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What is to take place before the Millennium.
bottomless pit : Which event will be succeeded by the kingdom of heaven, which shall comprehend all the men then on earth, in which the saints shall reign a thousand years.
The facts and events which have taken place since that time, especially in the present century, coincide with such a conclusion, and serve to strengthen and confirm it. The Pope and the hierarchy of the church of Rome are sinking with a rapid descent.
The kings and nations who once wandered after this beast, and joined to support and exalt this antichristian power, now pay little regard to him. They neither love nor fear him much, but are rather disposed to pull him down and strip him of his riches and power. The dissolution of the society of the Jesuits banishing them, and confiscating their riches, who were a great support of that church and the Pope ; the kings taking from the Pope the power which he claimed, as his right, to nominate and appoint all the bishops to vacant sees, and actually taking it upon them selves to do this, by which a vast stream of money, which used to be poured into the coffers of the Pope, is taken from him and falls into the hands of these kings :— The increase and spread of light, by which the tyranny, superstition and idolatry of the church of Rome and its bierarchy are more clearly discerned, and exposed to the abhorrence and contempt of men ; and especially the great increase of the knowledge of the nature, reasonableness and importance of religious and civil liberty, and the rapid spread of zeal among the nations to promote these : All these are re. markable events, which, among others not mentioned, serve to confirm the above conclusion, that the Pope is falling with increasing rapidity. And there is reason to expect from what has come to pass, and is now taking place, and from scripture prophecy, that yet greater and more remarkable events will soon take place, and come on in a swift and surprising succession, which will hasten on the utter overthrow of the beast and all his adherents : And that the time predicted will soon come, when the ten horns, or kings, who have agreed in time past, and given their kingdom unto the beast, shall change their minds, and hate the whore, and make her desolate, and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.*
In which is considered, what events are to take place, accord
ing 10 Scripture Prophecy, before the beginning of the Millennium, and to prepare the way for it.
BY attending to the events predicted, which are to take place before the Millennium, and which are to introduce it, farther evidence will come into view, that it will not commence long before the beginning of the seventh thousand years of the world ; nor
Rev. xvii. 16, 17
much later ; and therefore, that it will be in that thousand years, and begin about two hundred years from the end of the 13th century.
The seven vials or cups, which contained the seven last plagues, or remarkable judgments, which are to be executed upon the beast and his adherents, and upon the world of man kind, are to be poured out during the time of the reign of the beast, and the existence of the false church of Rome ; and which will issue in the destruction of the beast, and of that church. This is evident from the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of the Revelation. The first vial respects the beast and his followers, and brought sore calamities upon them, expressed in the following words : “ And there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them who worshipped his image."* A number of these vials must have been already poured out, as the beast has existed above a thousand years already ; and therefore the effects of the last vial, which include his utter destruction, will not reach much more than two hundred years from this time ; and consequently these effects will soon begin to take place, if they have not already be. gan in some ineasure. For as the pouring out or running of the seven vials, is limited to the 1260 years of the continuance of the beast, there are not 200 years for each vial ; and some may run longer, and others a shorter time of this space.
Some acquaintance with the history of the calamitous events which have taken place, answering to the prophetic description under those vials which have been poured out, is necessary in order to know how and when it has been fulfilled, and how many vials appear to have already run out, and which is now running. Mr. Lowman has taken pains to show from many credible his. torians, that the remarkable calamitous events which have taken place, and which have especially affected the beast and his followers, and brought great and distressing evils upon them, have an. swered to the evils and events described in prophetic language, under the successive five first vials of wrath : And there ap. pears to be satisfactory evidence that the judgments predicted under these vials, have already been executed on antichrist, and his supporters and followers : And that the reformation began by Luther, and the remarkable events attending it was the judg. ment predicted by the pouring out of the fifth vial, to be inficted on the beast and the church of Rome. This vial was to be pour. ed out on the seat, or, as it is in the original, the throne of the beast-" And his kingdom was full of darkness, and they gnawed their tongues for pain.”+ When the protestant reformation came on, protestants had light, had discerning and wisdom, pros. perity and joy : But the Pope and his followers suffered great vexation and anguish, every event turned against them, their light was turned into darkness, their policy and counsels by • Rev. Ivi. 2.
| Rev. avi, 10.
which they had prospered and obtained their ends before, were now turned into foolishness; and they were baffled and confound. ed, and their attempts to suppress the northern heresy, as they called it, and to crush the protestants, proved abortive, and turned against themselves in a remarkable manner. And those events proved like a lasting, painful sore to them, from which they have not recovered to this day. “And they blasphemed the God of heaven, because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.” They blasphemed God, by attributing what took place in favour of truth and the cause of Christ, to the exertions and obstinacy of wicked men, and calling the truths of the gospel and holiness, espoused and propagated by the reformers, the delusions and works of Satan, and treating the reformation, and the work of God, as if it were the work of the devil. They also blasphemed the God of heaven, by persisting in their gross idolatry, worshipping saints and images, in the face of the light exhibited by the reformers, which idolatry is called blasphemy- in the Bible. And the famous council of Trent, which was called by the Pope at that time, and sat eighteen years, were so far from complying with the reformation, that they anathematized the persons, doctrines and practices, by which it was introduced and supported. And formed decrees in favour of the power and tyranny of the Pope, and the superstition and idolatry of the church of Rome, and in some instances went beyond any thing that had ever been decreed by any council before, in favour of these abominations. . “ Thus they repented not of their evil deeds."
This vial began to be poured out near the beginning of the sixteenth century, in the year 1517, when Luther began to oppose the wickedness of the church of Rome, and the power and evil practices of the Pope : And from that time, the influence and power, or throne, of this man of sin, has been diminishing, and he is in a great measure deposed, and has fallen almost to the ground from that high throne, and unlimited power in church and state, to which he had, before that, aspired and risen. As it is near three hundred years since the fifth vial was poured out, there is good reason to conclude, that the sixth vial began to be poured out, and has been running from the latter end of the last century, at least, i. e. for an hupdred years or more ; that it is near run out, and the seventh and last vial will begin to run early in the next century.
Whether this be so or not, may be determined with greater and more satisfactory evidence, by attending to the prophetic description of the events which are to take place under those vials. And as the sixth vial is supposed to be now running, there is reason to pay a more particular and careful attention to the prophetic language, by which the events unrder this vial are expressed, that the meaning may be understood, and applied to the events which are pointed out, so as to be clearly discovered, and the signs of these times be discerned by all who will properly attend to this interesting subject.
“ 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." Ancient Babylon was a type of the antichristian church of Rome. By that, the church of Israel was afflicted and reduced to a state of captivity seventy years, until it was taken by Cyrus and Darius, whose kingdoms were east of Babylon. So the church of Christ has fallen under the power of this antichristian church, and power is given to the beast to make war with the saints, and to overcome them, and to continue forty two months : Therefore, the church of Rome is called Babylon in the Revelation.
The river Euphrates ran through Babylon, under the walls of the city, and a wide and deep moat, filled with water from the river, encompassed the city on the outside of the walls ; so that the river was not only a defence to the city, but afforded a supply of water and fish, and other provisions, brought into it by water carriage. Cyrus, who came against Babylon with an army of Medes and Persians, took the city, by turning the water of the river from the usual channel, in which it went under the walls of the city, and ran through it, and dried up the water in that channel, by which a way was opened for his army to pass into the city under the walls in the dried channel, where the river used to run. Accordingly the army marcined in, and took the city in the night, when the inhabitants were either asleep, or intoxicated with drinking, as that was the time of a great festival. In that night the king of Babylon was slain, and Cyrus took the kingdom for his uncle Darius, the Mede. *
In this prophecy there is an allusion to this manner of taking Babylon, by Darius and Cyrus, the kings of the east. The church of Rome is the antitype of Babylon. By the kings of the east, are meant thiose, whoever they may be, who are, or shall be enemies to the church of Rome, and wish to reduce and destroy it, and shall be made the instruments of it ; as the eastern kings took Babylon, by drying up the river Euphrates. The riches and power of the Pope and the church of Rome, and whatever serves as a defence and support of that church, answer to the rise er Euphrates in old Babylon ; and the removal of those is meant by drying up the river ; which will prepare the way for the enemies and opposers of this church, to take possession of it, and destroy it.
The river, in this sense of it, has been drying up for a century or more, while this sixth vial has been running; and there have been more remarkable instances of it in this century, some of wbich have been mentioned above, by which the riches of the church of Rome are greatly diminished, and she is stripped and becoming poor : And the power and influence of the Pope is become very small and inconsiderable, and he is but little regarded by those who once worshipped him; and the way is fast prepar
Dan. -See Pridean's Connexion, Part I. Book 11.
ing for the Pope and his church to be hated, made desolate, and burnt with fire."
"* John goes on to relate a farther vision which he had of events which are to take place under this vial, in the following words : " And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. And he gathered them together into a place, called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon.”+ This is the first time that the false prophet is mentioned: And it appears from what is said of this false prophet, in the twentieth verse of the nineteenth chapter, that he is the same with the second beast, which is described in the thirteenth chapter, by which is meant the hierarchy of the church of Rome, or the Pope and his clergy, in their ecclesiastical capacity, claiming to have the sole jurisdiction, and to be infallible dictators in every thing that relates 10 christian faith and practice. The beast, as distinguished from the false prophet here, is the civil power of the Roman empire, with which the Pope is invested, which he has claimed and exercised, by which he became a beast.
The dragon is the devil, who is represented as a powerful, invisible agent, having a great hand in all the wickedness in the world, and has set up and animates the beast and false prophet, making them instruments to answer bis ends, being the spirit who works with all his power and deceptive cunning, in these children of disobedience; and who are his children in a peculiar sense. These spirits are therefore the numerous spirits of devils who unite in one design, working miracles or wonders, as the word in the original is sometimes rendered, which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world ; that is, to all men who dwell on the earth, great and small, high and low. What is the tendency and effect of these invisible, evil spirits, what they design and do accomplish, when thus let loose, and suffered to go forth into all the world, there can be 'no doubt. They will corrupt the world, and promote all kinds of wickedness among men, to the utmost of their power and skill, and excite mankind to rise against God and the Redeemer, and oppose and despise all divine institutions and commands; and, at the same time, to hate and destroy each other, and attempt to gratify every hateful lust of the flesh and of the mind, without restraint.
If any distinction is to be made between those evil spirits which are united in this same design, and like frogs pervade all places and assault all men, as the frogs did the Egyptians, in their attempts to seduce and corrupt them ; especially those who live in VOL. II.
63 * See Edward's Humble Attempt, &c. page 153.
† Rev. xvi. 13, 14, 16.