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with him ever after : till at length the impostor, having no further occasion for him, to secure the secret, put him
In the year 606, Mohammed committed the first overt act of his imposture by retiring to the cave of Hera : consequently then it was, that the fallen star Sergius opened the door of the bottomless pit. The locusts however and their leader did not immediately issue forth, or publicly disclose themselves : their open manifestation was to be preceded by the smoke and fumes of the false religion which they were about to propagate. Accordingly Mohammed emerged from his solitary retreatt about the year 609 ; and began to excite that smoke, which soon darkened all the eastern heaven. « Three years he silently employed in the conversion of fourteen proselytes, the first fruits of his mission. But, in the fourth year,” or the year 612," he assumed the prophetic office, and resolved to impart to his family the light of divine truth."$ In this year 612 then, Mohammed and his disciples, or Apollyon and his locusts, may be considered as issuing from the bottomless pit, which the fallen star Sergius had been the main instrument of opening. Consequently the five prophetic months, during which the locusts were allowed to torment mankind, expired in the year 762 ; when the caliph Almansor built Bagdad as the future seat of his empire, and called it the city of peace. At this period, the Saracens ceased from their ló
• See Prideaux's Life of Mohammed, p. 47.
+ Mr. Whitaker's conjecture, that the bottomless pit, or the cave of the abyss, (which no doubt is the literal translation of the original expression) alludes to the cave of Hera, (caves being often considered by pagan superstition as the seats of oracles and sources of inspiration,") has the merit of possessing much ingenuity ; but I am not perfectly satisfied how far it may be deemed solid. In the first place, it does not appear that we are warranted in taking symbolical language in a literal sense, unless it be avowedly descriptive ; as, for instance, when the Euphratèan army is said to consist of borsemen, and to seem as if vomiting fore, and brimstone, and smoke : and, in tbe second place, Mohammed literally issued from the cave of Hera about tbe year 609, which will'not agree with that part of the prophecy, which speaks of tbe locusts tormenting men five months. Whitaker's Comment. p. 123.
Dr. Prideaux makes the impostor emerge from his cave in the year 608, and spend four years in the private exercise of his assumed function. This arrangement however, no less than that of Mr. Gibbon, equally brings us to the year 612. Life of Mobammed, p. 15. S Hist, of Decline and Fall, Vol. ir. p. 284. VOL. I.
cust devastations, and became a settled people. Ifenceforth they no longer made such rapid conquests as they had formerly done; but only engaged in ordinary wars like other nations. The five months, or 150 years, being now expired, Mohammedism was firmly established ; although the power of its particular votaries the Saracens began to decline, in order to make room for its new proselytes, described under the next trumpet.*
A command was given to Apollyon, and his symbolical locusts, that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree Accordingly it was the special injunction of Abubeker to the Saracens, that they should destroy no palm trees, nor burn any fields of corn ; that they should cut down no fruit trees, nor injure any cattle except such as they killed to eat.
The commission of the locusts extended only to hurt those men who hud not the seal of God in their foreheads ; and, though they were permitted to hurt them, their warrant gave them no authority to kill them—Now it appears from history, that in the countries invaded by the Saracens a very great defection from primitive Christianity had taken place; for, before they began their ravages, the transgressors (to use the language of Daniel) were come to the full, ihe will-worship of saints and martyrs had extended itself far and wide, and the great Apostacy of 1260 days had commenced. Hence we find, that, when they approached Savoy, Piedmont, and the southern provinces of France, which had been but little tainted with the general disease, and which were afterwards the seat of the Waldenses and Albigenses, they were defeated with great slaughter by Charles Martel in several engagements. They were however only allowed to torment the great body politic of the apostate empire; they were not permitted to kill it. Accordingly, they were
I cannot assent to Sir Isaac Newton's supposition, that the prophet's repetition of the five montbs, in two different verses, implies ten months, or 300 years. Had St. John meant to convey this idea, he would have joined the two periods of five months each, by a conjunction copulative, in the same verse ; as thus : « their power was to torment men five months and five months." The illustrious commentator does not seen to have been aware, that upon the same principle, we must extend the persecution of the Church from 1260 years to twice 1260 years; for the period is twice mentioned in the single prophecy of the woman's flight into tbe wilderness. Compare Rev. xii. 6. with Ver. 14.
never able to take Constantinople, or to subvert its monarchy, though they frequently attempted it ; the task of giving the fatal blow to its declining power being reserved for their successors the Turks.
The symbolical locusts were like horses prepared for the battle : the strength of the Saracens consisted chiefly in their cavalry— The locusts had on their heads as it were crowns like gold : the Arabs have constantly worn turbans; and even boast that they wear, as their common attire, those ornaments which among other people are the peculiar badges of royalty-The locusts had faces as the faces of men, and hair as the hair of women : the Arabs, as Pliny testifies, wore their beards, or at least their mustachios, as men ; while their hair was flowing or plaited, like that of women-The teeth of the locusts were as the teeth of a lion ; an expression frequently used in Scripture to denote great strength ;* the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle ; to represent at once the rapid conquests of the Saracens, and their proverbial skill in horsemanship: and they had stings in their tails like Scorpions ; to signify that they should carry along with them, whereever they flew, a loathsome and deadly superstition.t
At the conclusion of the prophecy respecting the Saracenic locusts, it is added, “ One woe is past.” Now, since we had already been informed, that their power
of doing mischief was limited to five months, or 150 years ; it is evident, that the first woe-trumpet ceased to sound at the end of the 150 years, or in the year of our Lord 762. It further appears, that a considerable period of time was to elapse between the end of the first woc-trumpet, and the beginning of the second : for the prophet here simply intimates, that “ there come two more woes hereafter;" whereas, at the conclusion of the second woe, he asserts, “ behold the third woe cometh quickly.”I
At the sounding of the sixth angel, a command was given him to loose the four angels which are bound in
“ Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth : break out the great teeth of young lions, O Lord.” Psalm lviii. 6.
+ Bp. Newton's Dissert. on Rev. ix.
the great river Euphrates, ready prepared to slay the third part of men for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year. Thus liberated from their confinement, the four angels issued forth at the head of two hundred thousand thousand horsemen: The warriors themselves appeared to the prophet to wear breast-plates of fire, and hyacinth, and brimstone ; and from the lion-like heads of their horses seemed to proceed fire, and smoke, and brimstone. By these destructive flashes a third part of men were killed. The horses of the Euphratèan cavalry, like the Saracenic locusts, had power no less in their taiss than in their mouths : for “ their tails were like serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt." Notwithstanding the death of the third part of men, the prophet informs us, that those, who had escaped these two successive plagues, still hardened their hearts, and repented not of their idolatry, their sorcery, and their fornication.*
The four angels are the four sultanies of the Turks ; the capitals of which were Bagdad, † Damascus, Aleppo, and Iconium. I These were long restrained from extending their conquests beyond the territories immediately adjoining to the river Euphrates, by the instrumentality, in the course of God's providence, of the crusades. But, when the Christians abandoned Syria and Egypt at the latter end of the thirteenth century, then the four angels on the river Euphrates were loosed. Ortogrul, dying in the year 1288, was succeeded by his son Othman; who, in the year 1299, founded a new empire composed of the remains of the four Turkish sultanies.
Under the fifth trumpet, we have seen the men, who had not the seal of God in their foreheads, tormented but not killed. We now find, under the sixth trumpet, that the third part of men, or the Roman empire then
* Rev. ix. 19-21,
# The number four twice occurs in the early history of the Turks, no less than in the precise number of their Sultanies. Soliman Sbab was drowned in attempting to cross the Euphrates with his tbree sons ; and was succeeded by his youngest son Ortogrul, who had likewise three sons. I think however, that tbe four Sultanies are peculiarly meant ; for prophecy usually speaks of states, rather than of individuals. But, in whatever manner the prediction of the four Euphratèan angels be understood, it is accurately accomplished in the fortunes of tbe Turkisb empire.
represented by the Constantinopolitan monarchy, is to be slain, and not merely tormented by the Euphrutdan horsemen.*
The space of time, allotted for the entire completion of this great enterprize, is an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year ; or 391 natural years and 15 days. The accurate accomplishment of this numerical prophecy is singularly remarkable. The Turks, under Ortogrul, gained their first victory over the Greek empire in the year 1981, by the conquest of Cutahi : in the year 1357, ihey 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. If now we compute 391 years from the year 1281, they will exactly bring us down to the year 1672. Upon this wonderful coincidence, Bp. Newton further remarks,“ if more accurate and authentic histories of the Ottomans were brought to light, and we knew the very day wherein . Cutahi was taken as certainly as we know that wherein Cameniec was taken, the like exactness might also be found in the fifteen days.” Since the time of their last conquest, the Turks have had various wars with the European powers, and with various success ; but they have never made any fresh territorial acquisition, and now in all human probability never will.
The cavalry of the Euphratèan warriors is described as consisting of myriads upon myriads : and they are represented as wearing breat-plates of fire, of hycinth, and of brimstone ; or, in other words, red, blue, and yellow. The Turks brought immense armies into the field, composed chiefly of horse ; and, from the first time of their
I have already stated, on what grounds the Roman Empire is represented as a ibird part of the symbolical universe. It may not be improper here to observe, that the death of a beast and the death of a community do not mean the same thing. The death of e beast denotes tbe extinction of those idolatrous principles wbicb cause a pagan empire to be symbelized by a beast : whereas the death of a community denotes its subversion. Hence we do not find it said, that tbe Roman beast was slain by the Eupbratean borsemen, because such phraseology would not have conveyed the intended meaning of the prophet ; but that the tbird part of men, or the body politic of wbat remained of the original empire, was slain. Accordingly, in perfect agreement with this distinction, the Roman beast still continued to exist, and will exist to the very end of the 1260 years, notwithstanding the political death of the third part of men.