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descriptions; but this arises from the latter being a more full and particular account, whereas the former is simply a brief outline. On this ground it will obviously be better to defer the consideration of these signs until the seventh vial comes under our notice.
I shall close the chapter with a brief remark or two on the precise character of this era of prophecy, as distinguished from that which we have seen so closely precedes it, viz :the end of the great period of twelve hundred and sixty days, or forty two months, or time, times, and half a time.* The former era was simply a removal of that dominion which the Anti-christian powers had for upwards of twelve hundred years enjoyed, and the events necessarily arising out of this, such as the ascension of the two witnesses to heaven (Rev. xi. 12), and the emerging of the woman or true Church from the wilderness (Rev. xii. 14). This, on the other hand, is the positive assumption of supreme dominion by the Almighty himself some years after the two apocalyptic Beasts had lost their power, for the welfare of his people, the universal diffusion of the gospel, the utter and speedy destruction of the Anti-christian powers :
“ And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms 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.”-Rev. xi. 15–17. Now, nothing can be clearer, than that the end of the twelve hundred and sixty days, though a glorious
* For a full enquiry into the period and results of this previous era, the reader is referred to the 2nd Part of the author's work on the “ Downfall of Popery."-Ward, London.
epoch, does not involve anything amounting to this. It is true that era marks the deliverance of the Church of Christ from her Anti-christian foes, as well as the termination of the prophesying of the two witnesses, or Old and New Testaments, in sackcloth, during which heaven is shut that it rain not, and the influence of the Spirit is sparingly imparted to man. But still this is all. Here the glorious revolution stops,—the kingdom of God does not commence on earth,—the Almighty does not "take unto him his great power, and reign,”— the seven vials of divine wrath are not poured out upon the enemies of Christ ; but a sort of neutral state succeeds, to be “ quickly” broken by the sound of the seventh trumpet and of great voices on high, exclaiming,—“ The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.”—Rev. xi. 15.
THE EFFUSION OF THE SEVEN VIALS.
The last days derive their perilous character from the vials—Period of
their effusion a subject of dispute-- Arguments to prove none of the vials are poured out until the seventh trumpet-Remarkable analogy between the trumpets and the vials—The whole of the vials directed against the Anti-christian and corrupt part of mankind- Contents of the first vialIncorrectly interpreted by Faber and others-Import of the second vial -Incorrectly applied to the slaughter of mankind during the French Revolution-Remarkable peculiarity in the third vial-Import of this vial-Its interpretation by Keith and others untenable-Import of the fourth vial— Its application to the Emperor Buonaparte unjust—Its probable fulfilment-Import of the fifth vial-Inconsistent interpretation by Keith-Illustration of this vial from Daniel - Import of the sixth vial Mistake of expositors in considering the drying up of the Euphrates a work of time-Probable reference of a passage in Daniel to this vialKings of the East, the way prepared for them—Theory of a recent work on this subject—The unclean spirits which gather the kings of the earth to Armageddon—Their adaptation to the work-Final warning of the Saviour to his people-Import of the seventh vial— The great city—Its division into three parts—The great hail-General remarks on the vials.
The period denominated in various parts of Scripture, “ the last days," “ the time of the end,” “the latter days,” &c., derives its perilous character, principally from the fact, that the seven golden vials full of the wrath of God” are then poured out in quick succession on the enemies of God. With them begins, and with them terminates the overthrow of the Anti-christian powers in Church and State, the subversion of the kingdom of Satan, and the “ destruction of all them who corrupt the earth.” They are the “
plagues, in which is filled up the wrath of God," and therefore no subsequent infliction of divine vengeance upon mankind can possibly occur, until the glorious period signified by the millenium has passed away, and Gog and Magog once more attack the “beloved city," and "fire from God out of Heaven destroy them.”
Before proceeding to consider the awful contents of the vials of divine wrath, it is necessary to premise, that the true place of the vials has long been a subject of dispute. One class of expositors contending that the six first vials are poured out previous to the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and the last vial after that epoch. The other class maintaining that, as the last seal contains the seven trumpets, so does the last trumpet the seven vials. Modern expositors have almost unanimously contended for the former opinion, and explained the grand events of the French Revolution as the fulfilment of the five first vials, and the present weak and depopulated state of Turkey as the accomplishment of the sixth. On this subject, however, I cannot concur with those able and learned men, for the following reasons :
1st. It appears to me indubitable, that none of the vials have yet been fulfilled; because the exact correspondence in number between the seals, trumpets, and vials, leads me to believe, that the seventh trumpet, just as the seventh seal, diverges into the vials of wrath which are subsequently mentioned. On the opening of the last seal, we read,—“Seven angels stood before God, and to them were given seven trumpets ;" and then follows the sublime account of their terrific blasts being sounded. This is, I cannot but consider, the precise relation of the seven vials to the last trumpet. It is true, the account of their effusion does not immediately follow the ounding of the seventh trumpet (and this, I doubt not, has occasioned all the difficulty and controversy on the subject); but this is by no means a necessary thing, nor can it set aside the numerous reasons which may be alleged in favour of the opinion now referred to.
2nd. The character of the seven vials accords so closely with that of the seventh trumpet, that it is at least highly probable, in the absence of any actual proof to the contrary, that they belong to it. They are termed, “golden vials full of the wrath of God who liveth for ever,” and in another place, “the seven last plagues ;” and it is also evident that the objects against which these plagues are directed, are the adherents of the Beast and the false prophet. On referring to the character of the seventh trumpet, it will be found that its contents are precisely similar,—“ Thy worath is come, and the time of the dead for judgment to take place,” (Kpu Invai), i. b., inflict vengeance upon the persecutors of the saints and martyrs ; so that the character of the vials exactly agrees with that of this epoch. In the account of the third vial in particular, it is expressly said, “ Thou art righteous, O Lord, because thou hast thus judged, for they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy."
3rd. The opinion that the vials have been pouring out for several years past, is totally irreconcileable with the fact, that the twelve hundred and sixty days are yet unfinished. It is well known that power was granted to the ten-horned Beast, on his ascent out of the sea, to prosper forty and two months (Rev. xiii.), and of the Papal horn it is also said “ The saints shall be delivered into his hands for a time, times, and half a time.”—(Dan. vii. 25.) Hence it is a gross inconsistency to suppose that any of the seven vials, full of the wrath of God, can be poured out on those guilty systems of Despotism before they have run their appointed career of prosperity. And although many commentators have in past years thought the Papacy received its death-wound at