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state, till about the time of the restoration of the Jews to their own land ; but whatever torment it proves to its own subjects, by the despotic rule which it exercises over them, since the period last mentioned it has ceased in a great measure to be a torment to others. In 1683, the second woe was past; it had then received its completion : and the disasters which have befallen the inhabitants of the Roman earth since that period, must belong to the third and last woe, and not to the second.
Secondly, When does the sound of the seventh angel begin to be heard, or the third woe begin to be inflicted ?-It appears from the text, that there was to be little or no interval of time between the second and third woe. Both the note of admiration and the word quickly, shew, that the one was to be immediately succeeded by the other. • Behold, the third woe cometh quickly.'-If the one ended in 1683, may not the other have commenced with the memorable Revolution in Britain in 1688 ? That revolution was a greater torment to the men of the Roman earth, than any thing that had happened since the period of the Reformation. So long as they had any hope of a Popish prince being advanced to the throne of Britain, they cherished the expectation that this rebellious province might be brought back to a state of subjection to the see of Rome ; and as Britain was considered as the bulwark of the Reformation, they flattered themselves, that with the fall of the Protestant interest in Britain, its ruin might be gradually accomplished within the limits of other states. But when a Protestant prince was advanced to the throne, and it was established as a fundamental law of the empire, that a Popish sovereign could not sway the sceptre of the country, all their extravagant expectations perished. This singular revolution came quickly; it was only five years after the first symptoms of the declension of the Turkish power began to manifest themselves; and it was so unexpected, that our fathers were like men that did dream ; they could hardly suppose it to be real.
Were it not on account of what follows in ver. 15, 16, 17., I would be strongly inclined to suppose, that the year 1689 ought to be fixed upon as the date of the commencement of the seventh trumpet. But these verses contain a description of the state of the church, which is too prosperous to be applied to the time of the British Revolution. The best times of the British churches were between 1638 and 1650, and not between 1688 and the close of the 17th century; nor does there appear to have been any remarkable revivings in the Protestant churches upon the Continent since that period.
As the following verses cannot be applied to the condition of the reformed churches at the time of the British Revolution, different modern interpreters, and some of the greatest celebrity, suppose, that the seventh angel sounded at the time of the French Revolution, in 1792 or 1793; and they flatter themselves, that a very remarkable revival of religion may soon be expected; but after a lapse of twenty years and upwards, we see no change upon the Protestant churches to the better. There are no doubt very uncommon events taking place. I refer particularly to the institution of Bible Societies, and the measures that are adopted for the religious education of the poor, and the propagation of the gospel among the Heathen. But notwithstanding this shew of benevolence and Christian spirit, I see as little evidence of any revival of the power of godliness, as before the British and Foreign Bible Society was instituted. Thousands are contributing of their substance to send the Bible to others, who never read a page of that blessed book, and who would reckon themselves affronted if they were supposed to have as much fanaticism, me. thodism, or religion, as to set up the worship of God in their families. Instead of a revival following upon the French Revolution, a flood of infidelity deluged the earth to a greater extent than in any former period of the history of human depravity. If they have any religion in France, it is still the religion of the beast, and equally corrupted and superstitious as before the Revolution. We know
We know very little respecting the
present state of the Protestant church in that country; but so far as we have any information that may be depended upon, she appears to have fallen into a state of such deep degeneracy, that she is hardly entitled to be acknowledged as a sister association. No part of the Protestant church was once more famous; few at present seem to be more divested of their ecclesiastical and reforming character.-One principal objection to this date of the prophecy, arises from the word quickly. Between 1683 and 1792, is a period of 109 years; and if such a portion of time was to elapse between the second and third woe, it is hardly to be supposed that John would have said, as in this text, The second woe is past, and behold, the third woe cometh quickly. And as the objection militates with additional force against any period subsequent to the year 1792, the true date of the commencement of the blast of the seventh trumpet must be prior to those we have been considering.
I do not see to what other æra we can refer the date of this prophecy, than to the period of the Reformation from Popery in the 16th century. Even this view of the commencement of the third woe is not without its difficulties. The priority of this season to the full accomplishment of the Turkish woe, is an objection that must strike any person that reflects upon the subject. If the period of the French Revolution makes the sounding of the seventh trumpet 109 years too late, to date the blast of this trumpet from the year 1555, when the Reformation was established in Germany, appears to make it 128 years too early. But different things may be suggested to take off the force of this objection against a prior date, which could not be applied to one that is posterior. For the solution of this difficulty, the following observations may be submitted.
1st, Things in Scripture are often said to be done or finished, when it is meant only that the time of their completion is at no great distance. Thus, though his last sufferings were not then endured, our Lord says, I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do,' John xvii. 4. In the same sense we may understand the prophet here, not as if he intended to intimate that the period of the Turkish woe was fully past, but that it would be rapidly approaching towards its consummation when the seventh angel should begin to sound.
2, In the sacred Scriptures, as well as in other writings, seasons are often described from the most affecting occurrences, though they may not have happened in the same number or degree throughout the whole period. We speak of a reign being prosperous or adverse, though the same measure of prosperity or adversity may not fill up every part of it. To Abram it was foretold, that his seed should be a stranger in a land that was not theirs, and should serve them ; and they should afflict them four hundred years,' Gen. xv. 13. No person imagines that the whole period of these four hundred years was a time of service and affliction with the children of Israel. While Joseph continued to be governor of the land, they were not only protected against insult, but loaded with all the favours which the court of Egypt could bestow. Nor does it appear that they met with any rude treatment, till, after a long residence in the country, they had increased into a multitude, and the Egyptians were afraid lest they might overturn the existing order of things, and take the reins of government into their own hands. It could not be much more early than the birth of Moses that they were treated as slaves, and made to serve with rigour. But as the scenes of trouble which were then opened were so distressing, the whole time of their sojourning in Egypt is marked by their afflictions. In like manner, this prophecy may be understood as intended to describe the second woe from that which was the most afflictive and distressing period, rather than from the time in which it was to be completely exhausted. Supposing the order of events in Egypt had been reversed, and that the grievous bondage of the children of Israel had commenced with the beginning of the four hundred years, the severity of their sufferings would have been over long before the four hundred
had expired, though their liberation did not take place till the close of that period. In like manner, the strength of the Turkish woe might be broken long before every thing included in that woe had met with its completion. And if we conceive of John as speaking of that woe when it was past its worst, or when it was beginning to be less tormenting, there is no absurdity in supposing, that the seventh angel sounded at the time of the Reformation, though the dying blast of the sixth continued also to be heard.
3d, I may likewise remind you, that this method of ascertaining the date of the seventh trumpet, is perfectly consonant to that which must be adopted in settling the chronology of various other parts of the Revelation. In all the seals, and in most of the trumpets, a chronological order is followed ; but that order appears in the commencement, and not in the termination of the events of these predictions. Those of the first seal and of the first trumpet are prior in their commencement to those of the second seal and second trumpet. But it does not follow from this, that every thing that pertains to the first must be accomplished before any thing that belongs to the second begins to be realized. There is no such imaginary line or boundary between the different scals or the different trumpets ; neither do we suppose that any such boundary exists between the first and the second, or between the second and third of the woe-trumpets. When the severity of one storm is over, another may begin to rage, though the outskirts of the first may continue to desolate various parts of the earth. The one may be a judgment of hail, the other a judgment of fire; and in certain districts the hail and the fire may appear to be mingled together. And in like manner, when the severity of the second woe is past, the third may begin to torment the inhabiters of the earth, though the calamities of the second may not be brought to a termination.
Whether this solution of the difficulty be admitted or not, there is one point which must be conceded, viz., that the