« НазадПродовжити »
tence, he retired, and altered his diet. This course in fact brought on a sickness, of which in a few days he died! Thus while the Protestants were trembling at the intrigues of his nuncio in the diet of Augsburg, the Pope was suddenly snatched out of time by his own mean artifice: Upon which his nuncio left the diet, and hastened to Rome, to be present at the election of a new Pope; and the peace of Passau was confirmed. What an exposure of the deadly corruption of that system! No wonder indeed, that hundreds of thousands hastened to flee out of it, as from a house infected with the plague! For the exposures of this Papal corruption, flew like lightning over Europe, and suddenly broke the enchantments of superstition, in which millions had been miserably enslaved. Upon this Dr. Robertson remarks; “The charm, which had bound mankind for so many ages, was broken at once. The human mind, which had continued long as tame and passive, as if it had been formed to believe whatever was taught, and to bear whatever was imposed, roused of a sudden, and became inquisitive, mutinous, and disdainful of the yoke, to which it had hitherto submitted. The wonderful ferment and agitation of mind (which at this distance of time appears unaccountable, or is condemned as extravagant) was so general, that it must have been excited by causes, which were natural, and of powerful efficacy. The kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden, England, Scotland, and almost one half of Germany, threw off their allegiance to the Pope, abolished his jurisdiction within their territories, and gave the sanction of law to modes of discipline and systems of doctrine, which were not only independent of Papal power, but hostile to it. Nor was this spirit of innovation confined to those coun.. tries, which openly revolted from the Pope. It spread through all Europe, and broke cut in every part of it with various degrees of violence. It penetrated early into France, and made quick, progress there. In that kingdom the number of converts to the opinions of the reformers, was so great, their zeal so enterprizing, and the abilities of their leaders so distinguished, that
they soon ventured to contend for superiority with the established church, and were sometimes on the point of obtaining it. In all the provinces of Germany, which continued to acknowledge the Papal supremacy, as well as in the low countries, the Protestant doctrines were secretly taught, and had gained so many proselytes, that they were ripe for revolt, and were restrained merely by the dread of their rulers from imitating the examples of their neighbors, and asserting their independence. Even in Spain and in Italy symptoms of the same disposition to shake off the yoke, appeared. The pretensions of the Pope to infallible knowledge and supreme power, were treated by inany persons of eminent learning and abilities, with such scorn, or attacked with such vehemence, that the most vigilant attention of the civil magistrate, the highest strain of Pontifical authority, and all the rigor of inquisitorial jurisdiction, were requisite to check and extin
Who then can doubt but this fatal wound given to the Papal power, this sudden and most astonishing exhibition of the filthy abomination of the Papal see, fulfilled a vial of the wrath of God on that corrupt system? And who can doubt but this was the first vial, which was to operate as a noisome, grievous sore upon the men who had the mark of the beast, and who worshipped his image? With such a rankling, deadly sore they indeed did languish, under the developement of the abominations of their system, and under the progress of the doctrines of the reformation. The Lamb now appeared on mount Zion; (Rev. xiv, 1;) or Christ appeared in his Church, for the salvation of his cause; and for the confusion of his enemies. This his appearance marked the commencement of a new era of judgments upon the wicked. And they have never found any thing like a healing. The total filthiness of their system stands exposed before the nations, as in the light of the meridian sun. And this event was the first fatal stroke toward their destruction!
THE SECOND VIAL.
And the second Angel poured out his vial upon the
sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. (Rev. xvi, 3.)
As by the earth, on which the contents of the first vial were discharged, is to be understood the corrupt system of the Papal hierarchy; by the sea in the second vial we are to understand the multitudes of people in the most central parts of the Papal dominions. I will show thee the judgment of the great whore, that sitteth upon many waters. The waters, which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are people and multitudes, and nations and tongues.* Here probably we are presented both with the sea in the second vial, and the rivers and fountains of water in the third. The two vials, the second and third, divide them into sea, and rivers and fountains of water. By the sea then in this second vial, we are naturally led to understand the most cen. tral parts of the Papal delusion. Italy first presents itself, as entitled to this symbolic appellation. And probably the great Papal nations bordering upon it, Germany, France, and possibly Spain, are to be viewed in a sense included in this sea, as the instruments of the judgment of this vial. There appears a fitness in symbolizing Italy by the sea. At the commencement of the sixteenth century it was a great collection of different states and governments, of jarring and contending interests. This remark indeed held true of the great Papal nations bordering upon Italy, which were in a sense included in the sea in this vial, as the instruments of the judgment. Those great Papal nations locally united, may be viewed as being at that time a vast collection of contending interests, both as great nations in relation to each other; and as containing par. tial, discordant interests in each nation, which grew out of the peculiar circumstances of the feudal times. These
* Rev. xvii, 1, 15.
jarring, internal interests, without any common princi. ple of strength sufficient to unite them, much resembled the tempestuous sea.
“In the German empire (says Dr. Robertson) which was a confederacy of princes, of ecclesiastics, and of free cities, it was impossible that they should incorporate thoroughly."* In Germany and Italy the education of ecclesiastics, and their genius and connexion with the court of Rome, rendered them so different from the other princes, that it was a source of jealousy and discord. Consult the hundred articles of grievance, presented to the Pope by the diet of Nuremburg, and the discordant nature of these national materials strikingly appears. There is then a fitness in their being symbolized by the sea. And another more general reason why they should be thus represented, was the tumultuous state into which they were thrown, in consequence of the judgments of this vial. Great nations in the effervescence occasioned by wars and judgments, are abundantly represented in sacred Writ, by the sea.t
It has been supposed that the turning of this sea to blood, by the contents of the second vial, and the turning of the rivers and fountains of water to blood by the third vial, are in allusion to that plague on Egypt, in which the rivers and fountains of water were turned to blood, so that every thing in them died. But the events were to be fulfilled no doubt by desolating wars.
It has already been stated, that a long train of providential circumstances had been preparing the way for the sixteenth century to commence with the certain prospect of its abounding with most interesting events.
The invention of gunpowder, and of fire-arms; the keeping of regular standing armies; and extending the prerogatives of the crown, or the better organi. zation of national governments, so that the force of a nation might be brought into action at the pleasure of an ambitious sovereign; these things, together with a cluster of the most powerful and ambitions potentates
* Hist. Ch. V, vol. I, p. 220.
coming to the thrones of the great nations bordering upon Italy, indicated the most bloody and dismai events as about to commence.
Charles V was born in 1500. Upon the death of his father Philip, archduke of Austria, he became heir to the crown of Spain. And upon the death of his grandfather Maximilian, emperor of Germany, Charles and Francis I, the powerful monarch of France, became competitors for the Imperial crown. Upon which Dr. Robertson remarks; “Pope Leo X trembled at the prospect of beholding the Imperial crown placed on the head of the king of Spain and of Naples; and foretold that the election of either Charles or Francis would be fatal to the independence of the holy see, to the peace of Italy, and perhaps to the liber. ties of Europe.”* The Pope himself saw an apparatus of fatal judgments; and he trembled! And events soon showed, that he did not tremble in vain. Charles was elected to the Imperial dignity; at which Francis felt all the chagrin and rage of a haughty, disappointed rival. These two haughty potentates soon commenced tremendous preparations for war, and “Italy (says Dr. Robertson) soon became the theatre, on which the greatest powers of Europe contended for superiority.”+ And till about the year 1559, its fairest provinces were turned into fields of carnage and blood. In but little short of twenty successive campaigns in Italy, (contending for Milan, Naples, and for one Italian state and another, ) Carles and Francis, those mightiest potentates of Europe, exerted themselves to the utmost for victory. Sometimes success crowned the arms of one, and sometimes of the other. The Pope was found intriguing between them; sometimes in alliance with the one, sometimes with the other; but generally between two fires; and in danger, vexation, and distress!
Here it may be proper to remark, that the second vial was not deferred till the first was finished. The events of the first had but fairly commenced, when
* Hist. Ch. V, vol. I, p. 70, 71.
+ Ib. p. 139.