« ElőzőTovább »
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 persons. The fallen star opens the door of the bot tomless pit, and lets out Apollyon with his locusts: consequently Apollyon was confined in the pit, until 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 Genseric. 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.
I conceive then, that the fallen star of the first woe-trumpet is no other than the apostate Nestoriar
* Rey. ix. 1-11,
monk Sergius or Baheira; who assisted Moham med in the forging of his imposture. 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 Baheira, and receiving great satisfaction "from him in many of those points which he de"sired to be informed in, he did thereon contract
a particular friendship with him. And therefore, "not long after, the monk, for some great crime. "being excommunicated and expelled his. mo $6 nastery, fled to Mecca to him; and, being there
* Modern Univ. Hist. Vol. i. P. 26.
"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 fullen 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 pre'ceded by the smoke and fumes of the false religion which they were about to propagate. Accordingly, Mohammed emerged from his solitary retreat ↑ about the year 609; and began to excite that
* See Prideaux's Life of Mohammed. p. 47.
+ Mr. Whitaker's. conjecture, that the bottomless pit, or the cave of the abyss (which no doubt is the literal translation of the original, expression), alludes to the care of, Hera (caves being often considered by pagan superstition" as the scats of
oracles and sources of inspiration"), has the merit of pos - sessing much ingenuity; but I am not perfectly satisfied how, far it may be deemed solid. In the first place, it does not appear that we are warranted in taking symbolical language in a literal sense, unless it be arowedly descriptive: as, for instance, when the Euphratèan army is said to consist of horsemen, and to seem as if comiting fire, and brimstone, and smoke: and, in the, second place, Mohammed literally issued from the cave of flera about the year 609, which will not agree with that part of the prophecy, which speaks of the locusts tormenting men five months. Whitaker's Comment. p. 123.
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 truth." 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.
new proselytes, described under the next trumpet*.
A command was given to Apollyon, and his sym→ bolical locusts, that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any treeAccordingly, it was the special injunction of Abubeker to the Saracens, that they should destroy no palm trees, nor burn any fields of corn; that they should cut down no fruit trees, nor injure any cattle except such as they killed to eat.
The commission of the locusts extended only to hurt those men who had not the seal of God in their foreheads; and, though they were permitted to hurt them, their warrant gave them no authority to kill them-Now it appears from history, that in the countries invaded by the Saracens a very great defection from primitive Christianity had taken place; for, before they began their ravages, the will-worship of saints and martyrs. had extended · itself far and wide, and the great Apostasy of 1260 days had commenced. Hence we find, that, when
I cannot assent to Sir Isaac Newton's supposition, that the prophet's repetition of the five months, in two different verses, implies ten months or 300 years: Ílad St. John meant to convey this idea, he would have joined the two periods of five months each, by a conjunction copulative, in the same verse; as thus: * their power was to torment men five months and five months." Otherwise, upon the same principle, we must extend the persecution of the Church from 1260 years to twice 1260 years : for the period is twice mentioned in the single prophecy of the woman's flight into the wilderness. Compare Rev. xii. 6.