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the "star" which fell from heaven to the earth as meaning himself. But on the most mature consideration, I concur with those expositors, who, while admitting the locusts to be Mahomet's destructive hordes of Saracens, yet understand the smoke of popish darkness, which was preparatory to the other, and the fallen star of the fallen Bishop of Rome.* If the fourth trumpet refer to the subversion of the imperial government under Augustulus, it may be presumed that the fifth would refer to things not very distant from it, and probably rising out of it: but the appearance of Mahomet was 130 years after this event, and seems to have no imme. diate connexion with it. On the other hand, there is a connexion between the subversion of the imperial government and “the revelation of the man of sin." It was the imperial authority which "let" or hindered him, and which when "taken out of the way," made room for his appearing. Thus the eclipse under the fourth trumpet prepared the way for the irruption of darkness under the fifth. The mystery of iniquity had long been at work; but now it burst forth as the smoke of a great furnace, impeding the light of the gospel, and darkening the moral atmosphere of the Christian world.
With this also agrees the application of " the fallen star" to the Pope or Bishop of Rome. It comports with the symbolical style of the book that a prophetical person should denote not an individual, but a succession of individuals in an official character. The Bishop of Rome was once a star in the Christian firmament; but abandoning the doctrine and spirit of a Christian minister, and setting up for worldly domination, he "fell from heaven unto the earth," and thus became a fit agent for "opening the bottomless pit." The Bishop of Meaux acknowledges that "Hell does not open of itself: it is always some false doctor that opens it."
*It is true, that that part of the prophecy which treats directly of the great papal community is yet in reserve: but as in a history of any nation frequent mention requires to be made of other nations; so in a prophecy of the ravages of Mahometanism, mention may require to be made of Popery, as preparing its way.
+ 2 Thes. ii. 4-8.
The darkness of Popery is not only of infernal origin, but brings with it a state of mind prepared for the grossest delusions. Intercepting the light of truth, it darkened the world with its doctrines. It changed the truth of God into a lie, and, like an old Heathenism, ،، worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever, Amen!" Wherefore God gave them up to Mahometan imposture, depredation, and ruin. As the smoke brought forth the locusts, (though both proceeded from the pit,) so Popery brought forth Mahometanism. But for the one, the other could not have prevailed as it did where the light of the gospel had once appeared. The Roman Catholics have made great noise about the keys; and truly a key has been given them, "the key of the bottomless pit!”
As to the locusts they are described chiefly by their depreda tions. The wrath of God is less directed against them than against that out of which they came. They were indeed from beneath, and so was the conquering system of Assyria and Babylon; but as these powers were the rod of God's anger against a nation which had corrupted the true religion, it is not till they in their turn are punished that much is said of their crimes. And thus the destructive hordes of Saracens that laid waste a great part of the easters world are described as executing a commission, not against "grass or green things, or trees," like ordinary locusts; but, "against the men who had not the seal of God in their foreheads”—that is, against the corrupters of Christianity. Ver. 4. There was a direction given to their successes very much like that which has of late years been given to those on the continent of Europe against the papal countries. The Christianity of the Greek church, whose patriarch resided at Constantinople, was in a great degree absorbed by them.
It is observable, however, that the men against whom their com mission was directed were not to be killed, but tormented for a certain time. They doubtless did kill great numbers individually considered; but with all their ravages they only harrassed those countries where corrupted Christianity prevailed. They were not able to destroy either the Greek or the Latin churches.
* See Mr. Cunninghame's Dissertation on the Trumpets, Chap. VI.
The time in which they should harrass them is limited to "five months," which probably alludes to the usual season for the ravages of the natural locusts. It has been thought to intend so many prophetical days, or years. Five months, reckoning thirty days to a month, and each day a year, would be 150 years; and this was the period in which the Saracen arms are said to have prevailed. They began about 612. After the death of Mahomet, they continued, though with some interruptions, to carry on their conquests. In 713 they entered Spain, which in a few years was subjugated to them; and passing the Pyrenees, they entered France, which was then said to be the only rampart of Christianity. They advanced as to a certain victory, whereupon ensued one of the bloodiest battles that the world had ever seen. Of the Saracens there were 400,000 men, besides women and children who came with them, designing to settle in France, and no doubt to extirpate Christianity from Europe. Three hundred and seventy thousand of them are said to have been slain, including their General. This battle was fought by Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne, in 734, and put a stop to the progress of the Saracen arms in Europe. About 762, after the "five months" of years which were given them to continue had elapsed, they ceased to extend their conquests by settling peaceably in the countries which they had conquered, and so ceased to ravage as locusts.
The description given of these locusts (ver. 7-10.) answers to most of the peculiarities of the Saracen armies; as their use of cavalry; their turbans, resembling crowns, in which they gloried; the union of fierceness and effeminacy in their character; the impenetrability of their forces; the rapidity of their conquests; and their carrying with them the sting of a deadly imposture.
Finally, This fearful army is described as having “ a king over them, even the angel of the bottomless pit," from whence they came, and" whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek, Apollyon." This would seem to be Mahomet and his successors, or Satan as working by them. The genius of Mahometanism is to destroy the lives as well as the souls of men.
After this we are told, "One woe is past and behold there come two woes more hereafter." By the term "hereafter,"
seems to be intimated that the second woe would not follow very soon after the first, but that a considerable lapse of time would intervene betwixt them. In this respect the language differs from the introduction of the third woe, in Chap. xi. 14. where it is said, "The second woe is past, and behold the third woe cometh quickly."
THE SECOND WOE-TRUMPET; OR THE ARMY OF HORSEMEN.
Chap. ix. 13–21.
And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar, which is before God, 14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. 16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand : and I heard the number of them. 17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and then that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone : and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions ; and out of their mouths issued fire, and smoke, and brimstone. 18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. 19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails : for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. 20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues, yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood : which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk. 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.