« PreviousContinue »
3d. A limit is assigned to their permanent conquests, of “one third ; "which portion of the empire they were not merely “ to torment,” like the Saracens before them, but to “kill”--that is, to subvert and consign to political destruction. This was fully accomplished, when, in the year 1453, Constantinople was taken by the Sultan Mahomet II. ; the last emperor, Constantine Paleologus, being then slain, and an end put to the Eastern Empire.
4th. Their armies were to consist of an incredible number of horsemen; and Gibbon thus announces the first irruption of the Turks into the Roman Empire: “The MYRIADS of TURKISH HORSE overspread a frontier of six hundred miles, from Tauris to Arzeroum.” And it is said that the Turkish army not only consisted of such innumerable horsemen, but that it was originally without any foot soldiers whatever.
5th. They were to be clothed in red, blue, and yellow, the colour of "fire, jacinth, and brimstone:” and it is said the Turkish soldiers have peculiarly affected to wear such warlike apparel. The heads of their horses being as “lions,” are supposed to denote the fierceness and impetuosity with which they rush to battle.
6th. The next particular noticed, is the implements of destruction used in the taking of Constantinople. By “fire and smoke and brimstone” issuing out of the horses' mouths, is
generally understood the flashes of artillery, which issued out of the enormous cannon used by Mahomet II. on that occasion; and to which recent and tremendous discovery his success was chiefly owing. And
7th. The people to whom this trumpet relates, like the Saracens, propagated a deadly imposture: they had power to do hurt by their tails that is, of spreading the spiritual venom of the Mohammedan apostasy, which religion, it is well known, is, and ever has been, the religion of the Turks.
Thus have we brought up the series of the trumpets, equally with that of the seals, to the PRESENT TIME, or to the period of the sixth VIAL; which, as was above noticed, contains two distinct silent operations ; one of which predicted the ceasing of the sixth or Turkish trumpet; and both involving and explaining the characteristic “SILENCE” of the seventh seal ! The former of these visions—most important indeed to us, as pointing to the times in which we live, and foretelling the issue of events that are passing before our eyes, and as such claiming our highest and most attentive consideration_is conveyed in the following language:
“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the GREAT RIVER Euphrates; and the water thereof was drieD UP, that the way of
the kings of the East might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”
Having occasion to speak of the signs of the times under the “Fifth period” of this work, and before it was intended to write this Introduction, the contents of the above vial were there prominently brought forward, as exhibiting the present aspect of the world, drawn by the pen of Jehovah himself; and as performing to the church the office of a living prophet. On this account, it will be necessary but very briefly to particularize them in this place, and that only to shew the connexion of the subject; as what is hereafter advanced, will be easily found by a reference to the Index at the end of the volume.
The first event noticed, is the DRYING UP OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE ; and it is a fact at the present moment too strongly marked to escape
the most sluggish observation, that this onceformidable power, the terror of whose arms, conquests, and atrocities, are found written in deeply legible characters in all the histories of modern Europe, is now, like an expiring taper, glimmering, and but faintly glimmering, in the socket. The ceasing of the sixth trumpet must therefore be very near at hand ; or, as it is otherwise expressed, “the second woe must be nearly “past.” And perhaps the attention of mortals was never called to an event of greater importance than this: and it is strongly impressed upon my mind, that we have this clear, distinct, unequivocal, and I may add timely, notice given of it, that we may be prepared for those overwhelming judgments of which it is the awful prelude and signal! There appears to be no sound connected with the events of time, that should have a more astounding import on the minds of the present generation than these—“BEHOLD, THE THIRD WOE COMETH QUICKLY!”--for when “the way of the kings of the East” is fully “prepared,” which it will be on the complete extinction of the “second woe,” it is indeed most appalling to contemplate what will then happen!
I have elsewhere given the opinion, that I believe these “ kings of the East” to be real kings ; and I will not say that they are not those
typified by Ezekiel in the the tenth chapter of his prophecies :—“And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward THE NORTH, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand.” At all events, whether alluded to in this awful prediction or not, I believe these kings to be, not, as is generally supposed, the Jews, but rather the appointed instruments of the Lord's vengeance on a guilty world; and that, from many concurring and analogous circumstances-some of which will be hereafter noticed—it is by no means difficult to shew who they are likely to be, and from whence the danger is to be apprehended.
The second event here noticed, which is now in silent operation, is the going forth of three UNCLEAN SPIRITS, which are striving with each other throughout the whole extent of Europe, but particularly in the nations of the West, for dominion and power. These, as here described, are Despotism, Infidelity, and Popery: and their effects, as already but too apparent, may be seen, like successive flashes of lightning before an approaching storm, in the political struggles that are going on in France, Spain, and Portugal; in our own country; and more quietly, but just as truly, in Germany, Switzerland, and the Italian States. The issue of these conflicting struggles is stated to be, to gather“ the king's