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In verses 3, 5, and 10, the locusts are described as having the tails, the stings, the power of scorpions. We have already seen that scorpions, in Scriptural language, are represented as a part of the power of the infernal enemy, being nearly related in character and description to the race of serpents.
Now Eusebius, giving an account of the rise and progress of the Gnostic heresy, ascribes it to some serpent-like power* : and again he compares the concealed mischief of that sect to that of a lurking reptile t. And Tertullian, in his treatise intitled Scorpiace, (that is, antidote against the scorpions,) directly compares the Valentinians, and other Gnostic teachers, to scorpions ; and he instances the points of resemblance, in the dangerous poison of a little and contemptible animal; in their infinite kinds and varieties, all armed in the same manner with a tail, and produced by heat. And then speaking of the hot persecution which had raged against the Christians ; — Tunc (says he) Gnostici erumpunt, tunc Valentiniani proserpunt, tunc omnes martyriorum refragatores ebuiliunt, calentes et ipsi, offendere, figere, occidere I. These quotations will tend to shew, that those Christian writers, who lived in, or nearest to, the times oft he Gnostic heresy, conceived of it in such a manner as to represent it under the very same images as the army of the scorpion-locusts is described in this vision. The comparison need not be pursued farther. If the reader, while he peruses the remaining verses in which this prophecy is contained, will turn back to the comparison already exhibited in page 198, keeping in mind what he has learned of the Gnostic history, he will probably admit, that the Gnostics, springing up suddenly, in immense numbers, from the dark and proud philosophy of the East, and possessing themselves of many of the Christian Churches, darkening their primitive lustre, and poisoning their principles and morals, yet, not succeeding against all the members of the congregations, but only against the more corrupt part; and not destroying utterly in these the principles of their faith, but leaving room for their repentance and return into the bosom of the Church : and continuing to flourish about the space of 150 years, have wonderfully fulfilled this prophecy.
* Opions Tis durapais: Eccl. Hist. lib. iv. 7. + Ερπέλα δικην φωλευωγλος: lib. iv. c. 7.
I Tertullian. Scorp. sub initio.-" Then (says he) the Gnostics “ burst forth, then the Valentinians creep out, then all the gainsayers “ of the martyrdoms boil up, themselves all in a heat, to hurt, to
sting, to kill.” And again he says, (speaking of the swarm of the Gnostic Marcion,) faciunt favos et respæ, faciunt ecclesias et Mar. cionitæ. (Adv. Marcion. lib. iv.) Tertullian composed his works against the Gnostics, about the year 207, when they were highly flourishing. Fleury, Eccl. Hist. book v.
under leader • Clavis, pars ii. Syn. iv.
Upon referring to the commentators I find, that this prophecy is generally supposed (in this country at least) to have received its completion in the rise and invasion of Mahomet and his Saracens. I will offer a few observations, to show, why it cannot justly be so applied.
1. The star fallen cannot, as they pretend, be Mahomet; by no interpretation, literal or figurative, can this crafty enthusiast, bred in idolatry and world. ly traffic, be said to have fallen from heaven. Mede, who has applied this prophecy to the Mahometans, was well aware that the star could not represent this leader of the Saracens, and could indeed be no other than, as he strongly expresses it,“ ipsissimus Draco “ et Satanas *.”. But his followers, Daubuz, Bishop Newton, &c. &c. have incautiously fallen into this
2. The preceding observation will be confirmed by another; namely, that the darkness which overspread the East in the time of Mahomet, was not occasioned by him; he made use of it for his purposes, but it had long been collecting, during preceding heresies and corruptions, such as I suppose to be prefigured under the four first Trumpets, and which are assigned, by all historians, as the means of his success. This will be shewn in the sequel of these annotations. But under this 'Trumpet, the clouds of darkness and the locusts ascend together.
S. The darkness, and locusts, of the fifth Trumpet invade the whole Christian world; for the Sun and the air which they invade, extend every-where ; no third or fourth part is mentioned, as under other Trumpets. But the Mahometan arms and superstition ravaged only a part. The nations of Europe, (except Spain for a season, and some islands in the Mediterranean,) were in general free from them. In their grand attempt on Europe, they were repulsed early by Charles Martel.
4. But the regions which escaped the sword and destructive doctrines of Mahomet, are said in order to accommodate them to this interpretation) to have contained the sealed; how improperly, will soon be acknowledged, when it is considered, that the parts which thus escaped, will be found to be principally those many kingdoms of the western world, which at that very time, on account of their ignorance and superstition, were submitting themselves to the papal yoke, The sealed are to be found in all Christian countries, mingled with the unsealed ; and the invasion which could hurt the one, and not the other, may easily be understood to be that of an universally extended heresy, but not that of a partial invasion by arms The good Christian who continued stedfast in the primitive faith, did not submit to the Gnostical teachers, and thus remained unhurt. But how could he escape unhurt from the sword and plunder and domination of the Mahometans?
5. A period is assigned for the continuance of this woe; five months, or 150 years. The progressive conquests of the Saracene Mahometans continued more than double the length of this period; have been renewed by other nations professing the same creed; and the Mahometans have at this day possession of the greater part of their acquired dominions, after a lapse of nearly 1200 years !
6. To accommodate the Saracens to the symbols of this Trumpet, the commentators have been obliged to apply the prophetic characters sometimes in a borrowed, sometimes in a literal sense, which I suppose to be unwarranted. They ought all to be applied in the same sense.
7. Under the next Trumpet, we shall attempt to shew, that another prophecy belongs more appro
• Especially if a whole region be invaded; for, in the invasion of a particular city, the sealed might escape, as we are told they did, at the siege of Jerusalem under Titus, retiring timely to Pella, upon the warning given them by their Lord. Euseb. Eccl. Hist. lib, ii. c. 5.
priately to the Mahometans. The application of the fifth Trumpet to them is of modern date :--Contenta in hâc visione omnes penè de hæreticis intelligunt *.
8. The important period of 150 years, during which the infant Church was darkened and disfigured by the Gnostic heresies, and on that account exposed to scandal, and misrepresentation, and additional persecution, seems of magnitude to require the notice of Divine prophecy. Though but sparingly mentioned in history, because the records of it, which have survived the Diocletian destruction of manuscripts, are few; yet, its real consequence is not diminished by such accidental circumstance. The great and leading facts are fully established, and no doubt can be entertained of their extensive and powerful influence on the progress of Christianity. But this is its place in the Apocalyptic Visions, and I hope clearly as certained,) or it has none.
Gagnæus apud Polum.
The sounding of the sixth Trumpet and beginning of
the second Woe.
CHAP. ix. VER. 13-to the end.
13 Kaióizlažyed@ | 13 And the sixth angel | 13 And the sixth angel εσάλπισε, και ήκεσα sounded; and I heard
sounded, and I heard φωνήν μίαν εκ των one voice from the a voice from the four τεσσάρων κεράτων four horns of the horns of the golden τα θυσιαςηρία το. golden altar, which is altar, which is before χευσε τα ενώπιον
14 before God, Saying to 14 God, Saying to the