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THE TWO WO TRUMPETS. LECTURE VI.

Database

THE TWO WO TRUMPETS. LECTURE VI.

James Dodson

REV. ix....And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth; and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth, &c. &c.

THE religion, taught by the Son of God for our salvation, hath two great and distinguishing qualities—Truth of doctrine, and pure morality. Affecting both the understanding and the heart of man, with that invisible power which produces real piety, it makes itself externally evident, in the profession of an orthodox faith, and in a deportment truly moral. When either of these, when either truth or holiness is absolutely wanting, we do not merely suspect the absence of piety; but we are certain that it does not exist. Divine revelation assures us that Christians are all children of light, and are also sanctified. By works without faith it h impossible to please God; and faith without works is dead.

If this, brethren, be a correct representation of Christianity, it is easy to observe the certain evidences of its decline. The departure of God and of true religion, from among a professing people, is indicated by a growing deficiency in orthodoxy and virtue, or in either of the two; and although, it may indeed commence with any one of them, it will certainly in a short time, if a reformation do not prevent it, extend also to the other, and accordingly affect them both. Wo be unto that people who do not resist the introduction of error with alacrity, and who do not promptly express their detestation at the impure behaviour of professed Christians. Such was the condition of the Catholic church during the period of the Apocalyptical trumpets, particularly that of the last three, at the close of the preceding chapter, called the Wo Trumpets. And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Wo, Wo, Wo to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the Trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound.

We have, in this chapter, the prophetic history of the

LAST PART OF THE SECOND PERIOD,

including two of the Wo Trumpets, being the fifth and sixth. I shall lay before you, what appears to me to be the correct interpretation of each of these two, and conclude my discourse with practical reflections.

We have, in the last lecture, given a short account of the state of the fourth great kingdom of the earth, from the time of Constantine to the dismemberment of the western empire of the Cesars into several independent kingdoms. Then, according to the predictions of Daniel, this beast displayed his ten distinct toes or horns; and according to the Apocalypse, the beast with seven heads and ten horns was about to be fully revealed. Had it been the design of prophecy to pursue this subject in precise chronological order, limiting its remarks by the destinies of the western empire, we should now of course, pass on to the contemplation of “THE MAN OF SIN,” and to the events of that period which includes the reign and fall of ANTICHRIST. We should in that case have entered upon the period of the vials, the first four of which immediately refer to the state of things produced by the four Apocalyptical Trumpets already expounded.

This could not, however, be done with consistency. The grand design, of exhibiting the state of the moral world as affected by, or affecting the social concerns of the christian religion, renders it necessary that the line of chronological order be in the first instance followed from the fourth trumpet to the Eastern Roman empire.

At this period it was more interesting to the church of God to know the condition of the East, because the emperor of the east was still the principal power, and because more learning, and science, and probably more of the members of the church, were found at that age, beyond the boundaries of the western empire. In process of time, indeed, it became otherwise, and of course we find that after this period comparatively little notice is bestowed in prophecy upon either the Greek churches, or the nations in which they are established.

The period of the trumpets is that of the christian empire; and after the events of the fourth had utterly demolished the political heavens of the western system, it was proper under the fifth trumpet to exhibit the condition of the eastern third of the world. The trumpets must, of course, unfold the scenes which completely overturned the whole christian empire.

It was about the middle of the sixth century that the judgment announced by the fourth trumpet had produced the obscuration of the political lights of ancient Rome; and from this event we are to turn our attention, during the remainder of the Period of the Trumpets, to the state of the moral world in those regions over which the emperors of Constantinople claimed the supreme power, until we shall witness the overthrow of this last representative of the Cesars. To such concerns the two trumpets before us have reference. We shall give the

INTERPRETATION OF EACH.

TRUMPET V.—Being the First Wo Trumpet. Verses 1—11. And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth; and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it nets commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And lo them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it: and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions ; and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

We have already assigned our reasons for laying the scene of these events in the eastern empire: and the interpretation must proceed accordingly. In the progress of my exposition abundant internal evidence will be furnished by the prophecy itself, which, independently of the introductory argument, will prove that we have not misunderstood the scene of the vision.

The sounding of this Wo Trumpet announces an approaching judgment; and a hieroglyphical representation of the particular agents and events, is immediately made to the apostle, and, by him communicated to the church.

The principal objects of attention to the expositor, in this representation, are

The fallen star opening the pit—The locusts issuing from the smoke of the pit—Their king Apollyon—The depredations which they committed—And the time of their depredations.

1. The fallen Star.

This symbol has been already explained.[1] A star fallen from heaven to earth, signifies either a civil or theological character degraded from the political or ecclesiastical heavens. I cannot, therefore, conceive of a greater perversion of figurative language than to apply it, with Dr. Johnston, to the exaltation of Pope Boniface III. to the bad eminence of universal bishop, by the emperor. The application of it to Mahomet, whether considered in the light of the founder of a religion, or the head of an army, is also incorrect. Not degradation, but elevation and success, characterized this eminent impostor. He never fell from either an ecclesiastical or political heaven. The contrary of being a fallen star was the case both with the eastern impostor, and with the Pope of Rome. They rose from obscurity to eminence.

This fallen star, with a key bestowed on him, opened the bottomless pit—in the providence of God he is permitted to promote the purposes of fallen angels. Instantly a smoke ascends from the pit, the place of impiety and suffering, that obscures the sun and the air. Truth is light. Error is darkness. A system of misrepresentation and falsehood, originating from the father of lies, and deceiver of the nations, is the smoke of the pit by which the sun and the air were darkened.[2] Such are the doctrines of the KORAN.

The fallen star, is in plain terms, a degraded man, who is instrumental in contriving a system of delusion, of which hell approves, and by which moral darkness is spread abroad among the nations. The description suits the monk Sergius.

We shall as yet only name this man, and proceed,

2. To take a view of the locusts issuing from the smoke of the pit.

Their appearance is formidable in a high degree. They are compared to a troop of horse prepared for the battle. Adorned with crowns, with a manly countenance, with effeminate ornaments, as the hair of women, with breastplates of iron, with scorpion stings, the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots, and they had the teeth of lions to devour their prey.

The natural locusts are flying insects very destructive to the fruits of the earth. They abound in Asia, and sometimes fly in astonishing multitudes, like an immense cloud which darkens the air, threatening destruction wherever they light. They constituted one of the plagues of Egypt, Exod. x. 14—19. and are used by the prophets as the symbol of a destroying army, Joel i. 4. and ii. 4—6. The symbolical locusts under consideration, issued from the figurative smoke, that is, were excited to their destructive excursions by hellish delusions.

We are, therefore, to look for the fulfilment of this prophecy, to some fierce and barbarous people, who appear after the close of the 6th century, in the eastern empire, influenced to cruel warfare in immense multitudes, under the auspices of a system of false doctrines contrived by the instrumentality of some “fallen star.” The history of Arabia, the natural seat of the locusts, furnishes the interpretation of the prophecy in the conduct of the Saracens.

3. The locusts had a king over them. He was a messenger of hell, the angel of the bottomless pit. His name is Abaddon, or Apollyon. Both these words signify a destroyer. This king is the personage, who acts as chief over the destroying armies, who are permitted in the providence of God to inflict judgments upon the eastern Roman empire.

4. The power with which this new foe is invested appears to be placed under restrictions. The depredations of the locusts are limited to that class of people who have not the seal of God on their foreheads. They are confined to those nations and people, who either opposed the christian religion, or made a profession of it without receiving its truths, or experiencing its living power. True Christians are to have remarkable protection.

5. The time in which these locusts prevail, like the natural locusts which expire with the summer that gave them origin, is said to be five months.

Sir Isaac Newton, on account of the repetition of five months, verses 5 and 10, thinks it proper to double the prophetic time, and render it ten symbolical months of thirty days each. And according to the prophetic style of a day for a year, this would amount to a period of three centuries. There is, however, no necessity for thus doubling the time specified. It is, indeed, twice mentioned in the text: but not with the design of adding the two sums together. Bishop [Thomas] Newton is more correct in rendering the interpretation, one hundred and fifty years.

The effects of the judgment announced by the sounding of the fifth trumpet may remain for a much longer space of time; but the torments inflicted by the Arabian locusts are represented as peculiarly great during the period of five months, being one hundred and fifty prophetic days, a century and a half.

This trumpet must be accordingly explained of the WO caused by the Mahometan Saracens, for the space of one hundred and fifty years after the rise of their false prophet.

The events of that period are so interesting a part of the history of man, and had such an effect upon the christian churches of the east, that they ought to be known to intelligent men, and undoubtedly merit a place in the sacred system of prophecy.

That great peninsula, which is washed on the south and east by the waves of the Indian Ocean, and Persian Gulf, and on the west by the waters of the Red Sea, has since the remotest ages been known by the name of Arabah or Arabia. This name it received from the most distinguished of its original settlers, Yarab[3] the son of Joktan, and the fifth in descent from Shem the son of Noah. Ishmael, the son of Abram by Hagar, settled with his family in this country; and his descendants were mingled with the former inhabitants. It was not long before the idolatry of the Sabeans, who derive their name from Saba, the great grandson of Joktan, became prevalent through the greater part of this extensive territory. But of its internal history from the time of Moses until the commencement of the christian era, we know very little. From the Greeks and Romans we have derived our knowledge of ancient nations; and as Arabia defied the power of these conquering empires, they have not been at the pains of describing its geography, or recording its history.

The Jews were scattered throughout this country at a very early period, and the first ministers of Christianity planted churches among the Arabs. Before the close of the sixth century, the period in which Arabian history became generally interesting, the Nestorian heresy had spread over the greater part of the churches of this peninsula. Piety and morals had declined along with orthodoxy, among Christians; and the Jews and the idolaters adhered to their religion more from habit than any conviction of duty. The most powerful of the Arabian tribes were the Koreish descendants of Ishmael. They possessed the distinguished honour of being guardians to the Caaba,[4] and the chiefs united with the love and the practice of war, the profession of merchandise. They carried on an extensive and lucrative commerce, between Persia and Egypt, and India and Ethiopia.

In the year 579 was born at Mecca the celebrated Mahomet,[5] the king and apostle of the Arabs; or to use the words of the sacred text, Apollyon the destroyer, king of the locusts. He was descended from one of the most ancient and powerful families. His father Abdallah was the favourite son of Motalleb, a man of great opulence and liberality, who succeeded his father Hashem in the principality of Mecca, and custody of the Caaba. The aged Motalleb outlived his son, and took under his protection the orphan grandson. In the eighth year of his age, however, Mahomet was deprived of this guardian; and came of course under the immediate protection of Abu Taleb his uncle, who, himself a merchant of the first rank and wealth, now succeeded to all the dignities of his deceased father.

It appears to me altogether improper, therefore, to represent this impostor as rising from obscurity to eminence exclusively by his own merits. He was left indeed in early life an orphan without a patrimonial inheritance: but he had no alliance with poverty. He was educated in the first families of the age: his connexions were the first in power and rank: he travelled along with his uncle through Syria and Egypt, while engaged in mercantile pursuits: he was early made acquainted with the absurd mysteries of the prevailing religion; and under Abu Taleb, the victorious general of the Koreish, he served in a successful war, in which he acquired the rudiments of the science in which he afterwards became so famous in the east. In the twenty-eighth year of his age, Mahomet found himself possessed of independent property: and to his aspiring mind the most flattering prospects began to be unfolded. This state of things was brought about by his marriage with Cadigha, an opulent widow of Mecca, whose extensive mercantile concerns he had, for three years from the death of her first husband, conducted to great advantage.

He now began to cherish the hope that he might repair the loss incurred by the death of his father Abdallah, who, had he survived his grandfather, would have been the heir of his fortunes; and would have of course transmitted to his son the first dignities of Mecca. His intercourse with men of different nations and religions, was sufficient to convice him, that, in that age, there was no possibility of acquiring influence over the minds of men, without some show of religion. That of the Caaba was evidently declining; and, in its present state, the chief office of the system was lodged in other, and very powerful hands, from which he could have no hopes of wresting it for himself. The Christians were greatly divided; and the Jewish system was not well adapted to the condition of the Arabians. New sects of different descriptions were frequently springing up with various success. He resolved to become the prophet and apostle of a new religion. Intelligent, wealthy, courageous, crafty, ambitious, and eloquent, he had much to expect from his influence with the people; and the patronage of his powerful relatives promised him in the beginning protection from danger. He was in short remarkably qualified to be the king of barbarous fanatics, or an angel of hell. All that was necessary was to open the pit, that the smoke which generated the locusts might issue forth—that a suitable system of religion might be contrived for the deluded inhabitants of Arabia, a mongrel race of idolaters, half convinced of the folly of their present faith, of Jews, who knew but little of their own Bible, and of professed Christians, without understanding or piety.

Mahomet now felt one deficiency which was likely to prove irremediable. He, with all his natural talents and acquirements, lived in a society into which literature had never been introduced; and he could not himself either read or write. The Jews and the Christians were commonly designated as the people of the book; and no new system could be reasonably expected to prove successful without it were placed in that respect upon a footing with others. Without the smoke of the pit nothing could be done. The KORAN must be contrived and executed; and to this task the son of Abdallah is entirely unequal. He had not the key of the abyss. The Koran is the smoke from which the locusts spread over the land; and the author of the Koran, whoever he is, (and it is certain it could not be the pretended apostle himself,[6]) is the person designated in the prophecy as the fallen star, unto whom was given the key of the bottomless pit. This man is Sergius. To him must be ascribed the work of composing the religion of the Musselman. The histories of that age appear, it is true, at a loss whether to ascribe the work to a Jew, a Persian, or a monk; for each of those three were associates of the impostor: but internal evidence is furnished by the Koran itself that it owes its origin to some one acquainted with Christianity; and undoubtedly the Apocalyptical prediction determines the question.

It was a fallen star that opened the bottomless pit, and set loose the smoke of imposture, from whence issued the Arabian locusts under their king, the destroyer.

Sergius, called, by the Arabian writers, the monk Bahira, was a minister of the christian church, who had fallen into error and immorality of the deepest die. He had belonged to that class of people, who in those days of dissention were called Nestorians, from the celebrated bishop Nestorius, of Constantinople.

The dispute between this arrogant Prelate, and the still more haughty Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, had more of ambitious policy than of religion to give it origin and support. It began about the titles of the Virgin Mary: and the question was, whether she ought to be honoured with the epithet Θεοτοκος, or mother of God. Nestorius, in adopting the negative, was upon the side of truth. This dispute, however, continued until, in vain attempts to explain the union of two natures in Jesus Christ, the Nestorians asserted that there were two persons[7] united under one aspect.[8] This fixed upon them the charge of heresy; and their enemies triumphed. To this sect of Christians, spread over Persia and Arabia before the time of Mahomet, Sergius, the intimate associate of Mahomet, and the principal contriver of the system which bears that impostor’s name, belonged. He had contracted an intimacy with the youthful and engaging nephew of Abu Taleb, whom he first met at Bostra, a city on the confines of Syria;[9] and it was further cherished by the particular attention afterwards bestowed upon him, by the elegant husband of the opulent Cadigha, when he revisited that city, or when they met at Jerusalem.[10] Shortly after this, Sergius for high crimes was degraded from his ministry, and became a “fallen star.” Excommunicated from the church, and expelled from the monastery, he fled to Mecca. A man of genius and literature, suited to the purposes of Mahomet, and now reduced to the necessity of labouring for his bread, he entered readily into the views of the grandson of the famed Motalleb. Both were unrestrained by moral principle: the one was needy; and the other a splendid merchant, of uncommon address and boundless ambition. This will account for the connexion which they formed. Theophanes, Zonaras, Cedrenus, Anastasius, the author of the Historia Miscella, Friar Richard, and several other historians, speak of this fallen Monk, both under his proper name, and that of Bahira,[11] which he assumed in Arabia as the agent in composing the Koran.[12] He was the Gabriel[13] of Mahomet. When Sergius had finished his task, he was put to death by his base patron, for fear he should afterwards betray the imposture.

The new religion progressed after a few years with extraordinary rapidity; and in its progress became the wo, announced by the fifth Apocalyptical trumpet, which fell upon the eastern empire, and ravaged the adjacent countries, tormenting men for one hundred and fifty years of Saracenic invasion and conquest.

It was in the year 606, Mahomet commenced his imposture by retiring, under pretence of extraordinary sanctity, to the cave of Hera. In 612 he appeared as the apostle at the head of his disciples, publicly to propagate the new doctrine. Then did the locusts issue from the smoke of the pit, opened by the excommunicated monk, under their king Apollyon. In the year 762 the Caliph Almansor built the city of Bagdad, and called it “THE CITY OF PEACE.” A stop was then put to the devastation of the locusts. The Saracen empire continued for a longer time, but after this period it lost the disorderly locust character, and became a more regular commonwealth. Between the years 612 and 762, during the five months of prophecy, or 150 years, the Saracens overrun and subdued with terrible depredations, Syria, Persia, India, Egypt, and Spain.

We may now say with the text,

Verse 12. One wo is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

The second wo is announced in the succeeding verses, to which we now turn your intention.

TRUMPET VI.—Verses 13—21. And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of (he horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire, and smoke, and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. And the rest of the men, which were not killed by these plagues, yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood; which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

This is the description laid before us of the second wo. The first had already passed in vision before the apostle John. “One wo is past.” Two additional woes shall put a period to the empire which is the object of these several judgments. “There come two woes more hereafter.” The eastern empire, the object of the first wo, still continued to stand; and is of course attacked under the sixth trumpet. Meanwhile the western empire revives under a new form, and becomes both more guilty in the sight of God, and more alarmingly interesting to the church; and in this character it is the principal subject of both description and judgments, in the succeeding prophecies of the Revelation. Its downfall is effected by the third wo, or the seventh trumpet. At present, however, we are to expound the sixth trumpet.

I have already in this discourse given my reasons for applying the first and second wo to the Christian empire, as it still remained in the east, Constantinople being the seat of power. The Arabian locusts under Mahomet, gave to this power a shock of great violence; but it is under the sixth trumpet that it is completely overthrown.

History so minutely describes this overthrow, and the means by which it was effected, that there is no avoiding the application of the second wo, to the Mahometan conquerors of the empire of the Cesars. The text itself too, is so obviously descriptive of these invaders, that almost every Commentator of celebrity explains it of the followers of the impostor of Mecca. Mede, and Newton, and Faber, particularly, have so correctly illustrated the judgment of this trumpet, that I deem it sufficient to refer you to these writers for a satisfactory discussion. The objections of Mr. Woodhouse to this part of the scheme of interpretation are effectually superseded by the considerations already submitted. Even he, however, is constrained to acknowledge the application of the sixth trumpet to the Mahometan devastations.

The objects which, in this part of scripture, require the attention of the expositor, are the Euphratean angels—the specified time of their conquests—and, the character and consequences of their warfare.

1. THE EUPHRATEAN ANGELS AND HORSEMEN. Verses 13, 14, 16.—And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God., saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, loose THE FOUR ANGELS which are bound in THE GREAT RIVER EUPHRATES. And the four angels were loosed.—And the number of the army of THE HORSEMEN were two hundred thousand thousand.

The command to loose the four angels is from the Lord God of heaven and earth—A voice from the four horns of the golden altar. Vengeance upon the sins of men is proclaimed from the very sanctuary. The Saviour inflicts merited punishment upon them who neglect the salvation which he offers. The command to loose is immediately obeyed.

The four angels which were thus set at liberty to bring the second wo upon the eastern empire, are the four principal sultanies of the Turks. These were seated in their respective capitals, Bagdad, Damascus, Aleppo, and Iconium.

It is not taking an unjust liberty with the text to explain the four angels as the prophetical symbol of four sovereignties. An angel is a messenger; and, when communities are employed in the providence of God for accomplishing his work, it is perfectly in point to represent them as his messengers. A similar use is made of the term angel in reference to ecclesiastical proceedings, in the descriptive part of the Apocalypse. In the epistles to the churches of Asia Minor, the whole ministry of each city is addressed as one distinct community, under the title of “the angel of the church.” This is evident from the fact, that the one figurative angel is frequently addressed as many distinct agents throughout these epistles. It is equally appropriate to represent as an angel any other community, employed in its united character under a suitable leader, to execute the will of God.

It is not at all necessary to this interpretation that these four Turkish sultanies should have always existed as distinct sovereignties; or that this people never should have made war upon any christian nation before the sounding of the sixth trumpet: But, if before the time pointed out in the sacred prediction, the Turks had been well known; and four Turkish sultanies had in fact existed, and had also been well known as distinct communities, although actually acknowledging at the time of this wo one common head, there is certainly no incongruity in designating them as in the text under consideration. England, Scotland, and Ireland, are still commonly spoken of as “the three kingdoms,” although they have been united for two centuries under one sovereign.

The words of the prophecy furnish us with other reasons for adopting this interpretation, and defending it from the animadversions of Archdeacon Woodhouse. The four angels were bound in the great river Euphrates; and it is not until they were loosed that as myriads of horsemen they marched on their ferocious warfare for the entire subversion of the Greek empire. The location of these four powers in the regions watered by this mighty stream, affords a geographical description too accurate to be overlooked. Every scholar acquainted with the history of the Turks, is well assured that this was the principal seat of their power for a long period of time preceding their successful attacks upon the empire of Constantinople. Mr. Joseph Mede, and bishop Newton, have both faithfully applied the facts to the prediction. I shall show, in the proper place, that there is sufficient reason for understanding figuratively the river Euphrates in the judgment of the sixth vial, inflicted upon the symbolical Babylon, the Latin Roman empire, although in this case we understand it literally as designating the country from which the enemy came who overthrew the eastern image of the Cesars.

In the territories adjoining the Euphrates, the Turkish sultanies had providentially been confined against their will by the successful expeditions of the European Christians, until the latter part of the thirteenth century. Then the angels of destruction were loosed; and the Euphratean horsemen in immense multitudes fell upon the subjects of the Christian empire of the east. And the number of the army of horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand.

2. The specified time of their conquests next demands our attention. Verse 15. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.]

The third part of men, is the prophetical expression for the subjects of the great empire, the object of this wo. To torment these men, the expression employed under the preceding wo, (verse 5.) is to harass and distress the empire; but to slay them, signifies the extinction of its name and power. This was to have been accomplished in a definite time.

A year, in the symbolical style, consists of as many natural years as there are, according to the Jewish chronology, natural days in a year; and thus, the hour, day, month, and year, will amount to a period of 391 years and 15 days. An hour is the twenty-fourth part of a day, and consequently in prophetical style represents the twenty-fourth part of a year. Each day for a year, Ezek. iv. 6.[14]

 

YEARS.

DAYS.

An hour is

A day is

A month is

A year is

 

1

30

360

15

 

 

 

 

The whole time

391

15

According to this calculation the time allotted for the complete subjugation of the Constantinopolitan power, and for the establishment of the Turkish empire upon its ruins, is, from the first success of the Euphratean horsemen, a period of 391 years and a few days. Had history been as faithful to the dates in respect of days, as it has been in mentioning the years in which signal events have come to pass, there is no doubt but the most perfect precision would appear in applying the facts to the sacred prediction. The first conquests of the Ottoman Turks over the Christians took place in the capture of the famous city Cutahi; and the last victory by which any advantages accrued to that power in the augmentation of the empire, was at the capture of Cameniec.

1672

1281

Cameniec was taken in

Cutahi was taken in

 

 

391

 “The Turks,” says Mr. Faber, “under Ortogrul, gained their first victory over the Greek empire in the year 1261, by the conquest of Cutahi; in the year 1357, they crossed over into Europe: in the year 1453, they took Constantinople; and the remaining provinces of the empire soon followed the fate of the capital: in the year 1669, they made themselves masters of Crete: and in the year 1672, they wrested Cameniec, their last conquest from the Poles.”

3. The character and consequences of this warfare.

The besieging armies were an immense multitude—two hundred thousand thousand. Mahomet II. had at the siege of Constantinople a fleet of two hundred and thirty sail, and an army of four hundred thousand men to co-operate with his naval force. A very great proportion of this army was cavalry.

The horsemen appeared in vision as if they had breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone.

The colour of fire is red, that of jacinth, or hyacinth, blue, and of brimstone yellow: and this, said Mr. Daubuz, “had a literal accomplishment: for the Ottomans, from the first time of their appearance, have affected to wear such warlike apparel of scarlet, blue, and yellow.” The heads of their horses were as the heads of lions, to denote their strength, their courage, and their fierceness. Out of their mouths issued fire, and smoke, and brimstone, which destroyed the men that opposed them. This refers to the terrible mode of warfare (unknown indeed at the time of the prediction,) which was introduced under the sixth trumpet, and hath since been practised extensively among the nations which are called civilized—the destruction produced by gunpowder. The artillery employed by Mahomet the son of Amurath, at the siege of Constantinople, was of astonishing size, and produced upon the walls of that proud city a corresponding effect. One of these great guns is said to have been drawn by seventy yoke of oxen, and to have discharged rocks of three hundred pounds weight.

The army under consideration bore in some things a striking resemblance to the Saracenic locusts. They had tails like unto serpents, and had power to do hurt by their tails. The wild and raging fanaticism which animated these ferocious Mahometans followed them wheresoever they went. Their soul-destroying religion was propagated with unabating zeal, and daring cruelty; and they triumphed alike over the persons and the principles of all that opposed them. The Bible was torn from the hands of the degenerate Christians, and committed before their eyes to the flames; and they were themselves compelled throughout the extent of the empire to do homage to the KORAN.

The consequences were not salutary, or such as indicated reformation among those who still remained in the profession of the Christian faith, either in Europe or in Asia. The idolatries, the heresies, the immoralities, and the gross superstition, which provoked the divine indignation against those who perverted the gospel of God were still adhered to with persevering obstinacy. Mercy had been abused, and even judgments were unprofitable to a graceless people. The rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues, yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

The Greek church fell with the Constantinopolitan empire. It was first in the transgression, and it first received its doom. The Latin Roman church refused to take warning by the wo of the sixth trumpet; and still persists in its impious league with the beast with ten horns. The third wo, or seventh trumpet, puts a period to the whole system of iniquity; but the consideration of this judgment must for the present be postponed. The time of the seventh trumpet falls within the third great prophetical period which we have designated the period of the vials.

Before we proceed to the investigation of the predictions which have reference to it, this lecture must be brought to a close; and we shall do so, with the following reflections.

THE CONCLUDING REFLECTIONS

respect, The nature of the Mahometan religion—The progress of the great power which is its principal support—and the necessity of carefully distinguishing from every other religion, that personal piety, which, through the faith of the gospel, prepares for eternal life.

1. The Mahometan Religion.

The creed of the Mussulman is essentially the same with that of the Socinians, which they presumptuously denominate UNITARIAN, as if they alone worshipped one God. The coincidence between the religion of the Mahometan, and that of the modern Socinians, has been distinctly perceived by respectable writers of different countries, and has been acknowledged by Socinians themselves.[15] Professing reverence for the christian scriptures, these Unitarians quote them, reject them, and pervert them, at pleasure; and pretend to found upon them their own incoherent and impious dogmas.

The impostor of Mecca admitted the divine origin of both the Old and the New Testament, and gave out that they both predicted his own mission, as superior to Moses, and even to Jesus Christ. In the sixty-first chapter, the KORAN has these words, “Remember that Jesus the Son of Mary said to the children of Israel, I am the messenger of God; he hath sent me to confirm the Old Testament, and to declare unto you, that there shall come a prophet after me, whose name shall be Mahomet.”[16] Four texts of scripture are employed to prove that the son of Abdallah was a teacher sent from God, Deut. xxxiii. 2. Psa. 1. 2. Isa. xxi. 7. John xvi. 7. I shall not however, take up your time by repeating the argument or the criticism upon these passages. There is none of you in danger of taking Mahomet for the Comforter.

As the Mahometan system rejects the idea of an atonement, and of the sinner's total and original depravity, it entirely discards the doctrine of the Trinity, and the divinity of Jesus Christ. There is of course no place in this system for regeneration or sanctification, in the christian acceptation of these terms.

Friday is the Sabbath of the Moslem, because, they say, God on that day created man. Prayer and fasting, and alms-giving, are the principal ordinances of religion, except a pilgrimage to Mecca, which is required expressly from every Mussulman once in his life. The doctrine of fatalism is derived by Mahomet from the divine decrees; religion is to be propagated by the sword rather than by argument; and the heaven of the false prophet is modelled, according to his own brutal appetite for the female sex, into a place of sensual gratification.

It has been much disputed whether he was a fanatic or a deceiver; but there is no ground for such disputation. He was both. He was enthusiastically ambitious. He believed probably in many falsehoods; and he contrived others to carry his own purposes into effect. Many indeed are the contradictions of his Koran; and all admit that much of his pretended revelation was published in order to cover the crimes he had previously committed. His apologist, Mr. Gibbon, cannot deny what he endeavours to palliate. “In his private conduct Mahomet indulged the appetites of a man, and abused the claims of a prophet. A special revelation dispensed him from the laws which he had imposed on his nation; the female sex, without reserve, was abandoned to his desires; and this singular prerogative excited the envy, rather than the scandal, the veneration, rather than the envy, of the devout Mussulman.”[17]

Dean Prideaux, with his characteristic industry and good sense, examines this religion; compares its claims with those of Christianity upon our faith; and proves it an imposture.

The marks of an imposture which this writer gives deserve to be held in remembrance. They may with propriety in other cases also answer as a criterion by which we may try the conduct of men. They are illustrated in his letter to the Deists, annexed to his Life of Mahomet.

Such, Christians, is the nature of that cruel and carnal religion which has been forced upon millions of the human family by the sword of a barbarous and fanatical foe; which fell as a wo by the just judgments of God upon a corrupt church and empire; which triumphed effectually over the proud battlements of Constantinople; and which holds in ignorance and bondage until this day a sixth part of the inhabitants of the earth.

2. The progress of the great power, which is at present the principal support of Mahometan delusion, deserves attention, as the 1260 years of its prevalence against true religion are drawing near an end.[18]

Having spread generally through the east under the empire of the Saracens, according to the predictions of the fifth trumpet, the first wo, it was by the success of the Ottoman Turks the religion of Mahomet became established throughout the vast extent of the Christian empire of the eastern Cesars.

The Turks originally occupied the high lands of Siberia, now occupied by the Tartars and Calmucks, extending from Caf, or Immaus, to Mount Atlas, being, probably the centre and the summit of Asia. They were the most contemptible of the slaves, working the iron forges of the great Khan of Geougen. At first a ferocious and lawless race, they soon enslaved, under the auspices of an upstart leader, their former masters, and became a terror to the surrounding nations. Roman history takes notice of them as early as the age of Pliny; and six hundred years before the Ottoman power was known, they were a terror not only to the Chinese, but also to the Greek Roman empire. Spreading to the south, several tribes of the Turks became subject to the Saracenic empire; and the Caliph Motassem had in the ninth century upwards of fifty thousand Turkish youth educated in the Mahometan religion as the guards of his capital. The progress of the Turks is rapidly sketched with a masterly hand in the following sentence, which I quote from a well-known historian [i.e., Gibbon]. “Their Scythian empire of the sixth century was long since dissolved; but the name was still famous among the Greeks and Orientals; and the fragments of the nation, each a powerful and independent people, were scattered over the desert from China to the Oxus and the Danube; the colony of Hungarians was admitted into the republic of Europe, and the thrones of Asia were occupied by slaves and soldiers of Turkish extraction. While Apulia and Sicily were subdued by the Norman lance, a swarm of these northern shepherds overspread the kingdoms of Persia: their princes of the race of Seljuk, erected a splendid and solid empire from Samarcam to the confines of Greece and Egypt; and the Turks have maintained their dominion in Asia Minor, till the victorious crescent has been planted on the dome of St. Sophia.”[19] In the space of twenty-five years, from 1055 to 1080, Togrul Beg, Ducas, Melech, and Cutlu Muses, and his son, erected four distinct sultanies in the regions watered by the Euphrates, and fixed their respective thrones in Bagdad, Damascus, Aleppo, and Iconium. Confined to their own country, as bound angels, it was not until some hundred years thereafter, the Turks, who had been previously united under Othman, the founder of the OTTOMAN EMPIRE, were let loose to invade the dominions of the Greek Christians. That power, since the present commotions of modern Europe have commenced, appears rapidly on the decline, and it continues to exist only by the jealousies which vainly strive to preserve the balance of empire in the great commonwealth of civilized nations.

3. Let us in reviewing this fanaticism, learn to distinguish true religion from every other system.

Scepticism often proceeds from the contemplation of the numerous and disorderly sectaries which make a pretension to real religion ; because, the understanding is amazed, and the moral sense is hardened, at the sight of so many extravagancies and delusions, as have from time to time distracted the nations and the churches of the world. Every religion proposes to make man happy in the worship of a superior being. The christian religion alone teaches that the sinner cannot have friendship with God, but in a Divine Mediator, upon the foot ins; of a perfectly satisfactory atonement. This, brethren, is its essential characteristic. In order to be, even in theory, a true Christian, it is indispensably necessary to believe that every sinner is, in himself considered, justly condemned to everlasting punishment; that Jesus Christ has made perfect satisfaction to divine justice for the sins of men ; and that justice not only admits, but requires, that every sinner who is united by grace to Jesus Christ in the new covenant, shall, being in Christ, be saved with an everlasting salvation. To be a Christian, not merely in theory, but in fact, is to be thus united by a living faith to the only Redeemer of God’s elect.

Such are the Christians who profit by the sorrows of life; who seek the glory of their Father and their God; who are unhurt by the trumpet of wo ; and who, under the sound of the glorious gospel, march to conquest and to triumph. There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them WHICH ARE IN CHRIST Jesus. AMEN.


FOOTNOTES:


[1] Page 136. [HERE]

[2] By SMOKE, in the figurative language of Scripture, are denoted dark confused doctrines clouding the light of pure revelation.—Woodhouse, p. 261.

[3] Jerah, Gen. x. 26.

[4] The Caaba was the sacred temple of these idolaters. It stood in the city of Mecca, and contained about 360 idols, besides the statue of HOBAL, the principal object of their worship. To this temple a yearly visit, accompanied with gifts and costly oblations, must be paid by the devotees from all parts of Arabia.

[5] “The prophet Mohammed can no longer be stripped of the famous, though improper, appellation of Mahomet: the well-known cities of Aleppo, Damascus, and Cairo, would almost be lost in the strange descriptions of Haleb, Damashk, and Al Cahira; and we are pleased to blend the three Chinese monosyllables Con-fu-tzee, in the respectable name of Confucius.” Gibbon.

[6] Mr. Gibbon, who appears to have had a great affection for the impostor Mahomet, as well as for Julian the apostate, admits that the false prophet was illiterate; and even censures Mr. White (Bampton Lecture) for suggesting a doubt upon the subject. I think it, however, extremely probable, that the genius of Mahomet could not be satisfied with remaining entirely ignorant of letters. He certainly had a sufficient opportunity of learning, at least how to read and write. I suspect this was in part his business with Sergius, and during the time of his retirement in the cave of Hera. Unremitted attention for two or three years might accomplish this object.

[7] υποστασεις.

[8] Barsopa, or προσωπος.

[9] Pockock, Hist. Arab. 53—127.

[10] Prideaux’s Life of Mahomet, p. 32.

[11] Bahira is an Arabic word, signifying a camel turned out, on account of its former usefulness, to free pasture.

[12] Prideaux’s Life of Mahomet, p. 31—33.

[13] The impostor pretended immediate intercourse with the angel Gabriel.

[14] See also in explanation of the origin of this mode of calculation, Numb. xiv. 34. and in confirmation, Dan. ix. 24.

[15] The learned Hottinger, Historia Orientalis, compares the doctrines of both these systems together, and points out their coincidence. The Dean of Norwich has not omitted making the same remark; and Dr. Magee, the author of a very learned, acute, and instructive work, on the subject of the Scriptural Atonement and Sacrifice, illustrates an assertion of a similar import, by a note which I take the liberty of laying before my readers at full length.

“It deserves to be noticed, that a complacency for the religion of Mahomet, is a character by which the liberality of the Socinian or Unitarian is not less distinguished than that of the Deist. The reason assigned for this by Mr. Van Mildert is a just one. Mahometanism is admired by both, because it sets aside those distinguishing doctrines of the gospel, the divinity of Christ, and the sacrifice upon the cross; and prepares the way for what the latter are pleased to dignify with the title of Natural Religion, and the former with that of Rational Christianity.—Van Milder’s Boyle Lect. vol. i. p. 208. The same writer also truly remarks, (p. 202.) that, besides exhibiting a strange compound of Heathen and Jewish errors, the code of Mahomet comprizes almost every heterodox opinion that has ever been entertained respecting the Christian faith.

Indeed, the decided part which the Unitarians have heretofore taken with the prophet of Mecca, seems not to be sufficiently adverted to at the present day. The curious reader, if he will turn to Mr. Leslie’s Theolog. Works, vol. i. p. 207. will not be a little entertained to see conveyed, in a solemn address from the English Unitarians to the Mahometan ambassador of Morocco, in the reign of Charles the second, a cordial approbation of Mahomet and the Koran. The one is said to have been raised up by God to scourge the idolizing Christians, whilst the other is spoken of as a precious record of the true faith. Mahomet they represent to be “a preacher of the gospel of Christ;” and they describe themselves to be his “fellow-champions for the truth.” The mode of warfare they admit, indeed, to be different; but the object contended for they assert to be the same. “We, with our Unitarian brethren, have been in all ages exercised to defend with our pens the faith of one supreme God; as he hath raised your Mahomet to do the same with the sword, as a scourge on those idolizing Christians.” (p. 209.) Leslie, upon a full and deliberate view of the case, admits the justice of the claim set up by the Unitarians to be admitted to rank with the followers of Mahomet; pronouncing the one to have as good a title to the appellation of Christians as the other, (p. 337.) On a disclosure by Mr. Leslie, of the attempt which had thus been made by the Socinians, to form a confederacy with the Mahometans, the authenticity of the address, and the plan of the projected coalition at the time were strenuously denied. The truth of Mr. Leslie’s statement, however, (of which from the character of the man no doubt could well have been at any time entertained,) has been since most fully and incontrovertibly confirmed.—See Whitaker’s Origin of Arianism, p. 399. Mr. Leslie also shows, that this Unitarian scheme of extolling Mahometanism as the only true Christianity, continued for a length of time to be acted on with activity and perseverance. He establishes this at large, by extracts from certain of their publications, in which it is endeavoured to prove, “that Mahomet had no other design but to restore the belief of the Unity of God, which at that time was extirpated among the Eastern Christians by the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation: that Mahomet meant not, that his religion should be esteemed a new religion, but only the restitution of the true intent of the Christian religion: that the Mahometan learned men call themselves the true disciples of the Messias;” and, to crown all, “that Mahometanism has prevailed so greatly, not by force and the sword,—but by that one truth in the Koran, the Unity of God.” And, as a just consequence from all this, it is strongly contended, that “the Tartars had acted more rationally in embracing the sect of Mahomet, than the Christian faith of the Trinity, Incarnation,” &c. Leslie, vol. i. pp. 216, 217. Magee on Atonement, p. 85. New- York Ed. 1813. Did worldly policy answer, there can be no doubt that Unitarians would rather bear the name of Mahomet than of Socinus, and would prefer the Koran to the best system of christian theology.

[16] Prideaux’s Life of Mahomet, p. 110. London, 1808.

[17] Hist. Dec. Vol. VI. p. 201. Phil[adelphia]. 1805.

[18] I shall hereafter show the justness of this computation.

[19] Hist. Dec. and Fall, Vol. VII. p. 157.