« PreviousContinue »
is one subject; whether we consider the agents of their desolations; or the object of them, the eastern empire. This subject is therefore finished before the other important one of the western Antichrist is entered upon.-The leading facts of the prophecy are as follows. The Turks, pouring into Persia and other countries bordering on the Euphrates, in the eleventh century, established in those parts four sultanies or kingdoms. One was founded at Bagdad, A. D. 1055; another at Damascus, in 1079; a third at Aleppo, in the same year; and the fourth in Iconium, in 1080. For about two centuries these ambitious sultans were restrained from extending their conquests farther than the countries adjoining the Euphrates, by the European crusades; or holy wars, as they were called. On the sounding of the sixth trumpet, or the second woe, after this ruinous project of the crusades was abandoned, the four angels who were bound in the Euphrates, and who are emblems of these four sultanies, were loosed ; and the Turks uniting, began their ravages and victories. These angels were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year. This, in prophetic language, reckoning a day for a year, amounts to three hundred and ninety-one years and fifteen days: an hour being fifteen days; a day, one year; a month, thirty years; and a year, three hundred and sixty years. Now, the first conquest of the Turks over the Christians took place A. D. 1281, and the last success by which they extended their dominions was A. D. 1672, being three hundred and ninety-one years one from the other. In the former year Ortogrul crowned his victories by the conquest of the famous city of Kutahi upon the Greeks; in the latter Mahomed the Fourth took Cameniec from the Poles ; and forty-eight towns and villages, in the territory of Cameniec, were delivered up to the sultan upon the treaty of peace. If we knew, says Bishop Newton, the very day whereon Kutahi was taken, as certainly as we know that whereon Cameniec was, the exactness of the fifteen days might also be found. So precisely and wonderfully was this prophecy fulfilled.
The number of the army of horsemen was declared to be “two myriads of myriads," which amounts to two hundred millions, or, as our translation expresses it, two hundred thousand thousand. Here a large definite number is put for an indefinite. Accordingly, the Turks brought vast armies into the field, often amounting from four to seven hundred thousand fighting men, chiefly cavalry. The Timariots, or horsemen, holding lands by serving in the wars, are said by some authors to have amounted to a million, besides those in the pay of the sultans. When we take into consideration the time in which these immense armies were to effect their conquests, we shall see the propriety of this strong prophetic language. The description of the horses and their riders is peculiarly characteristic of the dress, the strength, and the fierceness of the Turks. The breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and of brimstone, may denote their defensive armour, and the glaring primary colours of red, blue, and yellow, for which the Turks have always been remarkable; the horses' heads like those of lions, denoted their strength, courage, and fierceness; the fire, smoke, and brimstone, which issued out of the mouths of the horses, is an emblem of the offensive weapons with which these warriors were completely armed, and is, at the same time, a most astonishing prediction of the inven. tion of gunpowder and artillery, which were first discovered and used at this period, and which the Turks employed with great success in their wars, especially at the siege of Constantinople in 1422, and afterwards in the successful siege and capture of that city in 1453. On the last-mentioned occasion, Mahomed is said to have used a cannon of such incredible magnitude as to discharge a stone of the weight of three hundred,
or, as some assert, six hundred pounds. The size of this gun was so monstrous, that it was drawn by seventy yoke of oxen and two thousand men. A breach effected by these tremendous engines of destruction, enabled Mahomed to enter and take Constantinople. Most of the other fortified places were reduced by artillery; and thus the prediction, that a third part of men should be politically slain by these new instruments of death, was accurately accomplished.
By its being asserted in the prophecy that a third part of men were killed, we are reminded of a remarkable difference between the locusts and the horsemen: the former were not commanded to kill, but to torment; but of the latter it is said, “ By “ these were the third part of men killed.” They both, doubtless, killed immense multitudes as individuals; but the latter only were commissioned to kill those political bodies to which the prophecy refers. The eastern Roman empire and that part of the Greek church which was connected with it were destroyed not by the locusts, but by the Euphratean horsemen—not by the Saracens, but by the Turks. The power of these tremendous conquerors, before whom marched desolation, and behind whom the pestilence, is said to be in their mouth and in their tails. The former, perhaps, may refer to their destructive weapons of war; the latter, to their pernicious principles. The Turks carried with them the same poisonous sting as the Saracens. They left behind them the same ruinous religion as their predecessors had done. The Koran, the tribute, or the sword, was the only choice given to the degenerate Christians; so that the profession of Christianity in those countries was almost entirely extirpated, and Mahomedism became universally prevalent in the places where, in former times, the Gospel had been signally successful. • " But the rest of men which were not killed by “ these plagues, yet repented not." By the rest of men who were not destroyed, or compelled to become Mahomedans, and who therefore were not actually or politically killed by the Saracenic and Turkish plagues, are meant the remainder of the Roman world, or the Latin Christians in the West. They escaped this dreadful destruction; yet they repented not, but still persisted in the idolatrous worship of demons. By the term demons, in classical language, is meant a class of middle beings, between God and mortal man; and likewise the souls of men deified or canonized after death. The word is explained in the former sense by Plato, and used in the latter by Hesiod. The demons, therefore, which the remainder of the corrupt Roman church continued to worship, were angels and departed saints, so called, by which devils were virtually worshipped. They persisted also in their stupid worship of idols and images, for which they had no better plea than the pagans had.
“ Neither repented they of their murders, nor of “ their sorceries, nor of their fornications, nor of “ their thefts." They continued in their murders, massacres, bloody wars with heretics, so termed, inquisitions, and persecutions; in their sorceries, or pretended revelations and miracles; and in their fornication, forbidding marriage, yet conniving at concubinage in the clergy; binding numbers by vows to single life, and yet licensing brothels by public authority of the Pope, in Rome itself; and in their thefts, or those exactions and impositions by which they fraudulently and iniquitously drew immense treasures from the nations. The eastern church, in which many corruptions first prevailed, was punished by the first woe of the Saracens; and, as this did not bring them to repentance, the second woe of the Turks coinpleted its ruin. But neither did the former nor the latter woe bring the western church to repentance. It has not yet repented-it persists in worshipping demons, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and wood-it retains its murderous principles, in its horrible inquisitions, and in its hatred of and opposition to the true church of Christ-it perseveres in its sorceries, and fornications, and thefts *.-And what will be the awful con- ! sequence?-As surely as the word of prophecy is true, it will be overwhelmed by the third woe.
We may rejoice that the Lord has a hook in the nose, and a bridle in the jaws of every boasting enemy. He gives deceivers and destroyers permission to execute their power, till his own purposes of judgment and correction are accomplished ; and then he cuts them off and lays them aside. But he will send one woe after another, upon hypocrites and corrupters of Christianity, till he has completely purified his church. Happy are they who have the seal of God on their foreheads: Christ appears at the golden altar on their behalf; he will take care of them, that they may have a hiding-place in every day of evil; and that the miseries which will come upon others may not touch them. May the seventh trumpet speedily be sounded, and then the woes predicted in this book will soon arrive at their termination, and all will be joy and peace. “And it shall come “ to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall “ be blown, and they shall come which were ready “ to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts “ in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD “ in the holy mount of Jerusalem.”
* The author begs he may not be considered as implying that this is the character of all the individuals in the Popish communion. But is this a representation of the present state and character of the Romish church, as far as it possesses power, or is it not? The intelligent reader will find no difficulty in forming a correct judgment.