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The church of the witnesses gives glory to God for the truth and justice of his dispensations, in the fulfilment of prophecy.-The apostate church perseveres in her misapprebension of them.--The fourth vial poured out,-represents the scorching heat of despotic power and cruel tyranny.—The fifth vial, a darkness both political and moral.— The remarkable wisdom of Providence in these judgments, which are adapted to set before the eyes of sinners the crimes that drew these miseries upon them.
THE dreadful retribution of the former cruelties of the persecuting tyrant, thus introduced by the first vial, heightened by the second, and brought to a kind of crisis (but not a salutary one) by the third; and by a sort
of punishinent, the same in kind as that he himself had inflicted upon the innocent mar tyrs of Jesus, and originating in his own wickedness; is on all accounts so righteous a dispensation of a divine over-ruling wisdom, that the church of the reformed gives glory to the eternal ALPHA AND OMEGA for it. "I heard the angel of the waters say, thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints, and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink, for they are worthy."* David had before celebrated in the ninety seventh Psalm the same event, of God's vindicating his church "confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols; worship him, all ye gods. Zion heard, and was glad, and the daughter of Judah rejoiced; because of thy judgments, O Lord. Ye that love the Lord, hate evil. He preserveth
Those hyperbolical figures in prophecy, of God's feeding his enemies with their own flesh, and giving them blood to drink, are emblematical of great slaughters, attended with circumstances of a peculiar atrocity. (Rev. xvi. 5.)
the souls of his saints, he delivereth them out
of the band of the WICKED."
The fourth vial introduces a new method of torment for the beast and his empire, if indeed it may be called altogether new, since it still springs from the same root of popery* as the former, and is a continuation of the effects of the three preceding vials, with additional venom, which hastens on the demolition of his power, with great increase of his sufferings. "The fourth angel poured out his vial upon THE SUN, and great 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 men that worshipped the beast and his image, (the objects of these divine judgments,) are still not moved to repentance of their practical and speculative errors. Their
Isaiah xiv. 29
burthen is therefore augmented, and the yoke of "a cruel lord” prepared for their necks.* To the egyptians the common blessings of heaven were reversed, and the light of day was turned into the darkness of midnight.→→ Christ, the enlightening and animating SUN of the christian system, scorches up his apos
tate enemies with the fierceness of his in tolerable blaze, and torments them with the brightness of his near approach.-He rules his rebellious subjects with a rough hand, "bruises them with a sceptre of iron, and dashes them in pieces like a potter's vessel."†
The darkening of the SUN, and turning the MOON into blood, and the falling of the STARS from their orbits, is a well known figure for the overthrow of empires. But in this judgment upon the mystical Egypt the portent is reversed. The SUN is not blotted out from the face of the political heavens, but receives a baleful augmentation of his power,
Isai. xix. 4.
† Ps. ii. 9.
Isai. xiii, 10; Joel ii. 10, 31; Mätt. xxiv. 29.
which no longer nourishes and sustains nature, but scorches it with a destructive heat. This plague also, (as it is to be generally understood of all the rest,) is limited in its influence to the worshippers of the BEAST, and those in his connection; with others who for great delinquencies, are doomed to drink of his cup, though not originally prepared for them. This, which was declared at the commencement of these plagues, is still evident, from the effect produced by it upon these infatuated idolators ; who instead of being led thereby to salutary reflection and amendment, redouble their blasphemous prayers to their canonized gods, to fatigue and provoke, to the very uttermost, the patience of the God of heaven, which alone "bath power over these plagues." “And they repented not, to give him glory."
A cock crowing to the rising SUN, is said to be the emblematical device of the kingdom of FRANCE, and as the holy spirit of prophecy adapts the method of its divine revelation to the ideas generally received amongst