« PreviousContinue »
tences representing the Antichrist and his impious kingdom. “His heart shall be puffed up,” says the angel to the prophet, “and in the abundance of all things he shall kill many : and he shall rise up against the Prince of princes, and shall be broken without hand." These last words of the angel, that the Antichrist, after exalting himself against Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, should be broken without hand, clearly show that his final destruction was not to be effected by any human power, but by the power of that very Prince of princes against whom the wicked one would presume to magnify himself. As the stone in Nabucodonosor's dream was cut out of the mountain without hands, that is, not by human, but by supernatural means; so the Antichrist shall be broken without hand; not die the common death, not fall by the hand of man, but perish by a stroke from Heaven. Antichrist's power may be weakened long before ; it may be shaken and lessened at any time; but it shall not be utterly destroyed until the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven, as St. Paul says, " with His mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”. The Lord Jesus shall come in the clouds of Heaven, with great majesty and glory; "and He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.”3
Here, perhaps, the reader will ask, how can all this be accomplished in Mahomet, who has now been dead for more than twelve centuries ? It is true that Mahomet has long been physically dead; but, morally, he still lives—his religion, which is so widely disseminated on the face of the earth -his kingdom, which keeps so many millions enchained under its tyrannical sway-his spirit, which animates and inflames his deluded followers, are a striking proof that he is far from being morally dead. He still lives in the mystery of iniquity which he has consummated, in the abomination of the desolation which he has set up, in the hatred which he has infused into his disciples against Christ and his Church; and he shall thus continue to live until the Lord Jesus, the Prince of princes, shall appear“ to kill him with the spirit of His mouth, and to destroy Him by the brightness of His coming."
1 Dan, viii. 27.
2 2 Thess. i.
3 Is. xi. 4.
Some persons are apt to imagine that the Mahometan power is nearly gone, and its strength nearly extinguished; they seem to think that the great dominion of the false prophet is breaking down very fast, and that in a few years more it must die a natural death. To such as believe this, I will only quote the warning of Dr. Newman: “We must not undervalue what is still the strength of his position. First, no well-authenticated tokens come to us of the decay of the Mahometan faith. It is true, that in one or two cities,-in Constantinople perhaps, or in the marts of commerce,-laxity of opinion and general scepticism may, to a certain extent, prevail; as, also, in the highest class of all, and in those who have most to do with Europeans; but I confess nothing has been brought home to me to show that this superstition is not still a living, energetic principle in the Turkish population, sufficient to bind them together in one, and to lead to bold and persever. ing action. It must be recollected that a national and local faith, like the Mahometan, is most closely connected with the sentiments of patriotism, family honour, loyalty towards the past, and party spirit; and this the more in the case of a religion which has no articles of faith at all, except those of the Divine Unity and the mission of Mahomet. To these must be added more general considerations; that they have ever prospered under their religion, that they are habituated to it, that it suits them, that it is their badge of a standing antagonism to nations they abhor, and that it places them, in their own imagination, in a spiritual position relatively to those nations, which they would simply forfeit if they abandoned it. It would require clear proof of the fact, to credit in their instance the report of a change of mind, which antecedently is so improbable. And next it must be borne in mind, that, few as may be the Osmanlis, yet the raw material of the Turkish nation, represented principally by the Turcomans, extends over half Asia; and, if it is what it ever has been, might, under circumstances, be combined or concentrated into a formidable power. It extends at this day from Asia Minor, in a continuous tract, to the Lena, towards Kamtchatka, and from Siberia down to Khorasan, the Hindu Cush, and China. The Nogays on the north-east of the Danube, the inhabitants of the Crimea, the populations on each side of the Don and Wolga, the wandering Turcomans, who are found from the west of Asia, along the Euxine, Caspian, and so through Persia and into Bukharia, the Kirghies on the Jaxartes, are said to speak one tongue and to have one faith. Religion is a bond of union, and language is a medium of intercourse; and what is still more, they are all Sunnites, and recognise in the Sultan the successor of Mahomet.
“Without a head indeed, to give them a formal unity, they are only one in name. Nothing is less likely than a resuscitation of the effete family of Othman; still, supposing the Ottomans driven into Asia, and a sultan to mount the throne, such as Amurath, Mahomet, or Selim, it is not easy to set bounds to the influence the Sovereign Pontiff of Islam might exert, and to the successes he might attain, in rallying round him the scattered members of a race, warlike, fanatical, one in language, in habits, and in adversity. Nay, even supposing the Turkish caliph, like the Saracenic of old, still to slumber in his seraglio, he might appoint a vicegerent, an emir-ul-omra, or mayor of the palace, such as Tognel Beg, to conquer with his authority in his stead.
“But, supposing great men to be wanting to the Turkish race, and the despair natural to barbarians to rush upon them, and defeat, humiliation, and flight to be their lot; supposing the rivalries and dissensions of pachas, in themselves arguing no disaffection to their sultan and caliph, should practically lead to the successes of their too powerful foes, to the divulsion of their body politic and the partition of their territory; should this be the distant event, to which the present complications tend, then, the fiercer spirits, I suppose, would, of their free will, return into the desert, as a portion of the Kalmucks have done within the last hundred years.'
| Hist. of the Turks, Lect. iv. part iii.
SECOND EVENT WHICH MUST PRECEDE THE COMING OF CHRIST.
THE FALL OF BABYLON, AS PREDICTED BY ST. JOHN IN THE APOCALYPSE.
ANOTHER great event, which is destined by Providence to precede and show forth the near approach of the second coming of Christ, is the fall of Babylon, as predicted by St. John in the Apocalypse. This is evident,-first, from the fact that the fall of Babylon is intimately connected with the defeat of the Antichrist and his followers; secondly, from this, that immediately after the fall of Babylon, follows a great rejoicing in Heaven; and the King of kings and the Lord of lords appears as a great conqueror, and the saints rise to life to reign with Him. “ After these things," says St. John, “I heard as it were the voice of much people in Heaven, saying; Alleluia ! Salvation, and glory, and power is to our God. For true and just are His judgments, Who hath judged the great harlot which corrupted the earth with her fornication, and hath revenged the blood of His servants at her hands. And again, they said: Alleluia! And her smoke ascendeth for ever and ever. And the four-and-twenty ancients, and the four living creatures fell down and adored God that sitteth upon the throne, say. ing: Amen! Alleluia ! And a voice came out from the throne, saying : 'Give praise to our God, all ye His servants; and you that fear Him, little and great. And I heard as it were the voice