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splendor.of which the flame of persecution would on every side be lighted up. Equally am I at a loss to discover, how these words of our divine are proved to be applicable, not to the prince on the throne, but to the great mass of the people. When he strongly expresses his expectation, not only that the monarchy in France will be greatly humbled, but declares that it will at length be consumed, I am completely unable to imagine, to what arguments they can have recourse, who profess themselves to be of opinion, that the words of Mr. Fleming speak a language favorable to the re-establishment of the French monarchy, the bateful influence of which he was accustomed to deplore, whilst, with an indignant eye, he viewed its recent and unrelinquished efforts to introduce into England tyranny and the house of Stuart. Various have been the critical canons for the explication of authors. But to represent, that a writer means directly the opposite of what he says, is rather a novel mode of interpretation. Is there not reason to suspect, that he, who models his decisions by such a rule as this, has been conversant with courts, rather than with books ? For, happily, numerous as are the faults of authors, insincerity and falsehood are not their characteristic vices.
Those who profess to believe, that the effusion of the fourth vial predicts events hostile to the interests of the French nation; that it favors the idea of the conquest of France, the restoration of the Bourbons, and the consequent re-establishment of the Roman Catholic religion, profess an opinion, not only destitute of the support of any of the commentators, but which stands in direct contradiction to the whole tenor of their interpretations. That all the vials foretold events injurious to the kingdom of Antichrist is the opinion of all the Protestant commentators 8 ;
and their despotism, şupposing it possible that they should have eventually triumphed?' That such phrases as purity of religion and lawful rights, in the vocabulary of tyrants, altogether lose their import, scarcely any reader needs to be reminded.
8 The following rule Mede lays down as incontrovertibly certain. "Whatever it be upon which each of the vials is poured out, it suffers from the
and the kingdom of Antichrist has justly been regarded as including the usurpations of civil, as well as ecclesiastical, tyranny. "The vials,' says Bengelius, . break the power of the beast, and of all that are in union with him.'
By a late writer, Mr. Bicheno, ANTICHRIST is thus defined. It is all that which opposes itself to the kingdom of Christ, whether it flow from the ecclesiastical or civil powers. The civil constitutions of nations, as well as the ecclesiastical, so far as they accord with or have a tendency to promote that pride and that ambition, which lead to oppression, persecution, and war, are ANTICHRISTIAN.' And it is an important observation of the judicious Dr. Sykes, that
the present state of things is represented always in the New Testament as the state of Antichrist 1o.' By a Scotch commentator on the Apocalypse, Mr. Robertson, Antichrist is defined, whatever sets itself in opposition to the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ"! Even bishop Hurd's definition is, in itself, sufficiently comprehensive, had he afterwards thought proper to apply it in its full extent. • Antichrist,' says the prelate, stands for a person or power, actuated with a spirit opposite to that of Christ ".' If, as
there is reason to believe, it be the object of the seven vials to destroy the two-horned beast, the representative of the Antichristian priesthood, and the ten horns of the civil beast; it surely is extremely natural, that the design of one of these vials should be to cut off one of the most powerful and oppressive of these horns, the despotic monarchy of France:
When the words of Mr. Fleming are so decidedly hostile to the views of tyrants in general, and of Catholic despots in particular, it will perhaps be asked, where was the danger of their being misapplied? It may be answered,
vial damage and injury; since the pouring out of the vials is the pouring out of the wrath of God, (ch. xv. 1.) No interpretation then can here stand its ground, according to which the effusion of the vial turns out to the advantage of that upon which it is poured.' P. 656. 9 P: 204.
10 On the Truth of Chr. 1725. p. 172 11 P. 189.
12. Vol. II. p. 10. VOL. I.
that this has actually happened. Nor is this any ground for surprise. If passages are incorrectly quoted; if they are misrepresented with industry, and perused with prepossession; frequently will it happen, that they will be the supposed vehicle of sentiments, of which the original author entertained not the most distant idea. The mass of mankind judge not for themselves. From the fatigue of thinking they are eager to be relieved. With the opinion of the first acquaintance they meet, too readily do they coalesce, though that acquaintance may probably have some private interest to serve. And it is with regret I observe, that, for some time past, the friends of freedom have not exerted so much activity in the counteraction of sentiments unfavorable to the liberties of my country, as placemen and pensioners and expectants, with their widely-extending connections, have in their propagation.
FARTHER REMARKS ON THE FOURTH VIAL, AND MR. FLEMING'S
INTÉRPRETATION OF IT.
CONSCIOUS of having been diffuse in the elucidation of Mr. Fleming's general import, I proceed, without farther delay, to the consideration of particular passages. At the first glance, some readers will perhaps understand the words of Mr. Fleming, as denoting only the humiliation of the Gallic monarchy. But upon comparing pages 68 and 74, the language employed by him will be seen strongly to countenance the idea, that he entertained the expectation, that the oppressive monarchy would at one period be considerably humbled, whilst it would, at a subsequent time, be destroyed. The French monarchy,' says he, 'will ITSELF CONSUME;~ its fire, and that which is the fuel that maintains it, wasting insensibly, till it be exhausted at last towards the end of this century.' Now a question here
occurs, what does this fuel signify? That the monarchy itself would be extinguished, when the fuel which maintain. ed the sun, the emblem of monarchy, should have spent all its force, there is no difficulty in conceiving: but the meta. phor, though naturally suggested by the symbol of the sun, and kept up with propriety, is not eminent for precision.
It may perhaps be designed to denote that servility of popular opinion, that BLIND ATTACHMENT TO THE PERSON AND OFFICE OF THE MONARC#, which formerly burned with such a steadiness and ardor in the bosoms of the natives of France. But when the mysteries and crimes of a tyrannic administration had been gradually developed, when the labours of men of letters had reflected a light upon the abstract principles of government : that adulatory spirit, no longer kept alive by national ignorance, began insensibly to waste away. Being thus deprived of that fuel of which it had hitherto received a copious supply, and being in consequence subjected in the year 1789) to a fatal eclipse, the sun of the French monarchy has probably for ever set; no longer destined to scorch the defenceless millions that inhabit one of the fairest portions of the globe. The flame of adulation is now extinct, and the expiring embers of the loyalty of Frenchmen have found a last re. fuge among a feeble remnant of armed insurgents or of scattered exiles.
But perhaps the fuel of our author may be a strong me. taphor to express THE PRIVILEGED ORDERS, who may said to have almost constituted the vital principle of the Gallic monarchy. In proportion as the influence of the ecclesiastics and the noblesse wasted away, in proportion as they abandoned the kingdom in larger crowds, eager to undermine or to assault that new edifice of government, which the skilful industry of the constituent assembly had erected on so grand a scale, the pillars of royalty itself were more and more shaken; and the Corinthian capital of society having been completely demolished, the monarchical part of the fabric, notwithstanding the substantial repairs it hadh recently received, was levelled with the ground,
Or the fuel of the French monarchy may be intended to represent THE REVENUES OF THE STATE, which impart, to every monarchy, firmness and vigour. When levied without opposition, and with a rigid exactness, they constitute indeed the very sinews of despotism. This was the fire, to again pursue one of the metaphors of our author, the materials of which were originally gathered from every quarter of the empire, from the cottage of the peasant and the shop of the manufacturer: but which, being concentrated at Paris, at Versailles, or at Chantilly, blazed forth in useless magnificence and with a steady brightness; or, being transported beyond the Gallic frontier, enabled the royal incendiary to kindle the flames of war, and to light up in the towns of the Netherlands or of Germany a general confla, gration, whilst himself, exempt from the hazard of being scorched by the fury with which it raged, surveyed, calmly and at a distance, the progress of the mischief he had created.
If this were the fuel, which our author foretold would be exhausted towards the close of the present century, completely has the event corresponded with his expectations. When the finances, in consequence of the peculation, introduced into the collection of the taxes, as well as the prodigality of the court of Versailles, and the ruinous wars in which it had engaged, became by little and little more deeply embarrassed ; when the grievances of the people, from a long series of oppressions, became at length so complicated and heavy, as to call aloud for redress, to generate a general disaffection, and to render the reduction of the imposts a measure which no ministerial efforts could avert or post, pope ; in short, when the reyeņue had so insensibly wasted away, that its amount proyed greatly inferior to the annual expenditure', and to the payment of the national debt; it
1. In this exigency,' says Mr. Mackintosh, ' there was no expedient left, but to guarantee the ruined credit of bankrupt despotism by the sanc, tion of the national voice.' Def. of the Fr. Rev. p. 23. From the official account of M. de Calonne, delivered to the Notables in April, 1787, and since published in his book against tħe Fr. Rev. we learn, that the annual