תמונות בעמוד

Turkish woe had ceased to torment in the same degree as at its commencement, long before the first symptoms of the declining power of that state were manifested. In the mysterious and overruling providence of God, some of the greatest conquests of the Turks were made singularly subservient to the general interests of Europe. Amidst the smoke and flames of the ancient capital of the East, we may contemplate the signs of a more auspicious day. Their conquest of Constantinople, in 1453, was followed by the revival of letters in Europe. The terrified Greeks fled from their native country, to find a refuge in the more western parts of the continent; they brought their learning and books with them, and excited a taste for literature wherever they came. It is to the capture of that great city by the Turks, that we may trace up one of the secret springs of the Reformation from Popery.

I have mentioned 1683 as the probable æra of the conclusion of the Turkish woe, because at that time the gigantic strength of the Turkish power appeared to be broken. By some, however, it may be reckoned of no consequence for the settlement of the true æra of the conclusion of this woe, whether their political strength continued to be firm or not, but whether they ceased at that time to be a torment to the inhabitants of the Roman earth, or at what time this took place. So long as they extended their conquests in any direction, they were a torment to the inhabitants wherever they came. But, as the geographical scene of the prophecy lies within certain limits, none of their conquests beyond these limits can be any part of the prophetical woe. Now, a considerable time before the declension of their power in 1683, they had ceased in a great measure to be a torment within the limits of the ancient Roman territory, by any new conquest that is worthy of being mentioned.

The fall of Constantinople was soon followed by the conquest of the whole of Greece. In 1517, the greater part of the ancient Roman territories in Africa was added to their dominions. The reign of Solyman, called the Magnificent, was almost one continued war nith European powers, in which he was generally successful both by sea and land. In 1526, he took the metropolis of Hungary, the ancient Pannonia of the Romans, with other fortified cities, and made himself master of the greater part of the kingdom; and, on that occasion, sent 200,000 of the inhabitants into slavery. After this, the Turks made extensive conquests in the north of Europe, particularly in Poland; but as these regions did not lie within the limits of the ancient empire, they are not supposed to be any part of the woe of the second trumpet. In some of the islands of the Mediterranean, and in the small territory of the Venetians, they were successful; but in no part of the continent, within the specified limits, did they make any conquest that is worthy of being noticed. Two years after the conquest of Hungary, they invaded the dominions of the emperor of Germany, and attempted the reduction of Vienna, but were driven back with considerable loss. On different later occasions, they attempted the reduction of the same place, but were equally unsuccessful, till the pride of their power was broken before it in 1683. Since the year 1526, they have ceased in a great measure to be a torment to the inhabitants of the Roman earth. Hence, it has been concluded, that that year must be the true date of the termination of the second woe-; and how nearly hat period coincides with the æra of the Reformation hardly any Protestant needs to be informed.

Nor is it unworthy of notice, that as Antichrist and Mahomet rose about the same time, and as the period of their duration is of the same length, their final ruin must be together; the presumption therefore is, that their interests will begin to decline in the same age. But, as the delusions of Mahomet form the most distressing part of the first and second woe, the strength of these woes must have been abated at the time of the Reformation, otherwise these adversaries, though doomed to perish together, would not begin to suffer at one and the same time. The period of the Reformation is the season in which Antichrist began to fall; it is presumable, therefore, that in this season the power of Mahomet began to decline, and that the second woe was nearly exhausted.*

Before entering upon the consideration of the effects of this trumpet, as summarily described in the verses before us, and in those which follow, it may be proper to suggest the two fol. lowing remarks:

1st, The full effects of the blast of this trumpet are not described in any of the prophecies of the little book. The object of this book is rather to describe the state of the church, during the rise and reign of Antichrist, than during the period of his fall. The judgments of this trumpet are not presented in a detailed account, till we come forward to chap. xvi., nor the consequences of them with respect to the church, till we come forward to chap. xxi. and xxii. All that we meet with here is only a mere outline of the history of mercy and of judgment in the times of the seventh angel, sufficient to answer the design of the notice which is taken of them in this part of the Revelation. The notification of the sound

Any reader of Turkish history cannot fail to be struck at the small success of their arms, within the limits of the ancient Roman territory, after the year 1526. The only season in which they made any considerable progress within these limits, was the successful campaign against the Austrians in 1606; but which, after all their sacrifices, issued in the peace which confirmed to them only those parts of Hungary of which they had formerly been possessed. The success of their arms, after the year 1526, was no doubt very considerable in Poland, and those parts of the North which now form a part of the Russian empire ; but these lie out of the geographical limits of the prophecy. Providence had another woe to inflict upon those that lived within the true boundaries ; and therefore blasted all the attempts of Turkish power and policy, to make encroachments where judgments of a different description were to be inflicted. There may appear to be some inconsis. tency between this limitation of the Turkish woe, and that which is stated in the Lecture upon the sixth trumpet. There its termination is made to coincide with the breaking of the political strength of the Turkish empire; here it is supposed to terminate while its political bands were still firm. But that prophecy seems immediately to respect their power or capacity of doing mischief. It accordingly contains the muster-roll of their numerous army, and a description of their ar. mour; and shews how they were fitted to be a torment wherever they might come. This prophecy might be intended to mark the exercise of that power within those limits in which the third woe was to be inflicted, and which might be much shorter than the other in its duration ; and hence a reason why any notice is taken here of the sounding of the seventh trumpet. The inroads of the Turks upon the Wes. tern empire were to be checked before their power should begin to decline. Whenever this restraint should be imposed, the second woe, as affecting the inhabitants of the Roman earth, would be past, and then the third woe would come quickly.

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ing of the trumpet of the seventh angel had been made to the prophet, to prepare his mind for the more full disclosure of the afflicted state of the church under the preceding trumpets, as containing an assurance that judgment would at length overtake her incorrigible enemies, and then she would be favoured with the highest measure of prosperity; and that he might be better able to form some judgment of the mercy which was awaiting the one, and the stroke that was to fall upon the other, in this chapter he is presented with a summary view of both.

2d, The blast of this trumpet is followed by very different and even opposite effects upon different classes of men. To the inhabiters of the earth, the members of the mystical state, it is a woe-trumpet, and by far the most afflictive of the three woes; but to the members of the true church it has


different aspect. We have accordingly, in the concluding verses of this chapter, two very opposite effects of the blast of this trumpet described ; first, with respect to the church, and then with respect to her enemies.

The prosperity with which the church would be favoured when this trumpet should be blown is the first in order, and is introduced with an account of the great exultation of spirit which would prevail among her members when the sound of the seventh trumpet would be heard. John tells us, that there were great voices in heaven. In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he should begin to sound, the mystery of God was to be finished, as he had declared to his servants the prophets,' chap. x. 7. Great expectations were formed by the church respecting that happy change of circumstances, which was to take place under the ministry of the seventh angel. Hence this angel had no sooner begun to sound, than all heaven appeared to be in a transport of joy; there was one rapturous feeling of satisfaction among the inhabitants, which they expressed in the loudest acclamations of praise. This heaven cannot be understood of the third heavens, the habitation of the blessed, but of the heavens of the militant church. In proof of this, you have only to compare ver. 16. with chap. iv. 4., by which you will see that the same heaven is meant in both, as part of the worshippers in both are the same. Hence, as the heaven in chap. iv. 4. is intended of the church militant, this heaven cannot be meant of any other state of the church; for the four and twenty elders appear in the one as well as in the other.—This holy society had lately been in the most deplorable circumstances : vast multitudes of her genuine members had been cut off by a violent death ; there was not a street of the great city in which their dead bodies were not lying; every where their public organized state seemed to be dissolved, and their enemies determined not to leave an individual of them alive. Accordingly, as the seventh angel was to be the messenger of glad tidings to the church, and as in his days liberty and enlargement were to be granted to her members,while the blast of this trumpet was like the knell of death to her enemies, it behoved to be like the music of heaven to her friends. It produced the highest degree of satisfaction among them.

The language of these voices was completely understood by the prophet; and as its matter was so consolatory, he has not failed to inform us of what was uttered. In the highest satisfaction they exclaimed, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

The world here spoken of must be understood of this lower world; and the kingdoms of it must be meant of secular empires and associations. They are called kingdoms in the plural number, as distinguished from that society of which Christ is the head, and which is said to be one. The members of it are scattered among the subjects of civil states, over the different districts of the earth; but they are all in a state of willing subjection to the same spiritual prince, and make only one body and one bread : whereas the kingdoms of the world are manifold; each is governed by its own laws, and bounded by certain limits, which cannot be transgressed without encroaching

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