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AN EXPOSITION OF THE APOCALYPSE
Though the pacification of the European Continent in 1802, drove England into a momentary peace, the wrath of the Second vial still continued pouring out upon the sea. During the war with England, the navy of France was almost entirely ruined. Three hundred and forty vessels had been taken or destroyed, and almost all her colonies had fallen into the hands of the English. Nevertheless, during the short peace with England, Napoleon fitted out an expedition of forty thousand men, which he embarked for St. Domingo to reduce the island to submission. The enterprise was disastrous in the extreme. Unable to conquer in fair and open fight, the French had recourse to barbarities worse then ever before stained the annals of any people pretending to be civilized. After a doubtful and desperate struggle the French were expelled; and the expedition "became blood as of a corpse," terminating, as it deserved, in defeat and disgrace.
War was renewed between France and England May 18, 1803, by which the wrath upon the sea was continued and increased.
On the 18th of May, 1804, Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor; and, as he had restored popery to liberty in France, the Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VII., took a journey to Paris for the purpose of placing the crown of Charlemagne upon the head of one, whom the old blasphemer styled, "our dearest son in Christ, Napoleon, the emperor of the French". This was practically an insult of the most galling character to the House of Austria; which, as Imperial Secular Chief of the Sun of Europe, claimed to be the legitimate successor of Charlemagne.
On the 26th May, 1805, he received the iron crown of Italy, of which therefore he was now king, greatly also to the disgust of Austria.
While these things were transacting, Napoleon had resumed with much zeal the preparation of a maritime expedition against England. At the opening of the year 1805, a flotilla of two thousand small vessels, manned by sixteen thousand sailors, capable of carrying an army of a hundred and sixty thousand men, nine thousand horse, and a numerous artillery, was assembled in the ports of Boulogne, Etables, Vimereux, Ambleteuse and Calais. It was at this portentous moment, when the vulture was ready to pounce upon his prey, that Napoleon was roused from his recovery by the startling announcement that all the forces of the Austrian monarchy to the number of two hundred and twenty thousand men, were in motion; and that a treaty had been signed on the 11th of April between Russia and England, in which they bound themselves to use their utmost exertions for forming a general league of the States of Europe, for the purpose of putting a stop to the encroachments of the French government, and the securing of the independence of the different states. Two Russian armies were also preparing to join the Austrians, consequent upon this third coalition organized by England against France.
The wrath of the fourth vial now began to descend upon the Sun. Napoleon, to whom it was given to scorch with fire, abandoned the invasion of England, and marched for the Rhine, which he crossed on the 1st of October with an army of a hundred and sixty thousand men. By a series of bold maneuvers and successful actions, ninety thousand men under General Mack were cut off from the Austrian territories so completely, that by the middle of October he was entirely surrounded in Ulm with thirty thousand men. Being summoned to capitulate, he thought it best to comply; and his whole force, with all his artillery, magazines, etc., surrendered themselves prisoners of war.
Vienna, the place of the Mouth of the Two Horned Beast (ch. 16:13), was now the object before Napoleon. The Austrians had been joined by the Russians; but they were not Strong enough to retard his advance. The alarm at Vienna was extreme. The emperor Francis retired with all his court into Moravia, while the greater part of the nobility sought an asylum in Hungary. The inhabitants in general patiently awaited the conqueror, who entered the city on the 13th of November.
The French, with trifling loss to themselves, captured sixty thousand prisoners on their victorious march to Vienna. Without halt-mg, the advance-guard crossed the Danube, and pushed on to encounter the Russians in Moravia, where the main body consisted of about fifty thousand, under the emperor Alexander, and twenty-five thousand Austrians, under the emperor Francis. The French under the emperor Napoleon, who was his own general-in-chief, amounted to between seventy and eighty thousand. This battle of the three emperors was fought Dec. 2, 1805, on the plain of AUSTERLITZ, on the direct road from Vienna to Olmutz. The engagement began at sunrise and continued with the most scorching effect, "full of variety and sanguinary in the extreme," until evening. On the following day the French advanced; when the Austrian emperor proposed an armistice, the terms of which being so humiliating, the emperor of Russia refused to become a party to it; and commenced a retreat in his own way. In addressing his soldiers on the day after the battle, Napoleon said, "An army of a hundred thousand, commanded by the emperors of Russia and Austria, has been in less than four hours cut to pieces and dispersed: they who have escaped your swords have perished in the lakes. Forty stand of colors, the standards of the imperial Russian guards, a hundred and twenty pieces of cannon, twenty generals, and more than thirty thousand prisoners, are the result of this for ever glorious day. Their infantry so vaunted, and so superior in numbers, has been unable to resist your Onset; and henceforth you have no rivals to dread. Thus, in two months, this third coalition has been vanquished and dispersed." This was truly "scorching the men with great heat".
The peace of Presburg followed the victories of Ulm and Auster-litz, and was signed Dec.26. The House of Austria, which had lost its foreign possessions, Belgium and the Milanese, was now further curtailed of some of its German territories. Among its alienation’s, it ceded part of the territory of Passau, and all its possessions in Swabia, Bres-gau, and Ortenau, to the electorates of Bavaria and Wurtemburg, which were transformed into kingdoms. The treaty of Presburg completed the humiliation of the Austrian dynasty of the Two-Horned Beast of the Earth an abasement began by the treaty of Campo Formio, and continued by that of Luneville, under the third vial; all of which was preparatory to the consummation under the fifth. On his return to Paris, Napoleon, "the King of Fire" and "Man of Destiny," became the object of such universal admiration, that he was himself stunned by the general enthusiasm and intoxicated by his fortunes. He was now Napoleon "THE GREAT," and the Senate decreed him a triumphal monument.
Such was the notable commencement of the outpouring of the wrath of Deity from the fourth vial "upon the sun" of the so-called "HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE". The efforts of Napoleon were henceforth di-rected to extend his dominions over the Continent of Europe. He invaded the kingdom of Naples, and on March 30, 1806, established his brother Joseph there as King of the Two Sicilies. Shortly after he transformed the United Provinces of Holland into a kingdom, and filled its throne with his brother Louis. All republics were abolished, save that of Switzerland, of which he declared himself the Mediator, and he finished the organization of his new military empire, by placing the Germanic Body dependent on himself. On July 12, 1806, fourteen provinces on the south and west of Germany were united in "the Confederation of the Rhine," and Napoleon was recognized as their Protector. On Aug. 1st, they notified to the Diet of Ratisbon their separation from the Germanic Body; the Germano-Roman empire itself ceased to exist; and Francis II., abdicating the title, now adopted that of "EMPEROR OF AUSTRIA".
The march of Napoleonic rapacity, and encroachment upon the rights and liberties of the worshippers of the Beast's Image, gave rise to a fourth coalition, by which the wrath of the fourth vial continued to be poured out upon the sun
While Austria and Russia were engaged in confronting the power of France, Prussia maintained a cautious neutrality. But alarmed now by the increase of the French empire, and encouraged by the fine condition of her troops, Prussia joined in a league with Russia to expel the French from Germany. Apocalyptically speaking, "every living soul in the sea" was now dead. The British arms had little employment. The number of ships and vessels of war in commission was truly enormous, being no less than seven hundred and twenty. The marine of France was almost annihilated, and the shattered remains of its fleets were shut up in its harbors, not daring to venture beyond the jurisdiction of the batteries. The British navy was employed in blockading the hostile ports, and nothing of importance took place on the ocean.
The state of public affairs throughout the Continent of Europe at this eventful crisis was "without a parallel in history". The submission and creation of kingdoms were become simple operations with which the world was beginning to become familiarized. An edict from Paris was all that was necessary to create a king, and furnish him with a kingdom. The promise of the annexation of Swedish Pomerania, Weigmar, and Hanover to his dominions, had tempted Frederick William III of Prussia to desert "the Cause of Sovereigns," and to lend himself to the imperial king-making projects of this terrible "king of Fire". But when his Prussian Majesty learned authentically the projected infraction of the existing engagements of France with Prussia, Frederick William's resentment became extreme. The tide of opinion at Berlin ran strongly in favor of war. On the 1st of October, the Prussian ambassador demanded that the French army without delay repass the Rhine; that the northern Germanic Confederation be established; and that certain places be separated from the Confederation of the Rhine. But to these requisitions Napoleon did not deign to reply, but advanced at the head of his troops with rapid steps, and approached the frontier of Upper Saxony before Prussia could possibly receive any aid from her ally the emperor of Russia.
At this moment of rashness and passion Prussia seemed almost to exult in the idea of entering alone into a contest with France; of whose mission to "scorch the men" of the Two-Horned Beast "with fire," she was not yet able to perceive. Early in October, 1806, the whole collected force of the Prussians exceeded a hundred and twenty thousand men. The French were nearly of equal strength, but under very superior command. The two armies seemed to assume an attitude of mutual defiance. Napoleon by his manoeuvres succeeded in turning the left of the Prussians, and in cutting off all communication with their magazines, by which he was enabled to occupy in force the heights of JENA, which had been deemed impracticable for artillery.
On the 13th of October, the action commenced, two hours after day break, and quickly became general, exhibiting for some time equal skill and bravery; but a fierce cavalry assault under Murat, at once decided the fortune of this memorable day. Universal consternation ensued; and in the rout multitudes were slaughtered, and a still greater number made prisoners. The entire loss did not fall short of sixty thousand men, of whom twenty thousand were killed and wounded; while that of the French was below five thousand. The rapid successes of the French, and the accumulated and scorching misfortunes of the Prussians, are without precedent in military history. Napoleon immediately took possession of Potsdam and Berlin, where he levied vast contributions, and sent the sword of Frederick the Great as a trophy to Paris. One after another, the different corps of the Prussian army were obliged to surrender; so that in little more than a month, the French had taken no less than one hundred and forty thousand prisoners, two hundred and fifty standards, and about forty-eight hundred pieces of cannon, of which eight hundred were taken in the field, and about four thousand were found in Berlin, and the fortresses which had capitulated.
After this dreadful scorching defeat at Jena, the king retired to Konigsburg, where he employed himself actively in collecting the scattered and feeble remains of his once formidable force. The French having made themselves masters of Silesia, the immense barrier which seemed to have wholly separated France from Russia, was now broken down; and the emperor Alexander resolved to make a grand effort to protect his own dominions, as well as to support the throne of Prussia and the independence of Europe. This resolution guaranteed the continuance of the outpouring of the scorching wrath of the fourth vial upon the sun, until the "King of Fire" should have run his course. In pursuance of this determination, an immense force was being collected in different parts of the Russian empire, and began to move towards the frontier.
The respective strength of France and Russia was now to be put to a scorching and decisive trial. The battle of Eylau on February 7, 1807, and that of Friedland, on June 14, removed the mysterious veil with which the operation on the Vistula had been covered by the contradictory assertions of the hostile parties. The battle of Eylau, though very sanguinary, was indecisive; while that of FRIEDLAND equaled those of Austerlitz and Jena; nor were its consequences less hostile to the independence of the potentates of Europe. The Russians were "scorched with great heat". The fire of thirty pieces of cannon inflicted upon them dreadful loss; thousands were driven by bayonet-charges into the river Alle, where they found their death; and the streets of Friedland were covered with the dead. The defeat was total, and the carnage terrible, from fifteen to eighteen thousand being left dead upon the battle-field. This was wrath upon the Sovereign Sun, which scorched all under it with fire. The Russians recrossed the Niemen with a loss of forty thousand men, having in the space of eleven days, lost no less than twenty-seven generals and eighteen hundred and forty-eight officers killed or wounded. In their disastrous retreat they lost a great part of their artillery, and almost all their magazines and ammunition on a line of one hundred and twenty miles in extent.
These fiery results caused the Czar and the king of Prussia to seek an interview with Napoleon to treat of peace, which was consequently concluded at Tilsit, July 7,1807. By this fatal war, the Prussian monarchy lost nearly the half of its territory and of its subjects, with more than half of its revenues; and Russia saw herself deprived of her extensive barrier against the dangerous and domineering power of France.
Freed by the peace of Tilsit from all apprehensions in the north, Napoleon was now at leisure to prepare, by his operations upon the Sun of the European Peninsula, for the scorching with fire of the worship-pers of the Beast's Image, subject to the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal. The Portuguese Court voluntarily migrated to Rio Janeiro, in Brazil, in consequence of Napoleon's declaration, endorsed by a French army marching on Lisbon, that "the House of Braganza should cease to reign."
A treaty had been concluded between the "egregious" king-maker, Napoleon, and Charles IV. of Spain, the object of which was a partition of the kingdom of Portugal. By a secret convention, French troops were to be admitted into Spain, and others assembled at Bayonne, to assist in the conquest of Portugal. Thus it was given under this fourth vial for Spain to be placed at the disposal of him, who was to "scorch with fire the men" who worshipped the Beast's Image, both in Portugal and Spain.
Under the pretext, therefore, of invading Portugal, attacking Gibraltar, and sharing the spoil with "His Most Catholic Majesty," the Corsican king-breaker, as well as king-maker, ingeniously contrived to introduce into the strong places, and most commanding positions of Spain, a hundred thousand men; and into Portugal, twenty thousand. In this manner, the revolutionary volcano had secretly and silently col-lected its convulsing and destructive forces; which began to pour forth its scorching streams of fire in March 1808. A report of the intended emigration of the royal family to Mexico, was the immediate occasion of the insurrection of the people. In the midst of this effervescence, Charles IV. abdicated the throne in favor of his son, the prince of Asturias, who succeeded him as Ferdinand VII. His friends and allies for the spoliation of Portugal, entered Madrid in support of his authority; by which friendly intervention, they found themselves to the number of sixty thousand, in full possession of the capital.
But the most extraordinary instance of political infatuation on record, had yet to be developed. The two kings of Spain, with the whole of the royal family, and some of the principal grandees, were allured by pretexts full of illusions to migrate to Bayonne; the station which the PROTECTOR of Germany and the MEDIATOR of Switzerland had fixed upon for the more convenient accomplishment of his designs upon the Sun of the Peninsula. This rash and indiscreet step was followed by terrible commotions throughout the country, and particularly in Madrid, where the most terrible disorders, excited by the priests and monks, prevailed. Everything indicated a dreadful explosion, which ensued on the 2nd of May. Volleys of grapeshot and charges of cavalry "scorched" the populace "with great heat;" who, though cleared from the streets, continued their attack upon the French from the windows of the houses; the doors were then broken open, and all who were found in arms were put to the sword.
The crisis had now arrived when "the king of fire" deemed it no longer necessary to dissemble his designs "upon the Sun". At first he pretended a wish to restore Charles IV. to the throne; but perceiving Madrid to be in a ferment, and having the two kings in his power, he obliged them both to sign a formal abdication, and the infants Don Carlos and Don Antonio renounced all claim to the succession. This self-sacrifice effected, Napoleon proceeded to fill the vacant throne with a king that should do all his will. On the 25th of May, therefore, he issued a decree, declaring the throne of Spain vacant by the voluntary abdication of the reigning family, and ordering an assembly of prelates, grandees, etc., to be held at Bayonne, for the purpose of fixing the basis of a new government. A commission was also established for secularizing the lands of the church; which, as it vitally affected the covetousness of the priests of the Virgin Goddess, stirred up the exasperation of the public they controlled, indescribably. The result of the convention at Bayonne was, that, on the 6th of June, 1808, Napoleon conferred the crown of Spain upon his brother Joseph, who abdicated his kingdom of Naples in favor of Joachim Murat, who had married the sister of the wonderful man!
Such was the state of affairs in Spain, preparatory to his Operations "to whom it was given to scorch the" Spaniards and Portuguese "with fire". The renunciation of the crown in favor of Napoleon was the signal for a general insurrection. The patriotic flame burst forth in Asturia, whence it spread into Gallicia, and into several districts of Leon. A declaration of war was formally published by the assembly at Oviedo, which also sent deputies to request the assistance of heretical England against the infidel French! The request was immediately acceded to, and every possible assistance in arms, munitions, and men, were lavished in support of the adherents of the Inquisition, and worship of the Image of the Beast!
The scorching operation now began in all the intensity of "great heat". The success of the insurgent Spaniards during June and July were important and "brilliant;" while the losses of the French were greater than they had ever been in so short a period since the accession of Napoleon to the imperial throne. They now considered themselves to be fully adequate to their expulsion; which a little time, however, convinced them was a fatal delusion. They seemed to decline the aid of the British forces in the north; and recommended in preference an expedition to Portugal, a suggestion to which England acceded.
The French, in the two months under generals Murat, Dupont, Moncey, and La Febvre, had lost about fifty thousand men; and by the victory of Vimeira, and the convention of Cintra, they were expelled by the British from Portugal; who also captured the Russian fleet in the Tagus.
The new king Joseph, after a brief residence of seven days in Madrid, found it necessary to retire precipitately towards France, not forgetting to carry off with him the crown jewels, and other valuables of the palace This state of affairs determined Napoleon to enter Spain, and to conduct the war in person. On the 2nd of December, after defeating three native armies, he reached Madrid; which was now a horrible scene of confusion, being in the power of an ungovernable rabble. The city was surrendered on the 4th; and having reduced its affairs to order, he hastened to try to cut off the retreat of the English army under Sir John Moore, who was falling back upon Corunna. On arriving at Astorga, he found that the expected prey had eluded his grasp; he therefore turned over to his generals the further operations against it, and soon after returned to France.
Though I shall now proceed to the exposition of the fifth vial, the reader must bear in mind, that the wrath of the fourth vial is not exhausted. Like that of the second, the fourth continues its concurrent operation, until that "powerful and extraordinary mortal, Napoleon," is securely caged upon the rock of St. Helena.