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CONCERNING THE EFFECTS OF THE TWO FIRST WOE-TRUMPETS IN THE EAST.
THE effects of the two first woe-trumpets in the East have been so fully and satisfactorily discussed by Mr. Mede and Bp. Newton, that, agreeing with them as I do in the great outlines of their interpretation, I shall do little more than abridge their remarks.
1. At the sounding of the fifth trumpet (the first of the three woe-trumpets), a star falls from heaven to earth; receives a key; and opens with it the pit of the abyss. Forthwith there arises a thick smoke; and, in the midst of it, issues out a vast swarm of locusts with their leader Apollyon at their head. The commission of these locusts is, not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree; but only those men, who have not the seal of God in their foreheads: and, in point of time, it is limited to five prophetic months, or 150 natural years. As for the locusts themselves, they are like horses prepared unto battle; their crowns are of gold; their faces are as the faces of men; they have hair as the hair of women; their teeth are as
the teeth of lions; their breastplates are like breastplates of iron; they have the tails of scorpions, armed with deadly stings; and the sound of their wings is as the sound of chariots of many hoises 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 pit of the abyss, 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 the chief among those ecclesiastical stars of the western third part of the empire; which,
* Rev. ix. 1-11,
in the prophecy of the woman and the man-child, are said to have been cast down from heaven, or to have been seduced into apostasy, by the machinations of the infernal dragon *. The consequence of this great revolt, which extended to the east as well as to the west, which was specially headed by the star or bishop of Rome, which commenced at a very early period, but which was openly developed when the man of sin was revealed at the commencement of the 1260 days: the consequence of this great revolt was the rise of Mohammedism; which professed to be a system of pure theism, destined to supersede and abolish the idolatrous corruptions of the Christian Church. Hence, as Mohammedism was the consequence of that apostasy which was headed by the episcopal star of Rome, the door of the mystic cave, from which it emerged, is figuratively said to have been opened by a star that had fallen out of heaven t.
"From his earliest youth," says Mr. Gibbon, "Mohammed was addicted to religious conteinpla"tion. Each Each year, during the month of Ramadan, "he withdrew from the world. In the cave of "Hera, three miles from Mecca, he consulted the
spirit of fraud or enthusiasm, whose abode is not "in the heavens, but in the mind of the prophet. "The faith, which, under the name of Islam, he preached to his family and nation, is compounded
* Rev. xii. 4.
+ I am indebted for this interpretation of the fallen star to Mr. Cuninghame. See his Dissert. on the seals and trumpets, p. 85.
"of an eternal truth and a necessary fiction: that there is only one God, and that Mohammed is the "apostle of God.-The Christians of the seventh
century had insensibly relapsed into a semblance "of paganism. Their public and private vows were addressed to the relics and images that dis"graced the temples of the east: the throne of the Almighty was darkened by a cloud of martyrs, "and saints, and angels, the objects of popular veneration: and the Collyridian heretics, who flourished in the fruitful soil of Arabia, invested "the Virgin Mary with the name and honours of a goddess.-Intemperate curiosity and zeal had "torn the veil of the sanctuary: and each of the "oriental sects was eager to confess, that all, except "themselves, deserved the reproach of idolatry and
polytheism. The creed of Mohammed is free "from suspicion and ambiguity: and the Koran is "a glorious testimony to the unity of God.-The "first principle of reason and revelation was con"firmed by the voice of Mohammed : his proselytes, "from India to Morocco, are distinguished by the name of Unitarians: and the danger of idolatry has been prevented by the interdiction of images *."
It was in the year 606, that the episcopal star of Rome fell from heaven, or, in the language of St. Paul, that the man of sin was openly revealed: hence, as the sounding of the trumpet commences
Hist. of the Decline, vol. ix. p. 259-263.
with the fall of the star, it must have began tơ sound in the year 606. But it was in this self-same year, that Mohammed committed the first overt act of his apostasy by retiring to the cave of Hera: hence the fallen star figuratively opened the door of the pit, immediately before the impostor thus retired. The locusts however and their leader did not instantly issue forth from the pit, or publicly disclose themselves to the world as the propagators of a Satanical religion: their manifestation was to be preceded, no less than accompanied, by the smoke and fumes of the corrupt theology which they were about to teach; while that smoke and those fumes clearly could not arise from the pit, until its door had been previously opened by the fallen star. Accordingly, the order of events exactly corresponded with the prophetic annunciation of them. At the sounding of the first woe-trumpet in the year 606, the star of Rome fell from heaven; and, by the instrumentality of that great apostasy which he headed, set wide open the door of the pit. As soon as the door was opened, Mohammed, in the very same year, retired into the desert, and began to frame his imposture. In the year 609, having now fully digested his plan, he quitted his solitary retreat
It is said, that the key of the pit was given to the fallen star. I am inclined to suspect, that such phraseology is neither merely accidental nor merely ornamental. To him, who proudly claims the power of the keys of heaven and of hell as the successor of St. Peter, a key is indeed given; but it is the key only of the pit of imposture.