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ceasing wars between the princes of the Saxon blood*.
4. "And the fourth angel sounded: and the "third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and "the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.”
Under the symbol of a great eclipse, which darkens the third part of the Roman luminaries, this prophecy describes the complete effect produced upon the empire, considered as one grand whole, by the
* The state of the Roman world, when its symbolical rivers and fountains began to be tinged with wormwood by the downfall of the Western empire, is thus described by Mr. Gibbon : "I have now accomplished the laborious narrative of the decline and "fall of the Roman empire, from the fortunate age of Trajan " and the Antonines, to its total extinction in the West, about "five centuries after the Christian æra. At that unhappy pe"riod, the Saxons fiercely struggled with the natives for the "possession of Britain; Gaul and Spain were divided between "the powerful monarchies of the Franks and the Visigoths, " and the dependent kingdoms of the Suevi and Burgundians; "Africa was exposed to the cruel persecution of the Vandals, "and the savage insults of the Moors; Rome and Italy, as far
as the banks of the Danube, were afflicted by an army of bar"barian mercenaries, whose lawless tyranny was succeeded by "the reign of Theodoric the Ostrogoth. All the subjects of the "empire, who, by the use of the Latin language, more parti"cularly deserved the name and privileges of Romans, were
oppressed by the disgrace and calamities of foreign conquest; and the victorious nations of Germany established a new sys"tem of manners and government in the western countries of "Europe." Hist. of Decline, Vol. vi. p. 404.
sounding of all the four first trumpets. When the western third part was entirely occupied by the Gothic invaders, when Rome herself became a mere appendage to a barbaric kingdom, and when the line of the Italian Cesars had ended in the person of Augustulus; then commenced the predicted darkening of the third part of the political Roman luminaries, or, in other words, the complete extinction of the imperial governing powers in the Latin empire." The day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise." While ''the victori
ous nations of Germany established a new sys"tem of manners and government in the western "countries of Europe, the majesty of Rome was faintly represented by the princes of Constanti"nople, the feeble and imaginary successors of "Augustus. Yet they continued to reign over the
East, from the Danube to the Nile and Tigris; "the Gothic and Vandal kingdoms of Italy and "Africa were subverted by the arms of Justinian*;" nor did the long line of the Cesars become finally extinct, until Constantinople fell a prey to the martial fanaticism of the Turks.
Thus was he that letted removed out of the way, and thus was an opening prepared for the revelation of the man of sin and for the completion of the western Apostasy. Constantine quitted the ancient capital for the city of which he claimed to be the founder; Honorius, the first of the divided Italian
Hist. of Decline and Fall, Vol. vi. p. 404.
Cesars, fixed his residence at Ravenna; and at length the Western empire was completely overthrown in the person of Augustulus. Nothing now impeded the growth of the little horn, except the three Gothic kingdoms which were destined to be plucked up by the roots before it. During their eradication it gradually increased; and, before it had attained the summit of its temporal power, the saints were delivered into its hand, and it became a mighty spiritual persecuting empire. Then was the man of sin revealed, that son of perdition, whose tyrannical reign and final destruction is described at large under the three last trumpets.
OF THE THREE LAST APOCALYPTIC TRUMPETS, OR, AS THEY ARE PECULIARLY STYLED, THE THREE WOE-TRUMPETS.
HE that letted being now removed, St. John ceeds to relate the history of the great Apostasy, which he details under the three last trumpets, usually denominated the three woe-trumpets. He begins with an account of the Eastern branch of the Apostasy under the two first woe-trumpets. He next passes to the parallel history of the Western branch of the Apostasy, which he gives at large under the two first woe-trumpets, and more briefly under the third: and, in order that his narrative may be unbroken, and that all confusion may be prevented, he throws the whole history of the western Apostasy, under all the three trumpets and during the entire period of 1260 years, into a little book or codicil to the larger book of the Apocalypse. And he finally details at large the operation of the last woe-trumpet, which contains within itself the seven vials, both in the East, and in the West.
Concerning the three woe-trumpets themselves it may briefly be observed in general: that the first
describes the rise of the twofold Apostasy; the second represents it in the zenith of its power, until the manifestation of Antichrist*; and the third exhibits its downfall, displaying at the same time the multiplied horrors of the harvest and vintage of the Lord, or the uncontrouled reign of the atheistical king and his subsequent destruction along with all the other enemies of God, and at length conducting us to that happy period when all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.
*The French revolution in the year 1789. It professed to establish a limited monarchy, respecting at once the prerogatives of a lawful prince, and the liberties of the people. This deceived numbers; and led them to form the romantic idea, that France was become (to use the detestable cant of the day) a regenerated kingdom. Four years however were not suffered to elapse from the commencement of the revolution; ere the streets of Paris and the provincial towns streamed with the blood of innumerable victims, ere the sovereign himself was brought to the scaffold, ere religion was abolished and a sort of jumble of atheism and idolatry was established in its stead. Antichrist soon threw off his mask of toleration, candour, and universal philanthropy; and stood openly revealed in all his native deformity. His lamb-like pretensions to reason, moderation, and humanity, vanished as the fleeting clouds of the morn ing: and the astonished world suddenly beheld the existence of an "execrable power, which alone has steeled the hearts of its “votaries against every feeling of nature; has dared to sanction "treason, parricide, lust, and massacre, and to infuse into the "breasts of its subject multitudes a new passion, which has "sunk them beneath the level of the brute creation; a passion "for the sight of their fellow-creatures in the agonies of death, " and a literal thirst for human blood." Hist. the Inter. Vol. ii. p. 215, 216.