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of the second trumpet introduces a new calamity from a directly opposite quarter of the world. What proceeds therefore from the South cannot with any propriety be represented by hail. Accordingly we find, that the contrary emblem of fire is used to describe it. A burning blast causes a great mountain to burst forth into a blaze ; and afterwards, heaving it from its base, casts it flaming into the midst of the sea. This imagery is manifestly copied from a parallel passage of Jeremialı, which will afford us the best explanation of what is intended by St. John. Addressing himself to Babylon, the Lord solemnly declares, “ Behold, I
am against thee, O destroying mountain, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out
mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from " the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain*." It appears then, that the destruction of Babylon is symbolized by the tearing up of a large mountain from its base, and by setting it on fire. Now it is well known, that Babylon is the constant apocalyptic type of Rome. Hence, in a prophecy like that of the trumpets which treats of the fall of the Roman empire, the symbol of a mountain, circumstanced precisely similar to the Babylonian mountain, cannot with propriety be interpreted as relative to any power excepting that of Rome alone. In the year 455, Genseric, king of the Vandals, bailed from Africa, and suddenly landed at the mouth of the Tiber. Rome, once the mistress of the world, was now unable to resist the arms of a barbaric chieftain. During fourteen days and nights it was given up to the licentiousness of the Vandals and the Moors; and was plundered of all that yet remained to it, from former conquerors, of public or private wealth, of sacred or profane treasure. Having thus at once satiated his rapacity and cruelty, Genseric set sail again for Africa, carrying with him immense riches and an innumerable multitude of captives, among whom were the empress Eudoxia and her two daughters. By former ravages the power of Rome had been greatly weakened, but by Genseric it was so completely broken* that in a little time it was utterly subverted. Hurled from its base, and plunged like a huge blazing mountain into a sea of wars and tumults, “ it “ struggled hard, and gasped as it were for breath, " through eight short and turbulent reigns, for the
* Jerem, li. 25.
space of twenty years, and at length expired " under Augustulus t.”
* So completely was it broken at this period, that many, among whom is Mr. Mede, have dated the fall of the Western empire in the year 455 or 456.
+ Bp. Newton's Dissert. on Rev. viii. Mr. Lowman supposes like myself, that the symbol of casting a mountain into the sea, here used by the prophet, denotes the subversion of a kingdom by hostile invasion. " Great disorders and commotions,
especially when kingdoms are moved by hostile invasions, are ex“ pressed in the prophetic style by carrying or casting moun" tains into the midst of the sea.”. Paraph. in loc. VOL. II.
- 3. " And the third angel sounded : and there " fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were "! a lamp; and it fell upon the third part of the
rivers, and upon the fountains of waters : and " the name of the star is called Wormwood; and
many men died of the waters because they were 66 made bitter.“
We have seen, that the language used by St. John in describing the effects of the former trumpet is borrowed from a passage of Jeremiah, wherein the fall of Babylon, the apocalyptic type of Rome, is predicted: this, which is here employed by bim, is taken in a similar manner from Isaiah. “ Thou shalt take up this proverb against the king " of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor " ceased, the golden city ceased! The Lord hath " broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre
of the rulers-How art thou fallen from heaven, "O day-star, son of the morning! how art thou " cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the ".nations *." Arguing then both from analogy of interpretation, and from the general tenor of the present prophecy, if the mountain of the second trumpet' mean Rome, the star of the third trumpet must mean the prince of Rome; precisely in the same manner as the mountain spoken of by Jeremiah means Babylon, and the star described by Isaiah as falling to the ground means the prince of Babylon. In the language of symbols indeed the
- shooting of a star from heaven to earth signifies
either the downfall of a king, or the apostasy of a - minister of religion; but in the present instance we cannot hesitate to adopt the secular interpretation. St. John is describing the calamities of the Roman empire in general, and the downfall of the IVestern empire in particular : hence it is more congruous to explain the symbol of the falling star secularly than spiritually. And this opinion is decidedly confirmed by the testimony of history. At the era of the third trumpet, that is to say at the era posterior to the hail-storm of northern invasion and the fiery blast of southern devastation, we find that a great temporal star immediately connected with the blazing mountain did actually fall from heaven to earth; but we shall in vain, at the same period, look for the apostasy of some remarkable spiritual star * On these grounds, I doubt not that the falling star of the third trumpet is the line of the Western Cesars, which was finally hurled from the political heaven in the year 476 t. Tlie last
* The fallen star of the third trumpet cannot be Arius, because he died before even the first trumpet began to sound. His opinions were started about the year 318, and continued to agitate the East till about the year 381. The hail-storm of the first trumpet had long been collecting; but it did not burst till the
+ Mr. Lowman justly observes respecting this symbol, that " the most natural interpretation of it seems to be this: that,
as the rising of a star denotes the rise of some new power or “ authority, so the fall of a star from heaven signifies the fall of
Emperor Momyllus or Augustulus was deposed by Odoacer kind of the Heruli, who put an end to the very name of the Il'estern empire, and caused himself to be proclaimed king of Italy *.
St. Johın intimates, that the fall of this star should eventually be productive of much bloodshed among the rivers and fountains, or the settled Gothic governments of the Il'est, which now filled the place formerly occupied by the Roman empire; and thence styles it Wormwood, as indicative of the bitter discords which its downfall should occasion. As the union of the nations of the West under one head would naturally be the cause of peace among them, so their disunion under many heads would as naturally be the cause of war. Thus we find, that Odoacer, after a short reign of sixteen years, was attacked and slain by Theodoric king of the Ostrogoths; that the Ostrogothic monarchy was, in its turn, subverted by the lieutenants of the Eastern Emperor; and that Italy was afterwards alternately a prey to the Lombards and the Franks. If from Italy we cast our eyes over Gaul, we shall
“ some kingdom or empire" (Paraph. in loc.). He would have expressed himself however with more accuracy, had he said the fall of some king or emperor.
* Mr. Mede applies the shooting of this star to the downfall of the IVestern Cesars ; and thence takes occasion to style it Hesperus or the evening star of the IVest. I perfectly agree with him in his interpretation of the symbol; but think it right to observe, that he has no warrant for denominating the star Hesperus. In the Apocalypse it is simply called a great siar. 6