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world looking on, but not interfering, or not having power to prevent their sufferings. And it shall allow them no respite, nor any season when they can deem themselves secure from robbery and the sword. It were well if the vengeance which their crimes have provoked were satiated even here. But the final catastrophe that still awaits them, is still more tremendously terrible :-“ They shall be tormented with fire and brimstone,and still “ in the presence of the Lamb and bis angels,” or in the sight of the true church and witnesses of Christ; God being willing that his justice shall receive as public a vindication as his mercy and truth have met with a public contempt.

“ For Topher is ordained of old, and the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, shall kindle it.”

« And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever.”—The volcanic fire, the memorial of their excessive wickedness, shall never be extinguished, even to the end of the world. :

But before this AUTO DA Fe of God's INQUISITION takes place, the afflicted church

has to pass through a long course of severe trial of their faith and patience, by the increased exertions of the beast to suppress (by the terror of bloody executions and massacres) the new lights in religion, upon the

very same principle that urged the jews to put to death the Saviour of the world and his apostles, as deceivers of the people.

Verse 13 of this chapter is very singular. The best account of its meaning seems to be that of those interpreters who have applied it to the overthrow of the lucrative doctrine of purgatory, a chief pillar of the popish superstition; and of so much consequence to the papal greatness, and so pernicious to true religion in its nature and effects, that the Holy Spirit has deemed it worthy of a very particular notice in the prophecies of Isaiah, (chap. xxviii.) as has been already shewn ;* and to that fictitious and unavailing covenant with death and the grave the prophet here alludes, For it is no sooner proclaimed by a voice from heaven, (or the church of the reformed re: ligion,) that the popish doctrine of purgatory is a fable, and masses for the dead are idolatrous abominations, and that from henceforth it shall be the rational and well-founded belief of the faithful, that the souls of them that die in the Lord are in peace and rest, and do immedia ately enjoy the promised reward of their faith and good works; than a solemn affirmation of the truth of this consolatory doctrine is added by the Holy Spirit.—“Yed, saith the spirit, for they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.This doctrine of PURGATORY and INDULGENCIES, &c. was so foul a blot upon the painted face of the BABYLONIAN Thais, that it is well known it was the stone of offence over which Luther (himself a monk) first stuinbled, and thus became the happy occasion of the general reformation which ensu

* See Section xi, p. 287.

ed upon

that contest. *

* St Jolin speaks here in the prophetic manner of this monstrous imposture, as if it had been a real interdiction from the realms of the blessed, and was from henceforth removed. But the meaning is only that from this time that magic spell of popery should be dissolved, the idea of a future state corrected, and

After this, the prophet takes a cursory

view of the fall and destruction of the whole

sys tem of popery, of which the breaking out of the reformation had been the prelude. He exhibits it under two emblems very frequently alluded to in the ancient prophets, with the same intention. First, A FULL RIPE HARVEST, to which a reaper is divinely commissioned, and cuts it down :- and secondly, A VINTAGE, for the gathering of which another mighty instrument of Providence is also raised up, (or perhaps the same continued,) and specially supported to the complete performance of the task appointed him. He also executes the work of God, and the great wine press of the wrath of God is set to work upon what has been thrown into it," and blood issued out even to the horses bridles, by the space

of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”—Some greater slaughter than even the former of the

none but popish bigots should hereafter be held in the pains of PURGATORY. “ Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the TRANSGRESSOR shall fall therein.” (Hosea xiv, 9.) VOL. II.


harvest seems to be here alluded to, and is described in the usual hyperbolical language of prophecy: and that some dreadful fact corresponding to it will certainly take place, it were profane to entertain any doubt; as the place where it will happen is not only described, but literally and accurately measured likewise. For St John says it is without the city, and the measure that of 1600 furlongs ; which, as Bishop Newton and Mr Mede observe, “ is the measure of St Peter's PATRIMONY, or the state of the church, which reaching from the walls of Rome to the river Po and the marshes of VERONA, contains the space of two hundred Italian miles, or exactly sixteen hundred furlongs.”*

So remarkable a coincidence with matter of fact, in a professedly prophetic writing, there can be no reason to ascribe to mere accident. The literal fulfilment of all the other prophecies might as well be imagined accidental; whereas, the contrary is declared in many of them. (Mat. ü. 15, 17;-xvii. 9, 35, &c.

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