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of France was the highest bidder. But Augustus of Saxony after a kind of sham election, took possession of Cracow, with a Saxon army, and was crowned king. A contention between him and Conti ensued. Au.
ustus was afterward driven from the throne by Charles of Sweden; but was restored again by Peter of Russia. The Poles perpetually formed plots against Augustus; and he supported his authority only by means of his Saxon armies. Upon his death a war broke out between his son Augustus, and the French king, who determined to place Stanislaus, his father in law, upon the Polish throne. The Poles were divided. Augustus with a powerful army obliged his rival to retreat, and to flee to France. Augustus
died; and in the succeeding reign Poland presented a scene of desolation. To add to the miseries of this devoted kingdom, a scene of new disturbances broke out.
An attempt was made to establish a principle of religious toleration and equality between the Catholics and Protestants. Upon this the whole nation ran into confedera. cies, and formed distinct provinces. The Popish clergy raged against religious equality. And the unhappy "country became the theatre of the most complicated wars, partly civil, partly religious, and partly foreign." Some years were filled with blood and devastation; and the country was almost destroyed. Many of the first families fled to foreign lands, and for ever abandoned their native soil. Warsaw the capital had well nigh exhibited a scene of plunder and total massacre. The plague at the same time broke out, and carried off 250,000 of the people. Attempts were made to assassinate the king. And, to complete the ruin of Po. land, it soon after appeared that the empress of Russia, the king of Prussia, and the empress queen, had entered into a secret alliance to dismember the kingdom, and to unite it to their own dominions. They agreed upon the portion which each should receive. And they forced the Poles to call a diet, to cede those portions of the kingdom, according to the partition, under penalty that the whole nation should be exposed to military execution, as a conquered people. Some of the Polish nobility protested against this violent ty. ranny, and fled to other nations. But the king was obliged to sign the treaty, and was followed by his remaining nobility: And thus Poland was erased from the list of independent kingdoms. The oppressions which followed from the king of Prussia, were unpre. cedented in any civilized nation. Twelve thousand families in a single year were torn by him from one province, to people his other dominions. And every town and village were forced to furnish a given number of marriageable females; and with each one a suitable dower, in order to furnish wives for the
peasants in distant regions of Prussia. And some of these poor young females were bound hand and foot, and carried off as criminals. And the sums of money otherwise robbed from the Poles, by order of the king of Prussia, were incalculable. These violent proceedings against the Poles, are said to have reduced them in a few years, from fourteen, to nine millions of inhabitants. Thus the Polish river and fountain of the Papal see had a full share of the third vial.
a Thus I have noted some instances of judgments on Papal nations, in which I apprehend the events of the third vial to have been accomplished. These events constituted a new period of judgments. And they were long and dreadful. They had not been equalled by any preceding events on those nations. And though their commencement marked a new era, from that of the preceding wars in Italy; yet they were but an extending abroad of the same kind of judgments; as is purported in the third vial, as related to the second.
The violent dismemberment of Poland was the first capital violation of the modern political system of Europe, or of the law of nations. And the astonishing indifference with which it was beheld in the courts of Europe, forcibly indicated their fatigues in war, and their imbecility to support their own national principles: All which implies the terribleness of the judgments of war, which they had experienced. Other instances of judgments collateral with, and subsequent to, those noted, might be mentioned. But enough has been said. I apprehend it may be found that the terrors and severity of those judgments on the Papal nations, were in a striking proportion to the malignity of Papal wickedness; and that in them the third vial was accomplished.
THE FOURTH VIAL.
And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun;
and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, who had power over these plagues; and they repented not to give him glory. (Rev. xvi, 8, 9.)
“The sun, (says Sir Isaac Newton) is put in sacred prophecy for the whole species and race of kings, in the kingdoms of the world politic.” No one doubts but the sun is a prophetic emblem of civil authority. The darkening of the sun is an emblem of the weakening or confounding of civil authority. And the sun's scorching men with fire in this vial, must be designed to represent the producing of some effects by the civil authorities of Christendom, fatally injurious to the interests of the Papal see. And history furnishes events which fully accord with this representation.
Through the dark ages, how fully did the Papal harlot reign over the kings of the earth? Such was the influence which the Pope held over the kings of Christendom, that he must be at the head of all their af. fairs, alliances, and pacifications. Nothing was binding without his sanction. And he gloried that he could depose kings at pleasure. He could dispense with the obligations of the most solemn treaties; could absolve subjects from their oaths of allegiance to their kings; and claimed power to settle, and unhinge the affairs of nations at his nod. But did this Papal supremacy continue after the events which have been contemplated as fulfilling the former vials? How far otherwise was the fact! All the Protestant powers cast off the Papal yoke by civil authority. England, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, a great part of the princes of Germany, and other places, established the Protestant cause by law; and stood ready, with all their civil power and arms, to support it. Even in France, Henry IV, by his edict of Nantz interposed the authority of his crown to give free toleration to the Protestants. Truly the Pope and the men of the Papal beast felt a most distressing scorching upon their cause, from the sun of civil authority, even those very authorities which had before shone with kindly influence upon them. The Protestant powers took the most direct steps, and did as much as they were able to do, to scorch, dry up, and annihilate, the Papal interest. And in those kingdoms and states, which yet professed the Papal religion, even their civil governments lost much of their genial influence in favor of the Pope's supremacy, and the dignity of his clergy. They gradually lost that superstitious veneration for the Papal see, which for many centuries was uniformly maintained. The Papal kings at first trembled at the idea of any rupture with the Pope. When they, by his perfidy, were forced to carry on war against him, it was with extreme reluctance and hesitation. And they would seize the first opportunity of
. making peace with him, though much to their own disadvantage. But as the events of the preceding vials progressed, this superstition abated. The Protestant powers despised and renounced the Romish Pontiff; and even the Catholic princes became well able to treat his holiness, especially in their secular concerns, with much neglect. The sun of civil authority in Europe became too hot for the creatures of his order, which had been hatched and fostered in the dark. When it came to shine in upon them, it dried and burnt them up. *
* Mr. Guthrie observes, (Geog. p. 563,) “The history of Papacy is connected with that of Christendom itself. The most solid foundations for its temporal power were laid by the famous Matilda, countess of Tuscany, and heiress to the greatest part of Italy, who bequeathed a large portion of her dominions to Pope Gregory VIII, in 1073. It is not to be expected that I am here to enter into a detail of the ignorance of the laity, and the other causes, that operated to the aggrandizement of the Papacy, previous to the reformation. Ever since that era, the state of Eu. rope has been such, that the Popes have had more than once great weight in its public affairs, chiefly through the weakness and bigotry of temporal princes; who seem now to be recovering from their religious delusion. The Papal power is evidently now at a low ebb. The Pope himself is treated by Roman Catholic princes with very little more ceremony than is due to him as bishop of Rome, and possessed of a temporal principality. This humiliation, it is reasonable to believe, will terminate in a tota! separation from the holy see of all its foreign emoluments, which eveu since the commencement of the 18th century were im. mense.”
From the same cause the vast revenues of the Papal see failed. They were dried up by the same scorching rays of the political sun of Christendom. The Pope's revenues had been vast; more than eight millions of dollars annually. * But they rapidly decayed. Says Dr. Robertson, “As soon as the king of England disclaimed the supremacy of the Papal court, considerable sums were saved to the nation, of which it had been annually drained by remittances to Rome for dis. pensations and indulgences, by the expense of pilgrimages into foreign countries, or by payments of annates, first fruits, and a thousand other taxes, which that artful and rapacious court levied on the credulity of mankind. The loss which England sus. tained by most of these articles is obvious, and must have been great. Even that by pilgrimages was not inconsiderable. In the year 1418, license was obtained by no fewer than 916 persons to visit the shrine of St. James in Spain.”+ The same remarks held true probably of all the other Protestant powers; and to a considerable degree, even of all the Papal powers. For most of that infamous traffic, from which the chief of the Papal revenues had been collected, was suspended even in Papal nations. The sun of civil au
It is to be observed, that this was written before the commencement of the French revolution.
* Morse's Gaz. “Popa's Dominions."
+ Hist. Ch. V, vol. iv, p. 316.