Imágenes de páginas

umph. Irresistible on one element, she was now to be led up step by step to the first place of glory on another, and that Protestant ministry saw, what no human foresight could have thought to see, Europe restored; the monarch of its monarchs a prisoner in their hands; and the mighty fabric of the French Atheistic Empire, that was darkening and distending like an endless dungeon over the earth, scattered with all its malignant pomps and ministers of evil into air.

It is impossible to conceive that this regular interchange of punishment and preservation has been without a cause and a purpose. · Through almost three hundred years, through all varieties of public cireumstance, all changes of men, all shades of general polity, we see one thing alone unchanged, the regular connexion of national misfortune with the introduction of Popish influence, and of national triumph with its ex, clusion.

It might be possible even to show, that, as the time for the great trial of nations hurries on, England has become the subject of, if such a phrase may be permitted, a still more sensitive vigilance; and that not to have sternly repelled the first temptation of the corrupt faith has in our later day been punished as a crime.

This language is not used to give offence to the Roman Catholic. His religion is reprobated, because it is his undoing, the veil that darkens his understanding, the tyranny that forbids him the use of his natural liberty of choice, the guilty corruption of Christianity that shuts the Scriptures upon him, that forces

him away from the worship of that Being, who is to be worshipped alone in spirit and in truth; and Alings him down at the feet of priests, and images of the Virgin, and the whole host of false and idolatrous mediatorship. But, for himself there can be but one feeling of the deepest anxiety, that he should search the Scriptures; and, coming to that search without insolent self-will, or sullen prejudice, or the haughty and negligent levity to which their wisdom' will never be disclosed, he should compare the Gospel of God with the doctrines of Rome.

But, whatever may be the lot of those to whom error has been an inheritance, woe be to the man and the people to whom it is an adoption. If England, free above all nations, sustained amidst the trials which have covered Europe before her eyes with burning and slaughter, and enlightened by the fullest knowledge of Divine truth, refuse fidelity to the compact by which those matchless privileges have been given, her condemnation will not be distant. But if she faithfully repel this deepest of all crimes, and refuse to place Popery side by side with Christianity in the temple of the state, there may be no bound to the sacred magnificence of her preservation. Even the coming terrors and tribulations of the earth may but augment her glory; like the prophet in the mount, even in the midst of the thunderings and lightnings that appal the tribes of the earth, she may be led up, only nearer to behold the Eternal Majesty; and when the time of the visitation has past, to come forth from

the cloud with the light of the Divine presence round her brow, and bearing in her hand the law for mankind.

In dedicating this volume to the Lord Bishop of Salisbury, the author feels gratified by the opportunity of expressing his thanks for personal attentions, and his perfect respect for a rank of learning and virtue worthy of the best ages of the Church, for toleration in the true spirit of Christianity, and for manly, pious, and principled resistance to Claims which menace alike the Constitution and the Religion of England.

[ocr errors]




THE Apocalypse is the great final prophecy of the Church of Christ, written by St. John, the last survi. vor of the Apostles, during his banishment in the Isle of Patmos, about the year of our Lord 97, in the time of the Emperor Domitian.

Its purpose was to prepare the Asiatic Churches for the impending persecution, which was to commence under the Emperor Trajan, and be continued until the acknowledgment of Christianity under the Emperor Constantine; and to detail to the universal Church the leading events of her future history down to the end of the world; showing that the true Faith should be either directly persecuted, or remain in a narrow and depressed state, during the whole human government of the earth; that it should, notwithstanding, be sustained; that its oppressors should be punished from time to time, until their final extinction by a consum. mate act of the Divine power and justice; and that the Church, the body of the faithful in all nations, should thenceforth enjoy a splendid and miraculous prosperity for a long, yet limited, period, closing with the general resurrection.

The Apocalypse is a collection of Divine visions, seen probably at different times, yet all during the Apostle's exile. It consists of six distinct portions:

[ocr errors]

The Vision of the Asiatic Persecution. * -The Vision of the Seals, or general view of Providence in the government of the Church and the World, beginning with the period of Constantine, and ending with the close of the final age of Mankind. t-The Vision of the Trumpets,1—the Vision of the Vials, which two are identical, and describe the inflictions laid upon the persecutors of the Church, beginning from the establishment of the Inquisition, and closing with the final ruin of the Popedom in the triumph of Christianity.The Vision of the Church,|| distinguished into the three æras of Pagan persecution, Papal persecution, and the catastrophe of her oppressors. —The Vision of the triumph of Christianity. T

It will be shown in the course of the Interpretation, that this prophecy includes in the most direct manner all those great events which make the frame-work of History since the first age of Christianity; that it distinctly predicts—

The establishment of the Church under Constantine and his successors.

The overthrow of the Roman Empire.
The erection of the Barbarian Kingdoms on its ruin.
The rise of the Popedom.
The establishment of the Inquisition.
The persecution of the first reformers.

The successive punishments laid on Italy, Spain, and France, as the three powers by which the Inquisition was let loose against Protestantism; namely, The papal factions, and French wars of the fourteenth century:--The destruction of the Spanish Armada.The civil war following the overthrow of Protestantism in France in 1685. –The wars of Louis the 14th.

The French Revolution; not narrowed into a few conjectural verses, as is usual; but detailed in an entire

* Ch. i. ii. ii. + Ch. iv. v. vi. vii. # Ch. viii.ix. x. xi.
§ Ch. xv. xvi. with the connected chapters xvii. xviii. xix.
Ch, xii. xiii. xiv.

9 Ch. xx, xxi. xxii.

« AnteriorContinuar »