There still remain three trumpets, the greatest and most grievous of all, and therefore discriminated from the former by the appellation of Woes. For after the conclusion of the fourth trumpet, |I saw and heard,| says he, |an angel flying in the midst of heaven, and saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpets of the three angels, which are yet to sound.| Also, c. ix. v.12, and c. xi. v.14.
Doubtless, since the Christian inhabitants of the Roman world, whilst the other trumpets were sounding, had contaminated themselves with the worship of new idols, the trumpets which remained were made more important for the purpose of punishing the double sin. For, it is apparent, that this sin, likewise, of the Roman world, together with the former one, of the slaughter of the martyrs, was reckoned in the account of the crime to be avenged, because this enunciation is subjoined to the second woe; namely, |The rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues, repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold and silver, and brass and stone, and wood, which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk,| c. ix. v.20.
The First Woe Trumpet, or Trumpet the Fifth.
The first woe trumpet is long since passed. It sent forth those horrid troops of locusts, issuing from the smoke of the Tartarean abyss, now opened by the work of Satan, to devastate the globe; that is, the Saracens, or Arabs, (a nation as populous and numerous as locusts,) were excited to the destruction of so many nations, by the astonishing false prophecy of Mohammed.
For the smoke ascending from the infernal pit is Mohammedism, which the Mohammedan knaves call Islamism. This covered the whole earth with a new obscurity, long since illuminated by the empire and discipline of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, after the darkness of the Gentiles had been dispersed. And the type of locusts is the more exact, because the Egyptian locusts likewise , came from the same Arabia, bordering on Egypt to the east. For thus says Exodus, c. x. vv.13, 14, |The Lord brought an east wind on the land, and it brought the locusts; and the locusts went up upon all the land Of Egypt, and settled in all the coasts of Egypt.| The Arabs, besides, on account of the remarkable multitude of the nation, are compared to locusts. Judges, c. vii. v.12, |The Midianites and Amalekites, and all the sons of Kedem, or of the east, lay in the valley as locusts in multitude. Their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea shore for multitude.| Where it is to be observed, that the Arabs are peculiarly denominated the sons of the east, as Arabia itself is kdm Kedem, or the east; namely, with respect to Egypt, where the Israelites had learned to speak thus. You may see, Gen. c. x. v.30, and c. xxv. v.6.1 Kings, c. iv. v.30. Isa. c. xi. v.14. Jer. c. xlix. v.28, and perhaps Matt. c. ii. v.1. Plainly for the same reason as Asia Minor is at this day called Natolia, and Arabia Felix is called by the rest of the Arabians, Ayaman, or south, whence the queen of the south, Matt. c. xii. v.42. But this by the way.
A similar image of locusts is to be seen in Joel, in the two first chapters, speaking of the Assyrians and Babylonians, who were about to lay waste Judea, from whence he who hath compared the description of both, will not deny that the type was borrowed.
Achmet shows from the use of the east, that the interpretation is to be referred to hostile forces; whose words I have thought proper to insert in this place. It is thus he writes in chap. ccc. from the sciences of the Indians, Persians, and Egyptians: |The locust, no doubt, is generally to be referred to a multitude of enemies: For so it is recorded in the sacred writings, that locusts by Divine command go forth like an army to the devastation of countries.| This allusion to sacred writings, applies to those of the Indians alone, as well as every thing in this book, which seems to imply a knowledge of the Christian religion, as will be apparent to the reader. He proceeds, -- |If any king or person endued with power has dreamed that he saw locusts going forth towards a particular region, he may expect in that place, a multitude of enemies with great power; and as much injury as the locusts have done, so much damage will they occasion.|
Having now then established the image, we will look to the remainder of the description.
|And to them was given power,| says ver.3, |even as the scorpions of the earth have power;| |for they had tails like scorpions, and in them stings with which they hurt; and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when it striketh a man.| That is, they had not only the power proper to locusts of eating up and depopulating the countries through which they passed, but, what was a kind of prodigy, they had tails like scorpions, with the stroke of which, likewise, they diffused poison. Wonderful A locust scorpion. But the nature of the evil which it implies, the symbol of a serpentine species seems to point out; for the scorpion is of the serpent kind. In that resemblance, in which the devil first deceived mankind, and turned him away from God, the Holy Spirit loves still to introduce him when he is about to deceive men. Whence that expression -- |The old serpent, which deceiveth the world,| c. xii. v.9, and c. xx. v.2. The tail, therefore, of a scorpion, with the sting, denotes the propagation of that diabolical false prophecy of Mohammed, with its whole apparatus, on which the Arabian locusts relying, not less than on warlike force, inflicted hurt, alas! wherever they went. Nay, this train of foulest errors, the Saracens first, from the creation of man, drew after them; and, I believe, no nation before them, relying on a similar imposture, in religion, and under the pretext of destroying the worship of idols, ever contended for the empire of the world.
But it was said to them, |that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only those men who had not the seal of God upon their foreheads.|
As to the signification of the particle ei me but only, the sense is either exceptive, |that they should not hurt any herb, (for this is the meaning ofchortos with the Hellenists,) nor any thing green, nor any tree, unless those herbs, trees, and green things only, which were not inscribed by the seal of God;| so that men and herbs, and green things, mutually explain one another. Or it may be explained not exceptively, but in opposition, according to the use of the particle ei me in sacred Hellenism, for alla, Matt. c. xii. v.4, Rom. xiv. v.14, and elsewhere; namely, that it might be said to them, that they were not to feed altogether after the manner of common locusts, on herbs or trees, nor on any thing green, but above those things to which they were accustomed, they were to harass men alone; of the number of those whom the seal of the angel, at the beginning of the trumpet, had not exempted from those plagues. In whichever mode it be taken, we might trouble ourselves in vain about the signification and difference of green grass and trees, since those things belong only to the propriety of the figure in which a mystery is not to be sought for. For thus it is said of the Egyptian locusts, Exod. c. x. v.15, |They covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they consumed every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees, and there remained not any green thing in any tree or herb of the field through all the land of Egypt.| But our locusts afflicted the very men, and from hence it is apparent that they were not of the genus of insects, that is, not natural, but symbolical locusts. On which occasion, it will be worth while, once for all, to lay down this rule: -- Whenever any thing is attributed to the prophetic type, which is not agreeable to the nature of the same, that will lead us to the understanding of the thing signified by the type, and teach us that the interpretation is to be made according to the condition of the thing so signified; and this, you will observe, is to be done four times, at least, in this vision; as when there is given to locusts not only the power of attacking men, but also a human face, feminine hair, golden crowns, and iron breast-plates; by all which it is intimated that men and not insects are designated; and they, indeed, by no means hooded as some suppose , but in all respects such as go forth in arms, for the destruction of others. Of which locusts it is said, |And to them it was given, that they should not kill men, but that they should torment them for five months;| that is, in this respect the Arabian locusts differ from the Euphratean horsemen, of whom mention is made in the following trumpet. It was given to the Saracens to torment for a long time, and in a cruel manner, the nations of the Roman name; but it was by no means given to them to despoil of life that Roman triental, if I may so call it, on any side. For since, while the former trumpets were sounding, out of the ruins of its political state, a new pontifical kingdom of ancient Rome had grown up, with a progress equal, as it were, to the ruin of the other, the Saracens could not destroy this, nor the kingdom of Constantinople, the new Rome. On the other hand, the Turks, after the capture of the royal city, entirely took away the Constantinopolitan dominion, as we shall hear in the following trumpet. Of the five months to which the torment of the locusts is limited, we shall speak with more propriety when we come to the repetition of the same.
|In those days men shall seek death, and shall not find it. And they shall desire to die,. and death shall flee from them.| That is, such shall be the calamity of those times, that men shall be weary of their lives. For you are not to imagine that this was done by mere persuasion, or tricks of delusion. The business was effected by arms, and that by the institution of Mohammed himself; the apparatus of which, indeed, and it is sufficiently terrible, together with the amplitude of the dominion to be acquired, and the dress of the nation waging war, is depicted in a lively image. The warlike apparatus is thus described: |And the figures of the locusts were like horses (i. e. cavalry) prepared for battle;| |their teeth were like those of lions,| i. e. strong to devour. Joel, c. i. v.6. Dan. c. vii. v.7.23. |And they had breast-plates like breast-plates of iron, and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots with many horses rushing to battle.| The whole description is taken from Joel, from whence, as I observed, is borrowed the very image of locusts. Vide c. ii. v.4. c. i. v.6. c. ii. v.5.
The crowns, like crowns of gold, placed on their heads, indicate the success and extent of dominion to be acquired nor indeed undeservedly. No nation ever reigned so extensively, nor in so short a space of time were so many kingdoms, so many regions, brought under the yoke of domination. Incredible is it to be told, yet it is most true, that in the short space of eighty, or not many more years, they subjugated and acquired to the diabolical kingdom of Mohammed, Palestine, Syria, both the Armenias, almost the whole of Asia Minor, Persia, India, Egypt, Numidia, all Barbary, as far as the river Niger, Lusitania, and Hispania. Nor did their good fortune or ambition stop here, till they had added great part of Italy, even to the gates of Rome, besides Sicily, Candia, Cyprus, and the other islands of the Mediterranean Sea.
Good God! what a vast tract of land! How many crowns are here! Whence it is worthy of observation, that no mention is here made, as under the other trumpets, of the trient, or third part; since the plague fell not less beyond the bounds of the Roman empire, than within it; stretching even to the extremest parts of India.
The dress of this warlike nation remains to be considered. |And their faces,| says he, |were as the faces of men.| They were locusts with a human countenance; that is, truly men, (lest any one should suppose that insects were spoken of,) |having hair as the hair of women;| that is, they were Arabs by nation, who, according to Pliny, wear their hair uncut, and in the manner of women, having turbans on their heads. Pliny, lib. vi. c.28. Whose custom it is at the present day, as travellers affirm, when they are going into battle, to braid their hair into horns and curls. Camerar. operum subciss. Tom. i. c.93. Whence it appears manifest that a passage quoted from Herodotus in Thalia, as implying the tonsure of the Arabs, is not to be understood as of the shaving of the head, but either of that of the beard, in some mode used by the Arabs, in imitation of Bacchus, (of which Pliny also mentions something, when he says, |the beard was wont to be shaved by them, except upon the upper lip,|) or of the roundness of the ends of their hair, beyond the entire tonsure of the head both of which modes perhaps, because it was the mark of the worshippers of Bacchus, a Heathen deity near them, God forbad to his people. Levit. c. xix. v.27. c. xxi. v.5. However it might be, I doubt not but Pliny had seen Arabians at Rome.
It follows, with regard to the duration of the plague, that it is to be actually terminated in five months, according to the type of locusts, who last for so many months namely, from the rising of the pleiades, (called by the ancients the end of spring, being about one month from the vernal equinox,) when, from the eggs left in the earth, during winter, they come forth to the light, until the beginning of autumn, when, having deposited other eggs in the earth for the stock of the next year, they immediately die. See Pliny, lib. xi. c.29.
God, however, intended to suit this notation of time, not only to the type, but also to the antitype, since he delivered up Italy, the chief state of the earth, and of the sin which drew down the foremost plague, to be infested by the Saracenic locusts, from the year 830 to the year 980, that is, 150 years, or five months of years.
In other parts of the world indeed, but in a certain order, and for different periods of time, the plague remained longer; chiefly in the oriental regions of Syria, Egypt, and of Asia Minor, which being conterminous to the head of that empire, which was first at Damascus, and afterwards at Bagdad, fell, as it were, into the anterior parts of the Saracenic body for many ages.
Here I would observe, that though, in whatever lands they occupied, they wounded the inhabitants with the envenomed stroke of that scorpion-tail of which I have spoken, yet the Italians seem to have felt the stroke in some different, unknown, and singular manner. The whole swarm being assimilated to a body, and the anterior parts assigned, as they ought to be, to the east, what will those African troops be, stretched out at so loose a distance from the head towards the west, but the tail? And from thence arose all the calamity of Italy, which they repeatedly struck by an oblique stroke (see the nature of scorpions) through the Mediterranean sea, as well as its. islands of Sardinia and Sicily. As if the Holy Spirit expressly pointed hither when it said, with the reiterated mention of months, |And they had tails like scorpions, and stings, and they had power in their tails to hurt men five months.| For so reads the Cornplutensian Codex, according to the testimony of Syrus, Primasius, Andreas, and Aretas. Though an interpretation of this kind be not unsuitable to the designation of the time, yet I do not change my opinion that there is another signification of that serpentine train, and much more widely diffusing itself, as I have said above. If any one will suffer himself to be persuaded of a secondary sense, (which I am not accustomed easily to admit,) he is at liberty to adopt it with my consent.
Now, this is one way by which the five months of the type of locusts may be adapted to the event. There is also another, provided those months are doubled in consequence of those five months being twice mentioned, as if indeed the Holy Spirit meant to apply the number Five according to the analogy and propriety of the type; but to double it that it might answer by another period, to a more illustrious antitype. For why otherwise should he repeat the notation of those months nearly in the same words? Is there not a mystery under this repetition? I do not remember a similar circumstance elsewhere, in the continued description of the same type. If this, then, should be satisfactory, three hundred years, as many as twice five months of years amount to, will comprehend that noted period of the Saracenic kingdom, which, from the beginning of the Caliphate of the Abasides, (who first fixed the seat of empire at Bagdad,) extends to the capture of the same city by Togrulbec, king of the Turks, (who is called by us Tangrophilix); that is, from the year of Christ 750 to the year 1055. This, indeed, is a longer space by about five years; but when the calculation is made by months, no more notice is to be taken of some days, than, when the computation is by days, it is customary to take of hours. It may be added, that this interval will begin commodiously from the removal of the yoke of the exarchate from the city of Rome, with which the calamity of the preceding trumpet ended. It happened at the same time, perhaps even in the same year. If you should still inquire why the Holy Spirit did not comprehend the whole duration of the Saracenic plague within these numbers, since, before this principality of the Abasides, namely, from the year 630, the Saracens had extended their empire by continued successes; so that it had thus then arisen to its acme? It may be answered, that the number of five months has more to do with the type of locusts than with the antitype of Saracens, and therefore it was sufficient, if what properly suits the former was exhibited in some more remarkable kind of period, though it should not measure the whole. I assert nothing, however, on this point, but leave it to others to whom more has been given by God, to search into it farther. (N.B.) This difficulty, notwithstanding, is by no means prejudicial to the interpretation respecting the Saracens; for whichever interpretation you follow, the same difficulty will pursue you.
There yet remains to treat of the king, and his name. |And they had,| says he, |a king over them, the angel of the abyss.| His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he has the name of Apollyon, that is, the Destroyer.
The Holy Spirit seems to insinuate, as he calls their king the angel of the abyss, that these locusts were not a Christian, but an infidel nation, which had not given their name to Christ. For the children of infidelity, or Pagans, are said by St. Paul to be subject to the prince who had the power |of the air,| who is no other than the angel of the abyss; on the contrary, those who become Christians are said |to be delivered from the power of Satan, and to be converted to God.|
Whatever the reason may be, the matter is worthy discussion, why he should call this prince of the abyss by a name evidently new and unheard of, and not as he commonly is, the Devil, Satan, the Serpent, or Dragon: or if he had given him one from the notion of destroying, why not rather Asmodeus, from the name Isodunamounti, by which the Jews used to call him, but Abaddon never? Is it not because,
when the Mohammedans boasted that they worshipped and adored no other God than the one and only God, the Creator of all things, or the Maker of the Universe, who is denominated Abuda by the Chaldeans and Syrians, and is distinguished also by the Arabians themselves by the epithet 'vdy Abdi, that is, Eternal; the Holy Spirit designed to oppose them with a word of a contrary sense, but of similar sound? By which, in truth, he intimated, that they were so far from venerating (whatever they might assert) Abuda, or Abdi, the Eternal Maker of the World, that in the estimation of God himself, whom they will have to be of one Person,and not to be approached through Christ, they had, in the place of king or deity, not Him, but the evil angel Abaddon, that is, not the Maker, but the Destroyer of the world.
Thus, when the followers of Jeroboam thought that they worshipped the God of Israel in their calves, the Scripture says that they sacrificed to demons.2 Chron. c. xi. v.15. Or shall we say that there is here an allusion to the common name of the kings of that portion of Arabia whence Mohammed, in the first place, had issued forth with the locusts; who from an ancient king, Oboda, referred by them into the number of their gods, and from whose sepulchre the name of Oboda remained in a region of the Nabatheans, they were thence called Obodæ, by a name of power, as the kings of Egypt, Pharaohs and Ptolemies, those of the Romans Cæsars, of the Parthians Arsacæ, and the neighbouring kings of the Arabs of Petræa, Aretæ? For Stephen of Byzantium, out of the fourth book of Urani us, a writer on Arabian affairs, says, |Obodas is a country of the Nabatheans, where Obodas the king, whom they made a god, was buried. Now, from this circumstance, Strabo and Josephus induce me to believe that the kings of that country were from thenceforward called by the common name Obodas, the latter of whom commemorates two of this name, the one warlike, and too well known to the Jews by the slaughter of their king Alexander Jamnenus; whom, in fact, Obodas the Arab compelled to fly from Jerusalem, his whole army being slain in the region of Galaad, about ninety years before Christ, whom the Jews, not undeservedly, by a slight alteration, might have called Abaddon, that is, the Destroyer.
The other king was dull and heavy, the contemporary of Herod the Great, whose procurator Syllæus (who administered his affairs according to his pleasure) demanded Salome, the sister of Herod, in marriage; but being deprived of his wish, and rendered the enemy of Herod, brought him into no small dispute with Augustus by his calumnies. Of this Obodas, Strabo makes mention more than once in the expedition of Ælius Gallus into Arabia, and that with the same mark of dulness, and says he was connected by affinity with the neighbouring king Aretas, (and this, as I said, was the common name of the kings bordering on Petræa.) From the same author it is to be collected, that the more southern kingdom of Obodas reached to the Red Sea, which tract of land, I believe, the Ismaelites and Saracens inhabited; for certainly it appears that the Nabatheans, whose country, by the testimony of Uranius, embraced the region of Obodas, were Ismaelites, having obtained that name from Nabaioth, the first-born son of Ismael. Josephus adds, that Obodas having departed this life, Aretas, by the favour of Augustus, annexed his kingdom to his own. If any one being much struck with such a coincidence and congruity, shall think that the Holy Spirit applied this name Abaddon designedly, that by a certain paranomasia of the royal name he might point out that nation whose custom it was to designate their kings, and even their gods, by a similar appellation, I should think him deserving pardon, especially since both words seem to come from the same root, common to the Hebrews and Arabians, although, as is also the case in other instances, with a contrary signification, and since in the ancient prophets, examples of allusions, not altogether dissimilar, sometimes occur. Thus as Isaiah had called Christ in ntsr, that is, a branch, St. Matthew transfers to Jesus the name of Nazarene, c. ii. ver. ult. You may see likewise Jerem. c. i. v.11, 12. Schaked, an almond; Schoked, I watch; Amos, c. viii. v.2. Kajits, a basket of summer fruits, because it comes from Ketz, which means the end, &c. And that the Jews of the latter age were not averse to agnomina of such a kind, may be proved from this, that just before our Saviour's Advent, because Acheron, the river of the infernal regions, did not differ in sound from Accaron, a city of Palestine, (for so was Ekron anciently pronounced,) from Beelzebub, its god, they made a name of Satan, prince of that place, that is, of the infernal regions. For hence, as I conjecture, Beelzebub is called in the Gospel the Prince of the Demons.
The Second Woe Trumpet, or Trumpet the Sixth.
Another woe productive of plagues (which, lamentable to be reflected on, still broods over us), calls forth the tetrarchs of the Turks with a most numerous body of cavalry, from Euphrates, (where they had long rested) to invade the Roman world.
|Loose,| says the voice from the four horns of the altar of incense, |the four angels who are bound upon the great river Euphrates.| The angels are used for the nations over which they were thought to preside, by a metonymy not unusual in this book. It appears to be so from the circumstance that those who are loosed, immediately, according to the direction of the Oracle, are Equestrian armies, sent forth to slay men. It commands the angels who had been bound, to be loosed, as those who, during the continuance of the former plague, when they burst forth on the Roman regions, had been restrained to the Euphrates for so many ages, that they might not proceed at will. In the beginning, indeed, they advanced a little farther, even to Nice, in Bithynia; but Solyman being conquered in the expedition from Jerusalem by the Argonautic Christians, they were at length confined to the Euphrates. Moreover, the four angels signify so many sultanies, or kingdoms, into which the Turks were divided, when, after crossing the Euphrates, they poured themselves on the neighbouring tracts of Asia and Syria. These, Christopher Richer, from Scilex, a Greek author, thus enumerates: -- The Asian, the Aleppian, the Damascene, and the Antiochian. The first of which, the Asian, or that of Asia Minor, owed its original to Cutlumusus, (called, if I am not mistaken, by Elmachinus, by another name, that of Sedijduddaula,) a neighbour of that Tangrophilix who first took Bagdad. He, on the same authority, when Cesarea in Cappadocia was taken and destroyed by the Romans, about the year of Christ, 1080, gave birth to the kingdom in the parts of Asia conterminous to the Euphrates; the bounds of which, his successor, Solyman, enlarged to Nice in Bithynia; but being, conquered by our forces in that well-known expedition from Jerusalem, he was compelled to give up the whole region which he had acquired, and to retreat to the Euphrates. And the seat of this tetrarchy, though elsewhere in the beginning, was still, as to its principal part, in the same Cappadocia of Iconium.
The second tetrarchy was the Aleppian, from its metropolis Aleppo, which is washed by a branch of the Euphrates, and therefore derived from one of the sultans. Its first king (on the authority of Elmachinus) Sjarfuddamlas, who was possessed of Aleppo in the year 1079; to whom succeeded Roduwan Salghucides, in 1095.
The third tetrarchy, with its metropolis Damascus, had for its founder, on the same authority, Tagjuddaulas Nisus, the grandson of Togrulbec, or Tangrophilix, who subjugated Damascus in the same year 1079. His successor was Ducathes, or Decacus, the brother of Rochewan, the sultan of Aleppo, in the year 1095. To whom, says Scilix, the whole region of Decapolis was subject. This bordered on the Euphrates. With these Scilix numbers the fourth, the Antiochian, contained within narrow bounds. For, says he, the caliph of Egypt, of the Saracenic race, possessed Laodicea, even to the regions of Syria. But as that kingdom of Antioch was not only a little too remote from the Euphrates, but lasted only fourteen years, Antioch being taken by our people under their leader, Bohemond, it will be better, perhaps, having expunged that, to add the Bagdadian, or Persian empire, from the other bank of the Euphrates, (for Scilix only took account of the Turks who had passed the Euphrates,) in order to complete the quaternion, that so the whole Turkish empire, both beyond and on this side of that river, should he understood as divided into those four sultanies, which with the series for some time of kings and sultans, may be contemplated by the reader more distinctly in the following
Of the Turkish Empire, near the Euphrates, divided into Four Parts, from the year 1080, and thenceforward, taken out of Elmachinus, an Arab, and Scilix, a Greek Author.
Beyond On this side the Euphrates.
Olbarsalanus Cæarea in Cappadocia,
and Iconium in
Asia Minor Aleppo Damascus
Mahmudus began his reign 1117, &c. Sedijduddaulas Cognomine
Calisastlanus, &c. Sjarfuddulus
Bulgarus began his reign 1117 Tagjuddaulas
Abalacus, who was alive in 1115
* * * * *
* * * * *
And that was the state of the Turkish affairs when they had first passed the Euphrates; and having given a specimen of their irruption into the Roman dominions, were restrained by the appointed chains to the Euphrates. However, that quaternion of sultanies did not remain entire to the time of relaxation, but underwent several vicissitudes. Notwithstanding, the Holy Spirit estimates the nation from the state of its first irruption, in which, when they had passed the Euphrates, they were bound for an appointed time.
|And the four angels were loosed which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, that they might kill a third part of men.|
This loosing of the Turks happened a little before the year 1300, the caliphate of Bagdad (with which the first woe wholly expired) being now extinguished by the Tartars in the year 1258, and the remnant of the Turks, who had been possessed of the realms from the other bank of the river, even to Persis, being ejected by the same people, as from a sling, in the year 1289, on the Roman countries on this side the Euphrates. For, things being thus prepared, it happened likewise, at the same time, that the Latins, who had now, for almost two hundred years, imposed curbs and fetters on the first irruption of the Turks, were expelled from Syria and Palestine, about the year 1291. In the mean time the Turks, though as yet divided into various satrapies, began to make incursions into almost the whole of Asia Minor, to divide it among themselves, to be possessed by hereditary right, and at length, uniting under the empire of Othman alone, to advance astonishingly, and wholly without restraint, to pass over into Europe; nor could they longer be resisted by any force, until they had destroyed the whole Constantinopolitan empire with miserable devastations. But the Oracle (unless I am deceived) points out the time of this Constantinopolitan destruction, namely, that it should be after a day, a month, and a year; that is, 396 years after the Turks, by the gift of the Saracenic empire to them, had began to be prepared by God; that is, from the time of Bagdad being captured by them.
This was the beginning of the Turkish irruption, by which the Saracenic empire began to be demolished, and the dominion of the Romans to be afflicted; in such a manner, however, that the force of the mischief was to be restrained to the time prescribed for the relaxation. The interval of time certainly agrees exactly; for Elmachinus, the Arabian historian whom I have so often quoted, -- than whom, no one marks the successive periods of time more accurately, -- relates that Togrulbec Saglucides, the prince of the Turks, (who is called by our writers Tangrolipix, of the Zelzucian family,) having taken the rout of Bagdad, was invested by the caliph Cajim Biamrilla with the imperial garment, and was inaugurated into the kingdom in the year of the Hegira 449, that is, of Christ 1057. |Then,| says he, |was the empire confirmed to him.|
From this time, then, the stronghold of the Saracenic empire being given to them with the whole Trans-Euphratean dominion, the Turks were prepared, that after a prophetic day, and a month, and a year, they should kill a third part of men; that is, in the year of Christ 1453, they should utterly destroy the remnant of the Roman empire in the East, by the capture of the royal city of Constantinople. For the interval from 1057 to the year 1453, when Constantinople was taken, is precisely 396 years, of which a day forms one, a month thirty, and a year three hundred and sixty-five. Such is here the accuracy of the calculation, that any one may easily be led to suspect the hour likewise, (which, according to the mode of reckoning the other parts of time, would produce fifteen days, would equally correspond with the event, if the month of the inauguration of Togrulbey was handed down to us as well as the year. In the mean time, till that be established, the hour may here be taken for a seasonable time, and the conjunction kai may be explained exegetically, as if they were prepared against a seasonable time, namely, for a day, a month, and a year, that they might kill a third part of men.
How many years should thence run on to the destruction of the Turkish dominion, is no where explained; only it is said that it should be about the end of the times of the beast; that is, that the second woe should then be on the point of concluding, when the third woe should threaten the abolition of the kingdom of the beast, c. xi. v.14, 15.
But, before I quit this subject, I will, not unwillingly, confess, that if the exact correspondence of the prophecy with the event did not, as it were, force conviction upon me, another interpretation of the following kind would have been by no means unpleasing, -- that those angels were prepared and appointed for every occasion, whether it were for an hour, or a day, or a month, or even for a year, for performing the work of which there was need. But whether it is likely that so accurate an answer as to time, as the event here exhibits, could have happened by chance, let others judge. It will be for him to form an opinion with whom there is a doubt.
The next point is of the quality and number of the forces. |And the number, (says he,) of the army of horsemen was two myriads of myriads,| i. e. two hundred thousand, or two hundred million. He names the horsemen, and not any other kind of force, in the whole description of the plague, as if this enemy from the Euphrates was wholly composed of cavalry. Is it because, in the Turkish army, the cavalry so far exceeds the infantry, that the latter, in comparison with the former, is of no consequence? Yes, (and that, I believe, was principally regarded by the Holy Spirit,) because this is the character of the nation Magog, long ago, consecrated by Ezekiel, from which the Turks were descended. For thus, in that most celebrated prophecy of Gog, which was a common name of the kings of Magog , as Pharaoh of the Egyptians, he describes that nation from its equestrian army, c. xxxviii. v.4. |And I will bring thee forth and all thy army, horse and horsemen, all clothed with breast-plates.| Again, v.15. |And thou shalt come from thy place, from the sides of the North, thou, and many people with thee, all riding on horses,| &c. Moreover, Gog himself is called the chief Prince of Mesech, and Tubal; that is, he, who, coming forth from his bounds, ruled in both the Armenias, on this, and on the farther side of the Euphrates. Here, in the name of the hither Armenia, I comprehend the Cappadocians, anciently denominated Meschini, or Moschi, where both the chief town Mazacha, afterwards called Cesarea, and the Moschic mountains in the same tract, are no obscure marks of the inhabitants being sprung from Mesech.
The farther, or greater Armenia, is what is called at this day Turcomania, from the inhabitation of the Turks; in which was formerly the city Thelbalana, the Tibaunian and Balbitenian people, the river Teleboas, and other vestiges of the name of Tubal. The war, however, which Ezekiel relates, is not to be understood of that undertaken in this irruption of the Turks, which John describes, (this he seems only to allude to,) but of another, the last after the return of the Jews; and, if it be lawful to conjecture, when the power which now occupies the country shall have first in some degree receded from it.
But on the type of cavalry, there is something else I would add with the leave of the reader, provided no one will. think me too much given to the play of names and etymologies. Even solid and well-cooked food is apt to be more palatable with sauce. Let not the reader, then, be disgusted, if I subjoin something of this kind. The Turks, in truth, before they were set loose, had become, by long inhabitation, Persians, and were every where called by that name in the Byzantine historians. Nicetas, certainly, who embraces in his history the greatest part of the time when they were restrained to the Euphrates, almost always calls them Persians, -- very rarely, Turks. But the Persians, you will observe, are horsemen, even from the very sound, since phrs Paras, by which name Persia is called in the sacred books, (and Parthia is the same, only with another pronunciation,) signifies in the three Oriental languages, the Hebrew, the Chaldee, and the Arabian, a horse or horseman. For this reason, then, the Turco Persians are called the Euphratean horsemen, that is, the inhabitants on the Euphrates, are called by the national name of horsemen. Nor does there appear to be wanting (if any one should object to the irrelevancy of this) an example in Daniel, c. viii., where the Macedonians, who at that time were called Egeades, (that is, goats,) are designated under the type of goats, and their king under the figure of a he-goat. |Behold,| says he, |a male of the goats, came from the west,| &c. He means Alexander the Great, the king of the Egeades. They are the Macedonians. For so that nation was called, when the first seat of the kingdom was established, from Caranus the founder, two hundred years, more or less, before the time of Daniel. Justin the epitomizer, of Thogus, relates the cause of the name, whose words I shall not think it troublesome to subjoin. |Caranus,| says he, |with a great multitude of the Greeks, being commanded by the answer of the oracle to seek for habitations in Macedonia, when he came into Æmathia, occupied the city Edessa, having followed a herd of goats, flying from the rain, the inhabitants not being aware of it, in consequence of the heavy cloud and rain, and recalling the oracle to mind, by which he had been ordered to seek for empire under the guidance of goats, he made it the seat of his kingdom, and afterwards made it a religious observance, wherever his troops moved, to have the same goats before his standards, esteeming them who had been the authors and founders of his kingdom, as the leaders of his undertakings. He called the city Edessa, in memory of the benefit received, Ægeas, and the people Ægeades.| Vide cetera.
There is such an agreement here, that one might be tempted to suspect the type of a ram in the same vision, applied to the king of the Persians, alludes to the signification of the name Elam, one of the two by which that nation is called. For 'yl in the Hebrew, (whence the name 'yl Aries, ram,) and 'lm and lm in the Chaldee, signify the same; namely, strong or robust. Perhaps, therefore, ylm Elam had the same sound as 'yl ram to these, and thence the king of Elam is described under this type by Daniel. However it be, when the thing itself is otherwise confirmed, this agreement of names with the type cannot help being matter of pious delight to those who are studious of these matters, whether it be believed to have happened from accident or otherwise. And this by the way.
Now I return again to the Euphratean horse, |whose number,| says he, |was two myriads of myriads.| Others read myriads of myriads, expunging the two, as c. v. v.11. It signifies an immense multitude, as Psalm lxviii. |The chariots of God are two myriads,'| -- twenty thousand. For a myriad rvv' or rvvh is one of those words of number, which in Hebrew are words to be indefinitely taken, as among the Latins six hundred, and does not denote the number ten thousand, but some great number, especially when thus doubled, as may be seen in Daniel, c. vii. v.10. But how great and how immense the forces of the Turks were in their expeditions, and usually are at this day, must be unknown to no one.
|And I heard,| he adds, |their number.| Since it might be asked whence John was acquainted with the number, as what was not possible to be represented to him in a vision, he says, |I heard.| The like is to be understood likewise in other visions, as often as any thing is related which could not be exhibited to sight; namely, that the apostle was informed by a voice.
The next subject is the armour. |And thus I saw the horses in appearance, and those who sat on them, having breast-plates of fire, and hyacinth, and sulphur, and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions, and out of their mouths proceeded fire, and smoke, and sulphur. By these three were killed the third part of men.|
No where in any part of the prophets, or elsewhere in the sacred writings, occurs an image of this kind, |of fire and hyacinthine smoke and sulphur.| Where I understand it literally of that new (and previous to this trumpet) unheard of arms, which those Euphratean enemies made use of, immediately after they had been set loose. I understand it of cannon, vomiting fire, smoke, and sulphur. For gunpowder is ignivomous, with hyacinthine smoke, and sulphureous matter, which those who use in war, obtrude themselves on the senses of their enemies, as covered with breast-plates of fire, hyacinth, and sulphur, from a medium involved in fire, smoke, and the smell of sulphur; on which account the horses' heads are seen to be of a fierce and terrible appearance, like those of lions. Hence John says, that he saw the horses and horsemen, not really, but in appearance, such as he describes. In appearance, I say, en horasei not in reality, having breast-plates of fire, hyacinth, and sulphur; in appearance, having heads like lions; lastly, in appearance, not in reality, out of the mouths of the horses proceed fire, and smoke, and sulphur; since it is wont to appear so to those who behold it on the opposite side. This is the force of the expression en horasei, in semblance, which is used twice in this sense in the fourth chapter, v.3, |He was in appearance like a jasper stone| -- and |a rainbow in appearance, like an emerald.| No where else, except once only, does that word appear in the New Testament. By this triple plague of fire-arms, namely, |of fire, smoke, and sulphur,| he adds, |were the third part of men killed;| that is, those who were of that trient, or third part, which we called the Roman world. For it is not necessary here, or elsewhere, where a third is mentioned, to understand the whole of that third, but to take it partitively. Examples of which kind of ellipse of the partitive words occur elsewhere in the Scriptures, as well as in this book; as Jud. c. xii. v.7, |Jephthah was buried in the cities of Gilead;| that is, in one of the cities. And Apo. c. xviii. v.16, |The ten horns hate the harlot;| that is, some of them. So, to triton, |the third part of men were killed,| implies those of that third part.
Who does not know that this was abundantly fulfilled in the destruction of Constantinople? Was not that most illustrious city, the chief of the third part of men, besieged with those fire-breathing machines, and given up to slaughter? Listen to Chalcocondylas! |Mechmet,| says he, |in the expedition against Byzantium, ordered the largest cannon to be made, of a size which at that time we had never known to have existed. He dispersed them every where through the camp, that they might throw their balls against the Greeks. One of which was of such magnitude, that it was drawn by seventy yoke of oxen and two thousand men. To this, two others of the largest size were attached, on either side, each of which sent forth a stone, whose weight was equal to half a talent. After these, came that wonderful mortar which threw a ball whose weight amounted to three talents, and threw down great part of the wall. Whose thundering explosion is reported to have been so great that the neighbouring region was shaken to the distance of forty stadia; that is, five miles. This piece of artillery sometimes sent forth seven balls; one by night, which was a signal for the coming day, and indicated to what point in that day the balls would be directed.| He who desires to know more, and how, even in the maritime siege, cannon were made use of, and how the walls, after being for forty days stoutly battered by cannon, fell at length; and how Longus, duke of Genoa, with his people, assailed by cannon balls, deserted the place, and opened a way into the city for the Turks, let him resort to Chalcocondylas himself. From the same author, moreover, he will learn that the Peloponnesian Isthmus, having been attacked by Amurath, the father of Mechmet, with the same arms, and the inhabitants compelled to obey his commands, were entirely subjugated by Mechmet himself, Corinth having been attacked likewise with a force of fire-arms, immediately after the capture of Constantinople.
To this account of their arms, is added something about the nature of the horses and their riders. That |their power was not in their mouths| only, (of which we have hitherto treated,) but |in their tails; for they have tails like serpents, having heads with which they hurt.| That is, the same as was said above, concerning the Saracens, holds true likewise of the Turks; that they effected mischief, not only by hostile force, but likewise by the train of the Mohammedan imposture, wherever they proceeded. These, therefore, not less than the Saracenic locusts, (whose religion they adopted,) are serpents in their tail. That one kind of serpentine tail may be attributed to the latter, and another to the former, arises from the natural shape of each, and the difference between locusts and horses, by which the pointed tail of scorpions is most suitable to the former, and tails with serpents' heads best adapted to the latter. But |the rest of the men who were not killed by these plagues, yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and wood, which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk,| &c.
Now who these are, it will not be difficult to collect; since in the whole Roman world, or on this side the Euphrates, there are none which worship images, with shame and sorrow be it spoken! besides Christians. Does it not necessarily follow, then, that it is they who worship demons also? since the worship of both is ascribed to the same persons in this place. But what in fine you will say, are demons? Not, in truth, what they themselves hold to be impure spirits, and often call them so, (for what Christian would knowingly and willingly worship them?) but what were understood under this name by the theologists of the Gentiles -- deities, consecrated under the names either of angels or dead men. |Every demon,| says Plato, |is a being between God and mortals.| Again, |God holds not communication with man, but through a demon in every conference:| In Symposis, intercourse carried on between the gods and men. The other Platonic philosophers, and most of the various sects, except the Epicureans, held the same. I will quote the words of Apulcius only, in which the opinion of Plato, and the rest, is fully and perspicuously contained: |Demons,| says he, |are middle powers, through whom both our desires and merits pass to the gods. They are carriers between mortals and the heavenly inhabitants, from hence of prayers, from thence of gifts; who bear to and fro from hence petitions, and from thence supplies; or, indeed, they are interpreters and ushers on either side. For it would not,| says he, |be suitable to the majesty of the celestial gods, to attend to these things.|
They had, in truth, two sorts of gods; the celestial, who, perpetually residing in heaven, and the stars, did not humble themselves to these earthly things, and were not to be defiled with their contagion. (These were properly and especially called gods.) The others were demons, who, as mediating powers, and ministers of the celestial or highest gods, had the management of human affairs. The former, (if I rightly conceive,) the Holy Scripture calls the host of heaven; the latter, (especially those who were made of dead men,) it calls Baalim, from Baal, a king of the Babylonians or Assyrians; or in the Chaldaic pronunciation, Bel, who was the first who was consecrated a demon after death by his people; from whence it came to pass afterwards, that powers of this kind were called Baalim or Baals, as Baal Peor, Baalberith, Baalzebub, Baal Moloch, Jer. c. xix., as from the first emperor Julius Cæsar, the rest of the Roman emperors were called Cæsars. Now how this theology of demons agrees with the worship of saints and angels among false Christians, the fact itself declares; only with this difference, that they had many supreme or celestial gods: we have only one, the Father of all. But we ought likewise to have only one Mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ, if false prophets had not introduced more in the nature of demons. Plainly, according to what St. Paul prophesied, 1 Tim. c. iv. vv.1, 2, 3, |that it should come to pass, in the latter times through the hypocrisy of liars,| inventing lying miracles, and through the feigned sanctity of monks abstaining by a vow from marriage and meats, that |the doctrine of demons,| that is, the theology of heathen deities, should be brought back again into the world. The interpretation will agree with the words, if we take the genitive demons passively, that is, a doctrine concerning demons, as Heb. c. vi. v.22, Didache bartismon, didache epitheseos cheiron, &c. The doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, &c. For, in truth, the expression, |through the hypocrisy of liars,| and the words that follow, in order that the construction of the syntax may be preserved, is to be explained by the government of the two substantives, the preposition en through, denoting the instrument and cause (which is familiar in the Hebrew.) But I have treated more diffusively of this passage in a particular tract, and I have no intention to repeat it here.
Of the Third Woe Trumpet, or Trumpet the Seventh.
The vision of the sixth trumpet being finished, (for there is only one vision under one trumpet, as under the seals and phials,) the next place in order was due to the sounding of the seventh. This, however, is deferred, and the Holy Spirit, in the prophecy of the little book, to which he is now about to pass, in order that nothing might be wanting to the completion of the prophecy of the seals, now just finishing, supplies the place of that trumpet's sound which is deferred, by an oath, under which the effect of that trumpet is generally indicated. That it should surely come to pass, when that angel shall have sounded, that the Roman beast, in the latest times of the last head, having been accused, |the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.| For so it was predicted long ago to Daniel, that the fourth beast being slain, the, King of the Saints should come to rule over the whole world, (c. vii.) and at the same time, the glorious promise of the restitution of Israel should be completed, (c. xii.) For that this is the kingdom which he calls the fulfilment of the mystery of God, the acclamation subjoined to the sound of that trumpet will not suffer us to doubt. |The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.| So that it is wonderful that any persons should be found who understand it in a different sense. The time, of which the angel here swears, that nothing should extend beyond it, can be no other than either the time of the fourth monarchy universally, (or to come more closely to the point, though it is the same thing,) of the last kingdom, that is, the Roman; the last period |of time, and times, and half a time.| Since the same which is said by John to come to pass |when time shall be no more; is pointed out by Daniel to come. to pass when the period of the last times shall be finished.
And this consummation of the mystery of God, is the subject matter of the seventh trumpet; to which seven thunders are added as accompaniments, for they are not the very subject which the trumpet exhibits as contemporary with it.
While the angel is making his proclamation about the mystery of the trumpet, seven thunders utter their voices. |He cried,| says he, |with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth, and when he cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.| That is, when he had begun his proclamation, seven thunders began to speak. And they cannot but contemporize with the seventh trumpet, since what follows the sixth trumpet necessarily falls within the seventh . But what is the voice of thunder? Is it not Bath Kol? If so, the seven thunders will be as many oracles by which the period of the seventh trumpet will be distinguished as by certain dates, but on a subject wholly unknown, and not to be understood until its own times. And this the prohibition given from heaven to St. John, when he was about to write down the words of the seven thunders, seems to intimate: |Seal up those things which the seven thunders have spoken, and write them not.| In vain, therefore, will it be for us to inquire, what God wished to have concealed and reserved to its own times. And in this manner sufficient use is made of the seventh trumpet in its place and order, though the explanation of its sound, by which the whole mystery would be fully disclosed, is referred to another time; on the design of which reference, and the whole art of the contrivance, it will not be superfluous or unprofitable to dwell afresh and a little more diffusively, though notice was taken of it in the Apocalyptical Key, since the reason of it escapes most of the interpreters. The diligent contemplation of the system of the Apocalyptical visions, constructed on the characters of the synchronisms, first enlightened me on this subject, and will also, O Reader, if I am not deceived, enlighten you.
The fact then is, (for I would unfold it with as much perspicuity and brevity of expression as possible,) both prophecies, as well that of the seals, as of the Biblaridion, are concluded by the same issue of events, by that in truth, which the seventh trumpet exhibits. To indicate which, the Holy Spirit having slightly, but as much as was necessary, there presignified the mystery of the seventh trumpet in its own place, in the series of trumpets, deferred the fuller explanation of its sound, until he had made a transition to the new prophecy of the little book, (ch. x. from v.8 to the end.) and carried forward the first vision of it, having completed in like manner its Apocalyptical course to the same issue of things, (c. xi. v.14.) and then that mystery of the seventh trumpet, the common catastrophe of both prophecies, and the former (that of the seals) only promulgated in a general manner, is here at length, on the uttering of the sound, fully unfolded; and that, indeed, in a most commodious manner, since otherwise, and without the previous knowledge of both prophecies, what depended upon each could not have been understood. And hence it is, that the business of this transition was not brought about by any angel of the trumpets, but by that great and illustrious angel who held in his hand the Biblaridion, the symbol of the second prophecy, which was soon to be devoured by St. John.
It belonged to him who revealed the second prophecy, that the manifestation of the trumpets' sound, which contained the catastrophe of both prophecies, should be so far defined. Nay, if that angel, as may seem capable of being collected from his more august clothing and whole apparatus, was Christ the Lord ; to no one more properly belonged this right of suspending the last sound for the sake of another prophecy, than to Him who was the author of both. -- Hitherto, indeed, he had appeared in the form of a lamb, but now he seems to have taken to him the person of an angel , since he was about to reveal to John the same mystery of consummation, which he had formerly revealed to Daniel under the same appearance of an angel , and with the same formality and words of an oath. You may compare Dan. c. xii. v.6, 7, with ver.5 of the xth chapter.