Abbildungen der Seite

Lord. His name Abaddon, being his chief character by the instrumentality of Mahomed, as opposed to our Saviour's name Jesus; and Apollyon, as directly adverse to his name Christ, since Antichrist is termed o vios tñs Twelais, the son of perdition, the son of Apollyon. 2 Thess. ii. 3.

Their power was to hurt men five months. This is a prophetic number, which according to that most probable system of computation by the pious and learned Bengelius, comprises a period of 79—1-3 years of our time. And here is another strong proof, for the justness and confirmation of my ordinary system of calculating this series of prophecies. Bengelius' system, though just in itself, as referring to the extraordinary time of particular predictions, stands unconnected with the preceding numbers, and thus loudly calls for the ordinary series of calculation, to determine the commencement of his periods, which are unconnected links in his chain of computation, and only settled a posteriori, from the page of history. The ordinary system of calculation refers to the periods of the trumpets, and the extraordinary numbers comprise the time of the woes, as a protraction of those periods; for the calamities under the trumpets are called woes, from that time, and so long only as they materially affect the Church. If we now add the ordinary time of the trumpet, 50 years, and the extraordinary time of this woc, 79—1-3 to the preceding chain A. D. 622, we have the year A. D. 751, when the power of the Saracens ceased to endanger the existence and prosperity of the Church in their dominions, and they made no more excursions of consequence. At least, the fury of their religious fanaticism had abated, when the city of Bagdad was built A. D. 762, and their daring intrepidity had settled itself into a more rational calm, where they held the sceptre. In Spain and Portugal at least, the Christians in a few years regained Gallicia, Leon, a part of OH Castile and of Portugal, and since 778, also Navarre and Ca

talonia, which they kept in constant possession; while in other parts, they met with no considerable loss from this time.


Verse 12. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two

woes more hereafter, To facilitate a more perfect knowledge of these prophecies, the Church of Christ should be considered the centre of the prophetic horizon in these visions, and the most endearing object of divine solicitude, to which every prediction has a principal reference. This is more particularly necessary in regard to these woes, and the three preceding intervals, in which the woes are anticipated. The word an ñabav, it is past, gone by, expired, does not necessarily require, that the calamities of the former woe must have totally ceased every where, even among Pagan nations. It only informs us of a pause, during which these poignant distresses to the amount of a woe, shall cease to affect the Church in essential parts, and no new enemy suffered to rise up against her, and cause fresh disasters within her pales. This, in my opinion, is an elucidation of the true sense here, and ch. xi. 14. where the third pause or cessation is intimated, by a similar form of expression,


Vere 13. And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice

from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,

[ocr errors]

14. Saying to the sixth angel which had the trum

pet, Loose the four angels which are bound in

the river Euphrates. 15. 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. 16. And the number of the army of the horsemen

were two hundred thousand thousand : and I

heard the number of them. This prophecy refers to an event of such importance and distinction, that it cannot be considered a difficult task, to point out its accomplishment with perfect assurance, on the ensanguined page of history. The astonishing number of horsemen here mentioned, at once designates Asia as the theatre of these murderous armies ; whose military forces, at all times, consisted chiefly of cavalry. But they would not have obtained a place in this prophetic journal of Providence, if they had only been the scourge of Pagans, and not also brought great distresses on the Church of Christ. This trumpet proclaims the judgments of God against the nations of Asia, and more especially against the great empire of the Saracens upon the waters of Eupbrates, and the Asiatic provinces of the Grecian empire. In all these countries Christianity had made great progress; and though many had been induced by the Saracens to apostatize, and turn Mahomedans; yet there were many thousand Christians living among the Heathens in those countries, whose lives and fortunes were essentially involved in their fate. St. John seems to consider thege judgments as a further effect of the efficacy of the prayers of the saints, chap. viii. 3. 4.; to indicate which, he heard a voice from the four homs of the same altar, upon which the prayers of all saints had been placed. These four angels are neither four great conquerors, nor even so many rulers of nations. Though of universal celebrity, yet these legitimate and ingenious cut-throats,

called most consummate heroes, are nevertheless far too insignificant to be thus represented, even by evil spirits like these. I conceive them, to be the military geniuses of those four great and warlike nations: The Arabians, the Turks, the Tartars, and the Persians, who during this period rent the empire of the Saracens into many distinct kingdoms and principalities where they now established dynasties for themselves. Though all these nations received the Mahomedan religion, and united into one religious community; they yet waged tremendous and most bloody wars among themselves, and in other countries, where the Christians were largely involved in these revolutionary contests. Perbaps there also were invisible powers of darkness engaged, in the performance of this sanguinary and dreadful tragedy, in which so many tribes and nations, disputed with each other for centuries, to gain the government of the world. For a sinilar case, I would refer the reader to Dan. x. 20. and ch. xi. 1. where the fatal plans and machinations of evil spirits, have been overruled by the powerful exertions of good angels, and the people of God preserved from impending destruction. 2 Kings vi. 15. 17. These four angels of war had been bound upon the great river Euphrates. That is, Provi. dence prohibited them from bursting the barrier of nations, hitherto preserved among the various and numerous tribes of inhabitants upon the vast banks of the waters of that noted river; who otherwise, long before this time, would have been willing to execute their revolutionary purposes from that part of the world.

The ordinary period of this trumpet is protracted by the following expressions of time: which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year. If unnecessary quibbles are avoided in exploring the true sense of these words, they will be found to contain the extraordinary numbers, by which the spirit of prophecy has here determined the commencement and different degrees of

this woe; or that measure of time in which this woe is to be accomplished. During the time of a prophetic hour, day, month, and year, these four nations would all be engaged apon the stage of action in succession, and accomplish the judgments of God here intimated; but after the expiration of this prophetic term, the calamities occasioned by the wars of these nations, though they might continue with great severity in Pagan countries, would no longer amount to the measure of a woe in Christendom. According to the system of computation, most assuredly displayed under the direction of Providence, by the pious prelate Bengelius, the sum total of these prophetic numbers will amount to 212 4 years. And no doubt, it required centuries in an ordinary course of Providence, where nothing is forced by a miraculous power, for so many nations to join into one religious community ; to raise empires and kingdoms upon the ruin of empires, and exalt one nation to dominion and glory after the other; and to bring so many nations and armies upon the great theatre of the world, as would amount to two hundred millions of horsemen. This amazing number δύο μυριάδες μυριάδων, St. John supposed, might appear almost incredible to some readers, he therefore expressly affirms, I heard the number of them. But when we consider the immense theatre and periphery of these nations, and of the Saracen empire at the commencement of this period, upon which all these nations and tribes of nations were in continual motion, to invade and subdue each other, as the waves upon a tempestuous sea; if we credit the accounts given in profane history, of the astonishing armies, and trains of armies, which these Asiatics were accustomed to bring into the fields of battle; this number will by no means appear so improbable, during a period of 262 years, and amidst such general revolutions in the world. Bajazet is said to have had an army of fourteen, and Tamerlane of sixteen hundred throusand men; and what amazing armies must havo

« ZurückWeiter »