« AnteriorContinuar »
plary judgments.--He that leadeth into captivity, shall go into captivity; he that killeth with the sword, must be killed with the sword. Rev. xiii. 10.—The belief of which we profess as Protestants, and of which, whatever excuse there may be for the multitude, it was criminal in the higher orders—and especially in those to whom was intrusted the instruction of the nation and the direction of its councils-whether of the clergy or laity, not to be aware, and act accordingly: for it needed neither the spirit of prophecy, nor any thing besides sound principles and a disinterested and dispassionate attention, to discover, from the first movements of the French revolution, that it was neither the interest nor the duty of a Protestant people, attached to civil and religious liberty, to make a common cause with papistical despots, in defence of thrones and altars all over stained with the blood of the best friends of liberty and true religion—the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, whose cries for vengeance would have resounded in our ears, if we had been alive, as we ought to have been, to the sympathies of men connected by common principles. But, corrupted by prosperity, and utterly forgetting our principles as freemen and Protestants, neither the sin nor the danger of drawing the sword in defence of Antichristian corruptions and oppressors, was perceived, and we committed the fatal mistake of being active when we ought to have stood still, and of enlisting on the side of a party which we ought to have shunned. In spite of events, which have uniformly contradicted all political calculations, some are still blind to our fatal folly; but there are now, when it is too late, many more who perceive it than are forward to acknowledge it.
What the issue, as it respects this country particularly, will be, no one can say. The prospect is dark and terrifying.-That God may shield our country by his special
protection, and bring us to repentance by dispensations of mercy, and not of wrath, is the prayer of every good man, whatever his opinion of public measures, or however faint his hope!
Since the following sheets were sent to the press, we have received intelligence of some very important transactions on the continent. The French have seized on the lands of the church; and, on the second of February, again took possession of Rome ; reduced the pope to the humbled exercise of his spiritual functions, and dismissed in peace the cardinals and prelates to their several countries and homes. To what farther humiliations of the man of sin, and to what farther changes in ecclesiastical affairs, this may be the prelude, remains to be seen.
Spain has also been the scene of very interesting occurrences. How long the Bourbons may be suffered to retain the shadow of authority they still exercise, cannot be said, but the probability is, that the entire subversion of that stupid and intolerant government is very near. No change here, any more than in the neighbouring kingdom, can possibly be for the worse. Should a new dynasty and the Napoleon Code be here soon imposed, although there will probably be much to execrate, yet there will be reasons, both on the score of humanity and religion, for congratu. lation. There will, at least, be an end put to the alldestroying power of the priesthood, and to the last remains of that impious and bloody tribunal the Inquisition : the prospect of which inust excite joy in every truly Protestant heart, whoever the instrument that Providence
may employ to effect it. The French ruler will doubtless exact payment for the happiness which he promises to convey to Madrid ; but, if conscience be' set free, and an opening be made to let in a portion of that light, which it hus been one of the chief labours of the Spanish, as well
as of the Portuguese government, to esclude; the wealth of their churches and monasteries, their bishops and archbishops,-if it be true that to get understanding is rather to be chosen than silver-will be well disposed of. Spain and Portugal may be considered as being to Napoleon what Egypt was to Nebuchadnezzar, who had served a hard service, and to whom, as a reward, God promised to give the land of Egypt, that he might take her spoil, and take her prey, to be wages for his army. Ezek. xxix. 13-20.*
June 3d. So rapidly does one great erent succeed another, that it is difficult to keep pace with them. It appears, by an article from Rome, that farther and more decisive steps have been taken by the French ruler to bring to au end the empire of the church. The Sacred College has been entirely dissolved, and the French minister has quitted the papal court. The pontiff
' endeavoured, by protests, and by issuing his commands to the several cardinals not to leave Rome, to resist this overthrow of his power, but in vain.
The King of Spain has resigned his sceptre in favour of Bonaparte; and which has been acceded to by the Prince of Asturias, and the other members of the Spanish branch of the race of Bourbons, who have agreed to retire into private life, as the subjects of the Emperor of the French!
Thus, as preparatory—we may hope to being brought to the knowledge and practice of a purer Christianity than has hitherto prerailed, that kingdom which may be considered as the ninth horn of the Roman beast is reduced and breaking to pieces.-An awful warning to the tenth! -Certainly, the very extraordinary rapidity with which great national calamities and revolutions have succeeded each other, in the course of the last three or four years particularly, is enough to alarm the stoutest heart, that retains any belief in the providential government of God. But, alas ! however awful or rapid the strokes of providential vengeance for, from Providence they come, whoever are the instruments to inflict them--yet, little effect is produced on the general feeling of this self confident country; and, as Protestants, all sects and parties are dead asleep! All are preaching and dispating about the several little peculiarities which divide them, but scarcely one warning voice is heard; and the great parting command of our Redeemer-Watchis too little attended to by any of us! Whether the fig-tree be shooting forth or not, few seem to think or care about.
Sweden is attacked, or threatened, on every side, and the overthrow of another kingdom is to be expected.
Preparations for partitioning Turkey are proceeding undisturbed. The Porte seems stupified with terror; and though this country is kindly disposed to yield them assistance, it is feared we can afford them no effectual aid; but they must come to their end as foretold (Dan. xi. 45.) without any being able to help them.
Fresh proofs also appear of some secret designs of the French ruler, relative to the destiny of the Jews. By a decree, dated March 15th of this year, the Jews of the conscription are required to perform personal service, and are not allowed, like other'Frenchmen, to find substitutes. Thus, he is pursuing the strongest measures to oblige the Jews to become soldiers. He has lately, also, ordered the best possible estimation to be made of their numbers, both in Europe and Asia: doubtless with a view to promote the purposes of his ambition : for it is impossible to suppose, from his character, that all his transactions with this people, and the interest he seems to take in their concerns, can be without meaning, or without some adequate design.
Such is the magnitude of the events which for years have occupied the attention of mankind, that the appropriation, or rather seizure, of the church plate, in several of the countries under the control of Bonaparte, to enable him and his allies, as it is said, to send their armies to Hindostan, to drive us from our possessions there, may be thought scarcely worthy of notice. However, it is a link in the chain of prophecy. It is another step towards making the whore desolate and naked. Rev. xvii. 16.
But, although these transactions--these new appear.. ances in the constantly moving scene—as parts of the great whole which is operating the dissolution of the
European republic and the final ruin of the apostate church, cannot fail of deepening, on thoughtful minds, the impression of what is fast approaching; yet, they are neither so decisive, nor unanticipated, as to render it necessary to detain the reader by many reflections on them here. But there is one remarkable trait in the temper
of the present times; glanced at, indeed, before, but which seems deserving of particular notice. Although in former times—even in the last century—there were so many, both in the established church and out of it, to sound the alarm, and warn the people against the delusions and crimes of Antichrist; although hundreds of volumes have been written, and thousands of sermons preaclied, concerning the enormities of Babylon the great ; about the predicted fall of Rome, and of the tyrannical Romish church ; and although, from the Reformation to the present time, prayers have constantly been offered in all our churches for the downfall of the papal power; yet, now, when the time is come, and the nations begin to hate the whore, and make her desolate ; now, when one persecuting kingdom and government after another is falling, and the papal authority itself is all but annihilated ; Rome and its territory violently taken possession of, by those once most devoted to her interest ; and the haughty pontiff, who used to tread on the necks of kings, whose bulls shook kingdoms, and whose nod was enough to set nations in a blaze, is reduced to the lowest state of humiliation, having nothing left him but the shadow of his former spiritual fonctions; now, when this insolent pontiff is treated as an usurper, his college of cardinals driven from Rome, and every corner of the kingdom of the beast is rapidly filling with darkness, scarcely a word is to be heard from those who ought to be the first to discern the signs of the times, that may lead us to suspect that these things at all indi