תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

served * 3. The success attributed to these armies of cavalry, under this Trumpet, expressed by their slaying one-third part of the men, that is, of the Christian world, seems likewise fully completed in this irruption of the Mahometans. By the terror of their arms, and by their arts, imposing on the vanquished nations their newly-modelled religion, (which, although it acknowledge Jesus as a prophet, rejects his mediation and atonement,) they separated from the great body of the Church one-third part of it; which, re

* See Mosheim's Eccl. Hist. cent. vii. part i. ch. 2 & 3. Amm. Marcell, i. 21. Sale's Preliminary Discourse to the Alcoran, p. 44, 45, 51. & 214. Vie de Mahom. par Boulanvilliers, p. 219, &c. Pria deaux' Life of Mahomet, preface. Ockley's Hist. of the Saracenes, vol. i. p. 20, 160, 223. Ricaut's Ottoman Empire, p. 187.- A modern writer, who has had access to the Eastern originals, as well as to these authorities, has concisely and eloquently displayed the origin and causes of the Mabometan success : “ If in surveying the history of " the sixth and seventh centuries, we call to our remembrance that "purity of doctrine, that simplicity of manners, that spirit of meek“ness, and universal benevolence, which marked the character of the “ Christians in the Apostolic age; the dreadful reverse which we here “ behold, cannot but strike us with astonishment and horror. Divid" ed into numberless parties, on account of distinctions the most s trifling and absurd, contending with each other from perverseness; s and persecuting each other with rancour, corrupt in opinion, and " degenerate in practice, the Christians of this unhappy period seem “ to bave retained little more than the name and external profession " of their Religion. Of a Christian Church scarce any vestige re“ mained. The most profigate principles and absurd opinions were " universally predominant: ignorance amidst the most favourable “ opportunities of knowledge; vice amidst the noblest encouragements

4 to virtue ; a pretended zeal for truth, mixed with the wildest ex. “travagances of error; an implacable spirit of discord about opinions " which none could settle; and a general and striking similarity in the « commission of crimes, which it was the duty and interest of all to “avoid.” White's Bampton Lectures, p. 60.

nouncing nouncing the name of Christ, and denying his sole power of salvation, became dead to his redemption, forfeiting the spiritual life obtained for them by him *.

The kingdoms şubdued by the Mahometans, if examined on the maps, will be found to compose a full third part of the then Christian world; but some of these regions were not Christian, when subdued by the Saracene arms, and are therefore not to be taken into the account. Some, as Spain and Portugal, after years of conflict, were recovered to the Christian name. In all the parts of the Mahometan dominions, there have been, and still are, many Christians; but among the Christians we find scarcely any Mahometans. These circumstances being taken into consideration, it will appear to be fairly represented as a general position, that one-third part of the world which was once Christian, was cut off from Christianity by the Mahometan invaders. And the balance appears to have continued nearly the same, even from that time to the present. It is a remarkable coincidence, that when the Mahometan arms, in the fifteenth century, overturning the Eastern empire, made such additional acquisitions to Ishmaelism; the Christians began to extend their religion to distant climates, and preserved this balance by the addition of many millions, who call upon the name of Christ in the new world t. 4. The historians represent the

: * See notes, ch. iii. 1. vi, 8. v.. ,

+ “ By the industry and zeal of the Europeans, Christianity has “ been widely diffused to the most distant shores of Asia and Africa ; “and, by the means of their colonies, has been firmly establislied “ from Canada to Chili, in a world unknoün to the ancients.” Gibbon, Decline, &c. ch. xxv. p. 535.

remaining

remaining parts of the Christian Church which escaped this plague, as continuing corrupt and idolatrous. This fact is so well established in ecclesiastical history, that it seems to need no confirmation. The remains of Christendom, after the Mahoinetan domination had taken place in one part, continued impure and idolatrous in almost all other parts, until the purifying period of the Reformation. . In my notes upon the fifth Trumpet, some reasons were assigned, to shew that the prophecy therein contained, cannot be properly applied to these Mahometan devastations, which I have supposed to be prefigured under this sixth Trumpet. And in this application of it, I am at no great distance from the general notion of modern commentators; for almost all of them apply the sixth Trumpet to the devastations of the Turks, or of the Tartars, who were also Mahometans. The application of this prophecy to some of the Mahometan irruptions is indeed so obvious, that it is admitted by Michaelis; who, dissatisfied with most other interpretations of the Apocalypse, has observed, that this prophecy “ may be very well applied to the irruptions of the Sa“ rácens, the Turks, and the Tartars *.” It may perhaps be justly applied to all of them ; for, all of them have the same character, as opposed to the Christian Church; they are all Mahometan. And if the Mahometan character is so strongly impressed upon this prophecy, that it may fitly be applied to the later devastations of the Mahometans, it will not be thought extraordinary, if it should be found applicable, eenwith a superior degree of propriety, to their first

* Introduct. to the N. T ch. xxiii. sect. 7.

grand grand and fatal irruption. For my own part, I can discover, in the interpretation of those commentators, who apply the sixth Trumpet to the Turkish Mahometans, only three instances in which it may appear more applicable to them, than to their predecessor's in this warfare, to the Saracene followers of Mahomet; they are these : 1. That by which the four angels are supposed to represent the four governments, into which the Turks are said to have been originally distributed. 2. That by which the fire, smoke, and brimstone, are interpreted to signify the guns and gunpowder used in the Turkish armies. 3. That by which the " hour, day, month, year,” are understood to express à certain continuance of time, applicable peculiarly to the Ottoman period. Now it seems to me, that none of these instances of interpretation are fairly established, but that all of them will be found to rest on weak and fanciful foundations. And if this can be shewn, it will then be allowed, even by the followers of Joseph Mede, that as there is no thing remaining in the prophecy, which restricts it peculiarly to the Ottoman Mahometans, it may be applied, with equal if not greater fitness, to the Sarā. cene founders of that domination.

I. Joseph Mede, the ingenious deviser of this scheme, which represents the four angels to signify four Sultanies, or governments, has admitted no similar kind of interpretation respecting any other prophecy. The angel, who leads the host of the fifth Trumpet, he asserts to be a fallen angel," even Satan himself *. And it may be questioned, whether an angel is used, in the prophetical language of Scrip

. Clavis Apoc. par. ii, syn. iv.

.

ture,

ture, to represent a kingdom or government, or even any earthly leader. But if this licence should be allowed, still the history of the Turks will not be found such as to warrant this application of it. The Quaternion of Turkish tribes, which Joseph Mede finds seated at or near the Euphrates, has its date from the year 1080; which will be found, unfortunately for this scheme, neither to reach in antiquity to the origin of the Turks, as a powerful nation, nor to their first irruption upon Christendom, as narrated in history; nor yet to accord with the time of their successful attack on the Eastern empire, in the fifteenth century. Mede confesses, that the four governments did not remain perfect and complete, but that they had undergone many changes, and were united under one leader, Othman, long before the time in which they are supposed to be prefigured in this Trumpet. But the warfare of the Turks upon the Christians will be found to have begun before these four sultanies are said to be established. Early in the eleventh century did they attack Christendom with immense armies, when the Grecian provinces on the Euxine Sea, and a great part of Asia Minor, were wrested by them from the Christians*. But the Turks were a great nation, long before any of these times. Seated upon Mount Imaüs or Caf (whence they deduce their origin), they were known in Roman history six hun. dred years before the age of Othman. They were then able to muster four huudred thousand soldiers; and, during two centuries, became formidable to the three great empires surrounding them, to the Roman, the Persian, and the Chinese f. We must therefore

[ocr errors]

• Gibbon, Hist. ch. lvii. Mosheim, cent. xi. ch. ii. + Gibbon's Hist. Decline and Fall, ch. 57. 64. 42.

conclude,

« הקודםהמשך »