were written for our learning, that we through patience and comført of the scriptures might have hope;" and in the beginning of that profound and difficult, but important and inftructive, book of Revelation, it is written, (chap. i. 3.) " Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep thofe things which are written therein; the time is at hand.” Is it not therefore a strange piece of folly, not to say profaneness, in Christians, to maintain, that thefe prophecies are of a kind which it is as vain as it is unprofitable to inquire into? This is to arraign the wisdom of God, and defpife thofe methods of instruction which the Infpirer of prophecy has chofen. Far be this from us! Let us better understand that faying of the apoftle to Timothy; "All fcripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness : that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Many things in this book may be hard to be understood, and especially before their fulfilment, or the taking place of fome events so immediately connected with them as to afford the inquirer a clue in his investigations; but it does not thence follow, that we are not to search into the mind and meaning of the Spirit of God, but rather that we ought to redouble our diligence in inquiry, and abound the more in prayer to God, for the teachings of that Spirit who gave the word, and gave it in this form, not that it might never be understood, but that, whilst the purposes and operations of God, in providence, fhould be hid from the carclefs eyes of a wicked world, they might, at the proper feafon, be difcoverable to the pious and diligent inquirer, for the confolation of the upright, and, in the end, for the general conviction and edification of mankind. What the angel faid to Daniel (chap. xii. 3, 10.) is in point as to the prefent question, and a ground of encouragement to invigorate our researches. Shut up the words and feal the book, even to the time of the end. Many (that is, about the time of the end) fhall run to and fro, (fhall inquire and investigate) and knowledge fhall be increafed. None of the wicked fhall understand, but the wife fhall understand. The wicked will not fee what God is doing, though they themselves may be the inftruments; but the wife, who fearch into the word of God, and obferve and compare the figns of the times with its predictions,


fhall understand.-With these fentiments let us enter upon the onfideration of aur subject.

Previous to our confidering what is recorded in the tenth chapter of the Revelation, and comparing it with the eleventh; and from which comparison I suppose fuch figns of the times to be difcoverable, as may affift us to form a judgment of the period in which we live, and of the events we have to expect, it will be proper to take a curfory view of what goes before. In the fifth chapter we have an account of a book sealed with seven seals, which Jefus, the Lamb of God, was alone found worthy to open. This book is the representation of the providence of God, which is committed to the execution of the exalted Redeemer of the world. The opening of the feals indica es to us the different periods of hiftory, from the first preaching of the gospel to the confummation of all things. In the fixth chapter we have an account of the opening of fix of the feven feals. These bring us to the overthrow of the heathen Roman empire, by the emperor Conftantine, who, about the year 311, embracing Christianity, effected a most astonishing revolution in the hiftory of idolatry, and procared for the Chriftian church a refpite from thofe perfecutions which had long harrassed it, and which feemed to threaten its utter extirpation. Now (A. D. 323) were the four winds of heaven holden, (chap. vii.) that they should not blow on the earth, nor on the fea, nor an any tree, till 144,000 of the fervants of God were fealed in their foreheads, with the feal of the living God, The former commotions and perfecutions gave place to peace and quietnefs, till Chriftianity fhould acquire ftrength and permanency by the addition of numerous converts. But tares fprung up among the wheat. The feeds of antichriftian error, pride, and domination, had long been fown, and now the funfline of court favour produced a plentiful crop. Chriftianity, or fomething called by that name, was brought to court; he was careffed, loaded with riches and honours; was debauched by her alliance with the world, and quickly became the mother of harlots. The true rcdigion of Jefus Chrift was adulterated with the maxims of ftatef men, and the reveries of enthusiasts. The perfecuted became the -perfecutors, and univerfal corruption, reviling, and oppreffion fucceeded. Hence the judgments which follow.

B 2



Chap. viii. "And when he had opened the feventh feal, there was filence in heaven about the space of half an hour." Wa this filence, as fome interpret it, the fhort quiet which the church enjoyed on the late change of circumftances; or, (for this quiet had been reprefented before, chap. viii. 1.) was it not rather the amazement of heaven, on the opening of the feventh feal, at the corruption which followed, and at the judgments of God, which were about to fucceed? There may alfo be an allufion, as some fuppofe, to a ceremony among the Jews, who, while the facrifices were offering, and while the priest went into the temple to burn incenfe, remained filent without, praying to themselves. "And I saw the feven angels which stood before God; and to them were given leven trumpets." These seven trumpets are to be the fignal for the ushering in so many distinct judgments on apoftate Chriftians. And I faw another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden cenfer; and there was given unto him much in cenfe, that he should offer it with the prayers of the faints upon the golden altar, which was before the throne. And the fmoke of the incenfe, which came with the prayers of the faints, afcended up before God, out of the angel's hand." The corruption of the Christian church which had taken place, and the evils which quickly followed in its train, became a subject of serious concern to thofe who ftill adhered to the truth; and the vindication of difhonoured Chriftianity, as well as of oppreffed innocence, was the subject of their earneft prayers. God heard them. "And the angel took the cenfer and filled it with fire of the altar, and caft it into the earth and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake." All thefe expreffions are fignificant of wars and commotions of nations, and are intimations of what is to be expected under the following trumpets, or poffibly they were intended to reprefent thofe commotions which should agitate the Roman empire, between the death of Constantine and the founding of the first trumpet, which fhould bring the invasion of the Goths; that is, between the years 337 and 376. In this interval the family of Conftantine, his three fons, who divided the empire among them, and all his relations, perished, chiefly by affaffination and inteftine wars, within the fpace of twenty-feven years. And fo fierce and bloody was the war between Conftantius, who reigned in Afia and the eaft, and Magnentius, who had



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procured the affaffination of Conftans, and had affumed the purple in Italy, that, as Victor obferves, it almoft ruined the whole ftrength of the Roman empire. But this was only the prelude to much greater calamities.

Ver. 7. "The first angel founded, and there followed hail, and fire, mingled with blood, and they were caft upon the earth; and the third part of trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up." This first trumpet brings a terrible ftorm from the north, the region of hail; and the nature of the storm fhews the nature of the judgment, it was hail and fire mingled with blood, which denotes wars, and appears to have been a prediction of the terrible inundations of the Goths, who, about the year 376, broke in upon, and laid waste a great part of Europe, that third part of the then known world, to which the prophecy refers; for when the prophecy speaks of the judgment falling on a third part, the western empire, or Europe, is to be understood. Great were the calamities which were endured, for feveral years, from these in vaders. A check was at length given to their depredations: for attempting the conquest of Normandy, A. D. 402. they were defeated, their camp and their immenfe treasures were taken; the captives were delivered, and as the difporfed wandered about for fafety, innumerable numbers were laughtered. But another ene my quickly appeared.

Ver. 8. "The fecond angel founded, and, as it were, a great mountain burning with fire was caft into the fea; and the third part of the fea became blood," &c. This appears to be a prediction of the irruption of the Vandals, who, about the year 406, made a terrible invasion into the western and maritime parts of Europe, and bore down all before them; so that France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, were made a prey of, and Rome itself was made to pay for its liberty. Here they settled themselves for a while, till toward the period of the third trumpet, they went into Africa, and there founded the kingdom of the Vandals.

Ver. 10. "And the third angel founded, and there fell a great far from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of water; and


the name of the star is called wormwood; and the third part of the waters became wormwood, and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter." This blazing ftar, or cômet, is Attila, who, with his Huns, A. D. 452, made a terrible invasion into the western parts, laying waste the countries about the Danube and Rhine, the greatest rivers in Europe, and efpecially Lombardy, which is watered by the Po. His miffion feems to have been particularly against this latter country. Right well did he call himself, The fcourge of God, and the terror of man. For fourteen years he hook both the caft and weft with the most cruel fear, laying wafte the provinces, by plundering, fire, and fword. After having wafted Thrace, Macedon, and Greece, he turned his arms against the western empire: he entered Gaul with 700,000 men, set most of the cities on fire, but going beyond the bounds of this trumpet, he met with a successful resistance, on 'which he turned his force against Lombardy, took and destroyed Aquilea, with feveral other cities, flaying the inhabitants, and laying the buildings in afhes. From the Alps to the Appenine, all was flight, depopulation, flaughter, bondage, burning, and desperation. He was preparing to march to Rome, but was diverted from his purpose by a folemn embaffy from the emperor, and the promise of an annual tribute; and so concluding a truce, he retired out of Italy, and paffed into his own dominions, beyond the Danube.

Whoever cafts an eye upon a map of this country, which he thus ravaged and depopulated, and which comprehended almoft all the north of Italy, viz. Piedmont, Milan, most of the territory of Venice, Mantua, Parma, Modena, and several other provinces, he will instantly perceive the aptitude of the description of this judgment: it was to fall upon the third part of the rivers and fountains of water, and the waters were to become wormwood, &c. Befide its lakes, no country in Europe is so interfected with rivers. There are not many fhort of a hundred, reckoning the numerous branches, with their feveral confiderable streams, which fall into the Po. Perhaps, at fome future time, not far diftant, the comparing of what may take place in the overthrow of Antichrift, with this judgment which fell on those countries especially which are watered by the Rhine and the Po, may help us to understand




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