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proceed in their nefarious design, without pouring out the just wrath of his indignation, to abate, if not to stop, its progress ?
But, for farther satisfaction on this point, let us take a view of the state of Europe, during the course of the last thirteen years. Has she been at peace with God, and enjoyed his mere ciful and all-powerful protection? On the contrary, we have seen her afflicted with wars, in which all her princes and states have been parties, and in which all their suffering people have, more or less, been involved. We have seen unheard-of scenes of public rapine and devastation; of insurrections, rebellions, and civil wars ; of poisonings, assassinations, and massacres ; of revolution upon revolution ; of the wrecks of kingdoms and the fall of states; and of the destruction of incalculable millions of the human race. Surely these are the wrathful judgments of indignant and offended OMNIPOTENCE!
These judgments, no serious inind can doubt, but that the French nation, in its revolutionary career, has alone called down; and, therefore, the prophet in foretelling the events of the seven vials, in the order of time in which they were to come to pass, represents the first vial, as poured out upon that ungodly and atheistical nation. “ And,” says he, or the first (angel went and poured out his vial“ upon the earth;" meaning the same nation, which he had before described, in the thirteenth chapter and eleventh verse, as “ coming up out of the earth ;”
and which, in the comment upon that chapter, I have shown is a prophetic figure of France, in her atheistical state. But, as the word earth is often used, in prophetic language, as a figure for divers nations, he adds a more particular mark, to show that he here alludes to the same nation he had before described. And there s fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the “men which had the mark of the beast, and “upon them which worshipped his image :" evidently referring to the people of France, who wore the national marks of the red bonnet and tri-coloured cockade ; and who worshipped the image of their god, Liberty, as the objects who were to be afficted by the “ noisome and grievous sore."
But what does the prophet mean by a “ noisome and grievous sore ?” He could not mean that a great nation should be afflicted with a “sore,” in the manner of a man, or other animal. This seems highly improbable ; and yet this is the literal sense of the word. We must then look for his meaning in allegory, of which the Apocalypse for the most part consists. And here we shall find, that, in a beautiful figure, he compares the government, or body politic of the French nation in its atheistical state, to the body of a man when afflicted with “a noisome and grievous sore.” To do justice to the allegory, we must consider the disease of a man in a leprous state, from its commencement to its termination in death, and then compare it with the late wretched state of the French
nation. The human body is sick, when the fluids become vicious and corrupt, and no longer perform the offices assigned them by nature. When the vicious and corrupted parts of the fluids break out into ulcers through the skin, that covering which protects the whole body from harm, it is said to be sore ; and when the ulcers become offensive and putrid, and spread over the whole body, it is then afflicted with a “noisome and grievous sore,” which must end in its dissolution. So it is, in every respect, with the political body of a civil society; for this, like the natural body, is subject to disease and death. If the political fluids, or the people, who, while they perform the duties of citizens, assigned them by the nature of their government, nourish and support it in health and vigour, become discontented, licentious, and tumultuous, it is feeble and sick. When this licentiousness breaks through the laws, the political skin, which covers and secures the society from injustice and wrong, into insurrections and civil wars, it is distressed and sore. And if these insurrections and civil wars become general, and break out into open rebellion and treason against the state or body politic, attended by all the horrors of impiety and licentiousness of atheism, it may be said, with the strictest propriety, to be afflicted with
a noisome and grievous sore,” or a political leprosy which must also terminate in its destruction. Such is the picture of a sinking state, at the crisis of its dissolution, drawn by
the allegorical pencil of the prophet in five words. Is it not beautiful throughout? How brief the figurative expression, and yet how comprehensive in description! Can we find, in Homer, Virgil, or Milton, a figure equal to it in elegance and sublimity? It is, however, the real portrait of the French monarchy from the year 1788, to the year 1792, when it was destroyed, and a republic established in its stead.
During this period (the period which embraces the events of the first vial) the political body of the French nation was covered over with political boils and ulcers, from the crown of the head to the soles of her feet. The monarch, the head of the state, was weak and ever undecided, resolving and receding, rejecting and then embracing the very measures he had before rejected, however corrupt and ruinous ; in short, so enfeebled by the ulcerated condition of the whole politic body, that he was incapable of executing (ny,when nothing but the strongest measures could heal the distempered state. The members of his cabinet were corrupt, perfidious, and ambitious; adding to the public confusion, in hopes to ride prosperously even in the whirlwind of anarchy, and to direct the storm. The national councils, which, for the most part, consisted of the illiterate dregs of the people, were often changing from bad to worse. The most solemn and important of their debates were attended by anarchy and uproar, ever silencing the voice of reason
for of the people most solented by anar bad to woir debates Weing the vole
and justice. Their decrees were formed by factions without, and passed by the intimidating clamours and vociferations of the lowest dregs of the people in the galleries, hired for the purpose, within ; all tending to increase the public disorder, and, in short, to destroy the constitution. The magistracy, to whom the execution of the laws, and the preservation of the public peace, were committed, not only entirely neglected the duties of their offices, and thus let the people · loose from all the restraints of law; but joined with others to break through the laws, and to aggravate the public distemper. Thus the fluids of the head, and that part of the civil society called the State, no longer able nor fit to perform the offices assigned then by the constitution,' became vitiated and corrupted, as it were, like the blood of a man when tending to a deadly and incurable leprosy.
But this is, by no nieans, all that is implied in this prophetic figure. The powers of the State, or body politic, foretold, must not only be corrupted, but the corruption must break through the laws and political skin, so as not only to be grievous to the patient, but to be so fraught with injustice, villainy, and wickedness, as to be disgusting and offensive to all upright and good men : for nothing short of this can answer to the figure of “ a noisome and grievous" political “ sore.” Now, to show the similitude between such a sore, and the late political state of France, I shall only have