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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 16

Section 2.

Act I - The First Vial



"And the first angel went forth, and poured out his vial upon the earth: and there ensued a grievous and malignant ulcer upon the men who have the sign of the beast, and who do homage to his image"  Verse 2.


This first angel is the only one of the seven of whom it is individually testified that "he went fortli". They all went forth together, and formed the situation. They did not successively go forth from the Nave, when the time came for each to pour out. If they had, a distinct situation would have required to be created for each; whereas all seven being represented as going forth together, it was only necessary to say of the first "he went forth" as the co-operative work of the twenty-one months laid a foundation, broad and deep. for the combined operation of the first five; and the successive out pouring of the sixth and seventh.

The first angel poured out the wrath committed to him "upon the earth". This arena of Divine indignation is expounded in the text by the words, "upon the men who have the sign of the beast, and who do homage to his image"; that is, upon the papal populations of Europe; and upon those of the same section of the Continent, who, although not constitutionally papal, are signed with the papal institutions of infant rhantism, which in violation of Scriptures, reason, and philology, they blasphemously style, "christian baptism!" As the first angel sounded his trumpet against the earth before it was planted with the modern kingdoms of Europe, or Ten Horns, to bring them into position as elements of the new papal constitution of the West (ch. 8:7); so the angel of the first vial pours out his portion of wrath upon the same arena considerably extended. He begins with France, the Tenth of the Great City, as the most murderous of the horns in their co-operation with the Papacy in its wars against the witnesses and saints of Jesus. His visitations descended grievously upon all the departments of that country; but with the greatest intensity upon those sections of it, where their blood had been most abundantly shed. France became an altar of sacrifice to which beasts were brought for slaughter that had devoured and oppressed the saints. The "great voice" brought them thither from all parts of "the Holy Roman Empire," and from Naples, Piedmont, Spain, Russia, and Prussia; in short, there remained no other states neutral than Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and Turkey. All these peoples, on hearing of the ignominious decapitation of Louis XVI., by the republicans, proceeded to the invasion of France with forces amounting to 355,000 horse and foot; by which they flattered themselves they would sweep the Revolution from "the earth;" and re-establish the old regime.

In the words of an orator of the Convention, "the Republic was nothing more than a great city besieged; France was nothing more than one vast camp". It soon had forty armies, and twelve hundred thousand soldiers; with which to combat the invading hosts, and to suppress the almost general rising of the departments, sixty of which were in open insurrection. But, having completely organized their immense armies, and planned their new system of tactics, their forces were rendered tremendously formidable. They subdued the insurrection, and in the memorable campaign of 1793-'4, carried the war into the territories of their invaders. At the end of this, they had been victorious in twentynine battles, and in more than one hundred less decisive engagements. They had taken a hundred and fifty-two cities and towns, and 3,800 pieces of cannon; ninety standards, and 70,000 muskets; they had killed 80,000 of their enemies, and taken 90,000 prisoners: and at length annexed Belgium and Holland to France.

"And there ensued a grievous and malignant ulcer upon the men who have the sign of the beast, and who do homage to his image". In the natural body, an ulcer is an open, running sore, resulting from local inflammation, or constitutional irritation,~more or less intense. In its formation, it is attended with (~eat, redness, pain, and swelling, which result in a solution of the continuity of the part, or an open sore; which often, if malignant, eats away the flesh, and lays bare the bones. Such is the figure used in the text illustative of the effect of the hot, fiery, painful, and swelling indignation of the Deity poured out from the vial of the first angel upon the men of the Body Politic, to which the Sign and Image of the Beast belong. In the first epoch of the French Revolution, it became the subject of a high degree Of irritation, which progressed rapidly into an intense and burning inflammation, which ulcerously destroyed the organic constitution of the State. No great popular revolution has ever been accomplished, nor ever will be, without the infliction of misery, and the commission of excess which makes humanity shudder. This misery and excess in all their ramifications and operations in relation primarily to the French people, and secondarily, to those other people whom they invaded, and among whom they introduced their disorganizing, and sanguinary revolutionary policy, is represented by the "grievous and malignant ulcer" of our text. The history of the period from May 5, 1789, to the August 4, of the same year, a short period of three months, is full of the most important transactions; and showing that had the Revolution not been opposed by the French Court, nobility, and clergy, all interested in maintaining abuses in church and state, it would have been less prompt and less complete. Each refusal by these to yield to the demands of the Revolution, became for it the occasion of new successes, it overthrew intrigue, resisted authority, triumphed over force, and by August 4, the whole edifice of absolute monarchy in "the Tenth of the Great City" had been shaken by the mismanagement of its supporters. The 17th of June, by a memorable decree of the Commons, annihilated the three orders, and changed the States General into the National Assembly . The royal sitting of the 23rd of June, at which Louis XVI. quashed all its resolutions and imperiously, but ineffectually, commanded the Orders to resume their original position, the moral influence of the crown was lost. The 14th of July, the date of the destruction of the Bastille, terminated its material power; the Assembly inherited the one, and the people the other; finally, the 4th of August, when all privileges were abolished by "a Saint Bartholomew of abuses," the first epoch of the Revolution was completed; an epoch conspicuously detached from the others, in which the seat of power was displaced, and all the preliminary changes were effected. The epoch which followed is that in which the new order of things is discussed and established, and in which the Assembly, after having been destructive, became constituent. This assembly terminated its own existence, September 29, 1791. It accomplished in two years "the greatest revolution which a single generation of mankind ever witnessed". In the midst of its labors it put down despotism and anarchy, by defeating the intrigues of the court, the high clergy, and nobility, and maintaining the subordination of the people. But its successors, the National Legislative Assembly, did not apply itself in the consolidation of the work already done; and the Revolution, which was Divinely commissioned to subvert the monarchy under its auspices entered upon its republican phase, in which the "grievous and-malignant ulcer" broke forth in all the hideousness of carnage and corruption.

Under the National Constituent Assembly, the shocks of the "great earthquake" had abolished all privileged orders; declared the possessions of the Catholic Church national property, and sold it for the use of the State: abolished tithes; ordained the civil constitution of the clergy, by which they were made independent of the Pope, and dependent upon the State; and abolished all titles, armorial bearings, liveries, and orders of chivalry; so that vanity lost its privileges as power had already done. These radical organic changes caused the high clergy to declare war against the Revolution; the nobility to emigrate; and foreign powers to abandon the struggle of kings against each other, and to begin, in alliance with the emigrant priests and nobility without, and the refractory ecclesiastics within, the struggle of kings with the awakening peoples of the world. Thus it was, that during this epoch, the parties separated more and more, and that the two classes, the noblesse and clergy, the enemies of the Revolution, prepared the elements of civil and foreign war, which when in operation were Ha grievous and malignant ulcer" upon all who suffered from them. Louis XVI had attempted to escape to the frontiers, but was recaptured and brought back to Paris; and provisionally suspended by the Assembly.

The terrible republican party now began to appear upon the stage. Their agency was necessary to the fall of "the Tenth ofthe City," Babylon the Great. The Court, the aristocrats, and the constitutionalists, were all in favor of monarchy, absolute or limited; therefore, to effect the fall decreed, it was necessary that a party should be developed, whose irrepressible passion should be a levelling hatred to everything savoring of the craft of kings. This party was the republican, which until the flight of the king, had no substantive existence, or no pretext for manifesting itself. It now began to struggle for itself under its own banner. Its strength was in the clubs of the Jacobins and Cordeliers, and in the mob. The republicans considered Louis XVI. as a private citizen, since he fled, and demanded a substitute for him. They were, however, the minority in the Constituent Assembly, and therefore failed; but when this was superseded by the Legislative Assembly, they found themselves in the majority. Among them were Danton, Marat, Camille Desmoulins, Favre d'Eglantine, St. Just, and the Robespierres, names suggestive of the malignancy of the ulcer about through them to break out upon the men who worship the Image of the Beast and have his Sign. As previously stated, France declared war against Austria, April 20, 1792. It was determined to invade Belgium. Scarcely had the French met the enemy than a panic terror seized the troops. The cry through all the ranks was, Sauve qui peut! The Jacobins accused the counter-revolutionists, who did not attempt to conceal their joy, of having occasioned the rout by raising the cry. It was thought that the Court was acting in concert with the Austrians and their emigrant allies; and that there was a secret committee which maintained a treasonable correspondence with the enemy. Public distrust was therefore now at its height. The state of the Constitution was acquiring daily more and more a revolutionary aspect. The king counted no longer upon anything but on the state of Europe, he therefore dispatched an emissary on a secret mission to the Coalition.

The influence of the Jacobins now became enormous. The populace was in the greatest agitation. Eight thousand armed petitioners waited upon the Assembly. They complained of the inactivity of their armies, and insisted upon the cause being discovered; and that if it proceeded from the executive power, they required that it should be annihilated. From the Assembly, their numbers having increased to thirty thousand, they marched to the king's palace. As they were demolishing the doors with axes, Louis XVI. ordered them to be opened. The stormy wave rushed in, and demanded his sanction to certain decrees he had vetoed, and the appointment of new ministers. But he refused their petitions; and for this time, they were persuaded to retire. Soon after this, the Assembly proclaimed that the country was in danger. The indispensable measures of defence it decreed carried to its height the excitation of the revolutionary frenzy. On July 25, 1792, the Duke of Brunswick put the army of Europe in motion for the invasion of France, the suppression of the Revolution, and the punishment of the republicans. He published "a great voice," or manifesto in the name of the emperor of Germany and king of Prussia. Russia and England, though they secretly approved the attacks of the European Coalition, had not yet co-operated in them. The duke reproached those who had usurped the reins of administration in France with having troubled its good order, and overthrown its legitimate government. He declared that the Allied Sovereigns had taken up arms in order to put an end to anarchy in France, to arrest the attacks upon the altar and the throne, to render to the king the security and the liberty ofwhich he had been deprived, and to put him in a situation for exercising his legitimate authority. In consequence, he declared the national guards and authorities responsible for all these disorders, until the arrival of the troops of the coalition. He summoned them to return to their ancient fidelity. He said that the inhabitants of the towns which ventured to defend themselves should be punished immediately as rebels, according to the rigor ofwar, and their houses demolished or burnt: that if the city of Paris did not restore the king to his full liberty, or refused to render him the respect due to him, the Allied Princes rendered personally responsible for such failure on their heads, to be judged by military law, without hope of pardon, all the members of the National Legislative Assembly, of the department, of the district, of the municipality, and of the national guard; that if the palace were forced, or insulted, the Allied Potentates would take an exemplary and memorable vengeance, by giving up Paris to plunder, and to total destruction. He promised, on the contrary, that he would engage to employ the good offices of the confederate princes with Louis XVI., in favor of the inhabitants of Paris, and obtain for them the pardon of their errors and offences, if they promptly obeyed the orders of the coalition. This "great voice" roused the spirit of the whole nation; and more than anything else hastened the fall of the throne, and opposed the success of the coalition. There was but one wish, one cry of resistance from one end of France to the other. The popular party, which was thus forced, as it were, to triumph, saw no other means than that of annulling the monarchy, and in order to annul it, to depose the king. His dethronement was discussed in the clubs. Forty-seven sections of Paris declared that if the resolution of dethronement were not pronounced by the Assembly that very day, the tocsin should be sounded at midnight, the drums should beat the generale, and the palace should be attacked on the 10th of August.

The Court had put itself into a state of defence, and the king hoped to re-establish himself entirely. The palace was defended in the best manner. But the king was very melancholy; and upon a review of the troops, found by the cries, Vive la nation! Down with the Veto! Down with the Traitor! that disaffection was widely diffused among them. While the review was in progress, the insurgents were advancing in several columns upon the Tuileries. They demanded the dethronement of the king. He was informed that they were everywhere successful; that the national guards were not to be trusted, and that the royal family -would expose itself to infallible ruin, if its members did not place themselves in the midst of the Legislative Assembly. This they reluctantly consented to do; and after much difficulty arrived there unharmed amid the abuse, threats, and vociferations of the multitude. After the king's departure the palace was forced, and the Swiss guards massacred. Shouts of victory reached the Assembly; and the fate of the monarchy was decided. The multitude and its chiefs had the entire power, and were detennined to exert it. The Assembly found itself constrained to yield. It was ordered to convoke a National Convention, to dismiss the ministers, and to suspend the authority of the king, who was transferred to the Temple as a prisoner, by the all-powerful commune, under the pretext that it was impossible otherwise to be sure of his person. The party now ordered the demolition of all the statues of its kings, and of all the emblems of royalty. The 10th of August divided France into two parties, of which the one was attached to monarchy, while the other desired a republic. Danton was at the head of the republicans; and his advice in the present danger of the country, was to "frighten the royalists". He wished to repress his enemies by means of terror. A great number of persons were imprisoned on the ground of their rank, their opinions, or their conduct. These were mainly selected from the clergy and the nobility. The capture of Verdun by the enemy caused Paris to fancy him at its gates. The Commune seized this moment of alarm to execute its terrible design. The cannon was fired, the tocsin sounded, the barriers were closed, and the massacres of the 2nd of September began.

The prisoners shut up at the Carmelites, at the Abbey, at La F~rce, the Conciergerie, etc., were butchered during three days, by a band,of about three hundred murderers, under the orders and in the pay of t,he Commune. These men, inspired by a silent fanaticism, seemed less the ministers of vengeance, than the performers of a labour to be done; they massacred without fury, but without remorse - with all the confidence of fanatics, and the obedience of hangmen. The Assembly wished to put a stop to this operation of the "grievous and malignant ulcer" upon the worshippers of the Beast's Image, but could not. The ministry was as impotent as the Assembly. The terrible Commune alone was all-powerful, and directed everything. The soldiers who guarded the prisoners durst not resist the Avengers, and suffered them to do their work of death; the populace looked on as indifferent spectators or accomplices; and the rest of the citizens dared not even venture to discover their horror. The National Convention met Sept. 24, 1792. In its first sitting it abolished royalty, and proclaimed the Republic, by acclamation; and on the following day it was ordered that all public acts should be dated from "the first year of the French Republic" . Such were the salutary effects of the transient successes of the Austrian and Prussian armies, and of the ill-ju.dged manifestoes, or "Great Voice," by which they were preceded. They only exasperated a people they were intended to intimidate. They hastened the fall of that throne which they came to support, and consolidated that power which they intended to crush. Their object was to reestablish a monarchy - their efforts gave birth to a republic.

From the moment of the fall of this Tenth Monarchy of the Great City, two powerful parties enterd the arena, namely, the Girondists and the MOllntainists; and these parties divided the Convention, and by their violent and sanguinary struggles for the ascendancy, aggravated the "grievous and malignant ulcer" which was consuming the quivering flesh of the Image-Body in France. They attacked each other with the utmost inveteracy. None, however, of the measures of the Girondists succeeded. The Mountainists:f: profited ably by their want of the most ordinary prudence; and extended their views to the destruction of the Gironde, as well as to that of Louis XVI., whose condemnation to the guillotine was demanded as a security for liberty. The latter was decreed by the Convention, and executed January 21, 1793; two months nearly before the termination of the 1260 years, from Justinian's institution of the Bishop of Rome, ecclesiastical lord paramount of the Great City.

The consequences of this tragical event intensified the malignancy of the ulcer in regard to France, and scarcely less so to all Europe, being man-ifested in a fierce and devouring tyranny, and an almost universal war.

The despotism of the multitude under Danton, Robespierre, and Marat, under the name of the Republic of "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity" - was now the Sovereign authority. An inevitable result of their access to power was the civil war in La Vendee. This country, backed by the sea and the Loire, traversed by few roads, and covered with villages, hamlets, and castlewards, had maintained its ancient state of feudal existence. In La Vendee there was neither education nor civilization. The peasantry had acquired no other ideas than those communicated to it by the priests, or "men having the sign of the beast," and understood nothing of a revolution which was the result of opinions and wants altogether unknown to their situation. The nobles and priests, finding themselves a strong party in La Vendee, did not emigrate. This region and the new France that had arisen, had nothing in common but their language. It was certain, therefore, that the "grievous and malignant ulcer" would break out with terrible effect upon its priest-ridden population; which revolted, and brought upon their country the terrible visitation of the merciless revolutionary tribunal.

After the 2nd of June, the Girondists, who had not yet been guillotined, extended the flame of civil war; so that sixty out of the eighty-three departments of France, were in insurrection against the Convention. The situation of the Republic could not now be worse. It had to put an end to civil wars, to repair the disasters of the army, and to repel the whole of Europe; yet the bold men at the head of it were not intimidated at their situation. At the suggestion of Danton, they took their great and last oath, that they would die or annihilate the tyrants. After this the tide of events began to turn in favor of the Convention, which soon became everywhere victorious. The Committee of Public Safety, thinking, not without cause, that its enemies, although subdued, were not disposed to submission, adopted a terrible system of extermination, to prevent their recovering themselves. They sent twelve columns, known by the name of the Infernal Columns, to scour the country with fire and sword, to explore the woods, to carry off those who were collected together, and to spread terror throughout the Vendean country of the Image-worshippers of the Beast. The Committee, now the great power in the republic, abandoned itself to the most terrible executions. Armies destroy only on the field of battle: it is a different thing with parties who, in violent situations, fearing that the struggle may be renewed even after victory, fortify themselves against new attempts by the most inexorable rigor. By this they increased the grievousness and malignancy of the ulcer, from which the hemorrhage was copious and incessant. They established an entirely NEW ERA as compared with that founded on the legislation of Justinian. In place of the Catholic calendar they substituted that of the republican, for the week of seven days, the decade of ten making every tenth day the day of rest, instead of Sunday. The New Era' was dated from Sept.22, 1792, the epoch of the foundation of the Republic. The Catholic worship of the Beast's Image was abolished in 1793. Gobet, constitutional bishop of Paris, proceeded in full procession to the Convention, and declared that the religion he had taught so long was, in every respect, a piece of priest-craft, which had no foundation either in history or sacred truth. The gold and silver plate of the Romish bazaars was seized; and the bazaars themselves, in most districts of France, were closed against priests and worshippers; the bells were broken and cast into cannon, and the whole ecclesiastical establishment worthily destroyed. Thus was righteously avenged upon "the men who had the sign of the beast, and the worshippers of his image," the terrible cruelties and massacres of St. Bartholomew's and of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, inflicted by the kings of the House of Bourbon, and the priests of Rome. The "grievous and malignant ulcer" was the Deity's way of doing justice to the slain. It was the first installment of wrath to be poured out upon the blasphemers of "his name, and tabernacle, - them who dwell in the heaven". It was a signal inception of the Third Woe, which awaits its consummation, when the Seventh Angel shall have ceased to sound.




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