« ElőzőTovább »
Arabian officers and foldiers. When Yezid was marching with the army to invade Syria, Abubeker charged him (7) with this among other orders; " Deftroy no palm-trees, nor "burn any fields of corn; cut down no fruit
trees, nor do any mischief to cattle, only fuch "( as you kill to eat." Their commiffion is to hurt only thofe men who have not the feal of God in their foreheads; that is thofe who are not the true fervants of God, but are corrupt and idolatrous Chriftians. Now from history it appears evidently, that in thofe countries of Afia, Africa, and Europe, where the Saracens extended their conquefts, the Chriftians were generally guilty of idolatry in the worshipping of faints, if not of images; and it was the pretence of Mohammed and his followers to chaftife them for it, and to re-establish the unity of the Godhead. The. parts which remained the freeft from the general infection were Savoy, Piedmont, and the fouthern parts of France, which were afterwards the nurseries and habitations of the Waldenfes and Albigenfes: and it is very memorable, that (8) when the Saracens approached these parts, they were defeated with great flaughter by
(7) Ockley's Hift. of the Saracens. Vol. 1. p. 25.
(8) Petavii Rationar. Temp. Part 1. Lib. 8. Cap. 5. Mezeray Abregé
by the famous Charles Martel in several engagements.
As they were to hurt only the corrupt and idolatrous Chriftians, so these (ver. 5, 6.) they were not to kill but only to torment, and fhould bring fuch calamities upon the earth, as should make men weary of their lives. Not that it could be supposed that the Saracens would not kill many thousands in their incurfions. On the contrary their angel (ver. 11.) hath the name of the deftroyer. They might kill them as individuals, but ftill they should not kill them as a political body, as a state or empire. They might greatly harrafs and torment both the Greek and the Latin churches, but they should not utterly extirpate the one or the other. They befieged Conftantinople, and (9) even plundered Rome; but they could not make themselves mafters of either of thofe capital cities. The Greek empire fuffered most from them, as it lay neareft to them. They difmembered it of Syria, and Egypt, and fome other of its beft and richeft provinces; but they were never able to fubdue and conquer' the whole. As often as they befieged Conftantinople, they were repulfed
Abregé Chronol. A. D. 732. &c.
(9) Sigonii Hift. de Regno Italiæ Lib. 5. Ann. 846. (1) Theoph.
and defeated. They attempted it (1) in the reign of Conftanftine Pogonatus A. D. 672; but their men and fhips were miferably deftroyed by the fea-fire invented by Callinicus, and after seven years fruitless pains they were compelled to raise the fiege, and to conclude a peace. They attempted it again (2) in the reign of Leo Ifauricus A. D. 718; but they were forced, to defift by famin, and peftilence, and loffes of various kinds. In this attempt they exceeded their commiffion, and therefore they were not crowned with their ufual fuccefs. The taking of this city, and the putting an end to this empire, was a work referved for another power, as we shall fee under the next trumpet.
In the following verfes (7, 8, 9, 10.) the nature and qualities of these locufts are described, partly in allufion to the properties of natural locufts and the defcription given of them by the prophet Joel, and partly in allufion to the habits and manners of the Arabians, to fhow that not real but figurative locufts were here intended. The
(1) Theoph. Cedren, ad. ann. Conft. 5. Zonaræ Annales. Lib. 14. Cap. 20. &c. Petavii Rationar. Temp. Part 1. Lib. 8. Cap. 1. Blair's Chronol. Tab. N° 34.
(2) Sigonii Hift. de Regno Italiæ Lib. 3. Anno 718. Petav.
ibid. Cap. 5.
(3) Vide Albertum, Aldro-. vandum, Theodoretum &c. apud Bochart. Hieroz. Part. Poft. Lib. 4. Cap. 5. -caput aut faciem equinæ non abfimilem. A qua locuftæ ab Italis vocantur cavalette. Col. 474.
The firft quality mentioned is their being like unto horses, prapared unto battle; which is copied from Joel (II. 4.) The appearance of them is as the appearance of borfes, and as horsemen, fo fhall they run. Many authors have (3) obferved
that the head of a locuft resembles that of an horfe. The Italians therefore call them cavalette, as it were little horses. The Arabians too have in all ages been famous for their horses and horfemanship. Their ftrength is well known to confift chiefly in their cavalry.
Another diftinguishing mark and character is their having on their heads as it were crowns like gold; which is an allufion to the head-drefs of the Arabians, (4) who have conftantly worn turbants or mitres, aud boaft of having those ornaments for their common attire, which are crowns and diadems with other people. The crowns alfo fignify the kingdoms and dominions which they should acquire. For, as Mr. Mede (5) excellently obferves, No nation had ever fo wide a command, nor ever were fo many kinglate regnatum fuit, neque tam brevi temporis fpatio unquam tot regna, tot regiones, fub jugum miffa. Incredibile dictu, veriffimum tamen eft; Octogin ta, aut non multo plurium, annorum fpatio fubjugârunt illi et diabolico regno MuhammeH 4
(4) Arabes mitrati degunt. Plin. Nat. Hift. Lib. 6. Cap. 28. Se&t. 32. Edit. Harduin. Hic mitra velatus Arabs. Claudian de Laud. Stil. I. 156. Pocockii Not in Carm. Tograi Arab. pag. ult.
(5) Nulli unquam genti tam
kingdoms, fo many regions fubjugated in fo 'fhort a space of time. It founds incredible, yet most true it is; that in the space of eighty or not many more years, they fubdued and acquired to the diabolical kingdom of Mohammed Palestine, Syria, both Armenia's, almost all Afia Minor, Perfia, India, Egypt, Numidia, all Barbary even to the river Niger, Portugal, Spain. Neither did their fortune or ambition ftop here, till they had added alfo a great part of Italy, as far as to the gates of Rome; moreover Sicily, Candia, Cyprus, and the other ilands of the Mediterranean fea. Good God! how great a tract of land! how many crowns were here! Whence alfo it is worthy of obfervation, that mention is not made here, as in the other trumpets, of the third part; forafmuch as this plague fell