« AnteriorContinuar »
that in the reign of Gallienus the pestilence was so great that five thousand men died in one day. When the countries lie thus uncultivated, uninhabited, unfrequented, the wild beasts multiply, and come into the towns to devour men ; which is the fourth distinguishing calamity of this period. This would appear a probable consequence of the former calamities, if history had recorded nothing of it : but we read in history that (3) five hundred wolves together entered into a city, which was deserted by its inhabitants, and where the younger
Maximin chanced to be. It is well known, that the Heathens maliciously ascribed all public calamities to the Christians, and among them we find objected (4) the wars which they were obliged to wage with lions and wild beasts ; as we may collect from Arnobius, who wrote foon after this time. The color of the pale borse fuitable to the mortality of this period;
(9) Sola peftilentia, et mor (3) Lupi urbem quingenti bis, atque ægritudinibus notus fimul ingreffi funt, in quam se eorum principatus fuit. Eutrop. Maximinus contulerat quæ Lib. 9. Cap. 5.
deferta a civibus venienti Maxia (1) Hac fola pernicie insignes mino patuit. Julius Capitolin. Gallus etVolufianus. Oros. Hift. in Max. Jun. p. 150. ibid. Lib. 7. Cap. 21.
(4) Quando cum feris bella, (2) Peftilentia tanta exftiterat, et prælia cum leonibus gefta ut uno die quinque millia ho- sunt? Non ante nos ? Arnob. minum perirent. Trebell. Pol- adverf. Gentes. Lib. 1. p. 5 lio in Gall. p. 177. ibid. Edit. Lugd. Bat. 1651.
and the proclamation for death and destruction
9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were flain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.
10 And they cried with a loud voice,
II And white robes were given
for a little season, until their fellow-fervants also, and their brethren that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
The following seals have nothing extrinsecal, like the proclamation of the living creatures, to determin from what quarter we must expect their completion ; but they are sufficiently diftinguished by their internal marks and characters. The fifth seal or period is remarkable for a dreadful persecution of the Christians, who are repre
fented (ver. 9.) lying under the altar, (for the scene is still in the tabernacle or temple) as sacrifices newly flain and offered to God. They cry.. aloud (ver. 10.) for the Lord to judge and avenge their caufe ; that is, the cruelties exercised upon them were of so barbarous and atrocious a nature, as to deserve and provoke the vengeance of the Lord. White robes are given unto every one of them (ver. 11.) as a token of their justification and acceptance with God; and they are exhorted to rest for a season, till the number of the martyrs' be completed, when they shall receive their full reward, as we shall see 'hereafter. Where Mr. Lowman (5) observes very well, that “ this representation feems “ much to favor the immediate happiness of
departed faints, and hardly to consist with “that uncomfortable opinion, the insensible “ state of departed fouls, till after the resur“ rection." There were other persecutions before, but this was by far the most considerable, the tenth and last general persecution which was begun by Diocletian, and continued by others, and lasted longer, and extended farther, and was sharper and more bloody than any or all preceding; and therefore this was particularly
prea (5) See Lowman on the Rev. p. 51.
predicted. Eusebius and Lactantius, who were two eye-witnesses, have (6) written large accounts of it. Orofius (7) asserts, that this persecution was longer and more cruel than all the past; for it raged incessantly for ten years by burning the churches, proscribing the innocent, and saying the martyrs. Sulpicius Severus too (8) describes it as the most bitter persecution, which for ten years together depopulated the people of God; at which time all the world almost was stained with the sacred blood of the martyrs, and was never more exhausted by any wars. So that this became a memorable æra to the Christians, under the name of the æra of Diocletian, or as it is otherwise called the æra of martyrs.
12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as fackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs when me is snaken of a mighty wind :
(6) Eufeb. Ecclef. Hift.Lib.8. immanior fuit. Nam per decem çum supplemento. Lactantius de annos incendiis ecclesiarum, Mortibus Persecut. Cap. 7. &c. profcriptionibus innocentum,
(7) --que persecutio omnibus cædibus martyrum, inceffabiliter fere ante actis diuturnior atque acta eít. Oros. Hift. Lib. 7. Cap.
14 And the heaven departed as a scrole when it is rolled together : and every mountain and iland were moved out of their places :
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond-man, and every free-man bid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of him that fitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand ?
The sixth seal or period produceth mighty changes and revolutions, which according to the prophetic stile are expressed by great commotions in the earth and in the heavens. The very
same images, the very same expressions are employed by other prophets concerning the mutations and alterations of religions and go
25. p. 528. Edit. Havercamp. martyrum cruore orbis in fectus
(8) Acerbiffima persecutio, eft:--Nullis unquam magis belquæ per decem continuos annos lis mundus exhauftus eft. Sulp. plebem Dei depopulata eft; Sever. Hift. Sacr. Lib. 2. p. 99. qua tempestate omnis fere facro Edit. Elzevir 1656.