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while the three last, which are awfully styled the three woes, detail the history of the great twofold Apostacy both in the East and in the West ; exhibit the man of sin in the plenitude of his power, upheld by the secular arm, and tyrannizing over the Church of Christ ; predict his complete destruction at Armageddon, in the very act of opposing the Almighty conjointly with his temporal colleague the ten-horned beast or revived Roman empire ; and finally bring us to the period, when all the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.
“ The first angel sounded : and there followed « hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were “ cast upon the earth; and the third part of the “ trees was burnt up, and all green grass was 6 burnt up.”.
Throughout a great part of the prophecy of the trumpets, the Roman empire is denominated the third part of the whole symbolical universe, as including the third part of the then known world, and as being seated principally in Europe, which at that time was accounted the third part of the world*. Hail and lightning mingled with blood denote a tremendous tempest of desolating war and, foreign invasion. The storm therefore, which is here represented as falling upon the earth or Roman empire, typifies that grand compound irruption of the barbarous northern nations, from the effects
* See Bp. Newton's Dissert, on Rev. vii. and Waple and Whiston in loc.
of which the Roman empire never recovered itself, as it liad done from those of the foregoing irruptions. In the natural world a storm is frequently preceded by a calm: hence in the figurative world the great hail-storm aningled with lightning is represented as being preceded by silence. This silence however is not so deep, but that the latter part of it is interrupted both by thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake*, the immediate harbingers of the hail-storm. Accordingly, we find that the fierce Gothic tribes, though perpetually at war with the Romans, and though threatening to overwhelm them by repeatedly violating the long extent of the northern frontier, were for a time restrained by the genius of Theodosiust: but, upon the decease of this great prince in the year 395, the northern cloud, which had so long been gathering, discharged itself with irresistible fury upon the Empire. “He died in the month of January; and “before the end of the same year the Gothic na. “tion was in arms. The barriers of the Danube “were thrown open: the savage warriors of Scy“thia issued from their forests; and the uncom
mon severity of the winter” (the season in which
* Rev. viii. 5.
+ " As the impatient Goths,” says Mr. Gibbon, “ could
only be restrained by the firm and temperate character of “ Theodosius, the public safety seemed to depend on the life “ and abilities of a single man.” Hist. of Decline, Vol. iv. p. 443
natural hail and snow are generated) " allowed the “poet to remark, that they rolled their ponderous “waggons over the broad and icy back of the in
dignant river--The fertile fields of Phocis and “ Beotia were covered with a deluge of barbarians, 6 who massacred the males of an age to bear arms,
and drove away the beautiful females with “the spoil and cattle of the flaming villages.” The whole territory of Athens was blasted by the baleful presence of Alaric; and “the travellers, who “ visited Greece several years afterwards, could
easily discover the deep and bloody traces of “ the march of the Goths*.".
Such were the first effects of the symbolical hailstorm. Having thus ravaged Greece, it was next carried into Italy, and the West. Under the guidance of Alaric, it passed over Pannonia, Istria, and Venetia; and threatened the destruction of imperial Rome herself. At length it was driven out of Italy by Stilicho.
Yet, scarcely was this part of the tempest dissipated, when another dark cloud t, generated like its fellow in the cold regions of the North (so accurately does the symbol correspond with its anti
* Hist. of Decline and Fall, Vol. v. p. 176-181. + I have adopted the language of the historian. Unconscious that he was bearing bis testimony to the truth of prophecy, he has used the self-same allegorical language as that employed by St. John. “ The correspondence of nations,” says he,
type), burst in the year 406 upon the banks of the upper Danube, and thence passed on into Italy. Headed by Radagaisus, the northern Germans emigrated from their native land, besieged Florence, and threatened Rome. Stilicho however was again victorious; but the remnant of the vanquished host was still sufficient to invade and desolate the province of Gaul. “The banks of the Rbine were “ crowned, like those of the Tiber, with elegant “ houses, and well cultivated farms. This scene “ of peace and plenty was suddenly changed into “ a desert; and the prospect of the smoking ruins “could alone distinguish the solitude of nature « from the desolations of man. The flourishing “ city of Mentz was surprised and destroyed; and
many thousand Christians were inhumanly mas“ sacred in the church. Worms perislied, after a
long and obstinate siege; Strasburgh, Spires, “ Rheims, Tournay, Arras, Amiens, experienced “the cruel oppression of the German yoke; and “ the consuming flames of war spread from the “ banks of the Rhine over the greatest part of the “ seventeen provinces of Gaul. That rich and “ extensive country, as far as the ocean, the Alps,
in that age so imperfect and precarious, that the revo“ lutions of the North might escape the knowledge of the “ court of Ravenna; till the dark cloud, which was collected
along the coast of the Baltic, burst in thunder upon the " banks of the upper Danube.” Hist. of Decline and Fall,
Vol. v. p. 214.
" and the Pyrenees, was delivered to the barba.
rians; who drove before them, in a promiscuous “ crowd, the bishop, the senator, and the virgin, “ laden with the spoils of their houses and al“ tars*.!!
Meanwhile that part of the storm, which was directed by Alaric, soon began to beat afresh. After the death of Stilicho, the Gothic sovereign again invaded Italy; and Ronie herself, after three successive sieges, was sacked by the northern barbarianst.
It is observable in literal storms of hail, that their violence appears for a season to subside, and afterwards to return with redoubled fury. This was exactly the case with the figurative tempest of Gothic invasion predicted in the Apocalypse. After the exploits of Alaric and Radagaisus had been achieved, the violence of the main body of the hail-storm abated, but its outskirts still continued to beat upon the more remote provinces of the Western empire. In the year 409, Spain was orerrun and ravaged by the Suevi, the Vandals, and the Alans; who were afterwards, in their turn, compelled to submit to the arms of the Gothsi. The Vandals however still prevailed in Gallicia; and, in order (as it were) that no part of the Roman world should escape the devastating influence
* Hist, of Decline, Vol. v. p. 225. + Ibid. p. 184--329.
Ibid. p. 350-355.