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Speaking of the sultan's attack of Constantinople, Mr. Gibbon observes: -" Among the implements of destruction, he studied, with peculiar care, the recent and tremendous discovery of the Latins; and his artillery surpassed whatever had yet appeared in the world."
The great cannon of Mahomet has been separately an important and visible object in the history of the times. But that enormous engine, which required, it is said, seventy yoke of oxen and two thousand men to draw it, was flanked by two fellows almost of equal magnitude : the long order of Turkish artillery was pointed against the wall; fourteen batteries thundered at once on the most accessible places; and of one of these it is ambiguously expressed, that it was mounted with a hundred and thirty guns, or that it discharged a hundred and thirty bullets,"" a circumstance that distinguishes the siege of Constantinople is the union of the ancient and modern artillery." "The fortifications were dismantled on all sides by the Ottoman cannon." "The Ottoman artillery thundered on all sides, and the camp and city, the Greeks and Turks, were involved in a cloud of smoke, which could only be dispelled by the final deliverance or destruction of the Roman empire."
In the explanation of the fifteenth verse," 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,"1 Sir Isaac Newton observes :- "They slew the third part of men when they conquered the Greek empire and took Constantinople, A. D. 1453; and
they began to be prepared for this purpose when OlubArslan 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 three hundred and ninety-one prophetic days, which are years. In the first thirty years, Olub-Arslan and Melech-Schah conquered the nations upon Euphrates, and reigned over the whole. Melech-Schah died A. D. 1092, and was succeeded by a little child, and then this kingdom broke into four kingdoms, Miyapharekin, Mosul, Aleppo, and Iconium."
The interpretation of Bishop Newton, which I believe to be the true one, is as follows: "The first conquest mentioned in history, of the Ottomans over the Christians, was in the year 1281: for Ortogrul, in that year, according to the accurate historian Saadi, crowned his victories with the conquest of the famous city of Kutahi from the Greeks. Compute three hundred and ninety-one years from that time, and they will terminate in the year 1672; and in that year Mohammed IV. took Carmeniac from the Poles, and forty-eight towns and villages in the territory of Carmeniac were delivered up to the sultan upon the treaty of peace. Whereupon Prince Cantemir has made this memorable reflection,
This was the last victory by which any advantage accrued to the Ottoman state, or any city or province was annexed to the ancient bounds of the empire.' Agreeably to this observation, he has entitled the former part of his history, Of the Growth of the Ottoman Empire,' and the following part, of the Decay of the Ottoman Empire.""
A very remarkable note of observation follows this prophecy of the Euphratean horsemen :
20. "And the rest of men which were not killed by these plagues, yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils,” or, "demons,"- "and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood; which neither see, nor hear, nor walk; neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their theft."
"How clear is it, from this note, that the great "falling away," connected in prophecy with the revealing of" the man of sin," * had already taken place; and had taken place in that part of the Christian world which had not been visited by the second woe; that is to say, in the western empire, or the Roman empire proper! And here many former prophecies have pointed out to us the seat of the great apostate power, that stands up as the last enemy to be destroyed at the brightness of the Saviour's coming: "Giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines concerning demons," or, " supposed intermediate beings between the throne of the Most High and his worshippers upon earth,"—is the very mark given us by St. Paul: and, in the passage before us, the Spirit of prophecy himself applies those ancient predictions to papal Europe: for the connexion of the prophetic narrative forbids us to apply it to any other country and people. What, indeed, was the fact when these judgments, of which the Turks were the instruments, were abroad in the earth? The state of Christendom was truly deplorable. The worship of saints and idols, and all the abominations of the apostate priesthood, were at their height, and many bloody persecutions had the
* 2 Thess.
advocates of idolatry instituted against the true worshippers of God. But these judgments produced no repentance nor reformation. Papal Europe was alarmed at the progress of the Turks: the progress of the Turks was, at one era, the common cry of danger. But the European nations of the Roman world repented not to say, " Is there not a lie in my right hand?" but drank deeper and deeper still from the cup of the fornications of the mystic Babylon.
The remaining part of the Revelation will show us, as we may naturally expect, something more about this "mystery of iniquity;" and how, in this western empire, -while the judgments of the fifth and sixth seals were finishing the doom of the south and of the east, — the "man of sin" and the "wicked one" were developed.
The little horn of Daniel's third beast-Mahometism -strong by its own power, the Arabian Saracens, and strong by a power not its own, the Turks, had " magnified himself against the Prince of the host, and had prevailed." In the intermediate time," THE APOSTASY" had attained its height in the west; and, in the divided fourth empire, had appeared the other " little horn," that would "wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws;" and who, by his blasphemies, was to bring on, or, at least, lead the way to, the final catastrophe of the Roman empire, - the last earthly enemy of Messiah and his people.
The seventh trumpet, containing the seven last vials of the wrath of God, will show us the destruction of this great apostate; but first, in several episodes or interludes, we are, by a variety of symbols, taught his nature and his general history.
The Second Interlude, or Prelude to the Seventh Trumpet. WHAT forms the tenth chapter will be found to be a prelude, or preface, to this most important part of the vision, which remains to be explained, containing the imagery which is to symbolize the last empire in its divided state, and to develop its history previously to the pouring forth of the last judgments, which are to bring it to its final destruction, and immediately prepare the way for the erection of the promised kingdom of the Messiah.
The descent of a mighty angel first arrests the attention of St. John:
"And I saw a mighty angel come down from heaven clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow was over his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire."
That this angel is a fresh emblem of the great Redeemer, is plain from the third verse of the following chapter. Nothing, indeed, can be more glorious or illustrative of divine majesty than his appearance. His countenance is like the sun shining in his strength; but he veils his brightness, too dazzling for human view, in a covering cloud. "The rainbow" over his head represents that, in the commission on which he comes, he remembers the everlasting covenant with his chosen people: the fiery feet, at the same time, denote that he comes to