Page images
PDF
EPUB

occasion to take a summary view of the prominent facts, which produced the revolution. It is well known, that before the year 1788, and when the monarchy was in the soundest health and vigour, the great mass of the people of France, of all ranks and degrees (a small remnant excepted), had drunk large draughts of that most destructive of all poisons, atheism. They had been taught to believe, that there was no God! no future state of rewards and punishments ;” and that “ death was only the eternal sleep of the soul.” Having thus lost all sense of their duty and obedience to the God OF HEAVEN, it was not to be expected that they would long retain a sense of their subordination to a man, to their king. Hence it became the fashionable topic, to speak of their sovereign, of the Son of God, and even of God HIMSELF, with ridicule and contempt, yea, with defiance. All laws, both human and divine, were considered, by them, as non-entities. In this state of more than Egyptian darkness, nothing was criminal, and every thing lawful, which an unlimited gratification of their ambition, and their lusts, could suggest. With minds thus loosened from all restraints of religion and morality, the most resolute, wicked, and ambitious split into different factions, each having their plan of arbitrary rule. These struggled for mastery in the great national council, which they divided and distracted, by opposing one another in every measure, except sạch as happened to be proposed, and tended

[ocr errors]

to restore the state to its former health and vigour : in rejecting these they always united. At length, finding that their dissensions obstructed their measures, and that the monarchy must first fall before they could hope for success, they united in the Jacobin club, for the purpose of removing that bar to their ambition.

All historians of the French revolution speak with horror of the injustice and sanguinary measures of this monstrous conspiracy. A brief description of it by one of them is so apposite, to my purpose, that I cannot forbear repeating it in his own words*. “ This monster,” says he,

took upon itself alone, to carry on " our revolution ; it directed, it executed all “ the operations of it, all the explosions and outrages. It every where appointed the « most active leaders, and, as instruments, em

ployed the profligates of every country. Its

power far surpassed that which has been ats tributed to the Inquisition, and other fiery “ tribunals, by those who have spoken of them “ with the greatest exaggeration. Its centre

was at Paris, whilst clubs in every town, in every little borough, overspread the surface of the whole kingdom. The constant cor

respondence kept up between those clubs, “ and that of the capital, was as secret and as speedy as that of free masonry,

In a word, " the Jacobin club had prevailed in causing

* F. Page’s Hist. F. Revolution,

" themselves to be looked up to, as the real na6.tional representation. Under that pretence

they censured all the authorities in the most imperious inanner. And whenever their de“ nunciations, petitions, or addresses failed to

produce immediate effect, they gained their

point by INSURRECTIONS, ASSASSINATIONS, 66 AND FIRE,

To pass from this general view, to a detail of all the villainous enormities of this colossAL HYDRA, in such a brief dissertation as this, is as impossible as it is unnecessary. Let it then suffice to say, that if, by the collision of their different plans, and the dreadful action and re-action of the several factions, the ignorant and already corrupted people were impelled, before the coalition, as ulcers through the skin, to break through the laws, into tumults, insurrections, assassinations, and massacres; these political ulcers were now augmented a hundred fold, and covered the cohole political body. Become all-powerful and frightful, religion, law, morality, humanity, and political order fled at the terrific nod of the Jacobin club, as from a hideous spectre. At its nod the

great city,” Paris, as an historian expresses it*, became, “of a sudden, without governplundering, prostrating and burning the castles and archives of the seignoral nobility, and the mansions of men of all ranks*. At its nod the great councils of the nation bent the knee, bowed obedience to its despotism, and gave their sanction to every measure, however unjust and tyrannical, which it was pleased to dictate, by passing them into decreest. At its nod, the most bloody civil wars were kindled, in which no quarter was given on either side, in all parts of the country, until France, became a “ noisome and grievous sore,” all over ulcerated, a mass of putrid corruption, bleeding at every pore; a field of blood ;or as another historian, when labouring for language to describe the dreadful scene, expresses it, until France was made “ONE GREAT TOMB."

ment, without a head, without guards, police, patroles, justice, or public worship, or even

public amusement." At its nod, a horde of banditti started up in the several provinces,

* F. Page’s F Rev. vol. i. p. 101,

All opposition appalled and silenced by these bloodthirsty means, the tyrants hastened to put an end to their royal victim. They now threw off the mask, broke out into open rebellion,seized upon, imprisoned, and dethroned their sovereign; destroyed a monarchy the most ancient and splendid in Europe, and established a revolutionary republic upon its ruins : a republic, which, in the course of divine Providence, is to be the instrument of pouring out upon this apostate and blasphemous nation a yet greater portion of his wrath, as will hereafter appear, from the events foretold under the fourth vial.

151.

* F. Page's F. Rev. vol. i.

p. t Bertrand's Annals, Introd. xyi.

Vial 2.-Ver. 3.—“And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea, and it be

came as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea."

2

From the destruction of the French monarchy and the rise of the republic, the prophet, I humbly apprehend, passes to the next great and important events which were to follow, in which the church of Christ in the West was to be materially concerned. I mean to those judgments and scourges of divine wrath, which have lately been poured out upon the apostate states of Italy, but principally upon the church of Rome, which has long held them estranged from the pure word of God, in an idolatrous captivity.

To understand this verse aright, it will be necessary to consider each sentence of it apart; because each of them foretels a separate fact, and those facts are veiled in mysterious allegory; and those allegories must be literally explained, before they can be properly applied to their appropriate events. Here then we are first told, that “ the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea." He could not intend that we should understand the word in a literal sense, because, to pour out a vial of his wrath merely on the “sea,” could answer no purpose of God's justice and providence. We must then search for it in allegory. And in doing this we shall consider the

« PreviousContinue »