« السابقةمتابعة »
the hail-storm or burning mountain. A lamp, we remark, is a symbol of religious power, and descending in fire, must represent a politico-ecclesiastic fanaticism. This burning, or warlike power, in its destruction of the heads of empire, exactly coincides with Genseric and the Vandals, in their invasion and subjection of Rome and the powers of Italy. This power espoused the Arian religion, and was the only one of the barbarous nations which invaded the empire, that propagated its religion by fire and sword. In 455, this people, under Genseric, invaded Italy, and, for fourteen days, Rome, once mistress of the world, was given up to the licentiousness of the Arian Vandals and Moors. It was plundered of all its wealth that remained after the northern invasion.
By former ravages the power of Rome had been greatly weakened, but, by Genseric, it was so completely broken, that in a little time it was utterly subverted."(Gibbon.) The waters were made bitter by the invasion, for the remains of the Roman Christian and pagan religions were almost entirely ruined.
For a full account of this invasion, see Gibbon's Roman History.
FOURTH TRUMPET-FALL OF THE WESTERN EMPIRE.
"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." The sun, we have seen, represents the civil power; and the stars represent princes of provinces; and the moon represents the c: urch.
The sun and moon of the Roman empire coincide with the iron and clay of the great image. A third part of these being smitten, shows that one third of the empire would be eclipsed. The day and night relate to the time of the duration of this eclipse of the sun by day, and the moon and stars by night. As a day of twenty-four hours represents a year, by analogy, a year represents a prophetic year, and two thirds of such a year will equal three hundred and twenty-five and one third solar years. At the end of this time the sun and moon, and stars, were to shine again, since they were only to be eclipsed for one third of a day, and one third of a night.
This vision plainly represents the overthrow of the seat of power of the empire in Europe under Romulus Augustus, by Odoacer. By this the Roman civil power, and the Roman church, and all their principal dignities and provinces, were subjugated, and placed under the feet of the northern invaders. This overthrow is commonly stated to have been in 476, but Gibbon says there is no certainty about this date, but that the event happened about this time. Now, on Christmas day of 799, or about 800, A. D., the Western empire was restored by Charlemagne, and the church, and princes, and provinces, were restored to splendor again. If, from this epoch, we subtract three hundred and twentyfive and a third years, we are carried back to the 25th of August, 474, A. D. This is certainly a very close coincidence, and is as conformable to history, as history is to truth.
Daniel described the broken state of the empire; and John, in these four trumpets, gives us the modes by which it was broken.
FIFTH TRUMPET-FIRST WOE, OR SARACENIC INVASION.
The predictions already given, related wholly to the European part of the empire; we now come to predictions of the breaking up of the Eastern empire, which stood longer than the Western. The breaking is by more permanent agencies than those which broke the Western, and by way of pre-eminent distinction, are called woes. Three of these eras of woes are announced; two of them apply to the east, and south of the empire, as originators of these woes; and the third begins at the fall of the empire church, and thence extends to the destruction of monarchy.
"Wo, wo, wo to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound."—Rev. viii. 13.
1. And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven, unto the earth." A star is a symbol of some power; and its falling to the earth from heaven, denotes the descent of new calamities to the empire. Heaven, ordinarily denotes the church, or its place; but in the political world, it denotes the symbolic region where political clouds, and storms, and meteors form, and descend to the world.
2. "And to him was given the key of the bottomless pit." A key symbolizes power; as the "key of David.” "The bottomless pit," is a prophetic symbol, and indicates some place in the world, which may properly be symbolized by the term used. It means a deep of innumerable desperate spirits, or barbarians.
3. "And he opened the bottomless pit." That is, the way of invasion was opened to barbarians.
4. "There arose a smoke out of the bottomless pit, as the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit." Smoke symbolizes several things, but is used to represent the coming of war; it also represents false doctrine in motion. Isaiah foretold war by this symbol; as "out of the north there cometh a smoke."-(Sym. Dic.) The sun being darkened by the smoke, symbolizes that the civil power of the empire would be greatly disturbed by it. The air symbolizes the place of evil spirits, or an evil people generally, throughout the empire. A great and warlike error is, therefore, to be understood by the symbols, as threatening the empire generally, and the eastern empire particularly; as the sun, or civil power, was already observed in the west.
5. "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." Locusts symbolized hostile armies, among the prophets. See Jer. xlvi.; Na. iii.; Deut. xxviii.; Ps. lxxviii.; Amos vii.; Ex. x.; Judges vi. and vii. Scorpions are wicked or impious enemies, Ezk. ii.; Eccl. xxvi.
6. "And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, but only those which have not the seal of God in their foreheads." The seal of God plainly represents true Christians, in opposition to the impious professors of Christianity in the empire.
7. "And to them it was given not to kill them, but that they should be tormented five months; 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." This shows that the government
would not be overthrown, but that it would be terribly afflicted.
8. "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, and they had hair as the hair of women; and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 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. And they had tails as the tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails; and their power was to hurt men five months. 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. One wo is past." This whole account is plainly doubled, as the mention of the five months twice clearly shows. The whole prophecy represents plainly the Saracenic conquests and empire. The locusts represent the militant Mohammedans, and the king symbolizes the civil authority under which they were organized. Newton and others have interpreted this trumpet so well, that their views need but little revision. The reader can see our improvements, by comparing our points of difference. These hosts sprung up from Mahomet, but, in his day, no attack was made upon the empire; but the smoke had ascended from him, and filled the empire with fearful forebodings. In 632, the invasion of the empire began; and the last attempt of the Saracens was made against Rome about A. D. 848. From the first invasion to the last, as near as can be estimated, was 215 years, and the five months during which this scourge was to continue, equal 215 years and 175 days.