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λεις [της γης και της οικεμένης όλης, συναγαγείν αυτες εις τον πόλεμον της ημέρας εκείνης της μεγάλης τέ Θεέ τα σπανοκράτορος. .
13. And I saw out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the wild beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits resembling (croaking] frogs.
14. For they are the spirits of dæmons working signs *, (OR SETTING UP STANDARDS,) which go forth unto the Kings of the earth, and of all the habitable region, to gather them together to the war of that day, the great day of God, who hath dominion over all.
There is not one word in the original, expressing that these emblematical croaking beasts were all, at this precise period of time, in the act of coming out of the mouths of the three other emblematical figures : nor indeed could they be fo; as we find, in the rest of the
prophecy, that the three emblematical figures mentioned were not themselves contemporary.
- They therefore must have proceeded out
* It is not unusual, in the Prophecies, to denote kingdems at large merely by naming the kings,
of those mouths at three different times; only
they were all unitedly to produce their most 449. dire effects in the age under the Sixth Vial ;
and therefore were bere to be described.
Now, to what can the emblem of croaking frogs be more aptly applied, than to false teachers of such errors as disturb the quiet, and deject the minds of men ?-teachers of Atheistical do&rines (or of such mere Deistical do&rines, as they are called, as have finally just the same tendency, and lead to the fame sort of conclusions)?-teachers and setters-up of such opinions as have unavoidably had a tendency to weaken the authority of the word and law of God; and to break down and destroy the restraint and sanction of Di. vine revelation, and of all good laws; and by that means to prepare mankind, in the end, to be let loose, without controul, upon one another, to injure each other, in defiance of all the commands of God, and, as it were, to fight against God himself?
And if this is a fair interpretation of the emblem, we may now begin to apprehend, that this prediction also has been verified in a most ample manner, in our days; and, by means exactly, of three spirits, proceeding
from the three emblematical mouths mentioned; which spirits have been croaking, with too much success, for very many years.
For, in the first place, the spirit of Atheism, with all its horrid consequences, proceeded originally out of the mouth of the dragon (i. e. out of the old Roman empire, in its first ftate, in Pagan times): for it began there, even so long ago as by the teachings of Epic Claasseien curus, and Lucretius, and other deluded men of letters, at Rome.
And then, in the next place, a like spirit proceeded out of the mouth of the beast (i.e. out of the Roman empire in its second flate, when it became the corrupted seat of Christianity): for it is well known, that even Cardinals have been promoters of Atheism, in its modern dress; and that it has had for its abettors some of the Popes themselves, and has made its progress even chiefly from Popish 45°. countries, where it has moreover of late years
en greatly encouraged, as the first and most effectual means of getting rid of the impofitions of the Court of Rome.
Hence the numbers of celebrated Atheistical writers, and of maintainers of principles tending to Atheisın, in France and elsewhere,
whose names I will pass by in silence; as every friend of mankind, and of true and real solid knowledge and science, must wish their works also soon to be forgotten ; which indeed they are very likely to be.
However, it must be confessed, as some apology for their misguided efforts, that the mere mistaking the corruptions of Christianity for Christianity itself, was what originally mised several of them, and induced them to oppose the truth; and that, whilst they have been the means of introducing some very fatal errors, they have, nevertheless, also been the means (and perhaps there hardly could have been a more rapid and effectual one) of subverting that imposition, with regard to religion, that had taken place, and held dominion in so great a part of the world.-In fo wonderful a manner is good often produced out of evil, by the over-ruling hand of Divine Providence!
Thus diseases in the human frame are sometimes cured by means of such remedies as are in themselves only a species of poison.
In a still further sense, therefore, these Spirits may be said to have proceeded out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, inasmuch as the corruptions of the one, have been a very great and principal cause of producing the other.
These croaking writers, croaking forth doctrines of annihilation, or at least of uncertainty as to any thing hereafter; and such doctrines as could only produce in their con-. 451. sequences, first licentiousness, and then despondency and desperation ; have, both abroad and in this kingdom, in the fullest sense of the word, set up standards :-standards of profelfed fashionable opinions, under which they have enlisted vast multitudes in every
civilized country in Europe; and which standards a prodigious number of people follow, merely for the sake of going with the stream, and becaule such opinions are standards, without having either leisure or abilities to weigh and consider, or even really to apprehend or understand those opinions at all.
And σοιοντα σημεία may furely in this place with much propriety be translated setting up standards, rather than working miracles, (as the words are rendered according to the common translation ;) for onuzov is much rather vexillum, and signum militare, a standard, or a sign VOL. II.