תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

are connected with the most important scenes of modern history. I have long since asserted my claim to introduce the nations, the immediate or remote authors of the fall of the Roman empire ; nor can I refuse myself to those events, which, from their uncommon magnitude, will interest a philosophic mind in the history of blood.So wrote the historian who would have been astounded to think that such words are an apposite introduction to the history of the sixth trumpet, or of the second woe.

And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four quarters of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand : and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and of brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions ; and out of their mouths issued fire, and smoke, and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails : for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. And the rest of the men, which were not killed by these plagues, yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols, of gold, and silver, and brass, and . stone, and of wood ; which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. Verse 13_21.

The prophetic character or delineation of the Mahometan religion, and of the Turkish power, have not to be viewed as novel topics by the reader; and we need only briefly revert to predictions in which the history of both has been partially unfolded, and which prepare the way for the full elucidation of the second woe, that completes the destruction of Islamism, till its final doom is announced, in its order, and one of the last vials of the wrath of God is poured out, to the destruction of the destroyer.

It may not be taxing too highly the reader's recollection, to call to mind that the interpretation given by Daniel, in literal terms, of the vision of the little horn of the he-goat, is an exact representation of the rise, nature, and history of Mahometanism.* The vision was to be at the time of the end. And at the the time of the end, in the things, not visions, noted in the Scripture of truth, the forms under which Mahometanism actually appeared, or the two great successive governments by which it prospered, practised, and prevailed, and with which it has ever been identified, are introduced and delineated ; and the kingdom of the Saracens, and more circumstantially, of the Turks, under the names of the king of the south, and the king of the north, are described with all the accuracy of actual history. Mahometanism is thus, in the first instance, described, so to speak, by itself, or without any express specification, of the Saracenic and Turkish powers. These, in regard to Mahometanism, had both one character and object, and needed only in that respect to be united into one view. But in regard to their history, in a political sense, as distinct empires, varying as to the period and place of their origin, and the mode or degree in which they

[ocr errors]

respectively executed the same work, they did admit of and received a separate illustration..

After the same pattern and parallel, in which Daniel thus first portrayed Mahometanism in one vision, and afterwards in another the .empires of the Saracens and of the Turks, John in the Apocalypse represents them anew. In the different forms of religion, Mahometanism appears, symbolically indeed, but undisguisedly, in its genuine character. A white horse having been previously represented and recognised as a symbol of the Christian religion, Mahometanism was set forth under a similar symbol, but of another appearance and nature. It was a red horse which symbolized the faith of the warrior-prophet, or on which he and the kings who subsequently represented him, did sit : and to him was given a great sword. It was his character and office to take peace from the earth. Such of itself was Mahometanism. But the hands in which the sword was to be successively put, were different. And while each, who was.to hold it, was to be the defender, propagator, or chief of the Mahometan faith,—the former distinction is renewed and farther developed ; and the kings of the south and of the north, are represented uner their appropriate characters of the first and second . woe. Mahometanism arose at the time of the end when the transgressors had come to the full. And at the time of the end, the Saracens, and afterwards the Turks, came against an apostate and idolatrous church, headed by the pope, who magnified himself above all. And in exact keeping with their character and commission, the appropriate designation as woes has its best illustrations, both from the previous announcement of the things that they were to do, and the historical retrospect of the things that they have done.

The more closely that this analogy is traced be

tween the king of the south and the king of the north, and the first and second woe, the more clearly are they identified as representing the empires of the Saracens and of the Turks. Each of these separate representations occupy the last part of the respective predictions. The king of the south, or the caliph of the Saracens, assaulted an apostate church, when the transgressors came to the full. And the first woe on Christendom began, after the subversion of the western empire of Rome, and when all the trumpets that had been sounded against it had terminated in its overthrow. The emperor of Rome, as reigning in that city, was thus taken away, and that wicked one, who exalted and opposed himself above all, was revealed. It was no longer therefore an earthly empire that had to be broken down; but an idolatrous church, headed by the pope, that had to be punished. The corruption of Christianity, the recognition of the “ head of the church” in another than the Lord Jesus Christ, the prevalence of idolatry, and the trust that was reposed in other strongholds than in the rock of salvation, and the consequent corruption of manners and prevalent transgressions, did not long call in vain, after being perfected into a system, and having come to the full, for a sign on earth of the wrath of heaven :-And the first woe arose. The forms and instruments of that chastisement are the same, whether we look to the achievements of the king of fierce countenance, (or Mahometanism, as symbolized by the little horn of the he-goat,) and of the kings of the south and of the north, the active forms which Mahometanism assumed, or whether we behold it again as a religion armed with a sword and marked with blood, and look to the first and second woes.

The sole task, we apprehend, that remains to complete the likeness, and to identify Mahometanism, under both its symbols, and the king of the south and the king of the north with the first and second woethe things that the former were to do, with the woes that the latter were to be-is to come and see how the whole figure is filled up, or the whole history completed, in the prophetic delineation of the second woe. And, in the first instance, it may here be necessary to trace the connexion between the Saracens and the Turks, not only as espousing the same cause, and accomplishing the same ends, but constituted also for the same work, and forming parts of the same system, as the sultan was installed into his office by•the caliph.

Already have we seen how the Turks elected a king or sultan, on the defeat of the Gaznevides and the subjection of Persia, and how they afterwards came like a whirlwind on the Asiatic provinces of Rome; and we have now again to take up a page of their early history, in order to trace, in the words of Gibbon, the connexion between the Saracens and the Turks, or how the first and second woe were linked together, how the spirit of the one, before its final departure, was infused into the other or the same sword was consigned over to a different hand, to execute or renew the same work of woe. The mantle of Elijah, as he was ascending into heaven, fell on Elisha. And prophet after prophet, as they saw afar off the day of Jesus, testified of that Prince of Peace. But the mantle of the false prophet of Mecca was a martial cloak; and with it a sword was given, and peace was to be still taken from the earth. No vision was to be seen of an inhabitant of earth arising into heaven; but a blood-stained rider on a war-horse, though representing a form of religion, was seen, when his strength was exhausted with slaughter, and when he was just about to sink on the earth for ever, to resign his seat and charge to ano, ther; and the same red horse was backed again ;

« הקודםהמשך »