« PreviousContinue »
them, when the same infection was communicated to the lower orders by this second vial, poured upon the sea, or people, and nations of the popish connection. Thus, in the sixth plague of Egypt, (of which the first vial has a resemblance,) the boil fell upon the magicians themselves, who had successfully opposed the finger of God by counterfeiting some of the divine miracles, to support the pride and obduracy of the tyrant.
In consequence of excessive both political and religious corruption, and the total decay of all moral principle, (which must ever be the uniting cement of civil society, and the vital principle of political prosperity; for as "by righteousness a nation is exalted,so contrariwise, sin is the ruin of any people;" by the constitutions of nature, and by the ordinance of God:) THE SEA, or mass of the people, becomes like the blood of a dead man.-Fatigued and worn out by the continued and shocking display of shameless immorality, and the most palpable imposture and wickedness in their church and state, the former ardent spirit of
the people, so favorable to the support of both, is changed and gone. They are frozen with an immoveable apathy towards the support of the throne of iniquity, and agitated with the same wild passions, and detestable principles of selfishness, and cruelty in the pursuit of them, which they have learnt of their superiars, no longer to be called so; but by violence about to be dragged down to the common level of liberty and equality, in the grossest sense of the words. The EMBLEM which represents this scene of universal anarchy, is very expressive of the thing. The blood of a dead man is deprived of those vital principles in every respect, which rendered it fit, by regular circulation over the whole animal system, for the support of the vis vitæ, and the natural union of the soul with the body, which can no longer by art be perpetuated, when the languid and congealing fluid can be propelled no more through its wonted channels, or runs off in a dissolved and putrid state. Just such is SOCIETY without any principles of morality, any sense of conscience, any rational belief of futurity. The famous REVO◄
LUTION IN FRANCE, at its opening (which I have supposed to be the period of the pouring out of the second vial) exhibited numerous and strong symptoms of such a total want of natural cohesion in the principles of which society is compounded: instances of the most shocking depravation of moral feeling and common humanity-an utter extinction, as it were, of the customary ties of affection, acknowledged by religion and nature, and a trampling under foot, with scorn and derision, all laws of men, of God, and of nature,
This was a time for choice spirits of the glorious revolution, to display to the affrighted world the horrible wickedness that human nature is capable of, when the fear of controul or punishment for crimes of the blackest die is removed. It was the triumph of libertinism, disloyalty, ingratitude, treachery, revenge, and every detestable immorality which degrades mankind below the brute creation in its worst forms, and sinks them to a level with the fiends of hell. "None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in
vanity and speak lies: they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. They hatch cockatrice eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works. Their works are works of iniquity, the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, wasting and destruction are in their paths."
In the very wildest howling of the tempest nevertheless, the bared arm of God's Providence appeared from the cloud, and directed the grand confusion to the ends of distributive justice. These monsters of iniquity had a reign as short and full of terror, as it was disgraceful to that light of human reason, which they set up as the OBJECT OF WORSHIP instead of God, whom they blasphemously affected to discharge from the government of
Isaiah lix. 4.
his own creation. For scarcely had the blood of the victims of their savage cruelty been cleansed away from the streets, before their own blood gushed from the same guillotine, and flowed in the same kennels.
This retribution, though dreadful, was yet. most equitable.* It was a lively image by reflection, of those very sins of the mystic Babylon which God said in Psalm 1. 21, that he would one day set before her face; and which has now drawn down this heavy judgment upon her. These practiced tormentors now suffer from the same scourge which they themselves had platted for the backs of others, and had applied unceasingly as interest, or malice, or idolatrous superstition directed. For
* 1 Sam. xv. 33; Rev. xiii. 10
Quod quisque fecit, patitur; autorem scelus
SENEC. Her, fur. 735.
Whoe'er offends must suffer too,
Like punishments, like crimes pursue,
His own example sets the rule
Of suff'ring for th' unthinking fool.