Page images


Concerning the effects of the two first woe-trumpets

in the east.

THE effects of the two first woe-trumpets in the East have been so fully and satisfactorily discussed by the excellent Bishop Newton, that I shall do nothing more than abridge his remarks, with the exception of noticing a single error into which I conceive his Lordship to have fallen.

At the sounding of the fifth trumpet (the first of the three woe-trumpets), a star which had fallen* from heaven to earth opened the bottomless pit, and let out a vast swarm of locusts with their leader Apollyon at their head. The commission of these locusts was, not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree; but only those men, who had not the seal of God in their foreheads : and, in point of time, it was limited to five prophetic months, or 150 natural years. As for the locusts themselves, they were like horses prepared unto battle; their crowns were of gold; their faces were as the faces of men; they had hair

* Such is the proper translation of fluxola, as Mr. Whita ker rightly observes, Comment. p. 116,


as the hair of women; their teeth were as the teeth of lions; their breastplates were like breastplates of iron; they had the tails of scorpions, armed with deadly stings; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle*.

Bp. Newton supposes the fallen star to be the impostor Mohammed ; and yet afterwards represents the locust-sovereign Apollyon as being Mohammed likewise. To say nothing of so plain a repetition, the prophet evidently describes the star and the king as being two entirely different per

The fallen star opens the door of the bottomless pit, and lets out Apollyon with his locusts : consequently Apollyon was confined in the pit, till he was let out by the star : therefore Apollyon and the star cannot both be Mohammed. Moreover, independent of this circumstance, the Arabian impostor can with no more propriety be symbolized by a fallen star, than the Vandalic monarch Gen. seric. Mohammed never was a star in the sense of a Christian pastor ; and, when he afterwards became a sovereign, so far from falling from his high estate, he was uniformly successful in all his enterprises. We must look out therefore for some other character, to whom the hieroglyphic of a fallen star is more applicable.

1. I conceive, then, that the fallen star of the first woe-trumpet is no other than the apostate Nestorian

Rev. ix. 1-11.


monk Sergius or Baheira; who assisted Mohammed in the forging of his imposture, and who infused into it all the antitrinitarian venom of his own sect. The Mussulmans assert, that he first noticed their prophet while yet a boy: when he observed a luminous cloud around his head, which preserved him from the too intense rays of the sun; perceived the dry trees, upon which he sat, instantly to put forth branches clothed with verdant foliage, to serve him for a shade; and discovered the seal of prophecy, impressed between his shoulders. But, according to Dr. Prideaux, “ the truth of the matter is, Mohammed did not “ fall acquainted with him till a long while after, “ when he was projecting his wicked design in his

head; in order to the better forming of which, “ being very desirous to acquaint himself with - the Jewish and Christian religions, he was very

inquisitive in examining into them, as he met “ with those who could inform him. And in one " of his journies into Syria, either at Bostra “as “ some say, or at Jerusalem as others, lighting on “ this Baleira, and receiving great satisfaction “ from him in many of those points which he de- sired to be informed in, he did thereon contract

particular friendship with him. And therefore, “ not long after, the monk, for some great crime

being excommunicated and expelled his mo“nastery, fled to Mecca to him; and, being there

[ocr errors]

* Modern Univ. Hist. Vol. i. p. 26. Vol. II.


“ enter

« entertained in his house, became his assistant “ in the framing of that imposture which he after

wards vented, and continued with him ever “after: till at length the impostor, having no “ further occasion for him, to secure the secret, “ put him to death*.”

In the year 606, Mohammed committed the first overt act of his imposture by retiring to the cave of Hera: 'consequently then it was, that the fallen star Sergius opened the door of the bottomless pit. The locusts however and their leader did not immediately issue forth, or publicly disclose themselves: their open manifestation was to be preceded by the smoke and fumes of the false religion wluich they were about to propagate. Accordingly Mohammel emerged from his solitary retreat t about ihe year 60g; and began to excite that

*See Prideaux's Life of Mohammed, p. 47.

☆ Mr. Whitaker's conjecture, that the bottomless pit, or the cure of the abyss (which no doubt is the literal translation of the original expression), alludes to the cave of Hera (caves being often considered by pagan superstition “ as the seats of

oracles and sources of inspiration”), has the merit of possessing much ingenuity ; but I am not perfectly satisfied how far it

may be deemed solid. In the first place, it does not apprar that we are ivarranted in taking symbolical language in a literal sense, unless it be avowedly descriptive : as, for instance, when the Euphratdan army is said to consist of horsemen, and to seem as if romiting fire, and brimstone, and smoke : and, in the second place, Mohammed literally issued from the cave of Hera about the yeur 609, wirich will not agree with that part of the prophecy, which speaks of the locusts tormenting men five months. Maker's Comment. p. 123.


[ocr errors]

smoke, which soon darkened all the eastern heaven. « Three years he silently employed in the conver«sion of fourteen proselytes, the first-fruits of his « mission* But, in the fourth year," or the year 612, “ he assumed the prophetic office, and “ resolved to impart to his family the light of di“vine trutht.” In this year 612 then, Mohammed and his disciples, or Apollyon and his locusts, may be considered as issuing from the bottomless pit, which the fallen star Sergius had been the main instrument of opening. Consequently the five prophetic months, during which the locusts were allowed to torment mankind, expired in the year 762 ; when the caliph Almansor built Bagdad as the future seat of his empire, and called it the city of peace. At this period, the Saracens ceased from their locust devastations, and became a settled people. Henceforth they no longer made such rapid conquests as they had formerly done; but only engaged in ordinary wars like other nations. The five months, or 150 years, being now expired, Mohammedism was firmly established; although the

power of its particular votaries the Saracens began to decline, in order to make room for its

* Dr. Prideaux makes the impostor emerge from his cave in the year 608, and spend four years in the private exercise of his assumed function. This arrangement, however, no less than that of Mr. Gibbon, equally brings us to the year 612. Life of Mohammed, p. 15. + Hist. of Decline and Fall, Vol. ix. p. 284.

D 2


« PreviousContinue »