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condition. It struggled hard, and gasped, is it were, for breath, through eight short and turbulent reigns, for the space of twenty years, and at length expired in the year 476, under Momyllus, or Augustulus, as he was named in derision, being a diminutive Augustus. This change was effected by Odoacer, king of the Heruli, who coming to Rome with an army of barbarians, stripped Momyllus of the imperial robes, put an end to the very name of the western empire, and caused himself to be proclaimed king of Italy." His reign was, indeed, but short; for, sixteen years afterwards, he was slain by Theodoric; who, in A.D. 493, founded the kingdom of the Ostrogoths, which continued about 60 years longer. Thus was the Roman sun extinguished in the western empire (continues the Bishop); but the other lesser luminaries, the moon and stars, still subsisted, for Rome was still allowed to have her senate and consuls, and other subordinate magistrates, as before." Thus the glory of Rome continued to decline, until, in A. D. 556, it was made a province of the eastern empire, under Justin II., and governed by a duke, who was himself subject to the Exarch of Ravenna, which Rome had been used to govern.
Thus fell imperial Rome. But, says Mr. Fuller, "It may be thought that these events had too slight a relation to the church of Christ, to become the subject of prophecy two things, however, may be alleged in answer :
"1. They were necessary for the accomplishment of other prophecies, particularly Dan. vii. 7, 8; 2 Thess. ii. 7;
thereby a way was made for the beast to have ten horns; as, after the overthrow of the empire, it was divided into so many independent kingdoms, which, with little variation, continue to this day. Hereby also a way was made for the little horn of Daniel's fourth beast, or the papal Antichrist, to come up amongst them; or, as the apostle expresses it, for the man of sin to be revealed.
"2. In these judgments upon the empire, we perceive the divine displeasure for its having corrupted the Christian religion, and transformed it into an engine of state. The wars of the Assyrians and Babylonians, were the scourges of God on those who had corrupted the true religion; and such were those of the Goths, the Vandals, and the Huus, on the Christian governments of the fourth and fifth centuries."
In the close of this chapter, another celestial herald flies through the midst of heaven, warning the inhabitants of the earth, of the three dreadful woes which are to attend the sounding of the other three trumpets which are yet to sound: which is as much as to say, that the judgments already executed were but slight, compared with the farther judgments which might be expected; and this, indeed, we shall find to be the fact. Mr. Cuninghame suggests, that this proclamation may serve also" as a chronological mark, to show that these three trumpets are all posterior to the first four, not only in order, but in time; and that they belong to a new series of events."
Ver. 3. Unto them was given power, as the scorpions-Locusts, it is well known, never attack man, but only the fruits of the earth, on which he lives: scorpions, on the other hand, do not attack the fruits of the earth, but animals only; and their sting is seldom fatal, except in the hottest climates,
particularly Africa. These circumstances all agree to those mystical locusts-the Saracens.
Ver. 4. But only those men, &c.-Lowman says"The military laws of the Mahometans make a distinction between the Harbi, including both atheists and idolators; and the people of a book,' including Jews and Christians. These were to be compelled to embrace Mahometanism, or to pay a tribute, and then to be allowed to follow their own religion; but the Harbi had no toleration.
the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. 6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall ` desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were, as it were, crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
8 And they had hair as the hair of
[of locusts women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
9 And they had breast-plates, as it were breast-plates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
10 And they had tails like unte scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
11 And they had a king over them. which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongu is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more here after. (P)
(P) Ver. 1-12. The fifth, or first woe trumpet.-In consistency with our interpretation of the first four trumpets, we refer the events of this trumpet to the rise of the Mahometan imposture, and the Saracen invasions. Many Protestant writers have taken this falling star to mean the Pope himself, and the locusts to be his monks and friars; while, on the other hand, Dr. Walmsley and the Rhemish annotators apply the image to Martin Luther and his heretical disciples, as they are pleased to call them. (See Pastorini's History of the Church, p. 170, &c.)
Dr. Doddridge, Mr. Wesley, and others, conceive the reference to be to some celestial being, whose flight was with the rapidity of a falling meteor, and who was commissioned to open the infernal pit, and to allow a portion of that blackness of darkness which it contains, to visit and to plague the earth; while others think that Satan himself, who is properly a fallen star, may be hereby intended.
Mr. Fuller remarks-" Looking at this dreadful irruption of darkness and desolation, we perceive the necessity there was
for sealing the servants of God in their foreheads, that they might be preserva amidst these trying times." sealed servants of God would endure the trial; but "those men who had not the seal of God in their foreheads," would be carried away and perish.
"That the locusts refer to the ravaging hordes of Saracens, who, with Mahones at their head, subdued and destroyed eastern part of Christendom," seeins to be generally admitted: and some have sidered the smoke as denoting his false doctrine; and the star which fell from heaven to the earth, as meaning himself.
But, on the most mature consideration (adds Mr. F.), I concur with those exposi tors, who, while admitting the locusts to be Mahomet's destructive hordes of Sarcens, yet understand the smoke of Papish darkness, which was preparatory to the other, and the fallen star, of the Bish of Rome....... On the other hand, there is a connexion between the subversion of the imperial government, and the revels tion of the man of sin. It was the imperial authority which let, or hindered him, and which, when taken out of the way,
NOTES-Chap. IX. Con.
Ver. 5. And to them it was given that they should not kill them.-Wesley and Woodhouse, "Not that -they should kill them, but," &c.
Ver. 7. And the shapes of the locusts, &c.-With this description compare our Exposition and Notes on Joel, chap. it.
Ver. 9. Chariots of, &c.-Doddr." Chariots and
many horses rushing to war."
Ver. 11. And they had a king over them-Ar says of the literal locusts, that they have no king (Prov. xxx. 27), which marks another distortion between the literal and figurative locusts. don and Apollyon both signify" a destroyer," s the English Margin.
made room for his appearing," (2 Thess. ii.4-8.) Thus the eclipse under the fourth trumpet prepared the way for the irruption of darkness under the fifth. The " mystery of iniquity" had long been at work, and now it burst forth as the smoke of a great furnace, impeding the light of the gospel, and darkening the moral atmosphere of the Christian world.
"With this also agrees the application of the fallen star to the Pope or Bishop of Rome. It comports with the symbolical style of the book, that a prophetical person should denote, not an individual, but a succession of individuals in an official character. The Bishop of Rome was once a star in the Christian firmament; but abandoning the doctrine aud spirit of a Christian minister, and setting up for wordly domination, he fell from heaven unto the earth, and thus became a fit agent for opening the bottomless pit. The Bishop of Meaux [Bossuet] acknowledges that "Hell never opens of itself: it is always some false doctor that opens it."
Hell is, however, opened!-a smoke arises as from a furnace; but instead of sparks mingling with the smoke, behold a swarm of locusts-typifying the numerous hordes of Saracens or Arabians, which about this time overran the eastern empire. This is the interpretation of Mr. Mede, and is supported by Mr. Lowman and most respectable expositors. "The Arabians says Bishop Newton) are properly compared to locusts, because numerous armies frequently are so; because swarms of locusts often arise from Arabia; and because, in the plagues of Egypt, to which constant allusion is in these trumpets, the locusts (Exod. x. 13) are brought by an east wind; that is, from Arabia, which lay eastward of Egypt; and also because, in the book of Judges (chap. vii. 12), the people of Arabia are compared to locusts, or grasshoppers, for multitude;' for, in the original, the word for both is the same. As the natural locusts are bred in pits and holes of the earth, so these
mystical locusts are truly infernal, and proceed with the smoke from the bottomless pit.'
"It was commanded them (ver. 4) that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any green tree,' which demonstrates that these were not natural, but symbolical locusts. The like injunctions were [literally] given to the Arabian officers and soldiers. When Yezid was marching with the army to invade Syria, Abubekir charged him with this, among other orders-' Ďestroy no palin-trees, nor burn any fields of corn; cut down no fruit-trees, nor do any mischief to cattle, only such as you kill to eat.' Their commission is to hurt only those men who have not the seal of God in their foreheads; that is, those who are not the true servants of God, but are corrupt and idolatrous Christians. Now, from history, it appears evidently, that in those countries of Asia, Africa, and Europe, where the Saracens extended their conquests, the Christians were generally guilty of idolatry, in the worshipping of saints, if not of images; and it was the pretence of Mohammed (or Mahomet) and his followers to chastise them for it, and to reestablish the unity of the Godhead. The parts which remained freest from the general infection, were Savoy, Piedmont, and the southern parts of France..... and it is very memorable, that when the Saracens approached these parts, they were defeated with great slaughter, by the famous Charles Martel, in several engagements."
When it is said, that power was given them, not that they should kill, but that they should torment, we are not to suppose that no individuals were slain in these wars; but that extermination was not their object and it is singular, that the same Abubekir which enjoined the army to spare the corn-fields and the fruit-trees, &c. added Adhere inviolably to your engagements, and put none of the religious people you meet with in monasteries to
Ver. 14. The four angels that are bound INDoddr." by;" Woodh. "at"-the great river Euphrates-A famous river, which had its rise in Paradise (Gen, ii. 14), and runs through the frontiers
of Cappadocia, Syria, Arabia Deserta, Chaldea, and Mesopotamia, and falls into the Persian Gulf.-Calmet. See Note on Ps. cxxxvii. 1.
the sword. Offer no violence to the places they serve God in." And though this injunction was by no means uniformly attended to, nor could be, when they appealed to the sword; yet the torment inflicted on the Christian world seems to have consisted chiefly in plundering the men, and gratifying their lust upon the women, which doubtless made many desire rather to die than live under such circumstances. But the term kill, is by most expositors understood politically. Mr. Morell thus explains it: "They had not power to overthrow totally or politically, the eastern brauch of the Roman Empire. This was not effected till the Saracens were succeeded by the Turks, who are described under the following trumpet."
The description given of these locusts answers well to the descriptions of these Arabian invaders. They gloried in their cavalry, which was numerous and powerful; their turbans resembled the crowns worn by Eastern princes. Their character was a strange mixture of fierceness and effeminacy. They had faces like those of men (clothed with beards), and their hair resembled those of women, to the sensual enjoyment of whom they were remarkably devoted. Their teeth and breast-plates of iron, implies their strength both in attack and in resistance; and their impetuosity is strongly implied, in comparing their approach to that of an army of winged locusts; and the stings in their tails, signifies the poison which they left behind them. They poisoned the principles of the Christian world where they prevailed, with the doctrines of unitarianism, fatalism, and the thirst of conquest and of blood.
But they had a king-and who was he? "The angel of the bottomless pit," whose name, both in Greek and Hebrew, signifies "The Destroyer." This should seem
to be the same who had the key of the bottomless pit; and Mr. Lowman expla it to mean that evil spirit, the prince d the powers of darkness; who, from th constant evils he is designing and doing i the world, is called The Destroyer." S Dr. Woodhouse.
The evils here predicted are limited, only in their degree, not to kill, but torment; but also in their duration, the are to "hurt men five months." It is during the five summer months that either locusts or scorpions are destructive: this period, also, the Saracens usually l mited their exertions. Taking these month mystically, for thirty days or years each, Bishop Newton remarks, that during the first 150 years of their existence, dating from A.D. 612, when Mahomet first peared openly as a prophet, they subdued
Syria, Persia, India, and the greate part of Asia; Egypt, and the greatest par of Africa; Spain, and some [other] p of Europe." And it was in 762, the end this period, that Almansor built Bagda for the seat of his empire, and called the City of Peace, in allusion to Jerusalem. But as this term of five mouths is twice mentioned, some learned co.timentators (among whom is Sir Is. Newton) have posed that the period should be doubled, and have accordingly remarked, that the whole period of the Saracen dominion w little more than 300 years; for in 936, the empire was broken and divided. Thi
seems the utmost extent of this trumpet
In the close of this trumpet it is added, "One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter;" which is thought to imply, that some time would intervent before the coming of the second woe, be cause, after that is passed, we read, " Be hold, the third woe cometh quickly." (Chap. xi. 14.)
NOTES-Chap. IX. Con.
Ver. 19. And had heads.— Doddr, “having heads;" i. e. in their tails. So Pliny describes the am
phisbena; but this seems to have bees 1
The rest of the men]
mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship
[repent not. devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk :
21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. (Q)
(Q) Ver. 13-21. The sixth trumpet sounded. This angel no sooner sounds, than a voice is directed to him from the altar of incense, or golden altar, requiring him to loose the four angels which were restrained, by or at the river Euphrates, that hey may execute the judgments appointed pon mankind. “Such a voice, proceeding rom the four horns of the golden altar says Bishop Newton), is a strong indicaion of the divine displeasure; and plainly ntimates that the sins of men must have been very great, when the altar, which was [used to be] their sanctuary and protection, called aloud for vengeance." They are loosed immediately, and declared to be fully prepared to execute the divine judgments upon mankind at the appointed hour. The commentators we have chiefly followed (Mede, Lowman, Newton, &c.) agree that this prediction has reference to the Turks. If we take the number four literally, we may, with Mr. Mede, apply them to the four Sultanies, or governments of the Turks, in countries bordering on the Euphrates: but if, with Daubuz and Lowman, we take the number "four" for "a number of universality," as Philo calls it, it may seem, as Mr. Lowman remarks, 'a very natural interpretation of the Four angels," to understand them, of the whole power of these destroyers, gathered ogether from the four corners, or every quarter of the land they dwelt in; and preading themselves toward the four vinds, or the several parts of the earth, without restraint." But if we adhere o the more limited interpretation of these our angels, we may remark, that they were all founded in the eleventh century; nd in the end of the thirteenth century, Othman combined all the remains of the ifferent sultanies, and founded what is
still called the Othman or Ottoman (or, more vulgarly, the Turkish) Empire.
When it is said they were prepared "for an hour, a day," &c. we have supposed these words to mean only a certain appointed time, which is the exposition of Mr. Lowman; but Bishop Newton and others (including Mr. Fuller), un. derstand the expression mystically, taking
a day for a year :" a prophetic year then will be equal to 360 years; a month, 30 years; a day, one year; and an hour (preserving the same proportion), 15 days; making in the whole 391 years and 15 days. Now, it is certainly, as the learned prelate just referred to expresses it, "wonderfully remarkable, that the first conquest mentioned in history, of the Othmans over the Christians, was in the year of Christ 1281: and in 1672, Mohammed IV. took Cameniac from the Poles, with 48 towns and villages, which were delivered up to the Sultan upon the treaty of peace" being signed; and this was the last addition to the boundaries of the Ottoman empire.
The description here given of these armies answers no less admirably to the immense armies of the Turks or Othmans, which, as the Greek expresses it, were "two myriads of myriads." Breast-plates of fire, and of jacinth (or hyacinth), and brimstone, besides marking their three favourite colours, red, blue, and yellow, may allude also to the splendid harness of the cavalry. When it is said, "Out of their mouths issued fire, and smoke, and brimstone, Bishop Newton thinks this "a manifest allusion to great guns and gunpowder, which were invented under this trumpet, and were of signal service to the Othmans in their wars. For by these three was the third part of mankind killed;" that is, the Greek or Eastern
Ver. 20. Worship devils.-Gr. " demons ;" i. e. ccording to Lowman, angels and the souls of dearted men "-sinners, we fear, as well as saints. Ver, 21. Nor of their sorceries.-We know that,
in the middle ages, what is called the black art, was much studied and practised in all its branches. But Mr. Lowman understands this of poisonings.