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Ver. 8. And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
9. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
Sir Isaac Newton remarks, that "the sun, in sacred prophecy, is put for the race of kings in the kingdoms of the world." The darkening of the sun, then, means embarrassing the concerns of kings, or first rulers.
And the sun's scorching the interests of the papal hierarchy, denotes some ruinous effects produced upon the latter by the crowned heads of the old papal earth. And this was indeed fulfilled at that period. Kings of Europe did scorch the papal see.
During the dark ages, the papal harlot is said (Rev. xvii. 18) to have "reigned over the kings of the earth.” The pope was at the head of all coronations, alliances, pacifications, and all national concerns. He gloried that he could depose kings at his pleasure, dispense with the obligations of treaties, absolve all subjects from oaths of allegiance to their kings, and claimed power to settle or unhinge the capital concerns of nations at his nod. The canonists were wont to assert that there was no sovereign power (meaning temporal and secular, as well as ecclesiastical) but in the pope: and the popes maintained that all civil authority was derived from them alone. Boniface VII. wrote to Philip the Fair; "We will have thee to know, that thou art subject to us both in temporals and in spirituals." Bishop Newton says, "the pope was at the head of the state, as well as of the church; the king
of kings, as well as bishop of bishops." Pages might here be added, from good authority, of most outrageous usurpations of the popes of the dark ages,-glorying and insulting over kings; and of the most infamous servilities of kings, bending under the feet of the pope, kissing his great toe, and suffering him to kick off their crowns at pleasure. But did this scandalous servility of the kings of Europe always continue? By no means. All the Pro
testant kings of Europe cast off the papal yoke, for themselves and their subjects, and set his holiness at defiance. This was the case in England, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, and with many of the princes of Germany, and other Protestant places. The governments there stood ready, with all their powers, to defend their people against every thunderbolt of the Vatican. Even in France, Henry IV., by his edict of Nantz, gave by royal authority free tole ration to his Protestant subjects. The pope now, and all the creatures of his order, felt a fatal scorching upon their cause from the sun of the Protestant civil authorities,— the kings of which realms had before nurtured their pride and arrogance. Their sun of royal influence scourged and burned up much of the insolence of the papal cause. In states and nations where the papal religion was yet professed, the papal see lost much of the influence of the papal authorities, which had before supported its supremacy, and the dignity of its clergy. All the kings of Eu rope gradually lost their superstitious veneration for the pope, which for many centuries they had firmly maintained. Papal kings had ever trembled at the thought of any rupture with the pope: even when his perfidies at times compelled them to war against him, they were then greatly reluctant in the contest, and would seize the first opportunity to make peace, if it were even to their detriment. But after the events of the first vials, these superstitions abated, not only in the Protestant powers rejecting them at once, but in the papal kings themselves being disposed to treat his holiness, in their secular concerns, with much indifference and neglect. The sun of the courts of Europe became too hot for the creatures of the papal order, which had been fostered in the dark, it shone in upon them, and dried and burned them up. A noted historian says, "Even since the Reformation, the popes have had at times great weight in public affairs, chiefly through the
weakness and bigotry of temporal princes, who seem now to be recovering from their religious delusion. But the papal power is now at a low ebb: the pope himself is treated even by the Roman Catholic princes, with very little ceremony more than is due to him as a bishop of Rome, and possessed of a temporal principality. This humiliation (he adds), it is reasonble to believe, will end in a total separation from the holy see of all its foreign emoluments, which have been immense." The former revenues of the pope were not less than eight millions of dollars annually. But this vast revenue was by the mystical sun of first civil authorities scorched and annihilated. It has, under this fourth vial, totally failed in Protestant nations, and had mostly failed in Catholic nations, even before the papal kingdom was subverted and filled with darkness under the fifth vial, which commenced its effusion in the French revolution in 1789. The papal see, before this, was reduced to a great degree of poverty and meanness, like a barren piece of earth under the vertical beams of the sun, which is dried and burned.
One striking item in the fulfilment of this vial we have in the expulsion of the Jesuits from the great kingdoms of Europe, after the middle of the eighteenth century, and just before the commencement of the judgment of the fifth vial. See the code of this wicked body of men in the subjoined note.*
* This order was instituted in 1540, by Loyola, a Spaniard, soon after the Reformation, as a mighty effort to support the sinking The imagination of Loyola, aided by the courts of darkness, and sanctioned by the pope, invented this new order; which came under a monastic vow of obedience, to undertake, at the direction of a general (to the common members unknown), in any service in behalf of the papal interest, and without any reward from the papal see. Loyola was their first general, and with much art they were taught to obey his orders. The generals who succeeded Loyola much improved his first scheme, and rendered it a most perfect system of extensive and hidden influence, which was designed to pervade the world. One of their objects was to gain a decided influence in the courts of Europe, to regain the ground which the papal see had lost. Other orders of monks were much devoted to mortification and to seclusion from the world; but it was not so with the Jesuits. They were designed for activity in all things which might tend to the support of popery. They studied human nature, and the dispositions of rulers. They flattered the great, and became prodigies of intrigue and of enterprise. In less than half a century from the institution of the Jesuits, they had become established in
For about two centuries, Europe felt the effects of this order of men; but not having known the deep internal policy of that system, they knew not to what to impute its amazing successes: for the policy of the Jesuits was to
every Catholic country, and their numbers became vast, and made greater and greater progress. They were celebrated by the friends, and dreaded by the enemies of the Catholic faith. Their government was purely monarchical, consisting of a general chosen for life by deputies for this purpose from the Jesuits in the different nations. The power of this general was supreme and independent, who appointed his provincials, rectors, and every officer; whom he employed or removed at pleasure. The revenues and funds of the order he held in his hands, and he improved them according to his will to promote the designs of the order. And every member of this vast community was so fully under his management, as to be passive in his hands as clay in the hands of the potter ;-being taught to be incapable of resisting their general. The deep subtlety of this system, for learning the dispositions of their members and of mankind, and for holding the perfect control of their order, exceeds all that was ever before known among men, and is exceeded only by the more modern system first called illuminism, which appeared to have been copied from it with improvements. M. de Chalotais informs, that the general of the Jesuits was furnished annually with 6584 registers and reports from 38 provinces in the various kingdoms of the world, where in his day they were found to be established, besides many letters from spies. In these communications, all the affairs of their order, and of the nations and states of Christendom, were ascertained. All these communications were done in cyphers, which were invented for the purpose, that they might defy detection. The general could thus behold at once what needed to be done, and who were the most fit instruments for the accomplishment, and his orders were accordingly remitted with the most irresistible effect. To manage the education of youth was a prime object with the Jesuits, who aimed at the control of all religion and instruction. Their missionaries were numerous; and they preached much, were admired, and extensively patronized. They obtained the chief direction of the means of education in every Catholic country; they were the confessors of kings, and the spiritual guides of almost all people of rank. They possessed, in the highest degree, the confidence of the court of Rome, being the most able and zealous champions of its authority, and propagators of its dogmas. Says a historian, "They possessed the direction of the most considerable courts in Europe; they took part in every intrigue and revolution," and they thus managed all things to their mind with amazing efficacy. They formed great possessions in Catholic countries, and the numbers and magnificence of their public buildings were vast. They had license from the pope to trade wherever they resided; and they were engaged in lucrative and extensive commerce, both in the West and East Indies. They had warehouses in different regions in Europe; they readily obtained settlements; and vied with the commercial establishments of the world. Vast fertile pro
keep their system, hid in impenetrable mystery. They refused, even in courts of justice, to expose their code; and long were they connived at, in this particular.
But the courts of papal Europe became at last convinced of what they had been too long backward to believe, that the Jesuits were (and long had been) a most dangerous, intriguing, bloody order of men ;-guilty of the assassination of monarchs, and statesmen, who stood in their way. This awakened and combined their efforts against the Jesuits; and they banished them from their courts, and their realms. In France, Spain, Portugal, Naples, and other papal lands, they were proscribed; their schools shut up; their revenues confiscated; and they banished from those kingdoms: which operated as a deadly stroke towards the ruins of the papal see. Rev. Dr. Langdon, on this event, says, "The banishment of the Jesuits from all the (papal) nations of Europe, and the dissolution of the order, as guilty of treasons, rebellions, and assassinations of monarchs, is the most remarkable event of Providence." And he treats it as a masterly stroke on the papal see. Rev. Dr. Trumbull, in his sermon on the close of the eighteenth century, says, "In the last half century, the order of the Jesuits, who constituted the most deceitful, intriguing, and formidable branch of the Romish hie
vinces they obtained in Paraguay, in South America, and they reigned there over hundreds of thousand of subjects. Thus vast was the influence of the Jesuits on earth, while their attachment to the papal cause was inviolable. Their professions of religion were such as to steal upon the confidence of the Catholic multitudes; while yet their morality was pliant, and suited to the feelings of all men upon whom they wished to gain influence. The great object of this order was to restore the papal prerogatives of the dark ages; and to heal and support that wounded cause, which they did in some degree effect. They claimed it as their right and business to combat the Protestants, and they laboured to excite against them all the rage of the civil as well as the Catholic powers. They were the authors, says Dr. Robertson, of "most of the pernicious effects arising from the corrupt and dangerous casuistry of the times; from the extraordinary tenets concerning ecclesiastical power, and from the intolerant spirit which was the disgrace of the church of Rome through that period, and which brought so many calamities on civil society." Mosheim says of the Jesuits, that they were very soul of the hierarchy; the engines of the state; the secret springs of the motion of the one, and of the other; and the authors and directors of every great and important event, both in the religious and in the political world."