Page images

to sit in the court of the imperial chamber." The importance of the treaty of Passau cannot be better shown, than by quoting the observations of the historian of the reign of Charles V.-"Such was the memorable treaty of Passau, that overturned the vast fabric, in erecting which Charles had employed so many years, and had exerted the utmost efforts of his power and policy; that disannulled all his regulations with regard to religion; defeated all his hopes of rendering the imperial authority absolute and hereditary in his family; and established the Protestant church, which had hitherto subsisted precariously in Germany through connivance or by expedients, upon a firm and secure basis."

13. "And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and a tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men," — or, "of the names of men,"-"seven thousand; and the remnant," "were affrighted, and gave glory to God."

- or,

"the rest,"

[ocr errors]

Here, too, the history of the times we are considering will explain the fulfilment of prophecy. An earthquake is uniformly, in prophetical language, a revolution in the religious or political state of society. Great political convulsions are, therefore, here foreboded. It is not,

however, that great final revolution, one day to be expected, that changes the whole face of the Roman world: the damage, we shall see, to the mystic city, is only partial.

It is certain, that, at the same season in which the scenes above described took place, Europe was convulsed throughout, and all the kingdoms in communion with

[blocks in formation]

the church of Rome were agitated exceedingly by the propagation of the doctrines of the Reformation. France was, at one time, half disposed to cast off the papal yoke. In the Netherlands, it cost the massacre of a hundred thousand persons to stay the rising commotions. In Italy, the pope found full employ for his inquisitors to suppress the doctrines of the Reformation: as did the emperor himself for his military government of Naples. Even most catholic Spain herself felt some very evident shocks of the great earthquake; but the dreadful Inquisition, here armed with full power, prevailed to keep entire the fabric of the Romish superstition and idolatry.

The whole papal city was certainly shaken to its very foundations: but the great permanent effect of the earthquake was to be, that the tenth part of the city fell. And so it came to pass; for in one of the kingdoms of the Roman world, counted, too, among the ten horns of the fourth beast, the shocks of this earthquake were so fatal to the papal power and superstition, that the whole fell to the ground, so shattered to pieces that no subsequent attempts of the great enemy could ever make it stand upon its foundations. "With loud ascriptions of praise and thanksgiving to Him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, we may record SUCH WERE THE EFFECTS OF THE REFORMATION IN GREAT BRITAIN." An entire kingdom, one of the ten original kingdoms into which the Roman empire was divided, fell off altogether from the communion of the idolatrous church, and became the chief opponent to the papacy, and chief support of the Protestant interests in all parts of the world."


Philo, in the Christian Observer; Cuninghame; and recently Mr. Faber.

"And in the earthquake were slain seven thousand names of men." This seems to describe the general effect of the political convulsion. I should suppose it designates the injury done to the institutions and religious orders of the Roman Catholic world. And great changes were certainly effected, by the Reformation, in the general situation of Europe. But where are we to look for "the remnant," or "the rest," who were affrighted and gave glory to the God of heaven? Certainly not to the other Papists, with their inquisitors and new armies of Jesuits, nor to that partial reformation of morals which the Roman clergy found it expedient to adopt, in order the better to support the credit of their idols, their superstition, and their false doctrines: but, rather, we are to look to those other parts of the world, in the neighbourhood of the mystic city-as the event has shown-to Denmark, and Sweden, and other districts in the north: for certainly one of the immediate effects of the reformation was, that those countries, which had been used to drink of the cup of the fornication of the mystic Babylon, took alarm, purified themselves from their abominable idolatries, and received the pure tenets of the evangelical religion.

The next verse, which ought to have concluded this chapter, for it concludes the account of this vision of the temple and of the witnesses, is particularly to be remarked: :

14. "The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly."

This is as much as to say, the vision just presented to the prophet's view falls within the second woe; that is, it falls under the sixth trumpet, for we shall remember

the three last trumpets are called woes. Now, the second woe, or sixth trumpet, clearly related to the devastations of the Turks, which, as we saw, were to continue for three hundred and ninety-one years, and however these years are dated, they must have transpired with the seventeenth century; and previously to the close of that century, nothing but the Reformation, and its political consequences in Europe, had happened to answer to the death and resurrection of the witnesses, and the fall of a tenth part of the city.

I am of opinion, therefore, with Mr. Cuninghame, that this "chronological note" ascertains the meaning of the foregoing vision; —it is, in fact, the history of the church, from the setting up of the abomination of the popery till the time of the Reformation. After this, the world was quickly to expect the third woe, or the seventh trumpet. Quickly" is certainly a relative term. tween the first and second woes, four centuries had intervened. The seventh trumpet will, in comparison of this interval, follow quickly the sixth: or "quickly," as usual, contrasts the revolutions of time with the eternal prospects of the people of God.



The Seventh Trumpet.

Chap. xi. 15. " And the seventh angel sounded: and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become," or, "the kingdom of this world is become,"—" the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces and

worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come, because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that thou shouldst give reward to thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great, and shouldst destroy them that destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament," or, "and there were lightnings, covenant,"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and voices, and thunderings, and a great hail."

We now reach the last grand period of time which fills up the history of mankind till the appearance of Christ. But I think it will appear, from what follows, that these verses are merely introductory, and contain a prospective view of the whole contents of the trumpet. The "great voices from heaven" and the song of the "elders” evidently anticipate the issue of the various transactions of the seventh trumpet: for they raise the shouts of salutation as though the kingdom of God were actually come. And the seventh trumpet certainly brings in that glorious era; not, however, at its commencement, but as the final consequence of the judgments it denounces. The trumpet itself is a woe trumpet, containing the seven last plagues of God, represented by seven angels pouring out each his vial of wrath; and from a comparison of the seventh seal— where it divides itself into seven trumpets-I conceive we must wait for the resumption of the chronological order of prophetical events, till we come to the description of these vials with the first vial begins the narrative of the seventh trumpet.

We are here told, generally, the contents of this wonderful era, before the completion of which the Almighty takes to himself his great power and doth reign. First,



« PreviousContinue »