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Verses 1-11. And the fifth angel sounded; &c.] In these eleven verses is contained a very particular description (and indeed the first particular description occurring in the Apocalypse) of the prevalence of Anti-Christianity. For, the prophecies of the six Seals do not descend to any minute delineation; and those of the four first Trumpets are, each of them, comprized in a very narrow compass; in one, or at the most, two short verses. Now the prospect enlarges into a more exact display of the warfare.
Upon the blast of this Trumpet, which is woeful to the inhabitants of the earth", a star is seen to fall, or just to complete its fall, from heaven to earth : for, such seems to be the sense of WETTWUOTE T. The descent of such a star was seen under the third Trumpetf; this leader of iniquity had begun his evil ininistry by embittering, by corrupting the Waters of Life. This corruption, in which we have seen him
• Ch. viii. 13.
+ Præsens-perfectum. Annot. S. Clarke, S.T. P. in Hom. Iliad. lib. i. lin. 37. - Ch. viii. 10. consult the note.
successfully employed, produced those beginnings of darkness, ignorance, and superstition, which were disclosed under the fourth Trumpet. Upon the blast of the fifth Trumpet, this evil increases. To these beginnings of darkness, he is permitted to add the smoke and machinations of hell *. It is by permission, that he opens this source of infinite mischief: for, the keys of death, and of hell, belong to another power, even to the Lord of Life t. But “the Spirit of God will “ not always strive with man I.” The wilful and reprobate are at length given up to the just consequences of their wilfulness. The key of the great infernal deep, (whence are the Been Tð oalavã, the depths of Satan ş, those black corruptive doctrines, which destroy the purity and splendour of the Church,) is given to the fallen star, to the fallen angel ; to “ the “ prince of the power of the air; the power of dark“ ness; that spirit which worketh in the children of “ disobedience l.” He is an angel, for so he is expressly called, (v. 11.) “ the angel of the bottomless “deep,” and surely an evil angel : and in this description, as also in his fall from heaven, his evil chàracter will be found to correspond with that of the chief of our infernal enemies, called Satan in the twelfth chapter: who, under the symbol of a fiery dragon, is there described as having fallen from heaven. There can be little or no doubt therefore, but that the Prince of Darkness, Satan, or, which
* For å luogos is certainly used to signify that part of 'Adns, or bell, which is to be the place of punishment to the wicked. Compare ch. xx, 1-3. and 2 Pet. ii. 4. . ** + Ch. i. 18., ' Gen vi. 3. See note, ch. ii. 24.
** | Eph. ii. 2. Luke xxii. 53. Col. ii. 15. See also John xii. 31. 46. * xiv. 30. Acts xxvi. 18. Eph. vi. 12. Heb. ii. 14.
will amount nearly to the same thing, one of his
* Jude 6.
Nat. Hist. xi. 29. | Laborabat eo tempore pabuli omnis generis et annonæ inopia Syria, ob locustarum nusquam hominum memoriâ tantam visam multitudinem : quæ densæ nubis instar, die in media, luce obscurata, volitantes, agrum circumquaque depastæ sunt, Thuanus, clxxxiv. vii, p. 364. tom. v.
1 Adamson's Voyage to Senegall, p. 127. See also Bochart, on Joel. ii. 10; and Chandler, on the same place. These quotatiops are collected by Archbishop Newcome. And to these add the following, from Holy Scripture; Expd. x. 12, 6. Jer, li. 27, &c. Nahum iii. 15,
vision, vision, have a yet more dreadful character; they have the power of scorpions, and stings in their tails; and their prey is not (as usual with locusts) the grass and green plants, and trees of the field; they are permitted to attack man; yet not all men, “those only « who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads;" .by which we plainly understand *, that all sincere servants of Christ are preserved from the mischief. The scorpion is a small insect, contemptible as the locust in its size and appearance; but formidable by reason of its sting. Scorpions are classed in Holy Writ, together with serpents, as a part of the power of the infernal enemy t. And our Lord gives his Disciples power over them; and it is in consequence of this gift that the sealed escape their venom. The men
who are attacked by them are not killed, but wounded · and tormented. They lose not altogether their spiritual
life in Christ, their knowledge of a life immortal, purchased and revealed to them by their Redeemer, whose name they still confess, and to whom they may yet return, and live I; but the impression made upon them by this infernal attack, renders the prospect of a pure spiritual life no longer the object of delight; they are of those who love darkness better than light, because their deeds are evil g.
A nearer ..See note, ch. vii. 2.
Luke x. 19. See note, ch. iii. 1. vi. 8. § A most eloquent representation of mental torment, conveyed under the emblem of scorpion-stings, will be found in these lines :
“ Cold, fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh ;-
. [Pt. III. $ 4. A nearer view of these swarms of Antichristian corrupters exhibits them,
r Naturalists have remarked the
resemblance in shape between the Ver. 7. Like horses
head of the locust and that of the
horse*. They are swift, intrepid, prepared for battle.
and formidable; the worldly-ininaled, who have not the seal of God, (cannot easily escape them. [ The true golden crown is the
proper ornament of Christ himself, of his elders, of his followers, of
those who overcome sin and the · Upon their heads, world, by his example and power. as it were, : crowns
See notes, (ch. iii. 12. ii. 12. iv. 4. of gold.
vi. 2.) These imposing enemies of
Os homini sublime dedit, cælum'que tueri
These deceivers impose' by a show Their faces as the of reasoning and by the specious elofaces of men. quence which is human. Ignatius, in
his Epistle to the Church of Smyrna, written about the time when
the great Gnostic heresy began to + Bochart, on Joel ii. where it is said of them, “like.horsemen “shall they run.” Ray, on Insects; quoted by Bp. Newton.