תמונות בעמוד

war or purchased in trade, were educated in the exercises of the field, and the profession of the Mahometan faith."*

The woes of Christendom there met and merged into each other,—and the one appeared in its embryo form as the other declined and decayed, the first, in its old age, fostering the second in its youth.

“ The thrones of Asia were occupied by slaves and soldiers of Turkish extraction. A swarm of these northern shepherds overspread the kingdoms of Persia; their princes, of the race of Seljuk, erected a splendid and solid empire, from Sarmacand to the confines of Greece and Egypt; and the Turks have maintained their dominion in Asia Minor, till the victorious crescent has been planted on the dome of St. Sophia.+

" In the decline of the caliphs, and the weakness of their lieutenants, the barrier of the Jaxartes was often violated. In each invasion, after the victory or retreat of their countrymen, some wandering tribe, embracing the Mahometan faith, obiained a free encampment in the spacious plains and pleasant climate of Transoxiana, and Carizine. The Turkish slaves who aspired to the throne, encouraged their emigrations, which recruited their armies, awed these subjects and rivals, and protected the frontier against the wilder natives of Turkestan ; and this policy was abused by Mahmud the Gaznevide, beyond the example of former times. He was admonished of his error by a chief of the race of Seljuk, who dwelt in the territory of Bochara. The sultan had inquired what supply of men he could furnish for military service. If you send,' replied Ishmael, one of these arrows into our camp, fifty thousand of your servants will mount on horseback.' 'And if that number,' continued Mahmud, should not be sufficient, send this second arrow to the horde of Balik, and you will find fifty thousand more.'But,' said the Gaznevide, dissembling his anxiety, if I should stand 'in need of the whole force of your kindred tribes ? • Despatch my bow,' was the last reply of Ishmael, and as it is circulated around, the summons will be obeyed by two hundred thousand horse.' The shepherds were converted into robbers; the bands of robbers were collected into an army of conquerors; as far as Ispahan and the Tigris, Persia was atficted by their predatory inroads; and the Turkmans were not ashamed or afraid to measure their courage and numbers with the proudest sovereigns of Asia.-The memorable day (or battle), of Zendecan founded in Persia the dynasty of the shepherd kings. The victorious Turkmans immediately proceeded to the election of A KING.”

[ocr errors]

“The whole Turkish nation embraced with fervour and sincerity the religion of Mahomet."'* “ The Roman emperors were sudDENLY ASSAULTED by an unknown race of barbarians, who united the Scythian valour with the fanaticism of new proselytes, and the art and riches of a powerful monarchy. The myriads of Turkish horse overspread a frontier of six hundred miles, from Taurus to Arzeroum ; and the blood of one hundred and thirty thousand Christians was a grateful sacrifice to the Arabian prophet. Alp Arsan passed the Euphrates at the head of the Turkish caralry, and entered Cæsaria, the metropolis of Cappadocia, to which he had been attracted by the fame and wealth of the temple of St. Basil. The solid structure resisted the destroyer ; but he carried away the doors of the shrine, encrusted with gold and pearls, and profaned the relics of the tutelar saint." In one fatal day the

atic provinces of Rome were irretrievably sacrificed.“The fairest part of Asia was subject to his laws: twelve hundred princes, or the sons of princes, stood before his throne ; and two hundred thousand soldiers marched under his banners "S

6. Since the decline of the einpire, the peninsula of Asia Minor had been exposed to the transient, though destructive, inroads of the Persians and Saracens; but the fruits of a lasting conquest were reserved for the Turkish sultan. Constantivople was deprived of the obedience and revenue of the provinces beyond the Bosphorus and Hellespont; and the regular progress of the Turks, who fortified the passes of the rivers and mountains, left not a hope of their retreat or expulsion. Since the first conquests of the caliphs, the establishment of the Turks in Anatolia, or Asia Minor was the most deplorable loss which the church and empire had sustained. By the propagation of the Moslem faith, Soliman de. served the name of Goizi, a holy champion ; and his n w kingdom of the Romans, or of Roum, was added to the tables of oriental geography. It is described as extending from the Euphrates to Constantinople, from the Black Sea to ihe confines of Syria.''|| “ Afier the loss of Asia, Antioch still maintained her prinitive alliance to Christ and Cæsar. The ambitious sulian mounted on horseback, and in twelve nights (for he reposed in the day) performed a march of six hundred mniles. Antioch was oppressed by the speed and secresy of his enterprise ; and the dependent cities, as far as Laodicea and the confines of Aleppo, obeyed the example of the metropolis. From Laodicea to the Thracian Bosphorus, or arm of St. George, the conquests and reign of Soliman extended thirty days' journey in length, and in breadth about ten or fifteen, between the rocks of Lycia and the Black Sea. The Turkish ignorance of navigation protected, for a while, the inglorious safety of the emperor; but no sooner had a fleet of two hundred ships been constructed by the hands of the captive

[ocr errors]

Greeks, than Alexius trembled behind the walls of his capital. His plaintive epistles were dispersed over Europe, to excite the compassion of the Latins, and to paint the danger, the weakness, and the riches of the city of Constantinople.*"

But it was another voice than that of the emperor that alone could rouse into action the slumbering energies of Europe ; and it was another conquest than that of Asia Minor, and, with a solitary exception, all the Asiatic domain of the Roman empire besides, that could raise all the nations of Europe as one man, to stay the progress of the Turks; and, more than all others, to wrest again one country from their oppressive and polluting hands.

The king of the North came at first like a whirlwindan unknown race of barbarians, headed by · their king, suddenly assaulted the Roman empire.

A lasting conquest was achieved at once. The fate of the Asiatic provinces of Rome was irretrievably decided in a day. He came with chariots and horsemen and many ships ; he did enter into the countries, and did overflow and pass over. He swept over them like a torrent, a tempest, or a whirlwind. Infantry, which forms in general the strength of armies, were not suited to the rapidity of his inovements, and of them he had none. The Janissaries, or new soldiers, were not, till a far later date, a portion of a Turkish army. Stretched, at a distance, directly along the north of Palestinetheir line of march was a frontier of six hundred miles, covered with myriads of Turkish horse. The incongruous union between an army of cavalry, and many ships, was realized in fact; and the captives supplied in abundance the wants of the conqueror, He entered countries only to overflow and pass through. Antioch, with its province, yielded not at first ; but at the rapid approach of the king of the north, it fell un

* Gibbon pp. 374, 375.

resistingly, as by the blast of a whirlwind. The Turkish monar:h was without a rival and without a foe, from the shores of the Bosphorus and the mountains of Armenia, to the border of Palestine.

Till then he had entered only to pass through. But the glorious land—the theme of many prophecies, is not indiscriminately classed with other conquests; nor was the entering of the king of the north into it, immediately followed by the same easy conquest and settled dominion, with which other countries submit'ed to his yoke.

Conjoined to the last quotation from Gibbon, descriptive of the first great conquests of the Turks in the Asiatic provinces of Rome, we read in the beginning of the next paragraph,—“But the most interesting conquest of the Seljukian Turks, was THAT OF JERUSALEM, which soon became the theatre of nations."* And in the order of the things noted in the scriture of truth, we also read, in the next verse, He shall enter into the glorious land, and many (countries) shall be overthrown, ver. 41.

Not a jot or tittle shall pass from the law till all shall be fulfilled. And not a word ought ever to be added to the book of prophecy, or to any part of the scriptures of truth. The full and literal translation of the original Hebrew is- And he shall enter into the glorious land, and many shall be overthrown. In the Septuagint and Vulgate the literal translation is adopted-and no word, designating countries, is introduced into these, any more than in the Hebrew text. And every reader has only to open his Bible to observe that the term countries, being printed in italics, has no corresponding word in the original. .

The king of the north, according to the strict terms of the prophecy, was to enter into countries and to overflow and pass over, before entering into

[ocr errors]

the glorious land, or Judea fas under the same designation it is previously represented in this prophecy); and after entering into it, it is subsequently said, that he should stretch forth his hand upon countries. Previous and also posterior to his entrance into Judea, countries are expre;sly declared to be made subs: rvient to his sway. But the event, distinct from this, more immediately consequent to the entering of the king of the north into Judea, is that many shall be overthrown—whether by him or by others, or jointly by the invaders or defenders of Judea, is not said ; nor is it specified whether the many to be overthrown were people, or nations. or countries. The sole question, then, which we must look to history to resolve, is, in what manner, and to what degree, many were overthrown, at that particular period immediately preceded by the entrance of the king of the Turks, or of Soliman, the actual invader, into the holy or glorious land; or what events, marking in a striking manner, as noted above all the other conquests of the king of the north, the overthrow of many.

The words of Gibbon, already quoted, as expres. sive, but not so precise as those of the prophecy, shew that, in looking to the literal signification of the original words, and withdrawing, from the translated text, a word that is man's,-there is then no enigma in the matter-and the fact stands forth as prominent in history as it is clearly told in the prediction. It is enough to set the text and commentary side by side.

He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many shall be overthrown ;-Thus expressed by Gibbon. “But the most interesting conquest of the Seljukian Turks was that of Jerusalem, which soon became the theatre of nations."

The conquest of Jerusalem by the Turks was the signal for a conflict between Europe and Asia, of

« הקודםהמשך »