history of the world does not present such a period of naval war, destruction, and blood-shed.” The reader can readily see the bearing they had upon the Papacy:t No Papal power has ever since had any com
mmanding influence upon the ocean ;—a circumstance which has proved fatal to the ambitious designs of Rome, as without the supremacy of the sea she can never gain what she has evidently hoped to do—the supremacy of the world. As things now look, the prospect of any maritime power ever coming to the succor of the fallen Pope is exceedingly dubious.
Thus the events foreshadowed in the symbolism of the second vial put a. decisive and irrevocable check upon the progress of Rome; yea, I may say, with other things, made her downfall, as a political power, inevitable.
But almost contemporaneous with the outpouring of the second vial, using John's language,f “The third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains and they became blood.” Then comes the response of the two angels. This evidently foreshadows great calamities upon the power in question, in a country where her crimes against the
* Note 13, Canto I, stanza 47.
+ Note 14, Canto I, stanza 47. #Note 15, Canto I, stanza 48.
world had been more especially atrocious. Do we find a country meeting the demands of this symbolism? Northern Italy* is composed chiefly of the basin of the Po and its tributaries. If you look at the map, you will not fail to note how numerous are the rivers and small streams which rise in the Appenines, on the south, and the Alps, on the west and north, forming the Po, the Adige, and other smaller streams which empty into the Adriatic sea. You cannot find a country which could be more properly called a land of rivers and fountains. Lakes Garda, Como, Maggiore, and other smaller bodies of water in the mountains, supplied by the melting of snows which rest perpetually upon those lofty peaks, give rise to beautiful streams which flow, clear and perennial, through the vales of Piedmont and Lombardy, and make them the most delightful places on earth. It must be remembered that it was along the banks of the Po where Pagan Rome heaped up some of her greatest holocausts of the martyrs of Jesus, on the shrines of her Pagan deities. It was upon these same rivers and fountains that the burning star, called Wormwood, fell, when the third angel sounded, where the Pagan oppressors of the Church sunk beneath the tempest which Jehovah of hosts rolled down upon them from the northern wilds. It was here where, during the long, dark night of Papal supremacy, the faithful churches of the Albigenses and the Waldenses lived and suffered. The cruelties which Papal Rome inflicted upon these people have scarcely a parallel in all the long, dark history of martyrology. Even Smithfield pales before the horrors of the sunny vales of Piedmont. Rome was determined to have these regions to herself, even at the price of extermination of their population. Those rivers and fountains had been repeatedly stained with their blood. But the time of reckoning came, when those valleys became the theatre of some of Napoleon's fiercest campaigns. They are described as having been unnecessarily cruel and bloody, and his exactions of the conquered people unwarrantably harsh, under the sternest codes of military law. But the march of the great conqueror over that land was the pouring out of the wrath of God upon the supporters of Rome, and the calamities must have been severe, to justify the symbolism of the third vial. (See Poem, Canto I, stanzas 49–62.)
* Note 16, Canto I, stanza 50.
It must go for something to the student of prophecy, that all these fearful campaigns in Piedmont and Lombardy, hastened the fall of the declining political power of the Pope. Nopoleon's rude assaults destroyed his prestige among the nations, and crippled his government, and that of Austria, one of his chief supporters. You will also remember that the battles of Magenta and Solferino tinged these same rivers and fountains with blood, and hastened still further the downfall of ecclesiastical despotism. This last war wrested a large part of the States of the Church from Rome, established the Kingdom of Sardinia, and laid the foundations of that United Italy which we behold to-day. Could any power, short of the ALMIGHTY's, have caused that these awful retributions should fall on Rome, in the very land where she had shed so much martyr blood ? Look at the awful record of those Italian campaigns, and see how appropriate is the symbolism. Monte Notte, Milessimo, Diego, Lodi, Milan, Mantua, Castigleone, Caldero, Arcole, a second Mantua, the fall of Venice, the Senio, Faenza, Ancona, Loretto, Rome, Trebbia, Marengo, Magenta, and Solferino. Think of all these battles on a territory not larger than the State of Illinois, and most of them in the short space of five years, and tell me if you can find a more fitting prophetic symbol than a vial of wrath poured out upon the rivers and fountains, and changing them to blood. See how the military powers which supported Rome were crippled, and mark how the leaven of republicanism, scattered in Italy by the armies of the French Republic, has spread and borne fruit, until Italy is united in a constitutional monarchy, with Rome for its capital, and religious liberty for its motto, while the temporal power of the Pope is hopelessly gone, and see if you are able to doubt that this third vial foreshadows these events, and was destined to aid in the destruction of the Papal domination.
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE IN PROPHECY.
Yet over the sun a dread angel arises.-Note 17, CANTO I, STANZA 64.
And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun ; and power was given him to scorch men with fire.
And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues : and they repented not to give him glory.-REV. XVI. 8-9.
The use of this symbolism would seem to be suggested by a quite popular belief, in the days of John, that the sun, moon and stars had a great influence upon the destiny of nations. Particular conjunctions and occultations of the planets, eclipses of the sun and moon, and especially the appearance of comets, were supposed to foreshadow some great national event-generally some calamity. Some dread angel of wrath, in the form of a blazing comet, casting its shadow across the sun, and eclipsing its splendors, while, at the same time, it might impart some of its substance to the sun, to increase its power of combustion, would well lead men to forebode some awful calamity.
As to the meaning of the passage, of course, we are not to suppose that a literal vial was poured into the sun. It is but a symbol, forewarning of fearful calamities. We remark,
There must be something in the calamities when they come, to justify the use of such a startling symbolism-in other words, the effect must be somewhat like what might be supposed if a great angel should pour some combustible into the sun, and by the increased combustion, so intensify its heat that it would scorch men.
These calamities must be more widespread and general than those foreshadowed by the former vials. There is no inconsistency in limiting the application of the third vial