Page images

seventeenth year of the emperor Heraclius, (A.D. 626,) “from October to June, during which half its body was hid, so as to give but little light," p. 99. This might aptly represent the partial eclipse of true religion in the eastern world. And Abubeker, the next caliph, who succeeded Mahomet in A.D. 632, when he invaded Syria, gave directions to his general, Yezed,

Destroy no palm trees, burn no fields of corn, cut down no fruit trees, nor hurt the cattle, except such only as you kill for food;" and they greatly tormented or harassed the corrupt Greek and Latin Churches for five months of days, or one hundred and fifty years; and the usual time of their campaigns was during the summer months, from April till September each year.

We may date the commencement of Mahomet's mission about A.D. 620, after he had publicly announced himself the prophet of God, with commission to restore the primitive patriarchal religion, and broached his famous journey to heaven, under the care of the angel Gabriel; which was so ill received by his countrymen of Mecca, that he was forced to fly for his life, A.D. 622, the commencement of the era of the Hegira, or "flight." Then he published a new revelation in the Koran, licensing him to destroy idolaters and establish Islamism, (“ dedication” to the service of GOD) by the sword; promising the joys of an earthly and sensual Paradise to such of his followers as should lose their lives in his cause, (Sale's Koran, p. 149, 178, &c.) a doctrine evidently grounded upon misinterpretation of the Heavenly Jerusalem in the Apocalypse, Rev. xxi. &c.

If we date the commencement of this trumpet with the beginning of the persecuting period of 1260 years, beginning A.D. 620, (see Vol. II. p. 521,) the Saracen depredations for one hundred and fifty years expired A.D. 770, when the caliph Almansor had built Bagdat, in 762, made it the seat of his mighty empire, including Syria, Persia, India, Egypt, Spain, &c. and called it "the city of peace." From this epoch the Saracens became a settled nation, and ceased to torment, or harass the world with their predatory excursions.

6. The sounding of the sixth trumpet, which ushered in the second woe, did not immediately follow the cessation of the

• Mahomet, going one day into a Jewish synagogue, was asked, What religion he was of? He answered, Of the religion of Abraham. They replied, Abraham was a Jew. But Mahomet, proposing that the question should be decided by the Pentateuch, they declined the challenge. Sale's Koran, p. 37, note.

first. And this, perhaps, is implied in the difference of the account of the ending of the first woe, which is only said to be followed by "two more," Rev. ix. 12; but not "quickly," as the second by the third, xi. 14.

At the sounding of this trumpet the four destroying angels, who had been bound during the cessation, in the great river Euphrates, were loosed; these were prepared to slay the third part of mankind for an hour, a day, a month, and a year. And they were followed by innumerable troops of horsemen, armed with breast-plates, and vomiting out of their mouths fire and smoke, and sulphur, with which they slew the third part of mankind; for their power was in their mouths. And they also stung with their scorpions' tails, like their predecessors, the locusts, ix. 13-19.

These aptly represented the four sultanies of the Turks, bordering upon the river Euphrates, let loose to overthrow the Saracen empire, whose capital was on that river. The first of these was founded by Togrul Bey, who took Bagdat from the Saracens, A.D. 1055. The second at Damascus, A.D. 1079; the third at Aleppo, the same year; the fourth at Iconium, A.D. 1080; all in the course of twenty-five years. At this time their progress was checked during the Crusades, or fanatical wars of the western Christian powers, instigated by the popes to recover the Holy Land from these infidels, as they styled the Turks. For these disastrous aggressions, in which they perished by the sword, the Turks retaliated with a severe vengeance upon the Christians. In A.D. 1281, Ortogrul took the famous city of Kutahi from the Greek emperor; in 1357 Orchan crossed over to Europe; in 1453 Mahomet II. took Constantinople, and thus began the downfal of the eastern empire, the rest of which followed the fate of the capital. Their last conquest was in 1672, when Mahomet IV. took Caminiec in Poland. These dates remarkably correspond to the prophetic term of their conquests, for three hundred and ninety-one years and fifteen days *, from

[blocks in formation]

A.D. 1281 to A.D. 1672. "And if," says Bishop Newton, “we knew the precise day on which Kutahi was taken, as of Caminiec, the like exactness would probably be found in the additional fifteen days also."

The Turkish conquests were chiefly made by their powerful artillery, and the invention of gunpowder, which were first employed at the siege of Constantinople, and are both minutely described in the prophecy. And as they destroyed the Christians dreadfully from the mouths of their cannons, so they stung them with their tails, propagating the corrupt Mahometan doctrines which they had embraced, by persecution* more grievous and destructive than their predecessors, the Saracens, who cultivated letters and the liberal arts: but both were despised and trampled on by the barbarous Turks*.

These plagues were inflicted by the ministers of divine wrath upon the corrupt Christian world. But they did not produce a reformation. The remnant that were left did not repent of their stupid and senseless idolatries, still worshipping demons, (or saints and angels,) and images of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood; nor of their impious massacres, sorceries, fornications, and thefts, ver. 20, 21.

A check, indeed, to these idolatries and corruptions in the western Church was produced by the three angels of reformation, Wickliffe, Huss, and Luther, (Rev. xiv. 6—12,) and other faithful witnesses of THE LAW and of THE TESTIMONY in the northern part of Europe, during the sixth trumpet, or second woe. But it was partial and incomplete: the Evangelical doctrine and primitive discipline of the Church have been no where revived or retained in full purity and perfection; and the witnesses are still persecuted.

The continuance of the grand apostacy in religion and corruption of morals, more or less, throughout the whole body of the Church, both in the east and west, threatened to bring down the last and most tremendous woe of the seven vials, containing the seven last plagues, during the sounding of the seventh trumpet, Rev. xi. 14.

"Bigotry is so prevalent still, at Old Fez, in Morocco, that if a Christian were inadvertently to exclaim, Allah kbeer, God is great,' he would be invited immediately to add, And Mahomet is his prophet,' which, if he ignorantly did before witnesses, he would be irretrievably made a Mahometan, and circumcised accordingly." Jackson's Account of Morocco.


We are now arrived at the last most awful and most interesting period of these judgments of heaven. Before we attempt to determine the time of its commencement, we shall follow as a clue to guide our steps in this arduous investigation, a remarkable analogy subsisting between the seven vials, the seven trumpets, and the Egyptian plagues.

1. The first vial was discharged upon the earth, and inflicted a malignant and grievous ulcer, or boil upon idolaters and infidels, Rev. xvi. 2. The first trumpet discharged a destructive storm of hail, fire, and blood upon the earth, viii. 7. These correspond to the two first of the second and sorer set of Egyptian plagues, the sixth and seventh: in the former the idolatrous Egyptians and their magicians were punished with the boil; in the latter the land or earth was destroyed by the hail storm. See Vol. II. p. 173, 174.

2. The second vial was poured upon the sea, turned it into putrid blood, and destroyed all the fish, Rev. xvi. 3. The second trumpet cast a burning mountain into the sea, turned it into blood, and destroyed the fish and a third part of the ships, viii. 8, 9. These correspond to the first Egyptian plague of turning the waters of the Nile into blood, and killing all the fish. See Vol. II. p. 168.

3. The third vial was poured upon the rivers and water springs, and turned them into blood, in retaliation for the blood of the martyrs, xvi. 4-6. The third trumpet made the third part of the rivers and water springs bitter as wormwood, which killed those that drank of them, viii. 10, 11. These correspond to the remainder of the first Egyptian plague, of turning all the canals and springs into blood. See Vol. II. p. 169.

4. The fourth vial was poured upon the sun, which scorched the impenitent blasphemers with heat, xvi. 8, 9. The fourth trumpet brought on a partial darkness of a third part of the sun, moon, and stars, viii. 12. These corresponded to the Egyptian darkness of three days, in the ninth plague. See Vol. II. p. 178.

5. The fifth vial was poured upon the throne of the beast, and darkened his kingdom, and punished with labours and boils the impenitent blasphemers, xvi. 10, 11. The fifth trumpet darkened the sun and air with the smoke of false doctrine, and tormented the world with the symbolical locusts, or Sara

cens, ix. 1-5. These corresponded to the ninth and eighth plagues of Egypt. See Vol. II. p. 177, 178.

6. The sixth vial was poured upon the river Euphrates, and dried it up to afford a passage for the kings of the east to make a religious war against the Holy Land; instigated by three impure spirits, like frogs, issuing out of the mouths of the dragon, or Satan, of the [papal] beast, and of the false prophet, [or Mahometan beast] xvi. 12-16. The sixth trumpet let loose the destroying angels bound in the Euphrates, and sent innumerable troops of Turkish horsemen, with artillery and gunpowder, to destroy the eastern empire, ix. 13-19. These correspond to the second Egyptian plague of frogs. See Vol. II. p. 169. And to the drying up of the waters of the Red Sea, and of Jordan, to afford the Israelites a passage for the conquest of the Holy Land, and destruction of the idolatrous Canaanites.

7. The seventh vial was poured upon the air, [Satan's throne, Ephes. ii. 2,] and produced the most dreadful thunderings, lightnings, earthquakes, and prodigious hail of a talent weight, and great destruction of the impenitent blasphemers, xvi. 17-21.

I. The time of the commencement of these last and most formidable plagues of the vials, has long been a subject of most eager and anxious enquiry among the ablest expositors of the Apocalypse and now more than ever, since the deservedly popular Dissertation of Mr. Faber on the subject, which has run through several editions in a short time, and strongly arrested public attention, by stating the effusion of the first vial along with the commencement of the French Revolution, and that we now live under the fifth vial.

His interpretation, now generally adopted by the learned who are able to emancipate themselves from the received hypothesis of Mede, &c. assigning earlier dates, which time has refuted, cannot be better expressed than in his own words.

"The rise of Mohammedism, and the conquests of the Saracens, form a singular epoch in history. The rise and conquests of the Ottoman empire form another singular epoch. After these two, where shall we pitch upon a third epoch equally singular? Can any other answer be given; (an answer, which the passing occurrences of every day render more and more probable ;) except the French Revolution, and its amazingly extensive consequences? Now, the Saracens and Turks are universally

« PreviousContinue »