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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.
Mohammed P. 15.
+ Hist. of Decline and Fall Vol. 1x. P. 284. VOL. II.
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 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 transgressors (to use the language of Daniel) were come to the full, the will-worship of saints and martyrs had extended itself far and wide, and
* 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 power was to torment men five months and five months." The illustrious commentator does not seem to have been aware, that, 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. with ver. 14.
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 it. Accordingly, they were never able to take Constantinople,` or to subvert its monarchy, though they frequently attempted 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
* "Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out "the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord." Psalm lviii. 6. was
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 *.
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 woe-trumpet ceased to sound at the end of the 150 years, or in the year of our Lord 762. It further 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 †.”
At the sounding of the sixth angel, a command was given him to loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates, ready prepared to slay the third part of men for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year. Thus liberated from their confinement, the four angels
* Bp. Newton's Dissert. Vol. 11. P. 208–217. † We shall find in the sequel that this has been exactly the case.
issued forth at the head of two hundred thousand thousand horsemen. The warriors themselves appeared to the prophet to wear breast-plates of fire, and hyacinth, and brimstone; and from the lionlike heads of their horses seemed to proceed fire, and smoke, and brimstone. By these destructivé flashes a 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 part of men, the prophet informs us, that those, who had escaped these two successive plagues, still hardened their hearts, and repented not of their idolatry, their sorcery, and their fornication *.
The four angels are the four sultanies of the Turks; the capitals of which were Bagdad †, Damascus, Aleppo, and Iconium ‡. These were long restrained from extending their conquests beyond the territories immediately adjoining to the
* Rev. ix. 13-21.
+ Late the proud seat of Saracenic domination.
The number four twice occurs in the early history of the Turks, no less than in the precise number of their Sultanies. Soliman Shah was drowned in attempting to cross the Euphrates with his three sons; and was succeeded by his youngest son Ortogrul, who had`likewise three sons. I think however, that the four Sultanies are peculiarly meant; for prophecy usually speaks of states, rather than of individuals. But, in whatever manner the prediction of the four Euphratèan angels be understood, it is accurately accomplished in fortunes of the Turkish empire.