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with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” This seal describes the dreadful punishment of the persecuting Roman empire, by sword, pestilence, and famine, from about A. D. 211 to 270.
(v.) The fifth seal, Rev. 6. 9–11. “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” This seal seems a prediction of the terrible persecution under Dioclesian and Maximian, from A. D. 270 to 304, which lasted longer, and was far more bloody, than any or all by which it was preceded, whence it was called the æra of the martyrs.'*
(vi.) The sixth seal, Rev. 6. 12—19. “ And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scrowl when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand ?” This was an emblem of great revolutions in the civil and religious state of the world, attended by vast commotions of every kind; and represents the total subversion of the persecuting power by the victories of Constantine, and by his accession to the imperial throne, and the entire and universal change which took place at that time, from A. D. 304 to 323. The great lights of the heathen world were eclipsed and obscured —the heathen emperors and Cæsars were slain, the heathen priests and augurs extirpated, and heathen officers and magistrates removed, the heathen temples demolished, and their revenues appropriated to better uses.* The seventh chapter is a continuation of the sixth seal; and is a description of the state of the church in the time of Constantine, of the peace and protection it should enjoy under the civil powers, and of the great accession that there should be made to it, both of the Jews and Gentiles. Eusebius and Lactantius, who were contemporary writers, bear their testimony to the completion of this prophecy; and one of the medals of Constantine, bearing on the reverse beata tranquillitas, “ blessed tranquillity,' is a confirmation of their testimony. All the historians who have written of these
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times also bear witness of the vast numbers both of Jews and Gentiles who were converted to the Christian religion. See Sulpicius Severus, l. ii. p. 100. Socrat. Hist. 1. i. c. 15—20. Sozomen. 1. i. c. 5—8, &c.*
(vii.) The seventh seal, and the seven trumpets which it comprised, Rer. 8. 1—6.
($ 1.) The first trumpet, Rev. 8.7. “ The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth : and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.” This refers to the irruptions of the barbarous nations into the Roman empire, from A. D. 338 to 412; and principally to the incursions of the Goths under Alaric, who, after spreading desolation by fire and sword throughout the provinces, took and plundered Rome, A. D. 410, and slew all, without distinction of rank, sex, or age.*
($ 2.) The second trumpet, Rev.8. 8, 9. “And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea : and the third part of the sea became blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.” This is an emblem of a mighty destructive warrior; and seems to refer to Attila and his Huns, who, after Alaric, ravaged the empire during 14 years, massacreing, plundering, and destroying all before him in the most barbarous manner. This period probably includes the calamities which befel the empire from A. D. 412 to 450.*
($ 3.) The third trumpet, Rev. 8.10, 11. “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood ; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.” This seems to refer to Genseric, who, soon after Attila's retreat, unexpectedly invaded the empire with 300,000 Vandals and Moors, besieged and took Rome, and abandoned it to the ravages of his troops, from A. D. 450 to 456. As this assault was made on the source of the Roman power and prosperity, and as he was a bigoted Arian, and a cruel persecutor of the orthodox, he may justly be said to poison the fountains. *
($ 4.) The fourth trumpet, Rev.8. 12,13. “And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!” The splendour of the Roman sun, after the ravages of Genseric, shone with a feeble and expiring light, during eight short and turbulent reigns, till it was extinguished by Odoacer, king of the Heruli, under Momyllus, called in derision Augustulus, or the little Augustus, A. D. 476, and its subordinate luminaries, which faintly shone in the senate and consuls, expired, after several changes, in A. D. 566; when the whole form of the ancient government was subverted, and Rome itself was reduced, from being the empress of the world, to a poor'dukedom, tributary to the Exarch of Ravenna.*
($5.) The fifth trumpet, Rev. 9.1—12. “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 was 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." The fallen star,' probably denotes the bishop and church of Rome, which, by the corruptions of which it was the source, centre, and principal support, opened the door for Mohammed and his imposture, which is represented by the smoke ascending from the bottomless pit. The locusts are the great armies of Arabians, which the impostor raised, to spread desolation through the nations; and it is remarkable, that when Yezed was marching his army to invade Syria, Abubeker charged him, to destroy no palm-trees, nor burn any fields of corn, to cut down no fruit-trees, nor do any mischief to cattle, only such as he killed to eat. The injury was to be done “ only to those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads," i.e. corrupt and idolatrous Christians; against whom the Saracens chiefly prevailed.* “ And to them it was given that they should not kill them.” That is, should not kill them as a political body, state, or empire; and accordingly, however they desolated the Greek and Latin churches, they could not extirpate them, nor gain possession of the empire.* “ But that they should be tormented five months.” Five prophetical months, each consisting of 30 days, and each day denoting a year, amount to 150 years; and accordingly, froin the time that Mohammed began to propagate his imposture, A. D. 612, to the building of Bagdad, when they ceased from their ravages, A. D. 763, are just 150 years." “ 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." &c.
($6.) The sixth trumpet, Rev. 9. 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
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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 the 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." “ Breastplates of fire, jacinth and brimstone.” This appears to point out the scarlet, blue, and yellow colours, for which the Turks have always been remarkable. The 'four angels bound in the Euphrates' denote their four sultanies bordering on that river, where they were confined till after the period of the Crusades. The time for which they were prepared, ' an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year,' computing a year for each day, amounts to 391 years, 15 days; and from their first conquest over the Christians, A. D. 1281, to the taking of Cameniec from the Poles, A. D. 1672, which was the last conquest by which their dominion was extended, is exactly that period.* “ 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.” That is, those of the Latin and Greek churches, who escaped destruction, still persisted in their idolatrous worship of dæmons, &c.*
The prophecy contained in the little book, Rev. x, This little book, was a kind of appendix to the larger book, and appears to have contained the former part of the succeeding chapter, (ch. 11. 1—14.); which is an important supplement to the ninth chapter, as it gives a general account of the state of the western church, and all connected with it, during the period of the fifth and sixth trumpets.*
The prophesying of the two witnesses in suckcloth, Rev. xi. there was given me a reed like unto a rod : and the angel stood, saying, Rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein." This denoted, that during the predicted period, there should be a small number of true Christians, who conformed to the rule and measure of God's word.* “ But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles : and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth,” &c. The court of the
And “ And
temple being “given to the gentiles,” intimates, that the greater part should be only Christians in name, but gentiles in wickedness, idolatry, and persecution ; which should continue 42 months, or 1260 prophetical days, or years, during which a succession of witnesses should be raised up to bear testimony to the truth. This refers to the idolatry and tyranny of the church of Rome; and is probably to be dated from the time the pope became universal bishop, A. D. 606, or when he was established a temporal prince, A. D. 756.*
The persecutions of the dragon and beast, Rer. xii. xiii. 1—10. I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed : and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, “Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months,” &c. This beast, the same as Daniel's fourth beast, (Dan. 7. 7.) is the Roman or Latin empire, whose capital was seated on seven hills, was divided into ten kingdoms, and received its power from the dragon,' or the idolatrous heathen empire. Both imperial and papal Rome have arrogated to themselves the most blasphemous titles; and the number of pious Christians who have fallen a sacrifice to the latter is incalculable. The term of his power also exactly coincides with that during which the two witnesses prophesied in sackcloth.' (ch. 11. 3.)*
The second beast, Rev. 13. 11—18. “ And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth ; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast hefore him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast ; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads : and that no man might buy or sell, save he
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