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The consequences of the seventh vial—The mystery
of God is finished.--The remaining strength of :. the apostacy wasted by intestine division and civil
wars, which depopulate the papal kingdoms. Suppression of the popish church dignities and authorities.-Great inveteracy of that superstition, which even these terrible and long continued judgments cannot easily subdue.
By the dreadful catastrophe that befals the combined multitudes in the VALLEY OF DECISION, where God sits as judge himself in the day of recompences, and by the still more tremendous judgment, which at the same time in another quarter overwhelms the two principals, and the capital city in a fiery destruction, there is a decisive blow given to the aposa tacy; and the TWO witnesses are now by a great voice called up to heaven, and pure and true religion is in general securely estab. lished.*
“ And the remnant”-(of the apostates)« were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” The consequence of this result of such a contest, decided in so undeniable a manner by the arm and interposition of God,
* In Sect. xix. I have observed that St John sums up the his. tory of the martyrs, (which suffered from the persecuting fanaticism of an idolatrous and apostate religion, in both the eastern and western churches,) in the eleventh chapter; and this brief epitome of the whole Revelation is placed there where the his. tory of the eastern church ends, and that of the western (under the rule of the POPE) commences; and its several parts are af. terwards unfolded in the following visions, in which the sufferings, and death, and resurrection of the witnesses make a principal part. The rise, tyranny, and fall of the beast being of interest no otherwise than as the history of the true church and faithful servants of Christ is involved in it.
The EARTHQUAKE with which the history of the witnesses concludes, (Rev. xi. 13,) is the same as that in chap. xvi. 18, where the effects and consequences of it, (in the happy restoration of the true church, and the fall and ruin of the apostacy,) are represented more at large; the seventh trumpet (x. 7) and the seventh vial, (xvi. 17,) by which the mystery of God was
is the speedy and entire suppression of the res maining strength of atheism, and idolatry, and superstition, by the powerful conviction of God's word, so strongly confirmed by the late events, and the remaining effects of them, the visible and striking accompiishment of the prophecies.
« For the word of God,” says the apostle, “is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spi
to be finished,” both coinciding with that time. But these events are not instantaneous; a considerable time is to be supposed for the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and also for the effects of the vial to appear,
It is remarkable in this first account of the EARTHQUAKE, that the destructive effects of it are confined chiefly to the heads or governing powers of the apostacy, or spiritual wickedness in high places, (xi. 13,)—“The tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain,” (ονόματα ανθρώπων, nomina hominum, names of men, or) “men of chief name and eminence in the corrupt church, seven thousand : and the rest were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven :"-yet not without more judgments expended upon them, and considerable time. This coincidence adds further evidence that this is the same earthquake by which the judgment of great BABYLON was chiefly effected, (xvi. 19,) and the Beast and FALSE PROPHET destroyed ; which was followed (xix. 20, 21) by the dissolution of the whole system of popery, as is represented in this section.
And how greatly must its force be increased under such circumstances? The recent fate of the city and the false prophet, (the pole star of their superstition,) not only leaves the papal church in total and hopeless darkness, and remediless despair, but they have undeniable tokens that it has all come to pass exactly in the protestant acceptation of the prophecies. They are now beaten out of their strong hold of evasion, and have no more the false
prophet to bolster up their sinking cause, by lying wonders and all manner of decievableness of unrighteousness. Bigotry and superstition melt away before truth, like ice before the sun; and the hand of power (now unfavorable to them) is laid upon the remaining illgotten property of their church, which is applied to other uses, and thus in a sense totally the reverse of the boastful proclamation of the DRAGON," the fowls are filled with their flesh."
The pouring out of the seventh vial, or last plague upon the kingdom of the beast, in
Heb. iv. 12.
chapter xvi. (from which we digressed to take in this more distinct account of the final çatası trophe,) seems to be a representation of the same facts, under other similitudes. The one vision relating the particulars that concerned the two principals, and the original seat of the BEAST; the other giving the effect that was produced by this vial upon the system of the apostacy in general. “ And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air, and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, IT IS DONE.
* When our blessed Saviour had put an end to the Mosaic dispensation, by fulfilling the last of the prophecies relating to it, he bowed his head and gave up the ghost, saying, “IT IS FINISHED!” sl me teréneçoes—dixit consummatum est. (John xix, 39.) The similar expression made use of by the Holy Spirit, to express the end of the mystery of iniquity, and the fall of antishrist, shews the great importance attached to this long expected event, the subject of so many prophecies. And the tragical history of his reign yields abundant evidence that it was not without reason ;-" There came a great voice, saying IT IS DONE! ---source yeyoveg--- dicens factum est. Beza translates GEGONE by FUIT,—it is past, in the sense of Virgil's
Fuimus Troes: fuit Illium, et ingens
Virg. Æn. ii. 325.
Troy is no more--and ILLIUM was a town!