Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Constantine the Great and his sons. After Julian had opened the temples and restored the worship of the heathens, the emperors Valentinian and Valens tolerated it all their reign; and therefore the prophecy of the sixth seal was not fully accomplished before the reign of their successor Gratian. It was the custom of the heathen priests, in the beginning of the reign of every sovereign emperor, to offer him the dignity and habit of pontifex maximus. This dignity all emperors had hitherto accepted: but Gratian rejected it, threw down the idols, interdicted the sacrifices, and took away their revenues with the salaries and authority of the priests. Theodosius the Great followed his example; and heathenism afterwards recovered itself no more, but decreased so fast, that Prudentius, about ten years after the death of Theodosius, called the heathens, vix pauca ingenia et pars hominum rarissima. Whence the af294 fairs of the sixth seal ended with the reign of Valens, or rather with the beginning of the reign of Theodosius, when he, like his predecessor Gratian, rejected the dignity of pontifex maximus. For the Romans were very much infested by the invasions of foreign nations in the reign of Valentinian and Valens;* and whilst the emperors were busy in repelling these enemies, the Huns, Alans, and Goths came down over the Danube in two bodies, overcame and slew Valens, and made so great a slaughter of the Roman army, that Ammianus saith : Nec ulla Annalibus præter Cannensem ita ad internecionem res legitur gesta."

>>

CC

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

These wars were not fully stopped on all sides till the beginning of the reign of Theodosius, A. D. 379 & 380: but henceforward the empire remained quiet from foreign armies, till his death, A. D. 395. So long the four winds were held; and so 295 long there was silence in heaven: and the seventh seal was opened when this silence began.

Mr. Mede has explained the prophecy of the first six trumpets not much amiss: but if he had observed, that the prophecy of pouring out the vials of wrath is synchronal to that of sounding the trumpets, his explanation would have been more complete.

The name of woes is given to the wars, to which the three last trumpets sound, to distinguish them from the wars of the first four. The sacrifices on the first four days of the feast of tabernacles, at which the four trumpets sound, and the first four vials of wrath are poured out, are slaughters in four great wars; and these wars are represented by four winds from the four corners of the earth. The first was an east wind, the second a west wind, the third a south wind, and the fourth a north wind, with respect to the city of Rome, the metropolis of the old Roman empire. These four plagues fell upon the third part of the earth, sea, rivers, sun, moon, and stars; the third part of the whole scene of these prophecies of Daniel and John.

CHAPTER Viii. The plague of the 296 eastern wind at the sounding of the first trumpet, was to fall upon the earth, that is, upon the nation of the Greek empire. Accordingly,

* Hoc tempore, (saith Ammianus,) velut per universum orbem Romanum bellicum canentibus buccinis, excitæ gentes sævissimæ limites sibi proximos persultabant: Gallias Rhætiasque simul Alemanni populabantur; Sarmatæ Pannonias et Quadi; Picti Saxones; et Scoti et Attacotti Britannos ærumnis vexavere continuis; Austoriani, Mauricæque aliæ gentes Africam solito acrius incursabant; Thracias diripiebant prædatorii globi Gotthorum; Persarum rex manus Armeniis injectabat

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

after the death of Theodosius the Great, the Goths, Sarmatians, Huns, Isaurians, and Austorian Moors invaded and miserably wasted Greece, Thrace, Asia Minor, Armenia, Syria, Egypt, Lybia, and Illyricum, for ten or twelve years together. The plague of the western wind at the sounding of the second trumpet, was to fall upon the sea, or western empire, by means of a great mountain burning with fire cast into it, and turning it to blood. Accordingly, in the year 407, that empire began to be invaded by the Visigoths, Vandals, Alans, Sueves, Burgundians, Ostrogoths, Heruli, Quadi, Gepides; and by these wars it was broken ininto ten kingdoms, and miserably wasted: and Rome itself, the burning mountain, was besieged and taken by the Ostrogoths, in the begining of these miseries. The plague of the southern wind at the sounding of the third trumpet, was to cause a great star, burning as it were a lamp, to fall from heaven upon the rivers and fountains of waters, (the western empire now divided into many kingdoms,) and to turn them to wormwood and blood, and make them bitter. Accordingly Genseric, the king of 297 the Vandals and Alans in Spain, A. D. 427, entered Africa with an army of eighty thousand men ; where he invaded the Moors, and made war upon the Romans, both there and on the sea coasts of Europe, for fifty years together, almost without intermission, taking Hippo a.d. 431, and Carthage, the capital of Africa, A.D. 439. In A.D. 455, with a numerous fleet and an army of three hundred thousand Vandals and Moors, he invaded Italy, took and plundered Rome, Naples, Capua, and many other cities, carrying thence their wealth, with the flower of the people into

:

Africa; and the next year, A.D. 456,
he rent all Africa from the empire,
totally expelling the Romans. Then
the Vandals invaded and took the
islands of the Mediterranean, (Sicily,
Sardinia, Corsica, Ebusus, Majorca,
Minorca, &c.) and Ricimer besieged
the emperor Anthemius in Rome, took
the city, and gave his soldiers the
plunder, A. D. 472. The Visigoths
about the same time drove the Ro-
mans out of Spain and now the
western emperor, the great star
which fell from heaven, burning as
it were a lamp, having by all these
wars gradually lost almost all his
dominions, was invaded and con-
quered in one year by Odoacer,
king of the Heruli, A.D. 476. After
this the Moors revolted A.D. 477,
and weakened the Vandals by several
wars, and took Mauritania from
them. These wars continued till 298
the Vandals were conquered by
Belisarius, A.D. 534, and by all
these wars Africa was almost de-
populated, according to Procopius,
who reckons that above five millions
of men perished in them. When
the Vandals first invaded Africa,
that country was very populous,
consisting of about 700 bishoprics,
(more than were in all France,
Spain, and Italy together;) but by
the wars between the Vandals, Ro-
mans and Moors, it was depopulated
to that degree, that Procopius tells
us, it was next to a miracle for a
traveller to see a man.

In pouring out the third vial it is
said:
Thou art righteous, O Lord,
-because thou hast judged thus:
for they have shed the blood of thy
saints and prophets; and thou hast
given them blood to drink, for they
are worthy." How they shed the
blood of saints, may be understood
by the edict* of the emperor Ho-
norius, procured by four bishops.

Oraculo penitus remoto,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* Impp. Honor, et Theod. AA. Heracliano Com. Afric.

M

sent to him by a council of African bishops who met at Carthage, June 299 14th, A. D. 410; which edict was five years afterwards fortified by another;* and these edicts being directed to the governor of Africa, extended only to the Africans. Before these there were many severe ones against the Donatists, but they did not extend to blood. These two were the first which made their meetings, and the meetings of all dissenters, capital: for by heretics in these edicts are meant all dis300 senters, as is manifest by anothert against Euresius a Luciferan bishop.

The Greek emperor Zeno adopted Theodoric king of the Ostrogoths to be his son, and made him master of the horse and Patricius, and consul of Constantinople; and recommending him to the Roman people and senate, gave him the western empire, and sent him into Italy against Odoacer king of the Heruli. Theoderic thereupon led his nation into Italy, conquered Odoacer, and reigned over Italy, Sicily, Rhætia, Noricum, Dalmatia, Liburnia, Istria, and part of Suevia, Pannonia, and Gallia. Whence Ennodius said, in a panegyric to Theoderic: "Ad limitem suum Romana regna remeâsse." Theoderic reigned with great prudence, moderation, and felicity; treated the Romans with singular benevolence, governed them by their

own laws, and restored their govern-
ment under their senate and con-
suls, he himself supplying the place

CC

of emperor without assuming the 301
title. Ita sibi parentibus præfuit,
(saith Procopius,) ut vere Impera-
tori conveniens decus nullum ipsi
abesset: justitiæ magnus ei cultus,
legumque diligens custodia: terras
a vicinis barbaris servavit intactas,'
&c. Whence I do not reckon the
reign of this king amongst the
plagues of the four winds.

C

The plague of the northern wind, at the sounding of the fourth trumpet, was to cause the sun, moon, and stars, that is, the king, kingdom and princes of the western empire, to be darkened, and to continue some time in darkness. Accordingly Belisarius, having conquered the Vandals, invaded Italy A. D. 535, and made war upon the Ostrogoths in Dalmatia, Liburnia, Venetia, Lombardy, Tuscany, and other regions northward from Rome, twenty years together. In this war many cities were taken and retaken. In retaking Milan from the Romans, the Ostrogoths slew all the males young and old, amounting, as Procopius reckons, to three hundred thousand, and sent the women captives to their allies the Burgundians. Rome itself was taken and retaken several times, and thereby the people were thinned; the old govern

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

quo ad ritos suos hæreticæ superstitionis obrepserant, sciant omnes sanctæ legis ini-
mici, plectendos se poena et proscriptionis et sanguinis, si ultra convenire per publicum,
execranda sceleris sui temeritate temptaverint. Dat. viii, Kal. Sept. Varano V. C.
Cons. A. D. 410.

*Impp. Honor. et Theod. AA. Heracliano Com. Afric. Sciant Cuncti qui ad ritus suos hæresis superstitionibus obrepserant sacrosanctæ legis inimici, plectendos se pœna et proscriptionis et sanguinis, si ultra convenire per publicum exercendi sceleris sui temeritate temptaverint: ne qua vera divinaque reverentia contagione temeretur. Dat. viii. Kal. Sept. Honorio x. & Theod. vi. AA. Coss. A. D. 415.

+ Impp. Arcad. et Honor. AA. Aureliano Proc. Africa. Hæreticorum vocabulo continentur, et latis adversus eos sanctionibus debent succumbere, qui vel levi argumento a judicio Catholicæ religionis et tramite detecti fuerint deviare: ideoque experientia tua Euresium hæreticum esse cognoscat. Dat. iii. Non. Sept. Constantinop. Olybrio et Probino Coss. A. D. 395.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ment by a Senate ceased, the nobles were ruined, and all the glory of the city was extinguished: and A. d. 302 552, after a war of seventeen

303

[ocr errors]

<<

years, the kingdom of the Ostrogoths fell; yet the remainder of the Ostrogoths, and an army of Germans called in to their assistance, continued the war three or four years longer. Then ensued the war of the Heruli, who, as Anastasius tells us, perimebant cunctam Italiam," slew all Italy. This was followed by the war of the Lombards, the fiercest of all the barbarians, which began a. D. 568, and lasted for thirty eight years together; facta tali clade, (saith Anastatius,) qualem a sæculo nullus meminit; ending at last in the papacy of Sabinian, A. D. 605, by a peace then made with the Lombards.*

<<

Thus by the plagues of the four winds the empire of the Greeks was shaken, and the empire of the Latins fell; and Rome remained nothing more than the capital of a poor dukedom, subordinate to Ravenna, the seat of the exarchs.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER IX. The fifth trumpet sounded to the wars, which the

[ocr errors]

* Three years before this war ended, Gregory the great, then Bishop of Rome, thus speaks of it: "Qualiter enim et quotidianis gladiis et quantis Longobardorum incursionibus, ecce jam per triginta quinque annorum longitudinem premimur, nullis explere vocibus suggestionis valemus :" and in one of his sermons to the people, he thus expresses the great consumption of the Romans by these wars: "Ex illa plebe innumera* bili quanti remanseritis aspicitis, et tamen adhuc quotidie flagella urgent, repentina casus opprimunt, novæ res et improvisa clades affligunt." In another Sermon he thus describes the desolations : "Destructæ urbes, eversa sunt castra, depopulati agri, in 'solitudinem terra redacta est. Nullus in agris incola, pene nullus in urbibus habita

[ocr errors]

king of the south, as he is called by Daniel, made in the time of the end, in pushing at the king who did ac- 304 cording to his will. This plague began with the opening of the bottomless pit, which denotes the letting out of a false religion: the smoke which came out of the pit, signifying the multitude which embraced that religion; and the locusts which came out of the smoke, the armies which came out of that multitude. This pit was opened to let out smoke and locusts into the regions of the four monarchies, or some of them. The king of these locusts was the angel of the bottomless pit, being chief governor as well in religious as civil affairs, such as was the caliph of the Saracens. Swarms of locusts often arise in Arabia Felix, and from thence infest the neighbouring nations; and so are a very fit type of the numerous armies of Arabians invading the Romans. They began to invade them A. D. 634, and to reign at Damascus A. D. 637. They built Bagdad A. D. 766, and reigned over Persia, Syria, Arabia, Egypt, Africa, and Spain. Spain. They afterwards lost Africa

(

tor remansit. Et tamen ipsæ parvæ generis humani reliquiæ adhuc quotidie et sine ' cessatione feriuntur, et finem non habent flagella coelestis justitiæ. Ipsa autem quæ aliquando mundi Domina esse videbatur, qualis remansit Roma conspicimus innume'ris doloribus multipliciter attrita, desolatione civium, impressione hostium, frequen' tia ruinarum.-Ecce jam de illa omnes hujus sæculi potentes ablati sunt.-Ecce popu'li defecerunt.-Ubi enim Senatus? Ubi jam populus? Contabuerunt ossa,

6

con

sumptæ sunt carnes. Omnis enim sæcularium dignitatum ordo extinctus est, et tamen ipsos nos paucos qui remansimus, adhuc quotidie gladii, adhuc quotidie innumeræ tribulationes premunt.-Vacua jam ardet Roma. Quid autem ista de hominibus dicimus? 'Cum ruinis crebrescentibus ipsa quoque destrui ædificia videmus. Postquam defecerunt homines etiam parietes cadunt. Jam ecce desolata, ecce contrita, ecce gemitibus All this was spoken by Gregory to the people of Rome, who were witnesses of the truth of it.

oppressa est, &c."

to Mahades, A. D. 910: Media, Hircania, Chorasan, and all Persia to the Dailamites, between the years 927 and 935; Mesopotamia and Miafarekin to Nasiruddaulas, a. D. 930; Syria and Egypt to Achsjid, a. D. 935; and now being in great distress, the caliph of Bagdad, A. D. 936, surrendered all the rest of his 305 temporal power to Mahomet the son

of Rajici, king of Wasit in Chaldea, and made him emperor of emperors. But Mahomet within two years lost Bagdad to the Turks, and thenceforward Bagdad was sometimes in the hands of the Turks, and sometimes in the hands of the Saracens, till Togrul-beig, (called also Togra, Dogrissa, Tangrolipix, and Sadoc,) conquered Chorasan and Persia; and A. D. 1055, added Bagdad to his empire, making it the seat thereof. His successors Olub-Arslan and Melechschah, conquered the regions. upon Euphrates; and these conquests, after the death of Melechschah, brake into the kingdom of Armenia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Cappadocia. The whole time that the caliphs of the Saracens reigned with a temporal dominion at Damascus and Bagdad together, was 300 years, viz. from the year 637 to the year 936 inclusive. Now locusts live but five months; and therefore, for the decorum of the type, these locusts are said to hurt men five months and five months, as if they had lived about five months at Damascus, and again about five months at Bagdad; in all ten months, or 300 prophetic days, which are years.

The sixth trumpet sounded to the wars, which Daniel's king of the north made against the king above mentioned, who did according to his will. 306 In these wars the king of the north, according to Daniel, conquered the empire of the Greeks, and also Judea, Egypt, Lybia, and Ethiopia: and

by these conquests the empire of the Turks was set up, as may be known by the extent thereof. These wars commenced A. D. 1258, when the four kingdoms of the Turks, seated upon the Euphrates, (that of Armenia major, seated at Miyapharekin, Megarkin, or Martyropolis; that of Mesopotamia, seated at Mosul; that of all Syria seated at Aleppo; and that of Cappadocia, seated at Iconium ;) were invaded by the Tartars under Hulacu, and driven into the western parts of Asia Minor, where they made war upon the Greeks, and began to erect the present empire of the Turks. Upon the sounding of the sixth trumpet, John heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the

CC

sixth angel which had the trumpet, ' loose the four angels which are bound ' at the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which

C

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

were prepared for an hour and a day, and a month and a year, for to slay the third part of men. By the four horns of the golden altar, is signified the situation of the head cities of the said four kingdoms, Miyapharekin, Mosul, Aleppo, and Iconium, which were in a quadrangle. They slew the third part of men when they conquered the 307 Greek empire, and took Constantinople, A. D. 1453, and they began to be prepared for this purpose, when Olub-Arslan began to conquer the nations upon Euphrates, a. D. 1063. The interval is called an hour and a day, and a month and a year, or 391 prophetic days, which are years. In the first thirty years Olub-Arslan and Melechschah conquered the nations upon Euphrates, and reigned over the whole. Melechschah died a. 1092, and was succeeded by a little child; and then this kingdom broke into the four kingdoms above mentioned.

D.

[ocr errors]

THE END.

Printed by Thomas Turvey, Retford, Nottinghamshire.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »