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in the cave of Hera*; and began to excite that preparatory allegorical smoke, which soon darkened all the eastern heaven. "Three years he silently "employed in the conversion of fourteen proselytes, "the first-fruits of his mission t: but, in the fourth year," or the year 612," he assumed the prophetic office, and resolved to impart to his family "the light of divine truth." In this year 612
The imagery of this prophecy seems to be taken from the sacred oracular caves of the pagans, which were often thought to communicate with the sea or the great abyss. Hence such imagery is singularly appropriate in predicting the rise of a religious imposture. Thus far I agree with Mr. Whitaker: but I doubt, whether there be any latent allusion to the literal issuing forth of Mohammed from the cave of Hera; though it is highly probable, that that cave was in pagan times a grotto temple of Hera or the Lady, as the oracular great mother was often denominated. The prophecy says, that the locusts tormented men five months or 150 natural years. But they could not torment men until they emerged from the pit. Consequently, the 150 years must be computed from their so emerging. Now Mohammed literally quitted the cave of Hera about the year 609. But, if 150 years be computed from that era, they will not bring us to any point of time when the figurative locusts can be said to have ceased as a woe. Hence the 150 years cannot have commenced in the year 609: and hence therefore Mohammed's literal quitting of the cave in that year cannot be intended by the emerging of the locusts from the pit, which figurative action must have taken place in a totally different year. Whitaker's Comment. p. 123.
† 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.
then, Mohammed and his disciples, or Apollyon and his locusts, closely following the thick preparatory smoke, may be considered as issuing from the door of that pit of the abyss, which the fallen star had consequentially been the instrument of opening. Such being the case, 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 new proselytes, described under the next trumpet *.
A command was given to Apollyon, and his symbolical locusts, that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree
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: Had 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 66 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 Alight into the wilderness. Compare Rev. xii. 6, with ver. 14.
Accordingly, it was the special injunction of Abnbeker 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 they approached Savoy, Piedmont, and the southern provinces of France, which had been but little tainted with the general disease and which were afterwards the seat of the Waldenses and Albigenses, they were defeated with great slaughter by Charles Martel in several engagements. They were however only allowed to torment the great body politic of the apostate empire; they were not permitted to kill its remaining third part. Accordingly, they were never able to take Constantinople, or to subvert its monarchy, though they frequently attempt ed it; the task of giving the fatal blow to its declining power being reserved for their successors the Turks.
The symbolical locusts were like horses prepared
for the battle: the strength of the Saracens consisted chiefly in their cavalry-The locusts had on their heads as it were crowns like gold: the Arabs have constantly worn turbans; and even boast that they wear, as their common attire, those ornaments which among other people are the peculiar badges of royalty-The locusts had faces as the faces of men, and hair as the hair of women: the Arabs, as Pliny testifies, wore their beards, or at least their mustachios, as men; while their hair was flowing or plaited, like that of women-The teeth of the locusts were as the teeth of a lion; an expression frequently used in Scripture to denote great strength*: the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle; to represent at once the rapid conquests. of the Saracens, and their proverbial skill in horsemanship and they had stings in their tails like Scorpions; to signify that they should carry along with them, wherever they flew, a loathsome and deadly superstition f.
At the conclusion of the prophecy respecting the Saracenic locusts, it is added, "One woe is past." Now, since we had already been informed, that their power of doing mischief was limited to five months, or 150 years; it is evident, that the first woc-trumpet ceased to sound at the end of the 150 years, or in the year of our Lord 762. It further
+ "Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord." Fsalm viii. 6.
† Bp. Newton's Dissert, on Rev. ix.
appears, that a considerable period of time was to elapse between the end of the first woe-trumpet, and the beginning of the second: for the prophet here simply intimates, that "there come two more woes hereafter;" whereas, at the conclusion of the second woe, he asserts, "behold the third woe cometh quickly."
2. At the sounding of the sixth angel, a command was given him to loose the four angels whọ were hitherto bound in the regions bordering on the great river Euphrates. Accordingly, they were forthwith loosed, having been prepared in the councils of God even to the very hour, the day, the month, and the year, in order that they might slay the third part of men. The cavalry, which composed their armies, amounted to two hundred thousand thousand. The warriors themselves appeared to the prophet to wear breast-plates of fire, and hyacinth, and brimstone: and from the lion-like heads of their horses seemed to proceed fire, and smoke, and brimstone; by which, when the appointed hour arrived, the third part of men were killed. The horses of the Euphratèan cavalry, like the Saracenic locusts, had power no less in their tails than in their mouths: for "their tails were "like serpents, and had heads, and with them they "do hurt." Notwithstanding the death of the third
* We shall find in the sequel that this has been exactly the
† Gr. επι τῷ πολαμῳ τῳ μεγάλῳ Ευφρατῃ, on the great river Eus phrates, not in it, as our common translation reads.