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FIRST TRUMPET-GOTHS, GERMANS, VANDALS-INVASION OF EUROPE.
"And 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 the trees was burnt up, and all the green grass was burnt up." A trumpet is plainly a symbol of a period of time, during which certain events were to transpire. The period announced, must coincide with some period of history, and as trumpets are collateral with the seals, it is proper to see if their primary periods will coincide in historic events, and, if they do, of course the fulfillment will be found.
1. Hail.—This term is used for divine vengeance. See Ez. ix.; Job iii., viii.; Ps. cv., lxxviii. Ezekiel xxxviii. represents blood, hail and fire, as the warfare of Israel against the latter day monarchy.
2. Fire. This term, mingled with hail, signifies increased vengeance.
3. Blood. This is always symbolic of slaughter, and being added to hail and fire, shows the vengeance was to be three-fold.
4. The earth. This was a common name for the Roman empire; and as these prophecies related to it, as they go over the same field that Daniel traverses, the term earth properly symbolizes this empire. The term is plainly symbolic.
5. The third part of the trees was burnt up.-That is, of course, one third part of the trees of the symbolic earth. The Roman empire was composed out of three continents, and hence the term, the third part, will represent one of these continents.
6. Trees.-In Zech. xi., the term trees is used for men. See also, Is. ii., x., and xix.— (Lowth, note, and Sym. Dic.)
7. Burnt up.—That is, destroyed, or reduced by the greatest devastation to lifelessness.
8. "All the green grass was burnt up."-Grass signifies men. They are called grass in the Old Testament repeatedly: Is. xl.; I. Pet. i.; I. Cor. iii. People are called hay or grass. As trees and grass both signify men, there must be a difference in their character, and the trees must signify princes and nobles, and the grass the common people. Indeed, we find trees in the old Testament expressly symbolizing princes; and a book must be interpreted according to its own definitions.
The exposition of this trumpet then amounts to exactly this: that a desolating war, of a three-fold character, was to desolate one third part, or one continent of the Roman empire, and overturn its princes, and destroy a large portion of the common people, about the time of church and state union. A little prior to the time of the accession of Constantine to the imperial diadem, the Roman empire was shaken to the verge of ruin; which may be symbolized by the earthquake before the trumpets sounded. The northern barbarians began to press toward the south, and the sound of warlike voices and thunder began to presage the approaching storm. In 395, at the death of Theodosius, by whose might the northern storm had been repressed, the invading hailstorm began in good earnest. The Goths, under Alaric, began their incursions at this time, and swept in terrific desolation over Greece, and filled Italy with awful destruction. Philostratus says, "The sword of the barbarians destroyed the greatest multitude of men; and, among other calamities, dry heats, with flashes of flame
and whirlwinds of fire, occasioned intolerable terrors, and hail fell down of eight pounds weight." The princes. of these countries where everywhere overthrown, and Rome was given up to fearful pillage. Scarcely was this part of the tempest spent, before the Germans, under Radagaisus, burst upon the banks of the Danube, and entered Italy. "The banks of the Rhine were crowned like those of the Tiber, with elegant houses and wellcultivated farms. This scene of peace and plenty was suddenly changed into a desert; the prospect of the smoking ruins could alone distinguish the solitude of nature from the desolations of man. Mentz, Worms, Spires, Rheims, Tournay, Arras, felt the German yoke. The consuming flames of war spread from the Rhine over the seventeen provinces of Gaul. That rich and extensive country as far as the ocean, Alps, and Apennines, was delivered to the barbarians, who drove before them, in a promiscuous crowd, the bishop, the senator, and the virgin, laden with the spoils of their houses and altars."(Gibbon's Rome.)
Immediately after this, the Sueves, Vandals, and Alans swept like a tide of blood over Spain: and thus was the whole of Roman Europe destroyed by hail, fire, and blood, or by the Goths, Germans, and Vandals, under Alaric, Radagaisus, and Genseric.
SECOND TRUMPET-INVASION OF ATILLA AND THE HUNS.
"And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain 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; at of the ships were destroyed." A mou
seen, represents a government, and a mountain in motion must represent a government in motion. The sea represents people in commotion, or disorganized, and most probably those upon the sea-shore, or who are a maritime power. The Roman empire, in the previous trumpet, had been called earth, because it was yet consolidated, but, the northern invasions having disorganized it, the sea became a proper symbol of it. Ships symbolize the merchandise they bring; the thing containing being put, by synecdoche, for the thing contained. A mountain being cast into the sea, and destroying one third of the ships, and turning one third to blood, will represent a kingdom moving violently into the disorganized empire, and desolating it with terrible war, and destroying its remaining wealth, and wasting the substance of the people in one continent of the Roman empire. This trumpet, therefore, predicted the invasion of the Huns under Atilla, as we shall see. The Huns from Asia, under Atilla, were a mighty government, and mustered 700,000 warriors in the field. All northern Europe had bowed before them; and the Ostrogoths, the Gepida, and Scandinavian kings, owned the supremacy of Atilla. This awful power now turned its course from the north, and hurled its burning legions into Europe. “The whole breadth of Europe, from the Euxine to the Adriatic, was at once invaded, occupied, and desolated, by the myriads whom Atilla led into the field. Words the most expressive of total extirpation and erasure, are applied to the calamities they inflicted on seventy cities of the Eastern empire." In 450, the Hun threatened the east and west, and "mankind awaited the decision with awful suspense."-(Gibbon.) He ravaged the east, and
turned toward the west, and changed it all to blood, and boasted that "the grass never grew on the spot where his horse had trod." Thus, by this burning warlike mountain of fire, was the third of the Roman world changed to blood, and its merchandise destroyed. Atilla is commonly called "the scourge of God."
THIRD TRUMPET-INVASION OF GENSERIC.
"And the third angel sounded; and there fell a star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp; and it fell upon the third part of the rivers and fountains of waters; and the name of the star is called wormwood; and many men died of the waters because they were made bitter.” A star represents a king, and, by synecdoche, a kingdom; a burning star descending represents a kingdom coming upon the empire, bringing fire or war. A lamp, also, represents a government, as we find in I. Kings xi.(Sym. Dic.)
A river symbolizes a variety of things, according as it is connected with the text, and, with the old prophets, represented a king or kingdom. As it is used here with reference to the Roman world, it must bear the relation to the empire of a leading power; and so, fountains must signify the heads of government. The rivers and fountains will therefore represent the controlling powers of the empire, or its political seats of power. It is evident that the rivers and fountains do not represent as lare a portion of the empire as the earth or sea, but rat..r the head of the empire. The star like a burning lamp is not by any means so extensive a destroyer as