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And the fifth vial, as has been explained, is the opening of the more tremendous scenes of judgments of the last days; "the beginning of sorrows,” or of that more signal inquisition for blood, the blood of the martyrs, which God had engaged to institute.
It has been said by the best expositors, that the judgments of various of the vials are expressed in allusion to the plagues on Egypt. It is evident, that the history of those plagues, and of the liberation of the chosen tribes from their Egyptian bondage, was designed to afford instruction, relative to the salvation of the Church, and the judgments of God upon her enemies, in the last days. I shall not make many remarks by way of attempting to find analogies between the two courses of events. Between the three last of these plagues, and the three last of the vials, we do find some manifest analogies.
The first of the three last plagues on Egypt, filled their kingdoms with gross darkitess, darkness which might be felt; Exod. x, 21-23. And the first of the three last vials, the first capitał vial, fills the Papal kingdom with darkness; Rev. xvi, 10; darkness, which indeed is felt. The second of the three last plagues, slew the first-born in every family of the Egyptians, and prepared the way for the speedy liberation of Israel from their bondage. This judgment made thorough work, in preparing the way for the setting out of the children of Abraham, for the promised land. Fatal obstacles, till now, appeared before them. Now every obstacle fled at once; and the people were immediately under way. How great and striking the analogy will prove to be, between that plague on Egypt, with events connected with it, and the last vial but one, (the sixth) time will decide. This vial is to dry up the mystic Euphrates, that the way of the kings of the east may be prepared: Or, it is to subvert the Euphratean, or Turkish empire, to prepare the way for ihe restoration of the children of Abrabam from their long bondage, to the Promised Land; Rev. xvi, 12. So far the great analogy, between the two judgments, is manifest: Under the sixth vial, (which is still future, and will ere long be effected,)
things may take place, which were well prefigured by the death, of the first born of the Egyptians; and by the consternation occasioned by that event to the enemies of the Church. It is remarkable, that both the plague, and the vial immediately
prepares the way for the setting out of that people of God, for the promised Canaan.
The last plague on Egypt plunged their king and the flower of his armies, in the Red Sea: So that Moses and Israel sang their song of praise for their final deliverance from Egypt; Exod. xv.
And the last vial sinks the enemies of the Jews and of the Church in perdition. These enemies will be found laboring to destroy the Jews in Palestine, like Pharaoh pursuing the Israelites. And, like Pharaoh and his armies, they will be destroyed, under the avenging hand of God. And the liberated Church will again sing the song of Moses; they will all now unite in the song of Moses and of the Lamb; Rev. xv, 3. The sentiment of the song, in Exod. xv, will be there ul. timately fulfilled
Thus the analogy between the three last plagues on Egypt, and the three last vials, (as well as that between the three last trumpets, and seals, and those vials) is manifest. This, if I mistake not, affords an argument of some weight, in favor of the correctness of the view given of the vials, in this dissertation. And if this view be correct, the vast events of our day have been in fulfilment of the fifth vial. See further remarks, under the seventh vial, to show, that the third woe is most probably still future.
THE SIXTH VIAL.
And the sixth Angel poured out his vial upon the
great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might
be prepared. (Rev. xvi, 12.) VARIOUS authors have been of opinion, that the sixth vial was to be fulfilled in the failing of the sources of wealth and power, of the Papal see: And that it was
expressed in allusion to the mode, in wbich Cyrus reduced the city of ancient Babylon; turning the waters of the Euphrates from the city; and marching his army into the city, in the night, in the bed of the river. But I apprehend those writers to be correct, who have thought this vial relates to the overthrow of the Turks, to prepare the way for the restoration of God's ancient people to the Holy Land. Five of the vials have been fulfilled on the Papal Beast. The fifth subverted his throne and kingdom. The sixth then, it seems, can: not relate to the failing of the revenues of the Pope; an event antecedent to the fifth vial. It must relate to another of the great powers found in array against Christ; the Mohammedan. Both this and Popery have been ter. rible to the Christian cause. Both were to be destroyed; and probably by the same rod of iron, or Antichrist. And can it be viewed as too much, that one of the seven last plagues should have an exclusive reference to the overthrow of the vast Mohammedan imposture?
The old exposition of the vials seems objectionable, as it relates to the sixth, as well as to the preceding vials. The first vial was to operate as a sore on the subjects of Papal Babylon. The second vial was to turn the Papal sea to blood. The third was to turn their rivers and fountains to blood. The fourth was to scorch them with the sun of their civil governments, The fifth was to be poured on the throne of the Papal Beast, and was to fill that kingdom with darkness. Af. ter this, the sixth vial was, according to the exposition, which I am refuting, to dry up the sources of Papal wealth and power! What sources of wealth and power can be suppoed to remain to the Papacy, after the operations of the five preceding vials? Did not each of the four first of these vials do its part in drying up those sources? And does not the fifth, which subverts the Papal throne, and fills that kingdoin with darkness, fin. ish what might remain of the sources of Papal wealth and power? Just so much of wealth and power, as might remain to the Pope, after the fifth vial, so much light he still enjoyed. "But the fifth vial subverts his throne, and fills his kingdom with darkness. We have
no right to say, that the darkness here, occasioned by the fifth vial, is only partial darkness; and the sixth vial is to aid the completion of it. This darkness is represented as total. When a partial darkness, under the fourth trumpet, was predicted, the partiality is ex. pressly noted: A third part of the day and night was darkened. See Rev. viii, 12. But the fifth vial fills the Papal kingdom with darkness. And being poured upon its throne, it must surely subvert it. How unnatural then, after all this, to represent another and subsequent vial, as drying up the sources of Papal wealth and power; and thus but preparing the wuy for the subversion of this throne, and the filling of this kingdom with darkness?
You are informed that one man has put another to death, in the following manner. 1. He made a sore attack upon him.
hin. 2. He bruised his breast, till the blood flowed profusely from his mouth. 3. He next bruised his limbs, till they were covered with a gore of blood. 4. The sufferer, after crying to the officers of the peace, who happened to be near, found himself abandoned by them to his fate. They frowned upon him, and gave countenance to his destruction. 5. A fatal blow was then aimed at his head; upon which he fell, deprived of sight, to the ground. You are next informed that 6. The assailant adopted measures to deprive him of his bodily strength. What would be your conception of this sixth step? Would you deem it natural, or necessary? Is not his bodily strength already destroyed by the preceding steps? What of strength remained, after the fourth step, the fifth surely had finished.
The sixth vial must relate to a different power, beside the Papal. I conceive there is no weighty argument in favor of its relating to the Papal power. This has been assumed, or taken for granted; but never proved. There are other powers to be destroyed, beside the Papal Beast. The empire of the Turks, whose rise fulfilled the second woe, and whose Mohanimedan delusions fulfilled the first woe, are to be destroyed, before the Millennium. Their empire embraces the riv:
er Euphrates. The sixth trumpet gave rise to them, by loosing the four Turkish sultanies, near the river Euphrates; Rev. ix, 14. The sixth vial is to this a perfect counterpart; a subversion of the same empire. Whether its phraseology alludes to the manner, in which Cyrus reduced ancient Babylon; or to the language of the sixth trumpet; it subverts the power, to which the sixth trumpet gave rise. This trumpet united the four petty Turkish governments, whose capitals were Bagdat, Damascus, Aleppo, and Iconium. Having relieved them from the restraints, which had long circumscribed their power, (the bloody crusades, and the attacks of the Tartars,) it formed them into one puwerful empire; and aided their bloody incursions in. to Europe. This empire is now in existence; but is soon to be no more. The conclusion seems most nat. ural, that the fall of this Euphratean empire will be accomplished under the sixth vial.
We never find the figure of drying up a river used to denote the failing simply of wealth and power. Rivers, in symbolic language, are nations. Isa. xviii, 2-“whose land the rivers have spoiled.” Or, the nations have overrun Palestine. The rivers and fountains of water, on which the third vial was poured, were the Papal nations. And the drying up of such rivers, is the subversion of such nations. Isa. xlii, 15; “I will make the rivers islands, and will dry up the pools." i.e. I will destroy Antichristian nations. Ezek. xxx, 12, "I will make the river dry, and sell the land into the hands of the wicked.” j. e. Egypt shall be re. duced by Nebuchadnezzar. Repeatedly the drying up of rivers symbolizes the subversion of nations. But never does it symbolize simply the failing of wealth and power, unless in the solitary instance of the sixth vial. *
* Relative to the time of the overthrow of the Turks, some are of opinion that we have some information. The Euphratean horsernen, at the rise of the Ottoman empire, are said (Rev. ix, 15,) to have been “prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year.” The true length of the time here men. tioned, is matter of doubt; as well as from what time it is to be reckoecd. It probably marks either the time of the Turks