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AN EXPOSITION OF THE APOCALYPSE
4. Act III. The Third Vial
Next in order of commencement was this third vial. The arena of conflict was a country of mountains and rivers, inhabited by the posterity of thieves and murderers, whose crimes nothing could expiate but draughts of human gore. The judgments of this vial upon the Great City are parallel with those of the third trumpet upon the Catholic world, before the constitutional institution of the Papacy by Justinian. The first four trumpets punished the Catholic west for its apostasy and crimes; the first five vials, the same region, for the sanguinary cruelty of its populations and rulers in their wars upon the saints and prophets of the Deity. Hence the parallel in the order and similitude of the judgments.
The 10th of April, 1796, is the date of the commencement of the outpouring of the wrath upon the fountains of waters. It is celebrated by the battle of Monte Notte, the first of the victories of Napoleon Buonaparte. When he joined the army of Italy before the battle, he addressed it, saying, "Soldiers, you are hungry and naked. The republic owes you much, but she has not the means to acquit herself of her debts. The patience with which you support your hardships among these barren rocks is admirable, but it cannot procure you glory. I am come to lead you into the most fertile plains that the sun beholds. Rich provinces, opulent towns, all shall be at your disposal. Soldiers! with such a prospect before you, can you fail in courage and constancy?"
In consequence of this success, the French were placed on that side of the Alps which slopes towards Lombardy, and where the rivers from these mountains flow down to join the Po. Napoleon, who soon convinced the world that he was a Man of Destiny, by the victory of Monte Notte and its immediate consequences, opened a highway from France, through the kingdom of Sardinia, into the Austrian possessions in Italy. The Austrian power was at that time the pillar and support of the temporal and spiritual power of the Pope in Italy the strong defence of the Papal States against the overwhelming inundation of the revolution, which in France had plucked up the Latin superstition by the roots. The decree of the French Directory was on record for the total ruin of the Pope and of his power, both spiritual and temporal; but this feat could not be executed while the British ruled the sea; and her allies, the Aust-nans, occupied Lombardy; and their confederates the Italian Duchies, Venice and Naples. These image-worshipping powers had therefore to be laid low in the dust, ere the Sans Culottes could reach the Pope to give him a foretaste of what awaits him in the current epoch. Hence the reason why the third vial judgments occupy their position in the prophecy. The fifth vial could not be reached until the work to be done in the third and fourth was thoroughly performed. Napoleon Buonaparte, a youth of twenty-six, and a small and ill-appointed army of hungry Sans Culottes, constituted the contemptible force with which the Seven Spirits of Deity commenced the enterprise of cutting up the formidable, well-disciplined, numerous, and ably-commanded armies of the Beast; of scattering them like chaff before the tempest; and of rolling off his Image-protecting power beyond the passes of the Tyrol.
In the course of a brief campaign of scarcely a month, what history terms "fortune" placed "her favorite" in full possession of the desired road to Italy. He had gained three battles over vastly superior forces, who lost 25,000 men in killed, wounded, and prisoners; he had taken eighty pieces of cannon, and twenty-one stand of colors; reduced the Austrian army to inaction; and almost annihilated that of Sardinia; whose Savoyard King, one of the most distinguished in Europe, found himself at the feet of one, who for a time had power, in the emphatic phrase of Scripture, "to bind kings with chains, and nobles with fetters of iron".
Though the passage of great rivers is one of the most critical in modern warfare, Napoleon "subtlety outwitted the Austrian commander; and with great secrecy and celerity, enabled him safely to transport the French army across the Po, fifty miles below Valeggio, where he had induced Beaulieu to believe he would attempt the passage. He pushed on from thence, and encountered the Austrians at Lodi, a town of twelve thousand inhabitants, through which flows the Adda. Having effected "the terrible passage of the bridge of Lodi," the Austrians gave way before the victorious republicans; and without any further attempt to protect Milan, the ancient capital of Lombardy, retreated to the strong fortress of Mantua, till he could effect a junction with 80,000 reinforcements under Wurmser, who had been ordered from the Rhine to his assistance.
While the rivers and lakes became blood by sanguinary conflicts in the field, the measures resorted to by the archducal government to turn the tide of battle in favor of the Two-Horned Beast, were of a character befitting the worshippers of his Image. Processions were made, relics of the dead were exposed for popular veneration, and ceremonies resorted to, which the Latin superstition prescribed as an appeal to heaven in great national calamities. But the saints and saintesses of the Image-Aerial were both deaf and impotent shadows, from whom, of course, no succor could come for the deliverance of the fools that worshipped them. The Beast's Italian archducal government found that its guardian saints were no defence in time of trouble; it determined, therefore, to retreat, and leave Milan to its fate. Neither joy nor sorrow signalized its departure all thoughts being pre-occupied upon what was to happen next.
The French occupied Milan, which received them with great show of republican joy. This did not disarm the purpose of Buonaparte, who imposed a requisition of twenty millions of lives. All the public funds were turned into the French military chest; and the church plate experienced the same fate. While Lombardy suffered much, the neighboring countries were not spared. Writing of this crisis, the historian remarks of these, "the Italian states stood like a brotherhood of old trees, decayed at heart and root, but still making some show of branches and leaves, until the French invasion rushed down, like the whirlwind which lays them prostrate". Before Buonaparte released his hold upon them he despoiled them all.
His headquarters, May 24, were at Lodi. He was soon informed that Pavia, with all the surrounding districts, in his rear, were in full insurrection. The Italians were disgusted at the spoliations of money and works of art, they had been subjected to; and with the open indignities thrown upon the places and objects of their superstition, as well as on the persons and character of their priests. About thirty thousand insurgents were in arms. Buonaparte lost no time in giving them blood to drink. The village of Benasco was taken by storm, the inhabitants put to the sword, and the place plundered and burned. He blew open the gates of Pavia with his cannon, dispersed the insurgents, and put their leaders to death. He menaced with fire and sword, all who in future should become insurgent; a threat which he made good soon after upon the inhabitants of Lago, which was taken by storm, pillaged, burned, and the men put to the sword.
Having suppressed the insurrection by these severity’s, he proceeded still further to weaken the Austrians, before he executed the threatened vengeance of the Republic on the Pope. The only places held by them in Italy were the citadel of Milan, and the fortress of Mantua; Beaulieu having been compelled to retire within the frontiers of Tyrol. The defection of the king of Naples, who drew off sixty thousand troops, still further dispirited the Austrians. Fresh bodies of Germans, however, were arriving, and blackening the mountains of the Tyrol with their threatening masses. But before they were ready to discharge their thunderbolts, the storm was thickening around the devoted head of the Pontiff. Being located among the rivers and fountains of waters, it was not possible for him to escape the Outpouring wrath of the third vial. His waters had to become blood. Farrara and Bologna, which belonged to him, were occupied by the French. Four hundred papalians and a cardinal were made prisoners. Alarmed at the approaching danger, the government of the False Prophet authorized the Spanish ambassador to treat for an armistice. Rome, it was true, was an enemy whom the rulers of France both hated and despised, but with Wurmser collecting his hosts in the Tyrol, the moment was then inopportune for the prosecution of their well-merited resentment. Nevertheless, the "Name of Blasphemy upon the Seven Heads" was compelled to purchase the armistice at a severe rate. Twenty one million of francs in specie, with large contributions in forage and military stores, the cession of Ancona, Bologna, and Farrara, not forgetting one hundred of the finest pictures, statues, and similar objects of art, were the price of a respite which was not of long duration.
The plan of the French Directory for the campaign of 1796, was of a gigantic character, and menaced Austria with nothing short of total destruction. Moreau and Jourdan, with seventy-five thousand men each, were to press forward from the Rhine, and from the Sambre and Meuse, until they should be in a position to communicate with Buonaparte through the Tyrol. The part entrusted to Napoleon was completely executed. Moreau almost touched with his right flank the passes of the Tyrol; but the defeat of Jourdan compelled Moreau to retire. The fate of Austria was postponed, till the outpouring of the fourth vial; and the conflict was now renewed for the recovery of Lombardy.
Wurmser with eighty thousand men, at length began his march from Trent to the relief of Mantua, invested by the French, whose forces, dispersed in towns and villages on the Adige and Chiese, did not amount to half that number. He ordered his right wing under Quasdonowich to direct its march for Brescia; and his left under Melas to descend on both banks of the Adige at once, and manoeuvre on Verona; while he marched southward by the left bank of Lago di Guarda with the centre to relieve Mantua. The acuteness of Buonaparte soon perceived Wurmser's error on this disposition and dislocation of his forces. The march assigned to Quasdonowich's division made it impossible for the centre and left wing to afford it any support, or even to have intelligence of its motions or fate. Napoleon determined to overpower it. To do this he raised the siege of Mantua at a great sacrifice of material, and rushed with a superior force against Quasdonowich. In all his combinations he succeeded to admiration. Wurmser was defeated at all points, and nearly made prisoner. With great difficulty he reached Trent, from which he had so lately sallied forth with such confidence of victory. He had lost one-half of his fine army among "the rivers and fountains of waters," with the only consolation that he had thrown supplies into the city of Virgil. Thus "Destiny" gave them blood to drink; and, in their courses, fought against them on every side.
Wurmser was reinforced by twenty thousand men, by which he was enabled to resume the offensive, but with no better success. He stationed twenty thousand with Davidowich at Roveredo; while he pushed on towards Mantua with thirty thousand. Buonaparte waited until the distance between Wurmser and Davidowich was sufficiently increased to prevent mutual support. On September 4 he poured down his thunder upon Davidowich in the battle of Roveredo. The impetuosity of the French shattered him to shivers as a potter's vessel; and drove the wrecks of his host through one of the chief defiles of the Tyrol, whither they were not pursued.
Having disposed of Davidowich and his army, he began operations upon Wurmser himself, still further weakened by a detachment sent against Kilmaine. Buonaparte left Trent, and by rapid marches, over twenty leagues in two days, precipitated his host upon the astonished Austrian, who imagined him to be in the far-off recesses of the Tyrol. Wurmser, and the military chest, nearly fell into the hands of the French. An almost general dispersion of his troops ensued. Wurmser fled to Vicenza, where he collected about sixteen thousand men, Out of the sixty thousand, with whom, scarce a week before, he had commenced the campaign. With this remnant constantly decreasing through severe combats, he got into Mantua, within the walls of which he was finally blockaded on September 15, with a garrison increased by twenty-six thousand men; among whom the woes of the third vial appeared in a more hideous form than when inflicted by the sword alone. Early in October, nine thousand of these were in hospital. In the six months' siege, the garrison lost twenty-seven thousand men by disease and the numerous and bloody sallies which took place.
But before the surrender, which put an end to the Austrian war in Italy, Buonaparte had yet to combat, for the fourth time, on the same ground, with new forces sent by the Two-Horned Beast of the Earth for the recovery of his Italian territories. By order of its Aulic Council two armies were assembled under Quasdonowich and Alvinzi. They commenced Operations the beginning of October 1796. "Destiny" allowed the Austrians some encouraging opportunities at first; but, not being sufficiently acquainted with the value of time in military movements, and of connexion and co-operation between their separate divisions, they failed to secure a favorable issue to the campaign. Hence, their opening prospects only deceived them, and lured them on to the ensanguined plains, where more copious draughts of blood were prepared for them to drink.
Secrecy and celerity are the soul of enterprise. Buonaparte combined them in his slaughterous struggles with Alvinzi, who lost eight thousand men in the three sanguinary battles of Arcola. Onho esomenos found, which reading hasp juli and the Tyrol; but retaining Bassano and Trent, the French were removed from "the fountains of waters," the mountains, through which access is gained to the hereditary dominions of Austria. The failure of Alvinzi to relieve Mantua, compelled Wurmser to surrender to the French, with his garrison of twenty thousand men. This decisive event put an end to the Beast's Operations in Italy, and afforded leisure to Buonaparte to turn his arms against his Image.
As we have seen, an armistice was purchased by the Pope, through the Spanish minister. He afterwards sent two plenipotentiaries to Paris to treat of a definitive peace. The conditions were destructive, degrading, and, in his opinion, impious; and he declared them totally inadmissible; and in prospect of Alvinzi's invasion, resolved to make common cause with the House of Austria, and have recourse to military force, which the Roman See had disused for so many years. The arming of the Pope's government, whose military force had long been the subject of ridicule, was the opposition of age and decrepitude to the youthful vigor of the unrivaled conqueror of five Austrian armies. Yet the measures of the Image-Power indicated no little energy. Pope Sextus brought back to Rome an installment of sixteen millions of stipulated tribute on its way to Buonaparte's military chest; he took every measure to increase his army, and by the voluntary exertions of the Roman nobles, actually raised it to forty thousand men. The utmost pains were taken by the clergy to give the expected war the character of a crusade, and to excite the fierce spirit of the peasantry of the Appennine "fountains of waters "who were doubly disposed to hate the French, as foreigners and as heretics. He also endeavored to form a close alliance with the King of Naples, who promised in secret to cover Rome. with an army of thirty thousand men. Little reliance was, indeed, to be placed in the good faith of the Court of Naples; but the Pope was compared, by the French envoy, to a man who, in the act of falling, would grasp for support at a hook of red-hot iron.
Having ruined the hosts of Alvinzi, Napoleon was now at leisure to execute the Directory's purpose of crushing the power, such as it was, of the Beast's Image, commonly termed, "the Holy See". To this end he sent his forces into the territories of the Church Multitudes of fanatical peasants obeyed the sound of the clerical tocsin. The Pope's army being taken in the rear, fled in every direction after a short resistance. A few hundreds were killed, among whom were several monks, who, holding the crucifix, or "sign of the beast," in their hand, had placed themselves in the ranks to encourage the soldiers. Faenza was taken by storm; and next day, three thousand of the Papalians in front of Ancona, commanded by the Pope's general-in-chief, Colli, were made prisoners without firing a shot.
Resistance was unavailing. The False Prophet in vain solicited his subjects to rise against the second Alaric, who was approaching "the holy city". They remained as deaf to his exhortations as "the blessed virgin, and apostles Peter and Paul," who had of old been the fabled protectors of the Mother City of the Latin World in a like emergency. All Was dismay and confusion in Peter's patrimony, so called; and nothing less was expected by the French priests hiding in the city from Jacobin vengeance, than to be slain by the republican troops between the horns of the altar at which they had taken refuge. But, though this fate would only have been rewarding them according to their works, policy caused Buonaparte not only to restrain his soldiers, but to direct the Italian convents to afford them board and lodging at twelve shillings and sixpence sterling a month per priest: for which they were to receive masses ad valorem! thus assigning the convents' payment for their hospitality in the same coin with which they themselves compensated the deluded people for their hard-earned contributions to the spiritual treasury.
The Neapolitan Court made no movement in defence of the Image of the Beast. The Pope therefore abandoned the proposed flight to Naples, which he judged equally unavailing with resistance; and decided on the humiliating alternative of unqualified submission to the will of the conqueror.
From considerations of policy, Buonaparte admitted the Pope to a treaty, by which he purchased such a political existence as was left him, at the highest rate which he had the least chance of discharging. He was compelled to cede Avignon and its territories; to resign the legations of Bologna, Ferrara, and Romagna; the occupation of Ancona; and to pay thirty millions of lives in specie or valuable effects, such as paintings, manuscripts, and objects of art. Thus Rome was, for the present, completely subjugated, and made to drink the wrath of the third vial, because she was richly deserving of the visitation.
But "the Angel of the Waters" had not yet exhausted the wrath of the third vial upon the Two-Horned Beast of the Earth, in giving its populations of "the rivers and fountains of waters" blood to drink. The Aulic Council sent a sixth Austrian army under the Archduke Charles to renew the contest on the Italo-German frontier. Buonaparte took the field in March, 1797. The stars in their courses still fought against the Austrians. Pushed in every direction, they sustained every day additional and more severe losses. In a space of scarce twenty days, he had defeated the Austrians in ten combats, in which Prince Charles had lost a fourth of his army; and now found himself incapable of covering Vienna from the attack of the invincible Napoleon. He retreated with hasty marches towards the capital of the Beast, to fight for the existence, it might be, of his brother's throne, under its walls. But the terror, grief, and confusion of the Court and people, opposed this daring resolution. The wrath against the throne of Vienna was reserved for the fourth vial. The alternative of treaty was adopted by the Beast; and granted by Buonaparte, to the great disgust of the Directory, who argued, that it would have cost him but another victory to have blotted the most constant and powerful enemy of the French Republic from the map of Europe; or at least to confine her to her hereditary states in Germany Napoleon's policy prevailed, and the treaty of Leoben definitively altered in that of Campo Formio, established peace between France and Austria for a time.
The day of judgment had now arrived for the Republic of Venice. While Napoleon was driving back the archduke towards the throne of the Beast, an insurrection was secretly organized by the Venetians, which broke out against the French in blood and massacre. By the appearance of an Austrian force from the Tyrol, they supposed that the fortunes of Buonaparte had at length found a check. But the awakening from this pleasing dream was equally sudden and terrible. arrived of peaceful preliminaries between France and Austria. The Venetian Senate was lost in stupor and consternation. It dispatched agents to deprecate the wrath of Buonaparte, who declared he would "prove an Attila to Venice". When he heard of the massacres, his indignation rose to the highest pitch; and on May 3, 1797, he declared war against Venice, which sealed forever the fate of the winged lion of Saint Mark.
But, notwithstanding these judicial "plagues," the terrible wrath of the third vial was still unexhausted. The second vial was concurrently developing the blood as of a corpse; and the time had now come for the Man of Destiny to contribute his agency in aggravating its intensity upon the sea. Under pretense of invading England, immense preparations were made, the real purpose of which was a descent upon Egypt, the first object of which was the destruction of the power of the Mamelukes; and then, by establishing the French power there, and in Palestine, to subvert the dominion of the Turks in Constantinople, and of the British in India. The power of the Mamelukes, who styled their destroyer "the king of fire," was completely broken; upper and lower Egypt were conquered; fire and sword were carried into the Holy Land; an army of eighteen thousand Turks, landed by the British in Egypt, was annihilated; but Buonaparte, after all this success, instead of being in India or Constantinople, had lost his fleet by the battle of Aboukir, and was shut up with the wreck of his army in Egypt, unable to receive reinforcements because of the ships of Britain; and, for the same cause, unable to withdraw the remnant from its critical and desperate situation.
While the countries of the sea were thus becoming "blood as it were of a corpse," the third angel was still pouring out wrath upon "the rivers and fountains of waters," whereby blood was given them to drink. During the time Buonaparte was shut up in Egypt by the British fleet, war had broken out again between the French Republic and its enemies. The English had taken possession of the Dutch fleet, and landed an army of Russians and British in Holland; Austria had renewed the conflict on the sources of the Rhine, the Danube, and the Po; and had undertaken, with the aid of sixty thousand Russians under Suwarrow, to reconquer Italy, and to deliver the Pope. All this caused terrible carnage of the worshippers of the Beast's Image in Switzerland and in all the North of Italy. The kingdom of Naples had been turned into the Parthenopean Republic; and the kings of Naples and Piedmont reduced to the islands of Sicily and Sardinia for their respective territories. But the renewal of the war infused hope into the hearts of all the adherents of the old order of things; and no little apprehension into them who had committed themselves in the support of the new. Blood flowed in torrents upon the rivers of Italy, and the fountains of Switzerland, of the Alps and Apennines. This field of battle was immense; and an erroneous idea then prevalent, that the key to the plain was in the mountain; and that, because heights are important on a field of battle of a few leagues, it was concluded that the power which was master of the Alps must be master of the Continent - this mistaken opinion determined the blind instruments of Divine wrath upon one another, to select for their shambles the locality indicated in the phrase "rivers and fountains of waters". The six campaigns of Napoleon had shed blood immensely; but sufficient had not been poured out proportionate to the crimes of the hosts and populations subject to the judgments. The terrible campaign of "the invincible Suwarrow," as far as the issue of the war was concerned, was a useless destruction of multitudes; a destruction, however, that answered its judicial end. Austria recovered Italy for a few months; and Suwarrow's host was miserably wasted among inaccessible rocks. The work of Buonaparte in Italy was undone; and the old de spotism of the Two-Horned Beast seemed to have re-established itself beyond the power of the French to shake it.
But the worshippers of the Beast's Image had not even yet drank sufficiently of the cup of Divine indignation. A file of papers transmitted to Buonaparte by Sir Sydney Smith, informed him of all the disasters that had befallen the French in Italy. He resolved, therefore, to risk capture by the British cruisers, and to leave Egypt for Paris. He left his army with Kieber and Dessaix, which was afterwards obliged to surrender to the British, and by them relanded in France, where Napoleon had safely arrived some time before. Soon after his return to Paris, a Cromwellian turn of the revolutionary wheel made him First Consul, by which he became "the head and the sword" of the Republic, Nov. 19th 1799.
Disappointed in the hope of peace with England, he proceeded to renewed efforts against Austria in Italy. This second was one of the most important campaigns of his life. With the strictest secrecy he made preparation of the renewal of the fortune of France, now united to his own. Though he assembled his forces with great publicity at Dijon as an army of reserve, which he reviewed on the 7th of May, 1800, its real destination was successfully concealed from the Austrians, whom it was in-tended to surprise; and attack in the rear. He set forward from Geneva on the 8th, to cross the Alps by St. Bernard, with sixty thousand men; while twenty thousand more were detached from General Moreau's force, by way of St. Gothard, as his left wing. The route was pronounced to be "barely possible". But the boundless and desolate scope of snow and sky had no terrors for the first consul and his army. Each soldier carried his sixty or seventy pounds weight; the artillery was dragged by a hundred men to each gun; and the carriages, in pieces, lashed upon the backs of mules. All difficulties were overcome; and on the 16th, the vanguard took possession of Aosta, a village of Piedmont.
Having passed fort Bard by Strategem, and rested his army at Ivrea; and having deceived the Austrians as to his route, he pushed on to Milan unmolested, and entered that city June 2. He now issued a proclamation to his troops in which he declared, that the result he expected from their efforts was "cloudless glory and solid peace".
The Sanguinary battle of Montebello being fought, and the Austrians defeated, that of MARENGO soon followed, between thirty thousand French and forty thousand Austrians. The immediate stake was the possession of Italy; and destruction to the party which should sustain defeat. After several hours fighting, the day seemed entirely against the French; but when the victory appeared within the grasp of the Austrian commander, Melas, then eighty years of age, his strength failed entirely, and he was obliged to leave the field. General Zach was left to complete it. At this critical moment, Dessaix, who had just re-turned from Egypt, rushed forward, and charged the enemy, wearied with fighting the whole day; Dessaix was killed; Zach was made prisoner, and his troops forced back at all points with immense loss. Their disaster was complete. Melas capitulated to Buonaparte, who permitted him to retire behind Mantua; being satisfied with the glory of having regained in the affairs of Montebello and of Marengo, almost all the loss sustained by the French in the disastrous campaign of 1799. After an absence of two months he returned to Paris, where he was regarded as "the Sun of France;" where all was gloom when he was hid from her - when he appeared, light and serenity were restored.
Vanquished at Marengo, and then defeated in Germany by Moreau, the Austrians sued for peace. On Jan. 8, 1801, the French Republic, and the Aulic Council of the Beast at Vienna, concluded the treaty of Luneville. This marks the termination of the third vial. Those readers who have not access to history, will, in this sketch, find such an outline as will enable them to discern the verification of the prophecy in the awful calamities of the recent past. But, intensely calamitous as they were, there was not a judgment of them all that was not richly merited by all upon which it fell. Pope, Kaiser, kings, and peoples are the representatives of a system of power, dyed red with the blood of men, of whom the world is not worthy. The third vial "gave them blood to drink," which they could in no wise evade. "Thou art righteous, 0 Lord," said the Angel of the Waters in the hearing of John, "because thou hast decreed these things" plagues, or judgments. "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil". They forget the day of recompense. But the Lord God Almighty does not forget. The sentence of the third vial was on record seventeen hundred years before its execution; and in the hands of all who had a copy of the Scriptures. Those who shed the blood of Christ's Brethren, and oppress them in any way, must sooner or later be brought to judgment for the crime. "Whoso," said he, "shall offend one of these little ones who believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depths of the sea". Illustrative of this is the cause assigned for the judgments of the third vial. "The rivers and fountains of waters" had offended the little ones who believed, in shedding "the blood of saints and prophets;" not the prophets of the Old Testament; these were slain by the Jews, who atoned for the crime in the destruction of their State (Matt. 23:34-39); but "the two prophets," "who had power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they willed;" and who were hurt by their enemies in all the 1260 years of their days of the prophecy; and at length conquered and killed by the Beast of the Sea, at the instigation of its Name of Blasphemy enthroned as the Beast's Image upon the Seven Hills. For slaying these, who flourished contemporarily with the fiercest days of the Lion-Mouth of the Apocalyptic Babylon, the carnage of the third vial befell the countries where they mostly dwelt. The approval ex-pressed by the Angel of the Waters, is responded to by another voice heard by John, proceeding from "the Altar". The words of the seventh verse are represented as issuing thence, for the same reason that the Angel of ch. 14:18, is seen coming out from the altar, having power over fire. It is, because all slain for the witness of Jesus, being in him, the Altar, are regarded Apocalyptically as partakers with the altar, and under the altar; and as all the judgments upon the worshippers of the Beast's Image are on their account, the words, "Even so, Lord God al-mighty, true and righteous are thy judgments", are represented as proceeding thence.
In conclusion, it may be noted in passing from the exposition of the prophecy of the third vial, that the fifth verse of this chapter reproduces the formula of the Divine manifestation, previously announced in ch. 1:4,8; and 11:17 ho hon kai ho hen kai ho erchomenos. But the "recent editors" of the original text tell us that, in the text before us, hoer-chomenos, He who is coming, is superseded in some manuscripts, by ho osios, the Holy One, which some of them prefer. Beza reads ho esomenos, He who shall be; which is followed in the English Version. Upon this reading, Wordsworth says, "In no codex that I know is ho esomenos found, which reading has passed into the English Version from Beza's recensiori". It may be true, that there is no such reading extant; and that there never was such a reading as Beza's: the correctness, however, of hoer-chomenos, inch. 1:4,8; and 11:17, is not disputed. "He who is coming" and "He who shall be," are equivalent phrases; which "the Holy One" is not. No good reason can be adduced why "the Holy One" should be substituted for the prophetic announcement, that YAHWEH the almighty Elohim, who is and who was, is coming, or shall be, here again. In my translation, I have restored the ho erchomenos to what, I conceive to be, its proper place. "He who is coming" is exceed-ingly appropriate in this fifth verse; inasmuch as the third vial, in the outpouring of its wrath, was a sign to those who witnessed its terrible judgments, that the coming, announced in the fifteenth verse, was steadily and surely approaching. The reader can therefore adopt my rendering, or that of the Common Version, which is essentially the same.
It may be further remarked here, that in regard to ch. 11:17, all the recent editors cancel the words, kai ho erchomenos, on the authority of A.B.C. ,(*)certain manuscripts of the fifth and seventh centuries; their omission is therefore recommended by the annotator of the new Baptist Version. I have no other objection to this, than that the Apocalypse when given, was a prophecy of things afterwards to transpire, preparatory to, and introductory of, the thief like and glorious manifestation of Him "who is coming". The Divine formula, therefore, where introduced, as much required the words "and who is coming," as the words "who is and who was," in order to keep constantly before the minds of "the servants of the Deity" in all intermediate ages and generations, the great truth, until it shall be verified in the visible apocalypse of hoer-chomenos, THE COMING ONE. In the times of the A.B.C. manuscripts, the appearing of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, was deemed a pestilent heresy by the party in place and power; who had no scruples about altering and omitting words and phrases, if it suited their purpose. This being the fact, the testimony of their manuscripts is questionable. It is true, that inch. 11:17, the omission would seem warranted by the reason given for thanksgiving - "because thou hast taken thy great power and reigned;" which implies, that the almighty Elohim had come, and that therefore, after this event, to affirm that he is coming, would be anachronistic and inappropriate. This is true, still, for the reason given, I conclude, that the words were a part of the prophecy originally delivered to John, and ought not therefore to be omitted.