Page images
PDF
EPUB

the vassal sovereigns of the Latin empire ; and the little horn of the he-goat, or the false religion of Mohammed *. Now among all these we find not a single power, that at all answers to the character of the great maritime nation of faithful worshippers ; and we further find it implied,

* One great branch of Mohammedism, the Turkish empire, will be overthrown under the sixth apocalyptic vial, and therefore previous to the destrúction of the Antichristian confederacy, which will take place under the seventh : and, as for the religion of Mohammed itself, I cannot find any positive declaration that the professors of it will, in a national capacity, join the armies of the infidel king. Daniel speaks of it, as being, at the time of the end, broken without hand, (Dan. viii. 17, 25.) This expression is ambiguous: and may either mean, that it shall be (as it were practically confuted and silenced by the manifes. tation of Christ, against whom Mohammed had presumed to stand up (Com. pare Dan. ii. 34, 35, 44, 45.); or it may mean, that it shall gradually fall away to nothing by the desertion of its votaries, and thus die a sort of natural death. The exhaustion of the mystic Euphrates will no doubt greatly weaken it: and it is a remarkable circumstance, even in these eventful times, that a sect has lately made its appearance in the very country of the false Arabian prophet, which threatens no less than the destruction of his religion itself. The Wahabees are infidels ; and their numbers are daily increasing. Their opinions have been propagated near sixty years; and they at length find themselves strong enough to take up arms in their defence. It is said, that they occupy the greatest part of the country which extends from Medina to the Euphrates. Their last exploit, of which we have recently received an account, shews their decided hostility to Mohammedism in a very striking point of view, Having reinforced their army from the desert, and having overwhelmed the whole adjacent country, they suddenly assaulted and took the city of Medina with infinite bloodshed and devastation. They set fire to it in various places; destroyed the mosques, after having ransacked them of their valuable shrines and treasures ; and completely demolished the tomb of the prophet. Some thousands of females of the first rank were carried off by the besiegers into the desert, with a number of the principal male inhabitants. A troop of camels was also sent away with jewels and other treasure to an immense amount. See Morning Post, Feb. 22, 1806.

The following account of the Wahabees is given in a very curious work recently published by Mr. Waring:

“The founder of this religion, Ubdool Wuhab, was a native of Ujunu, a town in the province of Ool Urud. Some have been of opinion, that Moola Moohummud, the son of Ubdool Wuhab, was the first person who promulgated doctrines subversive of the Mussulman faith. However this may be, it is certain that one or other of these persons was the founder of the religion of the Wuhabees ; and the name inclines me to believe Ubdool Wuhab. Both these persons were great travellers. They studied under the principal Mohammedan doctors at Bussora and at Bagdad; and afterwards went to Da. mascus, where Ubdool Wuhab first began to avow his religious principles. The priests were alarmed at the tendency of his doctrines; he was obliged to fly from this city; and, on his arrival at Mousul, he publicly supported the purity, excellence, and orthodoxy, of his tenets. This new religion, which had sprung up in the midst of Arabia, excited the attention and roused the indignation of the orthodox Sheikhs, who could not bear the notion of the Wuhabees ridiculing with contempt the legends and tales which they so conscientiously believed. The Wuhabees are accused of professing the following belief: That there is one just and wise God; that all those persons called proa phets are only to be considered as just and virtuous inen; and that there never existed an inspired work nor an inspired writer. A party of the Wuhabees last

that all, who have come out of the mystic Babylon and have separated themselves from her, shall not partake of her plagues*, Such being the case, and such likewise

year (1802) attacked Kurbulu, celebrated among the Persians as being the burial place of the sons of Ali; destroyed the tombs ; and plundered the town and pilgrims. I met several of the people who had been there at that period, and they all agreed in complaining most bitterly of the cruelty of the reformers. It must be recollected that the destruction of the holy sepulchres would alone be considered as an enormous act of impiety and cruelty. The force of the Wuhabees is very considerable, probably eighty or ninety thousand ; and, as their expeditions are conducted with great celerity and secrecy, they keep all the neighbouring countries in perpetual apprehension. Since finishing this, intelligence has been received of their having attacked and plundered Tyeef, Mecca, and Medina. They have, in consequence, violated the sacred law which forbids armed men approaching within a certain distance of the temple. Thus have they destroyed the foundation stone of Mohammedism; and this mighty fabric, which at one period bade defiance to all Europe, falls, on the first attack, at the feet of an Arab reformer. The event may make a great change in the Mohammedan world ; for it appears to me almost certain, that the pilgrimages to Mecca have had nearly as great an effect in supporting this religion as the first victories and conquests of Mohammed---The Wuhabees are now a considerable people, sufficiently powerful to resist the divided efforts of the Turks, whose power in Arabia must decrease in proportion to the aggrandisement of this roving race of reformers. Indeed the Turks have already found it expedient to court and even purchase the friend. ship of their Arab subjects. They have extended their depredations over the greatest part of Arabia ; the fate of Bassora may be said to depend upon the clemency of the conqueror, or rather on his being engaged in other pursuits. Many places in the Red sea have been obliged to purchase the good will of the reformer.” Tour to Sheeraz, p. 119.--125.

In the time of Niebuhr this sect of infidels was in its infancy. “Some time since," says he, “a new religion sprang up in the district of El Ared. It has already produced a revolution in the government of Arabia, and will probably hereafter influence the state of this country still farther. The founder of this religion was one Abd ul Wahheb, a native of Aijane, a town in the district of El Ared--- Abd ul Wahheb taught, that God is the only object of worship and invocation, as the creator and governor of the world. He forbade the invocation of saints and the very mentioning of Mohammed or any other pro. phet in prayer, as practices savouring of idolatry. He considered Moham. med, Jesus Christ, Moses, and many others respected by the Sunnites in the character of prophets, as merely great men whose history might be read with improvement; denying, that any book had ever been written by divine inspi. ration, or brought down from heaven by the angel Gabriel.” Travels, vol. ii. p. 131, 134.

It is a remarkable circumstance, that, as the two apostasies of Popery and Mohammedism arose together in the same year and attained their zenith at the same period, so Voltaire should have begun systematically to propagate his infidel principles in the west exactly about the same time that Abd ul Wahheb began to advance nearly the same doctrines in the east. So many curious coincidences serve to confirm my opinion, that Daniel's two little horns are the two apostasies of Popery and Mohammedism, and that the year 606 is the most probable date of the 1260 years.

Should the sect of the Wahabees continue to increase in numbers, Mohammedism must fall eventually by mere force of opinion. If its votaries gradu. ally abandon it, we may easily conceive how, at the time of the end, it will be broken without hand.

* “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. xviii. 4.). Hence apparently we being the office of the great maritime power at the time of the end, we cannot reasonably or consistently with prophecy suppose, that it is destined to perish in the common wreck of Popish, Infidel, and Mohammedan, nations : and therefore we of course cannot suppose it to be the antitypical Tyre, which does then perish.

Hitherto the question has only been answered nega. tively, we must now endeavour to answer it positively. Since we have no sufficient ground to think, that the list, which Daniel and St. John give us, of those enemies of God, who are destined to fall at the close of the 1260 years is imperfect; we are obliged to conclude, that the antitypical Tyre, which Ezekiel represents as falling at the very same period or the period of the incipient restoration of Israel, is some one or other of those enemies, But how can the maritime Tyre be a fit type of any of those nations, when they are all (even according to my own interpretation) continental powers, and when their last expedition into Palestine (even according to my own opi. nion) is to be undertaken by land, because the decided superiority of the great naval state prevents them from undertaking it by sea ? !

To this I answer, that either a nation or a thing may be used as a type of direct opposites, according to the light in which they are viewed by the sacred writer who uses them. Thus the serpent and the lion are at once types of Christ and Satan, of the clean and the unclean : and yet no confusion arises from this circumstance, because the context always sufficiently shews the light in which the writer views his type. When we are directed to look up to the serpent in the wilderness for salvation, we are in no danger of supposing that the devil is meant; we at once see plainly, that the wisdom of the serpent was the only characteristic in the mind of the Holy Spirit, and therefore that the serpent considered in that point of view was a fit type of the divine Wisdom, the eternal : Logos. On the other hand, when the temper appears under the form of a serpent, and when St. John styles the

must conclude, that all such as do come out of her will not receive of her plagues ; provided only they have refrained from defiling themselves with the atheistical abominations of Antichrist. See 2 Pet. ii. 18.

devil that old serpent, we are in as little danger of sup. posing that Christ is meant; we immediately see, that the bad qualities of the serpent were alone in the contem. plation of the writer; his perverted wisdom or his cunning whereby he deceiveth the whole world, the deadly malignity of his poison, and the subtlety with which he attacks his unsuspecting prey. In a similar manner, when.. Christ is styled the lion of the tribe of Judah ; the courage, the strength, the activity, the generosity, of that animal are solely considered : and, when the devil is des cribed as a roaring and a ramping lion going about in search of whom he may devour; the ferocity of the lion, his rapacity, his mode of lying in wait for his prey, the · suddenness with which he springs upon it, the wonderful strength with which he holds it in his gripe, his prowl. ing about in darkness, are as evidently his only properties which engage the attention of the writer*. This being the case, Tyre may be used as a type either of a great commercial nation of faithful worshippers, or of a great superstitious empire which drives an iniquitous traf:

fic in indulgences, pardons, relics and such like trumpery; - just as the writer considers the vast commerce of ancient

Tyre literally or mystically. In what light he does con

* “ As clean and unclean animals are not realities of good and evil, but only figures ; nothing hinders, but that, like other figures, they should sig. nify differently, when under some different acceptation : as the same object, according to every new direction of the light that falls upon it, will project a different shadow.

“My meaning will be best explained by some examples borrowed from the style of the Holy Scripture. Water, as a medium of purification, is a fit image of the Spirit of regeneration in baptism, which washes away sin : but, in its capacity of overfilowing bodies with its waves, it becomes a figure of affliction, destruction, and even death itself. The same water, which bore up the ark of Noah in safety, and exhibited a pattern of the salvation of the Chris. tian Church, destroyed the world of the ungodly. The light of the sun is be. neficial to the whole creation, and is emblematic of that divine light of life, which enlightens every man that cometh into the world : but the parching heat of its rays is used in the parables of Christ to express the ficry trial of persecution and tribulation for the truth's sake.

“With the same variety of allusion, and without any danger of impropriety or confusion in the language of Scripture, the lion, considered as a hungry and blood-thirsty beast of prey, is an image of the devil, who as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour. But, in regard to his strength, power, generosity, and the majesty of his countenance, he is highly expres. sive of the regal character, and is therefore assumed to denote the power and majesty of Christ himself, the lion of the tribe of Judah.“Jones's Works, vol. iii. p. 108. ,

.

sider it in any particular instance, we must be taught by the context.

The context then in the present instance teaches us, that Ezekiel, in the description of his antitypical Tyre, does not mean literal, but mystical, commerce: because the antitypical Tyre is some one of God's enemies who perish at the close of the 1260 years, and not one of those enemies holds the rank in the modern commercial world, that Tyre did in the ancient; they all being continental powers, and some state decidedly in opposition to them being the great maritime power of the day, and consequently (if literal commerce be considered) in that point of view being the antitype of Tyre likewise.

But one prophecy, relative to any given period, will always be best explained by other parallel prophecies relative to the same period. Do we find then, that any one of the powers, destined to fall at the close of the 1260 years and at the era of the restoration of the Jews, is elsewhere described under the same imagery that Ezekiel uses to depict the antitypical Tyre? If we do, the union of chronological coincidence and symbolical imagery will afford us as much certainty as perhaps can be attained in these matters, that the antitypical Tyre is intended for the power thus perishing at the same era and thus similarly described.

Now it is remarkable, that St. John, as if to teach us the right interpretation of this typical prediction of Ezekiel, purposely uses the very same imagery to represent the downfal of the papal Babylon. If Tyre be exhibited as a great trading city in Ezekiel; so is Babylon in the Apocalypse. If the merchandise of Tyre be gold, silver, iron, all precious stones, purple, broidered work, fine linen, ivory, ebony, vessels of brass, the chief of all spices, cassia, calamus, honey, oil, balm, wheat, wine, wool, lambs, rams, goats, horses, mules, precious clothes for chariots, horsemen, and the souls of men; so is the merchandise of Babylon gold, and silver, and precious stones, and pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner of vessels of ivory, and all manner of vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and

« PreviousContinue »