The rivers and fountains of waters in the world of the beast, are the ministers and defenders of the antichristian jurisdiction; whether ecclesiastical, as the jesuits, and other emissary priests, or even seculars and laymen, as the Spanish champions; to each of whom an office is committed by that jurisdiction, of managing and promoting the cause, which they call Catholic. Since, as rivers derive their origin from the sea, so likewise they apply their service and assistance to increase and maintain the same, in like manner as the rivers return into the sea.
Now these rivers, while they rashly pursue their courses, where it was no longer safe fur them to go on, become tinged with blood by the effusion of the third phial, as they likewise had formerly imbrued with blood the saints of God, and his prophets. In fact, from this phial, the affairs of the beast were to fall into such a state, that his ministers and defenders, having changed places with those whom they persecuted, were compelled to undergo the same death, by which they had been accustomed to sacrifice the saints and prophets of God, while their dominion flourished; as is clearly explained in v.5 and 6, being the key for unlocking the parable. And this I am inclined to think was then completed with regard to ecclesiastical emissaries, and their attendants, when in our kingdom of England, during the reign of Elizabeth, of glorious memory, and even afterwards, those sanguinary managers of the authority of the beast, even by laws published for that purpose, expiated their administration by their blood, (a circumstance which had never befallen them before.) And not they only, but those who were much more formidable than them, the Spanish champions of the cause of the beast, in the endeavour to recover his dominion for the Roman Church by arms, while they thirsted for blood, drank blood in large draughts, especially in that memorable slaughter of the year 1588, and the following years, the English and Belgians, by sea and land, pouring out copiously the cup from the powerful hand of God. So that there was a wonderful cry of applause to the just and true judgments of God, not only from those islanders who were now revenging the blood of their own people formerly shed, but also from the neighbouring French, who were still groaning under the cross, and the altar; nay, in the recent butchery of the year 1572.
And thus far the phials seem to have proceeded; the rest yet remain to be poured out.