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mented five months : and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he striketh a man. 6. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it ; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. 7. 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. 8. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9. 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. 10. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails : and their power was to hurt men five months. 11. 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, 12. One woe is past ; and behold there come two woes more hereafter.
· The great body of commentators on the Revelation agree in supposing that the emblematical imagery of the fifth trumpet predicts the rise and progress of the false prophet Mahomed and his successors, as reigning over the Arabians or Saracens, and introducing that false religion which filled the world with darkness and error.
By a star falling from heaven to earth, is meant a Christian bishop (implying a succession of the order) falling from primitive purity, into apostacy from the truth as it is in Jesus. By the falling star, therefore, is meant the bishop or bishops of Rome, the head of Popery, the western corrupter of Christianity, whose mystery of wickedness had been long working, but burst forth, in its principal enormities, almost at the same time with the imposture of Mahomed. The worship of images, saints, and angels, the doctrine of purgatory, prayers for the dead, the efficacy of good works (i. e. the observance of human rites and institutions) towards the attainment of salvation, the
arose the locusts—Mahomed with his vast armies of Saracens. Early in the seventh century, about "A. D. 606, this impostor began to pretend a very ex
traordinary intercourse with God, declaring that he had been in heaven, and there had learned a religion which he was to propagate in the world, being an improvement of Christianity, as it was at first delivered, and a reformation of it from subsequent corruptions. In the year above mentioned he retired to the cave of Hera, near Mecca, for the purpose of forging his imposture: three years afterwards, having formed his system, he issued from his cave with the design of propagating it. This he attempted in an artful, secret, and peaceable manner ; and is said to have employed three years in obtaining the conversion of fourteen proselytes, the first fruits of his mission. In the year 612, from whence may be dated the rise of Mahomedism, “he assumed,” says Gibbon, “ the « prophetic office, and resolved to impart to his fa“mily the light of divine truth.” In the year 622 the false prophet fled from Mecca, the people becoming enraged at him on account of his imposture, to Medina. From this flight of Mahomed, the Hegira, or computation of time among the Mahomedans, commences its epoch. Here he was chosen prince, and began to propagate his religion by military force, instructing his disciples that this was not to be accomplished by argument but the sword. -“ The sword,” says he,“ is the key of heaven and of “hell. A drop of blood shed in the cause of God, a -“ night spent in arms, is of more avail than two “ months of fasting and prayer. Whosoever falls in " battle, his sins are forgiven. At the day of judg“ment his wounds shall be resplendent as vermilion « and odoriferous as musk, and the loss of his limbs ~ shall be supplied by the wings of angels and -“ cherubims.”—(Gibbon.) While the enthusiasm of his disciples was roused by promises so congenial to their minds, his enemies were appalled into sub
mission. The Koran enjoined the extirpation of all idolaters, or submission to the religion of the impostor ; but to Christians or Jews it allowed the choice of tribute in addition to the two former. But this offer was sometimes violated by the victorious followers of the impostor; and such was the degeneracy of the Christian world, that multitudes apostatized and flocked to the Arabian standard ; and wherever the arms of the Saracens prevailed, Mahomedism almost extinguished the profession of Christianity. Till the year 631, Mahomed was employed in propagating his religion through Arabia, and in subduing and uniting in one great empire the scattered tribes of the Arabs; and thus having founded a new religion and an extensive empire, he died in the year 632. The caliphs, his successors, continued their ravages, and extended their conquests, till the year 762, just 150 years after Mahomed publicly propagated his imposture, when Bagdad was built, and the Saracens ceased for a considerable time from any further hostilities, and became a settled people,
But it will be proper more particularly to notice the imagery of this hieroglyphical description of the rise of the Mahomedan religion and power, “ There came up out of the smoke, locusts upon “ the earth.” These were symbolical, and not real locusts, as evidently appears from the description given of them. They were the swarms of Arabians or Saracens who broke in upon the empire under Mahomed and his successors. “It was com“ manded to these locusts, that they should not hurt “ the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, “ neither any tree.” Accordingly, history informs us that the following injunction was given to the army of the Saracens which invaded Syria in the reign of Abubeker the successor of Mahomed: “De“stroy no palm-trees, nor burn any fields of corn, « cut down no fruit-trees, nor do any mischief to
“ cattle, only such as you kill and eat.”—The commission of these locusts was to injure those men only who had not the seal of God in their foreheads. By the men who had not the seal in their foreheads, are evidently meant corrupt and hypocritical professors of Christianity, which fully proves that something distinct from outward baptism, and exclusively belonging to true Christians, is intended by the seal in the forehead. Now, it is evident from history, that the ravages of the Saracens were chiefly confined to those Christian countries where religion had been most deeply corrupted, especially by saint and image worship. It is said that “they had not power to “ kill, but only to torment men," and to bring such calamities upon them that they should grow weary of their lives, and seek death, but not find it.” This seems to refer to their having no commission completely to destroy and overturn, but only to ravage, scour and afflict the eastern empire. It is not to be imagined that they would not kill many thousands and myriads; but still they would kill them as individuals, and not as a political body, or as a state or empire. Accordingly, though they besieged Constantinople, and even plundered Rome, yet they could not make themselves masters of either of those cities. They dismembered the eastern empire of Syria and Egypt, and some other of its best and richest provinces; but they were never able to subdue and conquer the whole. The taking of Constantinople, and the putting an end to the eastern empire, was reserved for another power, as will be seen under the next trumpet.-It is farther declared, respecting these figurative locusts, that their shapes “ were like unto horses prepared unto battle." Now, the Arabians have in all ages been famous for their horses and horsemanship; and it is well known that their strength chiefly consists in their cavalry." Their heads were as it were crowns like “ gold." This is evidently an allusion to the turbans