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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 16 - Verse 9

Verse 9. And men were scorched with great heat. That is, as above expressed, calamity came upon them which would be well represented by such heat. It is said that this calamity would come upon men, and we are to suppose that it would be such that human life would be particularly affected; and as that heat of the sun must be exceedingly intense which would cut down men, we are to suppose that the judgment here referred to would be intensely severe.

And blasphemed the name of God. The effect would be to cause them to blaspheme God, or to reproach him as the author of these calamities; and in the fulfilment of this we are to look for a state of things when there would be augmented wickedness and irreligion, and when men would become worse and worse, notwithstanding the woes that had come upon them.

Which hath power over these plagues. Who had brought these plagues upon them, and who had power to remove them.

And they repented not. The effect was not to produce repentance, though it was manifest that these judgments had come upon them on account of their sins. Compare See Barnes "Re 9:21".

 

To give him glory. To turn from sin; to honour him by lives of obedience. Compare See Barnes "Joh 9:24".

 

In regard to the application of this, the following things may be remarked:

(a) That the calamity here referred to was one of the series of events which would precede the overthrow of the "beast," and to contribute that—for to this all these judgments tend.

(b) In the order in which it stands, it is to follow, and apparently to follow soon, the third judgments the pouring of the vial upon the fountains and streams.

(c) It would be a calamity such as if the sun, the source of light and comfort to mankind, were smitten, and became a source of torment.

(d) This would be attended by a great destruction of men, and we should naturally look in such an application for calamities in which multitudes of men would be, as it were, consumed.

(e) This would not be followed, as it might be hoped it would, by repentance, but would be attended with reproaches of God, with profaneness, with a great increase of wickedness.

Now, on the supposition that the explanation of the previous passages is correct, there can be no great difficulty in supposing that this refers to the wars of Europe following the French Revolution; the wars that preceded the direct attack on the Papacy, and the overthrow of the Papal government. For these events had all the characteristics here referred to.

(a) They were one of a series in weakening the Papal power in Europe—heavy blows that will yet be seen to have been among the means preliminary to its final overthrow.

(b) They followed in their order the invasion of Northern Italy—for one of the purposes of that invasion was to attack the Austrian power there, and ultimately through the Tyrol to attack Austria itself Napoleon, after his victories in Northern Italy, above referred to, (compare chapter twenty of Alison's History of Europe,) thus writes to the French Directory: "Coni, Ceva, and Alexandria are in the hands of our army; if you do not ratify the convention, I will keep their fortresses and march upon Turin. Meanwhile, I shall march to-morrow against Beaulieu, and drive him across the Po; I shall follow close at i. his heels, overawe Lombardy, and in a month be in the Tyrol, join the army of the Rhine, and carry our united forces into Bavaria. The design is worthy of you, of the army, and of the destinies of France."—Alison, 401.

(c) The campaign in Germany in 1796 followed immediately this campaign in Italy. Thus, in chapter twenty of Alison's History, we have an account of the campaign in Italy; in chapter twenty-one we have the account of the campaign in Germany; and the other wars in Europe that continued so long, and that were so fierce and bloody, followed in quick succession—all tending, in their ultimate results, to weaken the Papal power, and to secure its final overthrow.

(d) It is hardly necessary to say here that these wars had all the characteristics here supposed. It was as if the sun were smitten in the heavens, and power were given to scorch men with fire. Europe seemed to be on fire with musketry and artillery, and presented almost the appearance of the broad blaze of a battle-field. The number that perished was immense. These wars were attended with the usual form. And consequences— blasphemy, profaneness, and reproaches of God in every yet there was another effect wholly in accordance with the statement here, that none of these judgments brought men to "repentance, that they might give God the glory." Perhaps these remarks, which might be extended to great length, will show that, on the supposition that it was intended to refer to those scenes by the outpouring of this vial, the symbol was well-chosen and appropriate.

{1} "scorched" "burned" {c} "blasphemed" Re 16:11,21 {d} "they repented not" Re 9:20

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