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trace out these angels accurately. One of them seems to be Ezekiel, for he shews to the apostle, the Lamb's
wife. Rev. xxi. 9. And the prophet Ezekiel alone describes the latter-day temple, which is the new Jerusalem, and the Lamb's wife. Another may be Jeremiah, for he shews the judgment of the great whore. Rev. xvii. 1. And that prophet, whose words are principally followed in Rev. xviii. appears to have been particularly commissioned to declare the fall of Babylon, both ancient and modern, the type, and also the antitype.
The temple being filled with smoke from the glory of God, seems to intimate, that none, for the present, should enter into a full understanding of these things; and that until the several judgments should be ended, no one should be permitted to attain unto a perfect knowledge of the mystery of God. And it is found so at this day: for, although the effects of the vials of wrath are before our eyes continually, and, notwithstanding the very last of them is, perhaps, already pouring out, the veil of ignorance yet remaineth over us, and scarcely do the wisest of us understand, how very nearly these present times of the world, reach unto the day of the Master's coming.
Vials of Wrath continued-Five First Vials considered.-Rev. xvi. 1 to 11.
The effusion of the vials comes next to be considered, according to their order; and it is thus related
Rev. xvi. 1, 2.-" And I heard a great voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image."
The first trumpet brought a judgment upon the earth, so also doth the first vial, and the worshippers of the beast are smitten by it. The noisome and grievous sore, with which they are afflicted, is certainly not literal; and it is probably intended to point out that diseased, and perverted state of mind, for which the great supporters of the Papacy have at all times been very remarkable; in preferring falsehood to truth, in devising and in following many strange delusions, and in receiving the doctrines of devils, as if they were the commandments of God. In this, as in other passages which have been noticed, the earth
may be taken to signify that worldly profession of religion, which has abounded in all ages, and among many sects of Christians, viz. carnal, earthly-minded men, making a fair outward shew in morality, zealous for doctrines which they understand not, pharisaically observant of forms, and resting in them as the sum and substance of true religion; whilst, at the same time, they are wholly untaught of God, and consider all those who have, and who profess vital godliness, to be neither more nor less than hypocrites, knaves, or fools, or enthusiasts, or fanatics.
Verse 3. "And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.".
This vial, poured out upon the sea, brings a judgment upon those of the Papal community, who, assuming the name of Catholic, care nothing for any religion whatever; neither concerning themselves with its doctrines or its forms. Persons of this description appear to be cut off altogether, for the sea becomes as the blood of a dead carcase.
Verses 4-7. "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 shall be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of the 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!"
The turning of the rivers and the waters into blood, was one of the judgments upon Egypt: " and the water stank." And following this figure, it is evident, that the slaughter of men is not announced under this symbol, but rather, the corruption and pollution of that water, without which spiritual life. cannot be supported. Under this most awful visitation, the truths and doctrines of Christianity are made corruption. And most wonderfully has this been fulfilled, upon those who bear the mark of the beast. Every truth of the word of God has been turned into or mixed up with error. The Scriptures have been referred to, only to be perverted; and the most unhallowed abominations have been established, upon what, they call the express word of Holy Writ. Instances of this description are without number, and it may not be uninstructive to adduce one example. They assert the infallibility of their Church : and they assert truly, that the Church of Christ shall never fail they insist faithfully and accurately, upon promises which are made unto the Church and then, assuming the Roman Catholic Church to be the Church of Christ, to which, and to which alone, these promises belong, they insist that the decisions of their rulers, and of their councils, are infallible, as
coming immediately from the inspiration of God; and that there is no salvation, out of their pale. Men who receive doctrines of this description, mistaking them for the living waters, drink blood indeed.
Verses 8, 9." And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun: and power was given unto 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."
The sun which enlightens the gospel world is the word of God, as already remarked; and the effect of the fourth vial is, that this sun scorches the followers of the beast, with fervent heat. And this may be referred to the ecclesiastical tyranny established over the minds and consciences of men, throughout the Papal countries. Under the pretence of divine authority from the word of God, the Romish priesthood exercise their power, in confessions, penances, absolutions, and a round of soul-destroying superstitions and ceremonies, which they substitute for the gospel of Jesus Christ. And thus, are the cheering beams of the Sun of righteousness made a scorching heat, to waste and to consume the people.
Verses 10, 11." And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast, and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain; and blas