Chapter 10 8.
THE CHAPTERS OF THIS VOLUME ARE NUMBERED ACCORDING TO THE NUMBERS OF THE CHAPTERS OF THE APOCALYPSE; SO THAT THE EIGHTH OF THIS WORK IS AN EXPOSITION OF THE EIGHTH OF THE APOCALYPSE, AND SO ON TO THE ELEVENTH INCLUSIVE. THE PREVIOUS VOLUME HAVING INTRODUCED THE SEVENTH SEAL, THIS VOLUME PROCEEDS TO EXPOUND THE SEAL PROPERLY. Subject First Section of the Seventh Seal This section comprehends the events resulting from the release of the Four Winds, held by the Four Angels standing at the Four Corners of the Earth -- Apoc. 7:1. When in operation, they were to blow injuriously upon the earth, the sea, and the trees, of Daniel's Fourth Beast-Dominion. They were what Gibbon styles "the threatening tempests of barbarians which subverted the foundations of Roman greatness." They were commissioned against the catholic empire of the west, and did not cease to blow until they had sorely plagued the Apostasy, and disrobed Old Rome of its glory and dominion. The Four Wind-powers angelized against Roman Europe are identical with the first four trumpets, which were sounded or blown against "the earth," the "trees," and "sea," which were not plagued to the subversion of their sovereignty until these trumpets had produced their full effect. Preparation For Sounding The seven angels, which John tells us in ch. 8:2, he saw standing before the Deity, and to whom were given seven trumpets, he further informs us, in the sixth verse, "prepared themselves to sound." Though they had been commissioned in the days of Constantine, they had also been forbidden to execute judgment until the sealing of the 144,000 was duly effected. Their preparing to sound was no part of their sounding. When the trumpets were given them they were quiescent, and quiescent they remained during the "voices, and thunders, and lightnings, and earthquake" of the reigns of Constantius and Julian; but, when the earthquake was over, and the Catholic Apostasy found unexpected deliverance in the military election of Jovian, a trinitarian catholic, nothing improved by the well merited castigation it had experienced, it progressed from bad to worse, until the forebearance of the Deity had attained the limit which, in His wise foreknowledge of all things, He had fixed, and beyond which He had predetermined that the blasphemous superstition should not continue unscathed by the fierceness of His devouring indignation. From the death of Julian, a.d. 363, to the death of Theodosius the Great, and the revolt of the Goths under Alaric, a.d. 395, a period of thirty-two years, was the period also of the preparation for sounding, which terminated in the Gothic blast of the First Wind-Trumpet. At the end of this preparation-period, the Catholic Imperiality was finally divided into Two Sovereignties, which answered to the Two Iron Legs of Nebuchadnezzar's Image -- the sovereignty of Constantinople under Arcadius, and the sovereignty of Rome under Honorius, both of them the worthless sons of the catholic tyrant, "Theodosius the Great." This preparation period of thirty-two years includes the reigns of Jovian, Valentinian and Valens, Gratian, and Theodosius -- of Jovian, who reigned about seven months; of Valentinian, who ruled twelve years; of Gratian, who, after reigning four years, associated Theodosius with himself in the purple; and of Theodosius, who reigned sixteen years, or till his decease, a.d. 395. The sounding of the seven angels was, and is (for they will not have ceased to sound until the reign of the saints shall have been established over all the apocalyptic earth), the execution of judgment upon the Laodicean Catholic Apostasy in its imperio-regal constitution. During this preparation-period it made rapid and gigantic progress in developing "the mystery of iniquity," "after the working of the Satan with all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, and with all deceivableness of the iniquity in them who are being destroyed." It rapidly filled up that measure of iniquity which rendered it no longer expedient to defer judgment -- to restrain the tempest of "hail and fire mingled with blood," which, as a devouring blast, should scorch and torment it unto death. It will, doubtless, be satisfactory to the reader unacquainted with the history of this period to receive some information respecting it. I shall, therefore, as briefly as is compatible with clearness, notice the state of the Catholic Apostasy in the thirty-two years of angelpreparation for the execution of judgment. 1. The Apostasy in the Preparation-Period The death of Julian left the Ancient Idolatry in possession of the empire, but without a champion. He had endeavored to thoroughly paganize the army but had succeeded only in making hypocrites of those who took any interest in religion. So long as he was the dispenser of the loaves and fishes of the state, the soldiery bowed the knee to Jupiter; but when the arrow of the Persian had given victory to "the Galilean," and the "pious Jovian" became the elect of the fickle host, whose affection had been gained by his comely person, cheerful temper, and familiar wit, the soldiers again displayed at the head of their legions the banner of the cross, the Labarum of Constantine, by which was announced to the people the superstition of their new emperor. The first monuments of peace were devoted by Jovian to the restoration of domestic tranquillity to the church and state. The "Christians," says Gibbon, "had forgotten the spirit of the gospel, and the pagans had imbibed the spirit of the church. In private families, the sentiments of nature were extinguished by the blind fury of zeal and revenge; the majesty of the laws was violated or abused; the cities of the east were stained with blood, and the most implacable enemies of the Romans were in the bosom of their country." As soon as Jovian was enthroned, he secured the legal establishment of the catholic superstition. The insidious edicts of Julian were abolished, and the immunities of the catholic apostasy were restored and enlarged, which gained for him, of course, the loud and sincere applause of its devotees. The episcopal leaders of their contending sects, convinced, by experience, how much their fate would depend on the earliest impressions made on the mind of an untutored soldier, hastened to the court at Antioch. "The highways of the east were crowded with Homoousian, and Arian, and Semi-Arian, and Eunomian bishops, who struggled to outstrip each other in the holy race for the prize of the imperial favor; the apartments of the palace resounded with their clamors, and the ears of Jovian were assailed, and perhaps astonished, by the Babel-mixture of metaphysics and passionate invectives. They discovered at length his admiration for 'the celestial virtues of the great Athanasius'," one of the most persistent ecclesiastics of which Jezebel could boast in that or any subsequent period of her career. By this discovery, Jovian was found to be possessed of the spirit of the times, and therefore in fellowship with the zeal and numbers of the most powerful sect of the Apostasy. Under his reign, Laodiceanism obtained an easy and lasting victory; and as soon as the sunshine of imperial patronage was withdrawn, the ancient idolatry, which had been cherished by the arts of Julian, sunk irrecoverably in the dust. Thus, as justly remarked by Themistius in his address to Jovian, "in the recent changes, both religions (Julian's and Constantine's) had been alternately disgraced by the seeming acquisition of worthless proselytes, of those votaries of the reigning purple, who could pass without a reason, and without a blush, from the church to the temple, and from the altars of Jupiter to the sacred table of the Christians." After Jovian's death, Valentinian was elected by the military to the absolute government of the Roman empire. In thirty days after his own election, he associated his brother Valens as his colleague in the emperorship. In June, a.d. 364, they divided the empire between them; Valentinian bestowing on his brother the rich praefecture of the Eastern Leg of the Babylonian Image, from the Lower Danube to the confines of Persia; whilst he reserved to himself the three praefectures of Illyricum, Italy, and Gaul, constituting the Western Leg, from the extremity of Greece to the Caledonian rampart, and from the rampart to the foot of Mount Atlas. This division being amicably arranged, preparation for the angel-trumpeters was advanced a stage. The Emperor of the West established his temporary residence at Milan; and the Emperor of the East returned to Constantinople, to assume the dominion of fifty provinces. ROMAN EMPIRE UNDER VALENTINIAN 364-75 Valentinian I, elected by the military to absolute government, elevated his brother Valens to co-ruler in the East. Under their joint rule, the borders of the Empire were extended to the Rhine frontier and Hadrian's Wall in Britain. Both these men were cruel, and not equally and similarly zealous for the traditions of the Apostasy. Valens was an Arian, and therefore a persecutor of the Athanasians. These hostile factions were more equally balanced in the East than in the Latin West, where the Arian party was but small. The Arian and Athanasian monks and bishops supported their arguments by invectives, and these were sometimes followed by blows. Athanasius reigned archbishop in Alexandria over the most ignorant and ferocious catholics of the empire. Constantinople and Antioch were occupied by his enemies, the Arians; and every episcopal vacancy was the occasion of a popular tumult, greatly to the disgust and contempt of philosophers and pagans. So great was the lust of power, that the leaders of both factions believed that, if they were not suffered to reign, they were most cruelly injured and oppressed. The western emperor Valentinian reigned over the countries in which the Sealing Angel was occupied in the work of sealing the servants of the Deity in the forehead. Though a man whose savage disposition was hardened against pity and remorse, he uniformly maintained a firm and temperate impartiality in an age of singular discord and contention among ecclesiastics. He declined with respectful indifference the subtle questions of their debates; and, while he remembered that he was a disciple of the church, he never forgot that he was lord and master of the clergy. The pagans, the Jews, and all the various sects which acknowledged the divine authority of Christ, were protected by the laws from arbitary power, or popular insult; nor did he prohibit any mode of worship, except those secret and criminal practices which abused the name of religion for the dark purposes of vice and disorder. He published an edict a.d. 370, addressed to Damasus, Bishop ofRome, restraining the avarice of the clergy. The things he forbid them to practice show in what they were especially guilty. He admonished the ecclesiastics and monks not to frequent the houses of widows and virgins; and menaced their disobedience with the animadversion of the civil authority. These were of that sort Paul predicted would "creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away by divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim 3:6). These reprobates installed themselves with these "silly women" as their spiritual directors. But Valentinian rightly discerned the corruptness of their purposes. He therefore forbid their visiting the houses, or receiving any gift, legacy, or inheritance, from the liberality of their spiritual daughters. He had to step in as the civil guardian of domestic happiness and virtue, against the assaults of clerical wolves in sheep's clothing, calling themselves christian pastors of Christ's flock!! By their professed contempt of the world, they insensibly acquired the most desirable advantages; the lively attachment, perhaps, of a young and beautiful woman, the delicate plenty of an opulent household, and the respectful homage of the slaves, the freedmen and clients of senatorial families. Under this spiritual direction, the immense fortunes of Roman ladies were gradually consumed in lavish arms and expensive pilgrimages; and the artful ecclesiastic, who had assigned himself the first, or possibly the sole, place in the testament of his spiritual daughter, still presumed to declare, with the smooth face of hypocrisy, that he was only the instrument of charity and the steward of the poor. The lucrative, but disgraceful trade which was exercised by the clergy to defraud the expectations of the natural heirs, had provoked the indignation of a superstitious age; and two of the most respectable of Latin spiritual directors, Jerome and Ambrose, honestly confess that the ignominious edict of Valentinian was just and necessary. What Gibbon styles "the splendid vices of the church of the Rome," in the reign of Valentinian, and under the spiritual direction of Damasus, its bishop, have been impartially stated by Ammianus, who says, "The praefecture of Juventius was accompanied with peace and plenty; but the tranquillity of his government was soon disturbed by a bloody sedition of the distracted people. The ardour of Damasus and Ursinus to seize the episcopal seat surpassed the ordinary measure of human ambition. They contended with the rage of party; the quarrel was maintained by the wounds and death of their followers; and the praefect, unable to resist or appease the tumult, was constrained, by superior violence, to retire into the suburbs. Damasus prevailed; the welldisputed victory remained on the side of his faction; one hundred and thirty-seven dead bodies were found in the Basilica of Sicininus, where the christians (!) hold their religious assemblies; and it was long before the angry minds of the people resumed their accustomed tranquility. When I consider the splendor of the capital, I am not astonished that so valuable a prize should inflame the desires of ambitious men, and produce the fiercest and most obstinate contest. The successful candidate is secure that he will be enriched by the offerings of matrons; that as soon as his dress is composed with becoming care and elegance, he may proceed, in his chariot, through the streets of Rome; and that the sumptuousness of the imperial table will not equal the profuse and delicate entertainments provided by the taste and at the expense of the Roman Pontiffs. How much more rationally (continues the honest pagan, more christian in spirit than "the christians") would these pontiffs consult their true happiness, if instead of alleging the greatness of the city as an excuse for their manners, they would imitate the exemplary life of some provincial bishops, whose temperance and sobriety, whose mean apparel and downcast looks, recommended their pure and modest virtue to the Deity and his true worshippers." When the tranquillity of the city was restored by the wisdom of the prefect Praetextatus, this polite and philosophic pagan, disguising a reproach in the form of a jest, remarked to the "right reverend bishop" Damasus, that if he could obtain the bishopric of Rome, he himself would immediately embrace the christian religion. This lively picture of the wealth and luxury of the bishops of Rome in the fourth century becomes the more curious as it represents the intermediate degree between the humble poverty of the Apostles, and the royal state of an Imperial Pontiff, whose temporal dominions once extended from the confines of Naples to the Po. On the death of Valentinian, a.d. 375, Gratian, his son, a youth of seventeen, and his brother, Valentinian II, then only four years old became emperors of the West, so that the government of the Roman world was now exercised in the united names of Valens and his two nephews. On the fall of Valens in the battle of Hadrianople, a.d. 378, Gratian appointed Theodosius his successor over the East. Gratian was a feeble and indolent character, piously credulous, and a mere tool in the hands of ecclesiastical hypocrites, who procured from him an edict to punish, as a capital offence, the violation, neglect, or even the ignorance, of what they were pleased to call the divine law. This would give them power to persecute and destroy "the servants of the Deity," then being impressed with his seal. The murder of Gratian did not improve the situation; for Theodosius, a name dear to the Apostasy, was pious and cruel, with strength and activity of mind. Among the benefactors of the catholic church, the fame of Constantine has been rivalled by the glory of Theodosius, who assumed the merit of subduing Arianism, and abolishing the worship of idols in the Roman world. Theodosius was the first of the emperors immersed in what the apostasy terms "the true faith of the Trinity." As he ascended from the water, "still glowing with the warm feelings of regeneration," he dictated a solemn edict which proclaimed his own opinions and prescribed the religion of his subjects. "It is our pleasure," said this sacramentally regenerated prince, "that all the nations, which are governed by our clemency and moderation, should stedfastly adhere to the religion which was taught by St. Peter to the Romans, which faithful tradition hath preserved, and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus (!) and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to the discipline of the Apostles and the doctrine of the gospel, let us believe the sole Deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, under an equal majesty, and a pious Trinity. We authorize the followers of this doctrine to assume the title of 'Catholic Christians'; and as we judge that all others are extravagant madmen, we brand them with the infamous name of Heretics, and declare that their conventicles shall no longer usurp the respectable appellations of churches. Besides the condemnation of divine justice, they must expect to suffer the severe penalties which our authority guided by heavenly wisdom, shall think proper to inflict upon them." This edict of Theodosius caused great joy to the catholics. He convened, a.d. 381, a council at Constantinople, of one hundred and fifty bishops, to complete the theological system which had been established in the council of Nice. They decreed the equal Deity of the Holy Ghost, which, upon their authority, has been received by all the deluded nations and all the churches of the Apostasy. But, whatever the merits of the question, the sober evidence of history will not allow much weight to the personal authority of these Theodosian fathers. In an age when the spirituals of the Apostasy were a scandalous degeneration from apostolic purity, the most worthless and corrupt were always the most eager to frequent, and disturb the episcopal assemblies. The conflict and fermentation of so many opposite interests and tempers inflamed the passions of the bishops; and their ruling passions were the love of gold and the love of dispute. Many of the same churchmen who now applauded the orthodox piety of Theodosius, had repeatedly changed, with prudent flexibility, their creeds and opinions; and in the various revolutions of the church and the state, the religion of their sovereign was the rule of their obsequious faith. The unjust and disorderly proceedings of these sycophants forced the gravest members of the council to dissent and secede; and the clamorous majority, which remained masters of the field, could be compared only to wasps or magpies, to a flight or cranes, or to a flock of geese. The decrees of the council of Constantinople had set up the standard of catholic opinion; and the spirituals who governed the beclouded conscience of Theodosius suggested the most effectual methods of persecution. In the space of fifteen years, he promulgated at least fifteen severe edicts against the heretics; and, to deprive them of every hope of escape, he sternly enacted that if any laws or rescripts should be alleged in their favour, the judges should consider them as illegal productions either of fraud or forgery. The penal statutes were directed against the ministers, the assemblies, and the persons of "the heretics"; and the passions of the legislator were expressed in the language of declamation and invective. Thus the theory of persecution was established by this regenerated trinitarian emperor, whose justice and piety have been applauded by the church"; but the practice of it, in the fullest extent, was reserved for his rival and colleague, Maximus, then reigning beyond the Alps, the first, among catholic princes, who shed the blood of his subjects on account of their religious opinions. These were Priscillian and six of his brethren, who were tortured, condemned, and executed at Treves. Their tenets being reported by their enemies, it is not possible to speak with certainty respecting them. Their rejection by the clergy and their adherents is a presumption in favor of their being sufferers for the truth. Their death was the subject of a long and vehement controversy, in which, though Martin, Bishop of Tours, and Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, proclaimed the eternal damnation of heretics, they both were surprised and shocked by the bloody image of their temporal death. Since the murder of Priscillian by the catholics, they have become scarlet with the blood of the saints, and drunk with the blood of the witnesses for Jesus (Apoc. 17:6); and their proceedings have been refined and methodized in the "Holy Office," which assigns their distinct parts to the ecclesiastical and secular powers. The victim to be murdered is regularly delivered by the sanguinary priest to the magistrate, and by the magistrate to the pious executioner; and the inexorable sentence of their Mother Jezebel, which declares her charge against the victim, is hypocritically expressed in the language of pity and intercession. Who need wonder at seven angels being commissioned to inflict vengeance upon such a communion of blood? How can wrath cease against men, so long as the earth is cursed with the presence of catholicism, and its kindred abominations? The divine indignation can only be appeased by their extirpation total and complete. After the death of Valentinian II, and the overthrow of Maximus, the Roman world was in the undivided possession of Theodosius; and thus it continued till his death, a.d. 395, when the separation of the East and the West became final under his sons Arcadius and Honorius. About sixty years after Constantine's conversion to catholicism, the ancient form of heathenism was completely superseded by catholic polytheism; and the temples of the gods were replaced by the Bazaars of Guardian Saints and Angels (Dan. 11:38-39), in which Theodosius, and his sacramentally regenerated coreligionists, convened under the spiritual direction of reprobate bishops and presbyters, for the degrading adoration of dead men's bones, and other relics they were taught to venerate as sacred. A pagan, treating of this change in the form Of Rome's polytheism, says: "The monks" (a race of filthy animals, to whom he is tempted to refuse the name of men) "are the authors of the new worship, which, in the place of those deities who are conceived by the understanding, has substituted the meanest and most contemptible Slaves, The heads, salted and pickled, of those infamous malefactors who, for the multitude of their crimes. have suffered a just and ignominious death; their bodies, still marked by the impression of the lash, and the scars of those tortures which were inflicted by the sentence of the magistrates; such are the gods which the earth produces in our days; such are the martyrs, the supreme arbitrators of our prayers and petitions to the Deity, whose tombs are now consecrated as the objects of the veneration of the people." This writer was the spectator of a revolution which raised a multitude of fabulous saints and victims to the rank of mahuzzim, of celestial and invincible protectors of the Roman empire! He might well be indignant at the worse than pagan abomination. Fifty years after the building of Constantinople, the pretended remains of Samuel, the prophet of Israel, were transported to that city. His ashes, deposited in a golden vase, and covered with a silken veil, were delivered by the episcopal mountebanks into each other's hands. These fabulous relics were received by the infatuated catholic multitude with infinitely more demonstrations of joy and reverence than they would have shown to the real prophet; the highways, from Palestine to the gates of Constantinople, were filled with an uninterrupted procession; and the emperor Arcadius, at the head of the most illustriously betitled members of the clergy and senate, advanced to meet this extraordinary and fictitious guest! The example of Rome and Constantinople confirmed the superstition, blasphemy and discipline of the catholic world. The honors of fictitious saints and martyrs, after an ineffectual protest of the sealed servants of the Deity, were universally established; and in the age of those conspicuous theological empirics, Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine, something was still deemed wanting to the sanctity of a catholic bazaar, till it had been consecrated by some portion of "holy relics," which fixed and inflamed the devotion of the deluded multitude. The Catholic Apostasy by the end of the preparation period for angelic sounding had become a system of organized and established idolatry -- of the worship of gods produced from the earth by the clerical officials of Satan's kingdom. Perceiving how profitable were the socalled relics of saints, more valuable to church-knaves than gold and precious stones, the clergy were as stimulated to multiply these treasures of 'the church." Without regard for truth or probability they invented names for skeletons, and actions for names. The fame of the apostles and prophets, and their holy brethren, was darkened by superstitious fraud and falsehood. To the invincible band of real saints, whose blood from beneath the Altar cried for vengeance against their pagan murderers, the Theodosian craftsmen added myriads of imaginary heroes, who had never existed except in the fancy of "daemons speaking lies in hypocrisy; and having their conscience seared as with a hot iron," of whom Ambrose, bishop of Milan, his pupil "St. Augustin," and "St. Jerome," were notable examples: "and there is reason to suspect," says Gibbon, "that Tours might not be the only diocese in which the bones of a malefactor were adored instead of those of a saint. A superstitious practice, which tended to increase the temptations of fraud and credulity, insensibly extinguished the light of history and of reason in," what he incorrectly terms, "the christian world." But the progress of catholic idolatry would have been much less rapid and victorious, if the superstition of the people had not been assisted by the seasonable aid of what Paul styles, "signs and wonders of falsehood;" that is, of pretended visions and spurious miracles, to ascertain the authenticity and virtue of the most suspicious relics. When Ambrose refused to obey the sentence of banishment decreed against him by the Arian government of Valentinian II., and while he and his party were blockaded in the cathedral of Milan, he falsely declared that he was instructed by a dream, to open the earth in a place where the relics or remains of two martyrs, Gervasius and Protasius, had been deposited above three hundred years. Immediately under the churchpavement two perfect skeletons were found, with the heads separated from their bodies, and a plentiful effusion of blood. These "holy relics" were presented, in solemn pomp, to the veneration of his credulous flock. The knavish designs of Ambrose were admirably promoted by this pretended discovery. Their bones, blood, and garments, were supposed to contain a healing power; and their praeternatural influence was said to be communicated to the most distant objects, without losing any part of its original virtue. The alleged extraordinary cure of a blind man by touching the garment, and the reluctant confessions of several daemoniacs, were adduced to justify the Athanasian opinions and sanctity of this rebel churchman! The truth of these miracles is attested by Saint Ambrose himself, and by his proselyte, the celebrated Saint Augustin, who, at that time professed the art of rhetoric in Milan. The Arian court very properly rejected the testimony of such interested parties; and derided the theatrically represented cures, exhibited by the contrivance and at the expense of the archbishop. The effect, however, upon the irrational and strongly deluded multitude was rapid and irresistible; and the feeble sovereign of Italy found himself unable to contend with such a favorite of heaven! The same "grave and learned Augustin," afterwards bishop of Hippo in the Roman Africa, attests the innumerable prodigies performed there by the relics of Stephen, stoned in the presence of Saul of Tarsus. These were brought to light by a dream, thrice repeated to one Lucian, a presbyter, residing twenty miles from Jerusalem. When they wore unearthed, the ground trembled, and an odour, such as that of paradise, was smelt, which instantly cured the various diseases of seventy-three of the grave-openers. The relics were transported, in solemn procession, to a house of the dead, called "a church" by the ignorant multitude, constructed in their honor on Mount Zion; and the minute particles of those relics, a drop of blood, or the scrapings of a bone, were acknowledged, in almost every province of the catholic world, to possess a divine and miraculous virtue. This "wonder of falsehood" is inserted in his elaborate work, "The City of God," which Augustin designed as a solid and immortal proof of the truth of what he called christianity. He solemnly enumerates above seventy miracles, performed by Stephen's relics, of which three were resurrections from the dead, in the space of two years, and within the limits of his own diocese! "If we enlarge our views to all the dioceses, and all the saints, of the 'christian' world", says Gibbon, truly, "it will not be easy to calculate the fables, and the errors, which issued from this inexhaustible source. But we may surely be allowed to observe, that a miracle in that age of credulity and superstition, lost its name and its merit, since it could scarcely be considered as a deviation from the ordinary, and established, laws of nature." The innumerable "wonders of falsehood," of which the tombs were the perpetual theatre, impressed the infatuated crowd with a notion of the state and constitution of the invisible world, which became the basis of the system of idol-worship, which darkens the kingdom of the clergy to this day. Whatever might be the condition of the common herd between death and resurrection of body, it was fancifully supposed that the disembodied ghosts of so-called saints and martyrs did not consume that interval in silent and inglorious sleep. It was imagined (without presuming to determine the place of their habitation, or the nature of their felicity) that they employed the lively and active consciousness of their happiness, their virtue, and their powers; and that they had already secured the possession of their eternal reward. The supposed enlargement of their intellectual faculties surpassed the measure of human conception; since they imagined that they had proved by experience, that they were capable of hearing and understanding the various petitions of their numerous votaries, who, in the same moment of time, but in the most distant parts of the world, invoked the name and assistance of Stephen or of Martin. The confidence of their petitioners was founded on the heathen dogma of inherent immortality; and the supposition, that the disembodied immortal souls of saints go to Christ at death, and as unclothed and naked ghosts are reigning with him, and in this their glory cast an eye of pity upon earth; their worshippers are strongly deluded with the notion that these naked souls are warmly interested in the prosperity of the church; and that the individuals, who imitated the fabled example of their faith and piety, were the peculiar and favourite objects of their most tender regard. Sometimes, indeed, it was thought that their friendship might be influenced by considerations of a less exalted kind; that they viewed, with partial affection, the places which had been consecrated by their birth, their residence, their death, their burial, or the possession of their relics. They were regarded as not exempt from pride, avarice, and revenge; hence they were supposed to approve with gratitude the liberality of their votaries; and to hurl the keenest bolts of punishment against the impious wretches, who violated their magnificent shrines, or disbelieved their supernatural power. Severus, bishop of Minorca, says that the relics of St. Stephen in eight days, converted in that island five hundred and forty Jews; but, it must not be forgotten, that they were aided by some potent severities, such as burning the synagogue, driving the obstinate infidels to starve among the rocks, and so forth. The immediate, and almost instantaneous, effects, that were supposed to follow the prayer, or the offence, satisfied the deluded fanatics of the ample measure of favor and authority enjoyed by Immortal Ghosts in the presence of the Supreme; and it seemed superfluous to inquire, whether they were continually obliged to intercede before the throne of grace, or whether they might not be permitted to exercise, according to the dictates of their benevolence and justice, the delegated powers of a subordinate ministry. The imagination, which had been raised by a powerful effort to the contemplation and worship of Eternal Spirit, eagerly embraced such inferior objects of adoration as were more in keeping with its gross conceptions and imperfect faculties. The simplicity which is in Christ, or, as Gibbon styles it, "the sublime and simple theology of the primitive christians," was not only corrupted, but practically and doctrinally abolished; and the Monarchy of Heaven, already clouded by metaphysical subtleties, was dethroned by the introduction of a popular mythology, which restored the reign of a multitude of gods, which became the Mahuzzim, or ghost-protectors, of the "Religious World." Having thus substituted for the old gods of Greece and Rome, the phantasmata of their corrupt imaginations, which they decorated with the names of real and fictitious saints and angels, they next proceeded to institute the rites and ceremonies, or will-worship, with which they deemed that their new deities ought to be satisfied. These were such as seemed most powerfully to affect the senses of the vulgar herd. If, in the beginning of the fifth century, Paul or Luke, had been raised from the dead, to witness the festival of some popular saint, or martyr, they would have gazed with astonishment and indignation on the profane spectacle, which had superseded the pure and spiritual worship of a christadelphian ecclesia. As soon as the doors of the Saint-Bazaar, or "church," were thrown open, they would have been annoyed by the smoke of incense, the perfume of flowers, and the glare of lamps and tapers, which diffused at noonday a gaudy, superfluous, and in their judgment sacrilegious light. If they approached the balustrade of the Saint-altar, they would have made their way through a prostrate crowd, consisting for the most part of strangers and pilgrims, who resorted to the city on the vigil of the feast, and who already felt the "strong delusion," or intoxication, of fanaticism, and perhaps of wine. Their devout kisses were imprinted on the walls and pavement of the IdolBazaar; and their fervent "vain repetitions" were directed, whatever might be the expletives of their conscience keepers, the priests, to the bones, the blood, or the dust, of the tutelar of the bazaar, which were usually concealed by a linen or silken veil, from the eyes of the vulgar. The fanatics frequented the tombs of their ghost-deities, in the hope of obtaining, from their supposed powerful intercession, every sort of spiritual, but more especially of temporal, blessings. They implored the preservation of their health, or the care of their infirmities; the fruitfulness of their barren wives, or the safety and happiness of their children. Whenever they undertook any distant or dangerous journey, they requested that "the holy martyrs" would be their guides and protectors, or Mahuzzim, on the roads; and if they returned without having experienced any mistortune, they again hastened to the ghostbazaar tombs, to celebrate, with grateful thanksgivings, their obligations to the memory and relics of their invisible patrons. The walls were hung round with symbols of the favors they supposed they had received; eyes, and hands, and feet, of gold and silver; and memorial pictures, which also soon became objects of idolatry, represented the image, the attributes, and the miracles of the tutelar phantasma. All this new system of idolatry was the invention of that spirit of superstition that reigned incarnate in the presbyters and bishops of the church who imitated the polytheism and ritual they were impatient to destroy. They had persuaded themselves, that the ignorant rustics would more cheerfully renounce the superstition of paganism, if they found some resemblance, some compensation, in the bosom of their catholicism. This religion of Constantine achieved, in less than a hundred years, the final conquest of the old idolatry in all the Roman empire; but the catholic victors themselves were completely subdued by the heathen arts of their vanquished rivals. 2. Preparation-Judgments Upon Ghost-Worshippers Could it have been possible for "seducing spirits," or demons, who had departed from the faith, and speaking lies in hypocrisy, to have invented and set up such a system of abomination in the fourth century, and in the name of christianity, and the Deity not have poured out of His wrath upon the deceivers and the deceived? The whole Roman Catholic world had gone wondering after the New Idolatry, against which none opposed a scriptural testimony but the Sealing Angel, or those engaged in the work of scaling the servants of their Deity with His seal, in their foreheads. A presbyter or elder, among these took up his pen to oppose it. His book was directed against the institution of monkery, the celibacy of the clergy, praying for the dead, and to martyrs, celebrating their vigils, and lighting up candles to them after the manner of the heathen. Jerome, who is esteemed a saint and luminary of the catholic church, and who was a zealous advocate of all these popular superstitious rites, undertook the task of refuting him, whom he styled "a most blasphemous heretic," and "the organ of the Devil." An individual denounced after this fashion by a monk, or a clergyman, must have been one of the excellent of the earth; for it is only such who are obnoxious to their reproach. The following extract from Saint Jerome's answer to his book, will satisfactorily explain the heresy of Vigilantius, for that is his name, who has still the honor of being enrolled in the list of those who are anathematized as heretics by the Mother of Harlots, whose citadel is Rome. "That the honor paid to the rotten bones of saints and martyrs," says Jerome, "by adoring, kissing, wrapping them up in silk and vessels of gold, lodging them in their churches, and lighting up wax candles before them after the manner of the heathen were the ensigns of idolatry -- that the celibacy of the clergy was a heresy, and their vows of chastity the seminary of lewdness -- that to pray to the dead, was superstitious, inasmuch as the souls of departed saints and martyrs were at present in some particular place from which they could not remove themselves at pleasure, so as to be everywhere present attending to the prayers of their votaries -- that the sepulchres of the martyrs ought not to be worshipped, nor their fasts and vigils to be observed -- and finally, that the signs and wonders said to be wrought by their relics, and at their sepulchres, served to no good end or purpose of religion." These were the sacrilegious tenets, as they are termed by the fanatical and superstitious Jerome, which he could not hear with patience, or without the utmost grief, and for which he declares Vigilantius a detestable heretic, venting his foulmouthed blasphemies against the relics of the martyrs, which were working daily signs and wonders. He tells him to "go into the churches of those martyrs, and he would be cleansed from the evil spirit which possessed him, and feel himself burnt, not with those wax candles which so much offend him, but with invisible flames, which would force that demon that talked within him to confess himself to be the same who had personated a Mercury, perhaps, or a Bacchus, or some other of the heathen deities." Such is the style in which this renowned father of the church rants and raves through several pages against the sealed servants of the Deity, who, in the days of the sealing, protested with Vigilantius against these delusions which had then become so strong. As it may gratify the reader's curiosity, the following specimen of Jerome's absurd manner of refuting their testimony, is presented: "If it were such a sacrilege or impiety," says he, "to pay these honors to the relics of saints, as Vigilantius contends, then the Emperor Constantius must needs be a sacrilegious person, who translated the holy relics of St. Andrew, Luke, and Timothy to Constantinople; then Arcadius Augustus, also, must be held sacrilegious, who translated the bones of the blessed Samuel from Judea, where they had lain so many ages, into Thrace; then all the bishops were not only sacrilegious, but stupid too, who submitted to carry a thing the most contemptible, and nothing but mere dust, in silk and vessels of gold; and lastly, the people of all the churches must needs be fools, who went out to meet those holy relics, and received them with as much joy as if they had been the prophet himself, living and present among them; for the procession was attended with swarms of people from Palestine, even into Chalcedon, singing with one voice the praises of Christ, who were yet adoring Samuel perhaps, and not Christ, whose prophet and Levite Samuel was. What a development in this extract from Jerome, one of the greatest luminaries of the Apostasy in that age, of the darkness and superstition that overspread the Catholic World, and that in less than a hundred years after the Catholic superstition was established by law! The sentiments of Jerome were a sample of the opinions of Ambrose, Augustin, and the clergy at large; how deplorable then must have been the state of their flocks! Jerome's defence of their stupid sacrilege against which the 144,000 lifted up their united voice, and which found a record in the writings of Vigilantius, is childish and ridiculous. The thing cannot be gainsaid, that to worship a bone, or a tooth, or the dust of a dead man, however excellent his character may have been, is idolatrous impiety of the basest, and most degrading kind. None would attempt to gainsay this but the clergy, who hold Jerome and his fraternity in admiration. There can be no doubt, therefore, that the emperors aforesaid were sacrilegious, the bishops both sacrilegious and stupid, and the people fools; and because of the intense disgust with which the Lamb contemplated their adulterous prostitution of his name to their gross and lying vanities, He caused the Seven Angels to prepare to sound; and in the preparation to execute upon them the calamities I shall now briefly recite. "As soon as," says Gibbon, "the death of Julian had relieved the barbarians from the terror of his name, the most sanguine hopes of rapine and conquest excited the nations of the east, of the north, and of the south." The chiefs of the Allemanni being offended, crossed the Rhine, a.d. 365, and before Valentinian could cross the Alps, the villages of the ghost-worshippers of Gaul were in flames; and before his general could encounter them, they had secured the captives and spoil in the forests of Germany. In the beginning of the ensuing year, the military force of the whole nation, in deep and solid columns, broke through the barrier of the Rhine, during the severity of a northern winter. This irruption having been repelled, Mentz, the principal city of the Upper Germany, was unexpectedly attacked a.d. 368, while the relic-worshippers were celebrating one of their festivals. Rando, a bold and artful leader, suddenly passed the Rhine, entered the defenceless town, and retired with a multitude of captive idolators of either sex. Valentinian soon after followed them with a powerful force, and giving them a signal overthrow, recrossed the Rhine, and wintered at Treves. As his ambition was not to conquer Germany, he wisely confined his attention to the important and laborious defence of the Gallic frontier, against an enemy whose strength was renewed by a stream of daring volunteers, which incessantly flowed from the most distant tribes of the north. This influx from distant regions to the frontiers of the catholic world, was a very important and essential element of the preparation for sounding. About the middle of the fourth century the Burgundians, a warlike and numerous people of the Vandal race, occupied the countries on either side of the Elbe, insensibly swelled into a powerful kingdom, and finally settled in the clays of the sounding on a flourishing province of the catholic empire. Three small islands toward the mouth of the Elbe, comprehended in the duchy of Sleswig-Holstein, were occupied by the Saxons. These were a gate, as it were, through which poured forth upon the sea and maritime parts of the doomed empire, inexhaustible swarms of barbarians, who descended from the gloomy solitudes of their woods and mountains; and as a military confederation gradually moulded into a national body, under the name and laws of the Saxons, sallied forth upon the ocean in quest of plunder. In this preparatory enterprize they acquired an accurate knowledge of the maritime provinces of me West, after which they extended the scene of their depredations, so that the most sequestered places had no reason to presume on their security. In the preparation for sounding, a.d. 371, under the reign of Valentinian, the maritime provinces of Gaul were afflicted by the Saxons. They landed from their frail coasters, and spread desolation among the relic-worshippers with fire and sword. They were at length repelled, however, as the time of their permanent settlement under the sounding of the angels had not yet arrived. From the reign of Constantine to a.d. 366, that is to say, during an interval of thirty years, there had been peace between the Catholic Empire and the Goths. During this period these barbarians under Hermanric, the king of the Ostrogoths, extended their dominions from the Danube to the Baltic, including the greater part of Germany and Scythia. The name of Hermanric is almost buried in oblivion, his exploits are imperfectly known; and the Roman and Greek worshippers of the dead themselves appeared unconscious of the progress of an aspiring power, which threatened the liberty of the north, and the peace of their dominion. Civil war between Procopius an usurper, and Valens, a.d. 366 became the occasion of the Goths crossing the Danube to foment, as the allies of Procopius, the civil discord of the catholics of the East. The suppression of the usurpation by Valens, left him free to carry on the war against the Goths alone. "But," says Gibbon, "the events scarcely deserve the attention of posterity, except as the preliminary steps," or preparation, "of the approaching decline and fall of the empire." The war, which had inflicted much evil on both sides, terminated a.d. 369; after which the Goths remained tranquil about six years; till they were violently impelled against the Catholic empire by an innumerable host of Scythians, who appeared to issue from the frozen regions of the north. This period of preparation which opened the way, under the sounding of the four wind trumpets to the inroads of so many hostile and savage tribes from the Danube to the Atlantic, was also signalized by terrible and wholesale destruction of catholic idolators by earthquakes, a.d. 365. On the twenty-first of July, the greatest part of their empire was shaken by a violent and destructive convulsion of the earth. The shores of the Mediterranean were left dry by the sudden retreat of the sea, and valleys and mountains were laid bare, which had never since the Mosaic Era of the globe been exposed to the sun. But the waters soon returned with the weight of an immense and irresistible deluge, which was severely felt on the coasts of Sicily, of Dalmatia, of Greece, and of Egypt; large boats were transported, and lodged on the roofs of houses, or at the distance of two miles from the shore; the ghost-worshippers, with their habitations, were swept away by the waters; and the city of Alexandria, the origenic birthplace, and alternate throne of Homoousianism and Homoiousianism, annually commemorated the fatal day, on which fifty thousand Trinitarians and Arians lost their factious and blasphemous lives in the inundation. This calamity astonished and terrified the subjects of Rome, who rightly considered these alarming strokes as the prelude only of still more dreadful calamities, which would ultimate in the submersion of the fabric of their world. From the reign of Valens was a most disastrous period for the Laodicean Apostasy. "The fall of the Roman empire," says Gibbon, "may be justly dated from the reign of Valens." In this period of disaster, the happiness and security of each individual were personally attacked; and the arts and labors of ages were rudely defaced by the barbarians of Scythia and Germany. The invasion of the Huns from the rear and remoter countries of the north, a.d. 376, precipitated on the provinces of the west the Gothic nation, which advanced in less than forty years, from the Danube to the Atlantic, and opened a way by the success of their arms, to the inroads of so many hostile tribes more savage than themselves. The original principle of motion was concealed in the remote countries of the north, whence these destructive emigrations issued. In the year 375, Valens, then resident at Antioch, was informed by his officers who were intrusted with the defence of the Danube, that the north was agitated by a furious tempest, that the irruption of the Huns, an unknown and monstrous race of savages, had subverted the power of the Goths; and that the suppliant multitudes of that warlike nation, whose pride was now humbled in the dust, covered a space of many miles along the banks of the river. They earnestly sought permission to cross the Danube, and to settle on the waste lands of Thrace, promising perpetual obedience to the laws, and to defend the limits of the empire. The prayers of the Goths were most imprudently granted, on condition of delivering up their arms, and their children to be dispersed through the provinces of Asia, as hostages to secure the fidelity of their parents. Upon these ignominous conditions the whole body of the Gothic nation was transported across the Danube, by the most strenuous diligence of the infatuated officials, who were careful that not a single barbarian of those who were reserved to subvert the foundations of Rome, should be left upon the opposite shore. The stipulation, however, most offensive to the Goths, and the most important to the Romans, was shamefully eluded by bribery and corruption. The catholic officials allowed them to retain their arms in exchange for the prostitution of their wives and daughters, and contributions of cattle and slaves. When the transportation was finished, and their strength collected on the southern side of the Danube, an immense camp of two hundred thousand Visigothic warriors in arms, was spread over the plains and hills of the Lower Maesia, and assumed a threatening and even a hostile aspect. The leaders of the Ostrogoths, Alatheus and Saphrax, pressed also by the Huns in their rear, sought the like favor that had been granted to the Visigoths. But this was absolutely refused by Valens, whose suspicions and fears were now thoroughly aroused. His generals, however, whose attention was solely directed to the Visigoths whose discontent and hostility they had excited by their tyranny and avarice, had imprudently disarmed the ships and fortifications which constituted the defence of the Danube. The fatal oversight was observed, and improved by Alatheus and Saphrax, who anxiously watched the favorable moment of escaping from the pursuit of the Huns. By the help of such rafts and vessels as could be hastily procured, the leaders of the Ostrogoths transported, without opposition, their king and their army; and boldly fixed a hostile and independent camp on the territories of the empire. A secret union having been formed between these Gothic powers, they were prepared for a desperate conflict with the catholics who had treated them with great inhumanity and treachery. The flames of discord and mutual hatred soon burst forth into a dreadful conflagration. At Marcianopolis, the capital of the Lower Maesia, about seventy miles from the banks of the Danube, they sought to purchase supplies in the plentiful markets of the city. They were refused, however, with insolence and derision; and as their patience was now exhausted, passionate altercations and angry reproaches ensued. A blow was imprudently given; a sword was hastily drawn; and the first blood that was spilt in this accidental quarrel, became the signal of a long and destructive war. Valens removed from Antioch to Constantinople to be nearer the seat of war. He was received as the author of the public calamity and provoked to desperate rashness by the vain reproaches of an ignorant multitude, whose contempt he had not firmness to resist; he hastened the downfall of the Roman empire, and the termination of his own inglorious career, by the terrible defeat of Hadrianople, a.d. 378, in which two thirds of the catholic army of 82,000 horse and foot were destroyed. The pride of the Goths, who had been joined by their former enemies the Huns, Alani, and other tribes, was elated by this memorable victory. The scene of war and tumult was instantly converted into a silent solitude, and abandoned for other fields. The Gothic inundation rolled from the walls of Hadrianople to the suburbs of Constantinople. Laden with the spoils of these, and the adjacent territory, they slowly moved from the Bosphorus to the mountains which form the western boundary of Thrace; and securing the important pass of Succi, the Goths who had no longer any resistance to apprehend from the scattered and vanquished troops of the East, spread themselves over the face of a fertile and cultivated country, as far as the confines of Italy, and the Hadriatic sea. Jerome, a saint of the Apostasy, vehemently deplores the calamities inflicted by the Goths and their allies in the provinces of the catholic empire -- the rapes, the massacres, the conflagrations, and, above all, the profanation of the "churches," that were turned into stables, and the contemptuous treatment of the pretended relics of fictitious saints, rubbish regarded by him as worshipful and holy. The triumph of the Goths extended far beyond the limits of a single day. One of their chiefs was heard to declare, with insolent moderation, that, for his own part, he was fatigued with slaughter; but that he was astonished how a people who fled before him like a flock of sheep could still presume to dispute the possession of their treasures and provinces. The formidable name of the Goths spread terror among the subjects and soldiers of the catholic dominion, who, if they had been hastily collected, and led by Theodosius, the successor of Valens, would have been vanquished by their own fears. But this more fortunate emperor, through the superior vigor of his mind, effected the deliverance and peace of the provinces by prudence rather than valor, which was seconded by favorable circumstances, which he did not fail to seize upon and improve. By the death of Fritigern, their heroic leader, and the predecessor and master of the renowned Alaric, the Gothic confederacy was broken into many disorderly bands of ferocious robbers, who destroyed every object which they wanted strength to remove or taste to enjoy, and they often consumed with improvident rage, the harvests or the granaries which soon after became necessary for their own subsistence. At length, a very considerable part, who already felt the inconvenience of anarchy, acknowledged Athanaric for their king, who, instead of leading them to battle, entered into treaty with Theodosius, a.d. 382, which resulted in the final capitulation of the Goths. By this treaty, a numerous colony of Visigoths was settled in Thrace, and the remains of the Ostrogoths in Phrygia and Lydia, as the allies of the Roman State. Prudence and necessity extorted the concessions and privileges of this treaty from Theodosius, who, nevertheless, had the address to persuade them that they were the voluntary expressions of his sincere friendship for the Gothic nation. It was apparent, however, to every discerning eye, that the Goths would long remain the enemies and might soon become the conquerors of the catholic empire. It was generally believed that they had signed the treaty of peace with a hostile and insidious spirit, and that their chiefs had previously bound themselves by a solemn and secret oath, never to keep faith with the Romans; to maintain the fairest show of loyalty and friendship, and to watch the favorable moment of rapine, of conquest, and of revenge. But the renewed outburst of the Gothic tempest was restrained by the firmness and moderation of Theodosius; so that the public safety seemed to depend on the life and abilities of a single man. Such, then, is the historical illustration of "this unhappy period," as Gibbon styles it, in which the Lamb was gathering his hosts and bringing them into position on the four corners of the earth, that they might be prepared to subvert the western empire of Rome when the sealing of the 144,000 should have sufficiently advanced. His hosts were in position, the battle was arrayed, and nothing remained but that the trumpet should sound "its harsh and mournful music" for the dreadful combat to begin, that was to hurl fire and blood and bitterness into the highways and fastnesses of catholic superstition and crime. Sounding of the Trumpets All things being prepared -- the iniquity of the catholic apostasy being matured, the executioners of judgment upon it being ready, and the 144,000 to be taken from it duly sealed -- there was no longer any reason for holding back the tempests that were appointed to blast "the earth," "the sea," and "the trees," of the section of the catholic dominion doomed to judicial overthrow. We proceed, then, to consider them in the order of the release, which was successive and not contemporary; that is, the winds did not rush forth against all "the four corners of the earth" at the same instant, which would have been to make the winds blow against each other instead of against the earth and sea. In ch. 7:1, 2, we are not informed as to the order and effects of the blowing of the winds. It is not said whether the blowing was consecutive or not. They were to blow when released, and their blowing would be, in the general, injurious; this is all that can be extracted from the testimony there. It was reserved for the latter half of the eighth chapter to reveal the details omitted in the seventh. These have been sufficiently supplied in the symbolism of the first four trumpets, which are clearly identical with, and expository of, the four winds. Indeed, the reference to the winds, in ch. 7:1, is a prefatory announcement to the first four trumpets, as the angel-proclamation of "Woe," in ch. 8:13, is prefatory to the last three of the seven. The first four are, therefore, very properly styled "Wind-Trumpets," and the last three, "Woes" (ch. 11:14), or "Woe-Trumpets." But, before proceeding to expound these "winds" and "woes" in detail, it may assist the reader in the comprehension of so much of the Seventh Seal as is hitherto interpreted in this work, to present him with the following: CHRONOLOGICAL SYNOPSIS a.d. 324. Opening of the Seventh Seal, marked by the victory of Constantine over Licinius at Chrysopolis. Silence in the heaven a half hour begins. 337. Silence, or peace, ends. During this half-hour period the Sealing of 144,000 proceeds -- ch. 7, and the prayers of these saints ascend abundantly as incense of supplication and thanksgiving -- ch. 8:3, 4. The silence ends with the ascension of the three sons of Constantine, who each reign independently over a distinct division of the catholic empire. At their accession, "Fire is cast into the earth, and there were voices" -- ver. 5. The two brothers and seven of the nephews of Constantine, the praefect Ablavius, and the patrician Optatus, massacred by order of the "pious" Constantius. 350. Constans, emperor of the "third" then comprising Italy, Africa, and the Western Illyricum, assassinated by order of a usurper. 354. Gallus, the Caesar, a nephew of Constantine, beheaded by Constantius. "AND THERE WERE THUNDERS" Verse 5. 337. War between the Romans and Persians twenty three years. 356. War with the Allemanni and Franks. 357. War with the Quadi and Samaritans. "AND THERE WERE LIGHTNINGS" 340. Civil war between the sons of Constantine "the Great," Constans and Constantine, in which the latter is slain. 350. Usurpation of Magnentius and Vetranio, which produces a revolt throughout the praefectures of Italy and Gaul, with the Illyrian countries from the Danube to the extremity of Greece. The civil war continues three years. 355. Revolt and assassination of Sylvanus. "AND THERE WAS AN EARTHQUAKE" Verse 5 360. The Roman legions at Paris proclaim Julian, the last of the House of Constantine, emperor. He declares war against Constantius. 361. Constantius dies, and Julian, the pagan, is acknowledged. He reforms the court of the second "christian" "sovereign pontiff" by turning out a thousand barbers, a thousand cupbearers, a thousand cooks, and eunuchs numerous as clouds of insects on a summer's day. He appoints the Tribunal of Chalcedon for the sanguinary punishment of the sycophants of the former reign. He deprives catholics of the power of tormenting heretics; orders the pagan temples to be reopened; reestablishes paganism as the religion of the empire; assumes the pago-sacerdotal functions of the Imperial Pontificate; erases the name of Christ from the Labarum; undertakes the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, with a view to a falsification of the prophecies; the enterprise is defeated by earthquake, whirlwind, and a fiery eruption from the foundations. He orders christians to be called Galileans by way of contempt; abolishes clerical honors and immunities; prohibits "christians" from teaching schools, or practising medicine, or the liberal arts. He degrades the clergy to the lowest class of the people; excludes catholics from all offices of trust and profit, on the plea that it is unlawful for christians to use the sword either of justice or war; condemns them to make full and ample satisfaction for the pagan temples they had destroyed in the last reign. The result of this earthquake is recorded by the sophist, Libanus, in these words: "Every part of the world displayed the triumph of religion, and the grateful prospect of flaming altars, bleeding victims, the smoke of incense, and a solemn train of priests and prophets, without fear and without danger. The sound of prayer and music was heard on the tops of the highest mountains; and the same ox afforded a sacrifice for the gods, and a supper for their joyous votaries." 363. Julian is wounded in battle, and dies. Jovian, a catholic created emperor in his stead. He abolishes the edicts of Julian, and reestablishes the Catholic Apostasy as the legal and privileged religion of the state. "The seven angels which have the seven trumphets prepare themselves to sound" -- ver. 6. 395. Preparation-period ends with the death of Theodosius. The Sealing and separating the 144,000 from among the catholics, previous to judgment, finished. ROME: AN EPITOME According to Varro, the foundation of the city, was laid by Romulus on the 20th April, in the year 3961 of the Julian period (3251 years after the creation of the world, 753 years before the birth of Christ). The Romans conquered nearly the whole of the then known world. In the time of Julius Caesar, the empire was bounded by the Euphrates, Taurus, and Armenia on the east; by Africa and Ethiopia on the south; by the Danube on the north; and by the Atlantic on the west. It included much of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. On the death of Constantius at York, in Britain, in 306, the troops under his son, Constantine, saluted him as emperor. In 313 he had conquered the West and had established his power in Rome. Licinius remained in the east to oppose him, but was defeated in battle, and put to death by order of Constantine (his brother-in-law) in 324. Constantine then reigned alone. He established Constantinople as the capital of the Empire, and died on 22nd May, 337. The Empire was divided into Eastern and Western by Diocletian in 296; but was reunited under Constans in 340. It was again divided into Eastern and Western by Valentinian and Valens, the former having made the latter, his brother, emperor of the West in 364. The Western Empire, with Rome as its capital, came to an end in 476 when Odoacer, king of the Heruli took the city. He assumed the title of King of Italy, and completed the fall of the Western Empire. The Eastern Empire came to an end with the capture of Constantinople its capital by the Turks, and the death of Constantine XIII on 29th May, 1453. Thence afterwards, Constantinople formed part of the Ottoman Empire, and its name was changed to Istanbul. It remains the only portion in Europe of the once powerful Turkish Empire today under Turkis Blowing of the Four Winds After the apostle saw the things represented in the sixth chapter; that is, after he saw in vision the progressive accomplishment of the taking out of the way of that power, even of the pagan Greco-Latin or Roman power, which hindered the revelation of the New Power in the estate of Daniel's fourth beast -- a power both spiritual and temporal, or ecclesiastical and civil, unknown to the Augustan Caesars who ruled anterior to Constantine; and germinated from that "Mystery of Iniquity" which, as tares, was sown and springing forth in growing vigor in the days of John and Paul; after he saw this power, whom the latter styles "the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition," and "the Lawless One," exalted to supreme authority and enthroned; in other words, after the entire exhaustion of the judgments of the Sixth Seal, he saw "four angels" or powers, divinely commissioned to destroy, "standing against (epi) the four corners of the earth" -- standing in arms, ready to operate against the four projections of that "third part of the fourth beast earth" or territory, which was to be the arena of the first four trumpets -- namely, Gaul, Spain, Italy, and Africa. For a time, even during the time of the sealing of the symbolic 144,000, John saw the authorities, who had the control of these destroying tempests, "holding" or restraining "the four winds of the earth, that the wind," the one wind of divine fury, blowing now against Italy, and then against Africa, and then in a third and fourth direction, "should not blow against the earth, nor against the sea, nor against any tree." That the blowing of the wind was a destruction set in motion against the earth, sea, and trees, is manifest from the proclamation made by the sealing angel commanding the four destroying messenger-powers not to injure them until the sealing work was accomplished. In other words, when the foundation was firmly and thoroughly laid for the witnessing against the rising power of the Beast of the Outer Court, whose Lion-Mouth would be opened in blasphemy, and, aided by the ten new regal powers, would overcome the witnesses (Apoc. 11:3-7; 13:6, 7); so that there would be moral force enough to carry on the witnessing against the Apostasy in its decemregal and papal organization during what might remain of sackcloth-prophesying for a thousand two hundred and threescore symbolic days -- when the foundation of this witnessing institution was duly organized and strengthened, then, and not till then, the destroying winds might begin to blow to the injury of the fourth-beast earth, sea, and trees. The First Four Trumpets Though the wind blow towards divers points, and is styled the east wind, the north wind, and so-forth, it is still but one and the same wind, air, or spirit in motion. So with "the four winds" of ch. 7:1, they were the one wind, which, when blown against Italy, Spain, Gaul, and the Roman Africa, "the four corners of the earth" to be tempest-tossed, sounded forth destroying blasts, and swept with withering desolation all green and living things. These hurricanes of destruction are figuratively styled "trumpets;" and as "the wind" was to sweep over the four sections of the western Roman third of the fourth beast territory, each blasting current became a distinct trumpet. The sounding of trumpets was a divinely appointed Mosaic institution. It was a holy convocation, styled "a memorial of blowing of trumpets," and was celebrated on the first day of the seventh month -- Lev. 23:24. It introduced one of the most important months of the Hebrew calendar -- the month on the tenth of which was the Day of Covering of Sins; on the fifteenth, the Feast of Tabernacles; and on every fiftieth tenth, the Jubilee, when sins, were not only covered, but every man returned to his possession and family -- Lev. 25:8-17. The trumpets used were of silver, two fabricated from a whole piece. They were blown by the sons of Aaron "for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camp." If they blew with only one, then the princes, heads of the thousands of Israel gathered themselves to Moses; but when they blew an alarm with both trumpets, it was for war against the enemy that oppressed them; and with the assurance that they should be remembered by Yahweh their Elohim, and be saved from their enemies -- Numbers 10:1-10. When an alarm was blown it portended great evil. This appears from Jer. 4:5, which says: "Blow the trumpet in the land: cry, Gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities. Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not, for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction. The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste without an inhabitant." And again, in Joel 2:1. "Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble for the day of Yahweh cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it -- A fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame bumeth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained; all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war.-- the earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble; the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: and Yahweh shall utter His voice before His army: for His camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth His word: for the Day of Yahweh is very terrible, and who can abide it?" Such is the illustration furnished by the Spirit of what he means by sounding trumpets of alarm against the guilty. The sounding of a plurality of trumpets was indicative of war. This is the indication of nearly all the trumpets of the apocalypse; not of every trumpet, but of all the Seven trumpets certainly. If they blew with only one, "then the princes, and heads of the thousands of Israel gathered themselves to Moses." None of the seven trumpets indicate a gathering of the saints, or princes and chiefs of the thousands of Israel, to the prophet like unto Moses. They only portend evil to the Apostasy -- the throwing down of the walls of Babylon, when the last blast of the seventh shall have sounded against her from the breath of the kings and priests of Yahweh. But before this portentous blast is sounded by them, a trumpet is blown of a different import -- one that "gathers them together as the elect from the four winds, from one end of the heaven to the other" -- Matt. 24:31. This is the Trumpet of the Jubilee, which will bring all the approved into the possession of the inheritance; and is symbolized, by none of the seven, but by "an angel flying in mid-heaven having aion-glad tidings to preach." These moshkai kesheth, or sounders of the truth, of Isaiah 66:19, and messengers of Matt. 24:31, go forth "with a trumpet and a great voice," which declares the glory of Yahweh among the nations. It has no sound of alarm in it, like the sounding of the seven. When the saints, in their graves, and we who may remain, hear this great voice, we shall all gather ourselves together to the Moses-like prophet -- to Jesus "both Lord and Christ." This gathering accomplished, and the affairs to be transacted in the presence of the Lord with regard to his household disposed of -- then, what remains to be executed in connection with the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet will be proceeded with; and the Lamb, with those "who follow him whithersoever he goeth," will "execute the judgment written" against Daniel and John's beasts, till nothing remains of the civil and ecclesiastical powers of the world. In the prophets, this judicial execution by Jesus and His Brethren, the Elohim of Israel, is styled "The Name of Yahweh coming from far, burning with his anger.-- his lips full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: his breath as an overflowing stream -- to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity" -- Isaiah 30:27. And Yahweh shall be seen over the sons of Zion, whom he shall raise up against the sons of Greece; "and Adonai Yahweh shall blow the trumpet, and shall go forth with whirlwinds of the south" -- Zech. 9:14. This trumpet thus divinely blown, is the winding up of the seventh apocalyptic trumpet. All the preceding events of the seven are operative to the development of this crisis in which is "filled up the wrath of Deity." The sounding by Adonai Yahweh of this closing blast of the seven is the great apocalyptic day of sacrifice -- the slaying of the beasts, before the sins of the nations are covered over, and they become "blessed with faithful Abraham," and "in Abraham and his seed." He executes the Second and Third angel-missions, reaps the harvest, and treads the winepress. All this pertains to "the war of the great day of Almighty Power." It prostrates Babylon, breaks in pieces the powers of the nations, and establishes the power of the kingdom in all the earth. The final purpose, then, of the seven trumpets is to abolish the Laodicean Apostasy, which enthroned itself in the reign of Constantine the First, and of which he was the new-born defender of its faith. This is the grand and glorious consummation prepared for the Catholic and Protestant hierarchies of what the world styles "Christendom." They will then have answered their purpose in the providence of heaven of a spiritual police in aid of the civil government of the nations. There will be no more any use for them; because the nations being enlightened and blessed, will no longer require deceivers and impostors to rule them by terror and imposition. "All nations shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; for thy judgments are made manifest" -- Apoc. 15:4. Clerical hierarchies then will be no more; and the truth will cease to be evil spoken of because of their impiety and folly. But these deceivers of "the whole earth that goes wondering after the beast" (ch. 13:3), were not to be permitted the enjoyment of times of bliss during the centuries of their inhabitation of the high and fat places of the world. They were image makers, relic and demon worshippers, murderers of the servants of the Deity, bewitchers of the people with their sorceries, or theological conceits, corrupters of silly women, and thieves. This is the apocalyptic indictment against them -- ch. 9:20, 21; 11:7; 13:6, 7, 15; 16:6, 7; 17:3, 6; 18:20, 23, 24. Was it to be supposed that tile Deity would permit these titled and wealthy blasphemers of His name, and tabernacle; these idolatrous "spirituals of wickedness in the heavenlies;" to enjoy all the sweets of life and receive none of the plagues stored up as His artillery for the day of evil? Such a winking at their iniquity was no part of His wisdom revealed to John. The trumpets were so arranged in their sounding as to give the clergy "wormwood" and "blood to drink;" and to be "tormented" to the gnawing of their tongues for pain and sores -- ch. 8:11;16:6; 9:4, 5; 16:10, 11. This judicial operation, however, was not to affect all parts and orders of the clerical dominion at one and the same epoch. When the preparation for beginning to sound the trumpet was complete in the Gothic occupation of the Illyrian Third of their domain, the Catholic Empire was permanently divided into Two Limbs, as represented by the thighs and legs of Nebuchadnezzar's Image; the Eastern Catholic Limb being Greek, with Constantinople for its imperial and ecclesiastical centre; while the Western Catholic Limb was Latin, with Rome for its Mother City. This western section consisted of Gaul, Spain, Britain, Italy and the Roman Africa. This was the first Constantine's imperiality when he divided the Fourth Beast dominion with his rivals Licinius, who possessed the Illyrian Praefecture; and Maximin, who possessed that composed of the Asiatic provinces and Egypt. The judgments of the trumpets were ordered with reference to this threefold division of the Catholic World. The first four trumpets were to be blown against the Western Third, that its inhabitants of all orders and degrees (except the sealed ones who were cherished) might be plagued until their power was broken, and their sovereignty blotted out for a season. DIVISION OF ROMAN EMPIRE DUAL Eastern & Western Empires When these judicial calamities had settled down into the generation of a new and rising order of things, judgment was preparing for an ascent from "the Pit of the Abyss" against the Eeastern Third of the catholic domain. It was the mission of the fifth and sixth trumpets primarily to torment, and then to kill the political life of the men, who wielded authority and power over the subjects of this imperial praefecture; and secondarily, of the sixth, to inflict "wars" upon the unrepentant spirituals of the Western Third, until the seventh should begin to sound -- ch. 11:14. The first four trumpets, then, made the Western Praefecture the seat of war -- the third part of the Roman Orb, consisting, as we have said, of Gaul, Spain, Britain, Italy and the province of Africa, an area upon which, were caused to bud forth by the judgments that befel, the Ten Powers seen by Daniel and John as "Ten Horns" upon the Eighth Head of the Fourth Beast. It may be remarked here, that we do not learn from Daniel that the Fourth Beast had more heads than one. His was a vision of said beast in its constitutional manifestation coevally with its being slain, and its body politic given to the burning flame, at a time when judgment is also given to the saints for its especial destruction. I speak not now of what he saw concerning the Little Episcopal Horn Power; but of the head. All the horns were seen standing upon the head of the beast. The history of the past is demonstrative that the Eleven Horns did not stand on either of the first seven; though, when the uninstructed in these mysteries undertake to give sketches of the beast, they scatter the ten horns over all the seven heads. The Horns only began to bud forth in the times of the Seventh Head, and therefore cannot be placed upon any of the previously developed six. This seventh was to continue only "a short space." The beast and horns have continued many ages since the seventh head fell; unless therefore we view the horns as standing upon the Eighth Head, we have before us a symbolical monstrosity of a beast with ten horns and no head for them to stand upon. It is to John's writing we are indebted for knowledge about the heads. From him we learn that the beast of Daniel has Eight Heads; and that it is with the eighth that the ten horns are allied for "one hour" in a period of conflict with the lamb and those that are with him -- ch. 17:11-14. The trumpets were not only destructive of much that existed, but formative rudimentally of future political manifestations. The first four destroyed the Latin Catholic Imperial state unity of the western third; abolished the sovereignty of Rome; and formed the ten rudimental powers, which are destined for world-wide operations in the last hour of their existence. In the first four trumpets we have to do with things rudimental; but in the seventh and last, with the great and marvellous manifestations of the future, which could by no means have been developed without the preliminary judgments we proceed now in their apocalyptic order to expound. Act I -- First Wind-Trumpet The hurting of the earth by hail and fire, mingled with blood, by which a third part of the trees, and all green grass is burned up. a.d. 395, and onwards. "And the first angel sounded, and there was hail and fire which had been mingled with blood, and it was cast into the earth; and the third of the earth, and the third of the trees was consumed, and every green blade was burned up." Apoc. 8:7 1. The Symbols Explained A prophesy couched in such terms as these indicates nothing but judgment of the severest kind. It is a tempest of the most scathing description imaginable -- a beating down with hail, scorching with lightning, and causing blood to flow. The prophets give us to understand that by such language as this is signified, "A mighty and strong one casting down to the earth with the hand." This interpretation is indicated in Isaiah 28:2; as "Yahweh hath a mighty and strong one, as a tempest of hail, and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, he shall cast down to the earth with the hand," or power of the sword. This was a threatened war against the drunkards of Ephraim, which was afterwards executed by the King of Assyria who cast down their sovereignty, and carried them away into a captivity from which they have not yet returned. They thought themselves secure, and made lies their refuge, and under falsehood hid themselves. But in the seventeenth verse they are informed that "the hail should sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters overflow the hiding place." In Ezek. 13, we find, that the self-constituted prophets of Israel promising peace to Jerusalem, when Yahweh had determined there should be no peace for her, is styled building up a wall, and daubing it with untempered mortar. Ezekiel was commanded to announce to them, that it should fall by an overflowing shower; and then addressing the constituents of the shower, he says, "And ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it." This prediction was afterwards fulfilled by the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar, who as great hailstones, a mighty and strong power, demonstrated the flimsiness and instability of their wall by laying Jerusalem in ashes and destroying the liars out of her. In The Apocalypse, hailstones operate conspicuously in demolishing walls daubed with untempered mortar, sweeping away the refuges of lies, and overflowing all hiding places. Beside the place before us, they are brought into play in chs. 11:19 and 16:21. The hail in these two places signifies the same thing -- a mighty and strong power, which falls out of the heaven upon men to plague them exceedingly. This power is the power of the heaven, the spirit, congealed (if I may so speak) into spiritual bodies weighing one talent a piece. These are the hailstones and coals of fire which result from the thunder voice of the Most High. They are the electrical congelations of the Spirit which beat down the Assyrian in his latter day overthrow; as it is written, "And Yahweh shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of anger, and the flame of devouring fire, scattering and tempest and hailstones; for through the voice of Yahweh shall the Assyrian be beaten down who smite with a rod," (Isaiah 30:30). The Assyrian to be beaten down by these living, precious, and all powerful hailstones, is the Gog of Ezekiel, the Fourth Beast of Daniel, and the eighth Head in alliance with the Ten Horns of John. These are destroyed by the saints when judgment is given to them; they are mighty and strong who fall upon them as a plague of hail and a destroying storm upon the forest. "The third of the earth," into which the mighty and strong power is cast for judicial execution, was that third section of the Roman Orb occupied by "the third of the trees." A third implies two other thirds. The trees of these two thirds were not to be affected by the scorching hailcommingled fire. It was to be confined to one of the thirds, which, as we shall see in our historical illustration, was the Western Third. This is "the earth," or arena, of the first trumpet. "Trees" are symbolical of the great men among a people. This is evident from Jotham's parable in Judges 9:8. "The trees went forth," said he, "to anoint a king over them, and they said unto the Olive Tree, 'Reign thou over us'." But, when the olive, and the fig, and the vine, severally declined to be promoted over the trees, all the trees with one voice invited the bramble to wear the crown; to which this prickly bush replied, "If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow; and, if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon." All this is perfectly intelligible, and no sane mind would think of trying to interpret it upon what is called the literal principle of hermeneutics. The trees in Jotham's parable symbolized all the men of Shechem, and all the house of Millo, in whom the king-making and king-sustaining power resided. It is unnecessary to adduce further proof of this notable signification of "trees" in the symbolic language. An aggregation of wild, uncultivated trees constitutes "a forest." This is prophetically obnoxious to the storm of hail, which descends upon it; while the people, or trees of Yahweh's planting (Isaiah 61:3) are dwelling securely, as Israel did in Goshen when the rest of Egypt was desolated and scorched by literal hail mingled with fire; as it is written, "My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure (or safe) dwellings, and in quiet resting places, when it shall hail, coming down on the forest" (Isa. 32:18). This shows that when hail descends on forest trees, there is no peace, safety, or tranquillity, to the wicked represented thereby. "Grass" is figurative of the multitude. "All flesh is grass" (Isaiah 40:6). It may be either withered or green and flourishing. Before the blast of this trumpet is blown, the grass is "green"; but when the trumpet ceases to sound, it is burned up, and consequently black. Before the hail and fire mingled with blood descends, the catholic multitude, consisting of priests and people, are "green grass." They are so represented, because of their wickedness, and the iniquity worked by them. The proof of this is found in Psalm 92:7, as, "When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish, it is that they shall be destroyed forever." Grass that springs is green and looks flourishing. This is sufficient to determine the meaning of the symbol. When it becomes withered or black, it is "because the Spirit of Yahweh bloweth upon it," and the tempest licks it up as stubble (Isaiah 40:7, 24). Hence then, the symbolism of this trumpet is representative of the Spirit of Yahweh blowing upon the great men and people of the catholic apostasy of the West. He did it by destroying agents already in a state of preparation. The hail and fire mingled with blood were these agents, ready to fall upon the pious hypocrites of the Latin West, when the time appointed should arrive. 2. Historical Exposition The following historical summary from Elliot's Horae Apocalypticae being strictly correct, I cannot do better than to lay it before my readers. "The first angel sounds his trumpet: and lo the same tremendous tempest as before, black with other clouds from the cold hailgenerating countries beyond the Danube, and charged with lightning and hail, appears driving westward. "The third of the land," or continental provinces of the Western division of the Roman empire, is declared the fatal scene of ravage. The Asiatic continent and maritime province of Africa are to remain unharmed by the storm: and the European provinces, too, of the Eastern Empire mostly to escape. The skirts of the storm discharge themselves, as it passes forward, on the Rhoetian hill-country. Then quickly its course is towards Italy. As it sweeps across the Italian frontier, other terrific thunder-clouds from the distant northwest quarter of the heaven succeed, and intermingle with the first. Once and again, the almost united tempests spread in devastating fury over Italy, beyond the Alps and Apennines. Then dividing, a part, impelled yet further south, bursts with terrific lightnings directly over the SevenHilled Imperial City, and passes thence to the southernmost coast of Bruttium beyond. A part, driven backward, takes a westerly course over the Rhine, into Gaul, and far and wide devastates it; then, crossing over the Pyrenaean chain, pours its fury on the Spanish provinces: nor spends itself till it has reached the far shores, west and south, of the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Thus has the entire continental division of the Western Empire been involved in its ravages. Throughout the whole, the lightning fire runs along the ground, even as in the plagues of ancient Egypt, burning in wide spreading conflagration country and town, trees and pasture. And there are signs, too, not to be mistaken, of the destruction of life, as well as of vegetation: for blood appears mixed with the fire and hail. Slowly at length the storm subsides, destroying, however, even in its subsidence. The desolation that it leaves is frightful. The land was as the garden of Eden before it. It remains a wasted wilderness." Vol. 1. p. 343. Alaric and Rhadagaisus were the leading spirits of what Claudian, a contemporary writer, styles the "hail-storm." With singular impolicy, Arcadius, the emperor of the eastern third, which fell to him on the death of Theodosius, made Alaric Master General of the Eastern Illyricum, and furnished him by so doing with arms from the imperial armories. During four years he made preparation for the invasion of the West. Installed by imperial authority in the centre of the Illyrian Third, he was seated, as Gibbon expresses it, "on the verge, as it were, of the two empires." The separate halves of the catholic body politic were before him, devoted of heaven to be ruthlessly scathed and torn in his merciless career. As preliminary to this sanguinary enterprize, the chieftains of his nation, according to ancient custom, raised him upon a shield, and proclaimed him King of the Visigoths. At this epoch, the first trumpet sounded, a.d. 395-400. "Fame," says Claudian, "encircling with terror her gloomy wings, proclaimed the march of the barbarian army, and filled Italy with consternation." The public distress was aggravated by the fears and reproaches of superstition. The pagans had no omens and sacrifices to consult; but the infatuated catholics still derived some comfort from what they regarded as the powerful intercession of saint and martyr ghosts. The emperor Honorius was preeminent in fear. The approach of Alaric to Milan caused the Emperor to flee, and take refuge at Asta, a small fortified town, in Piedmont, in which he was hard pressed by the Goths. The timely arrival of the renowned Stilicho effected his deliverance. The Goths retreated, and were afterwards defeated at Pollentia. But Alaric soon repaired his losses, and boldly resolved to break through the unguarded passes of the Apennine, to spread desolation over the fruitful face of Tuscany, and to conquer or die before the gates of Rome. Before, however, his threat was carried into effect, another "dark cloud collected along the coast of the Baltic, and burst in thunder upon the banks of the upper Danube." Rhadagaisus, the king of the confederate Germans, passed without resistance the Alps, the Po, and the Apennine, a.d. 406. Many cities of Italy were pillaged or destroyed. Alaric was a catholic and a leader of a disciplined army; but, Rhadagaisus was a savage, and a stranger to the manners, religion and language of the South. The senate and people of Rome, "the trees and green grass" of the State, trembled while yet his presence was before Florence, 180 miles from Rome, which he vowed to reduce to a heap of stones and ashes, and to sacrifice the most illustrious Romans on the altars of those gods who were appeased by human blood. But the fierceness of this portion of the hail and fire mingled with blood, was destined to expend itself before Florence. The strategy of Stilicho again saved the capital, and caused more than a third of the vast and various multitude of Sueves, Vandals, and Burgundians, who adhered to the standard of Rhadagaisus, to perish on the fields of Tuscany. But one hundred thousand Germans still remained in arms after the death of Rhadagaisus; and the invasion of Gaul, which Alaric had designed, was executed by the remnant of the great army of the Baltic. "This memorable passage (of the Rhine) of the Suevi, the Vandals, the Alani, and the Burgundians, who never afterwards retreated, may be considered," says Gibbon, "as the fall of the Roman empire in the countries beyond the Alps; and the barriers which had so long separated the savage and the civilized nations of the earth were, from that fatal moment, levelled with the ground." The subjects of Rome in Gaul, "the trees" and "green grass" of the earth, unconscious of their approaching calamities, enjoyed the state of quiet and prosperity, which had seldom blessed the frontiers of Gaul. The banks of the Rhine were crowned, like those of the Tiber, with elegant houses, and well-cultivated farms. This scene of peace and plenty was suddenly changed into a desert, and the prospect of the smoking ruins could alone distinguish the solitude of nature from the desolation of man. The flourishing city of Mentz was surprised and destroyed; and many thousand catholics massacred in their temples; and the consuming flames of war spread from the banks of the Rhine over the greatest part of the seventeen provinces of Gaul. That rich and extensive country, as far as the ocean, the Alps, and the Pyrenees, was delivered to "the hail and fire mingled with blood" -- the barbarians, who drove before them, in a promiscuous crowd, the bishop, the senator, and the virgin, "the trees" and "green grass," laden with the spoils of their houses and altars; so that in less than two years, the divided troops of the savages of the Baltic advanced, without a combat, to the foot of Pyrenees. The inroads of the Barbarian nations during the period of the period of the sounding of the first period of the sounding of the first trumpets. By 407 the Roman garrison in Britain had revolted and set up a soldier Emperor of its own known as Constantine (not to be confused with Constantine "the Great"). At that time therefore, Britain had independent status. see Penguin Atlas of Medieval History. As I am not writing a detailed history of the times, but selecting so much from history already written as will illustrate what has been fulfilled of The Apocalypse, it will be unnecessary for me to do more than to note, that the calamities that befel "the third of the earth" were aggravated by the revolt of the army in Britain, which renounced its allegiance to the Emperor of the West, and set up a new emperor, named Constantine, whom they found in the lowest ranks of the army. He established himself in Britain and Gaul, and received also the submission of Spain, whose feeble resistance was ineffectual to prevent the authority of the usurper being acknowledged from the walls of Antoninus to the columns of Hercules. Adversity had exercised and displayed the genius of Alaric; and the fame of his valor invited to the Gothic standard the bravest of the barbarian warriors, who from the Euxine to the Rhine were agitated by the desire of rapine and conquest. After the death of Stilicho, he put his troops in motion, and a.d. 408, with bold and rapid marches, passed the Alps and the Po; pillaged several cities; proceeded on to Rimini, stretched his ravages along the sea coast of the Hadriatic, and meditated the conquest of the ancient Mistress of the World. An Italian hermit sought to turn him from his purpose; but was silenced by the solemn asseveration of Alaric, that "he felt a secret and preternatural impulse, which directed, and even compelled, his march to the gates of Rome." During a period of six hundred and nineteen years "the Queen of the Earth" had never been violated by the presence of a foreign enemy. The hour had now arrived for this indignity. The city was blockaded by Alaric, whose vigilance inflicted upon it at length the horrid calamities of famine. Enraged by hunger, the desperate devoured the bodies of their victims; and even mothers tasted the flesh of their slaughtered infants! Many thousands of the inhabitants expired in their houses, or in the streets, for want of sustenance; and the stench arising from so many putrid and unburied carcases, infected the air. At length Alaric was induced to retire by the payment of an enormous ransom, and to enter upon negotiations for peace. But these failed through the imbecillity and infatuation of the administration. A second siege of Rome was formed; and a third followed, a.d. 410, Aug. 24. At midnight, the Salarian gate was silently opened, and the inhabitants were awakened by the tremendous sound of the Gothic trumpet. Eleven hundred and sixtythree three years after the foundation of Rome, the imperial city, which had subdued and "civilized" so considerable a part of mankind, was delivered to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany and Scythia. This awful catastrophe of Rome filled the astonished empire with grief and terror. The people deplored the afflictions of "the Queen of Cities;" while the clergy, who applied justly to recent events the lofty metaphors of oriental prophecy, were foolishly tempted to confound the destruction of the capital, and the dissolution of the globe. The victorious Goths evacuated Rome on the sixth day, and marched into the southern provinces of Italy, destroying whatever dared to oppose their passage, and plundering the unresisting country. The "hail and fire mingled with blood" continued to consume "the trees," and to burn up "the green grass" for a still longer period than that reached by the termination of the career of the King of the Goths. While meditating further conquests beyond the limits of this trumpet, Alaric was suddenly arrested by the power of death, which fixed, after a short illness, the fatal term to his conquests. His sepulchre was built in the bed of the Consentia, a river in Bruttium, and adorned with the spoils and trophies of Rome. The secret of its location was concealed by restoring the waters to their accustomed channel, and the massacre of the prisoners employed in constructing it: -- "The last Italian blood," remarks Elliot, "that mingled with the fire and hail," under the judgments of the first trumpet. Act II -- Second Wind-Trumpet The hurting of the Sea by a great mountain burning with fire being cast into it, by which the third of the Sea became blood; the third of its living creatures died; and the third of its ships was destroyed. a.d. 429 and Onwards Apoc. 8:8, 9 "And the second angel sounded, and, as it were, a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea; and the third of the sea became blood. 9. And the third of the creatures in the sea, having souls, died; and the third of the ships was destroyed." 1. Symbols Explained We are plainly informed in this text, that its terms are not to be understood "literally": that the great mountain in a state of intense combustion was not a real mountain, but something analogous thereto. The information is conveyed by the use of the particle hos, as it were. What John saw represented was a destroying power of great force and magnitude, judicially affecting the population of the maritime arena of the Western Third of the Catholic empire. "The very etymology of the word mountain," says Daubuz, "helps out the signification of the symbol. For rybd , a mountain comes from rbd in Hiphil rybdh .This, and the Chaldee rbda , and the Arabic dbr , signify to command, subdue, and govern. So, in our military terms, hills and mountains are said to command the places about them. Mountains burning with fire together with a strong wind, and seen by a king in his dream, signify, according to all the interpreters among the Persians and Egyptians, the destruction of his people by a warlike enemy." In addressing the Babylonian power of Chaldea, the Spirit styles it "a destroying mountain" -- "Behold, I am against thee, O Destroying Mountain, saith Yahweh, which destroyest all the earth" (Jer. 51:25). "A mountain burning with fire" is a destroying power; and the direct opposite to "mountains that bring peace to the people." A mountain burning with fire would throw the sea, if cast therein, into a bubbling and hissing agitation; it would be "a mountain of prey" but, if the mountain were burnt, instead of burning, it would represent a great power deprived of all ability to injure -- a power destroyed instead of destroying. Therefore, saith Yahweh to the power of Babylon which had destroyed all the earth subjugated by it, "I will stretch out Mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain;" a prediction that was fulfilled when He executed "the vengeance of his temple" by Cyrus and his uncle, "the kings of the Medes." "The sea" of this trumpet is the politico-geographical arena of its judgments. The mountain burning, or destroying, with fire was providentially "cast into the sea." "Sea, clear and serene, denotes an orderly collection of men in a quiet and peaceable state. When troubled and tumultuous, a collection of men in motion and war. Either way, waters signifying peoples (Apoc. 17:15), and the sea being a collection of waters, the sea becomes the symbol of people, gathered into one body politic, kingdom, or jurisdiction, or united in one design." The four great beasts of Daniel 7 were seen by the prophet to come up out of "the sea" in consequence of the four winds striving upon the Great Sea. The many headed beasts of the apocalypse are but symbolical parts of the fourth of these in Daniel. As the whole came up out of the sea, so therefore must its parts; and that sea. says the prophet, was "the Great Sea," or Mediterranean. In this trumpet-prophecy "the sea" has a twofold signification, the symbolic and literal. The destroying power was to descend literally upon the maritime region washed by the waters of the Mediterranean; and symbolically upon the peoples inhabiting its coasts. The Romans used the term as inclusive of the islands and maritime coasts of what they regarded as their sea, because situate in the midst of their domain. "The third of the sea." This, the sea-third, is the sea of the same "third of the earth," that was subject to the emperor of the catholic west. It included the coasts of Spain, Gaul, Italy, and the Roman Africa; with the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Majorca and Minorca. This seathird "became blood." Its peoples were put to the sword because of the enormity of their blasphemy, hypocrisy, and crime; for it is on account of these things that the judgments of heaven are poured out with volcanic fury and destruction upon mankind. THE ROMAN EMPIRE AT ITS GREATEST EXTENT They "strove upon the Great Sea" (Dan. 7:2). The ancient world in relation to the Great Sea -- as the Mediterranean is styled in Scripture. "The creatures in the sea having souls" were the fish of the symbolic sea; and therefore fish in a symbolic sense. "A sea being thus considered," says Daubuz, "as a kingdom or empire (in the text, the western empire), the living creatures in it must be typical fishes, or men. But if a sea be considered only of the waters, of which it is a collection, then the waters will signify the common people; and the fishes, or the creatures in the sea, living, as having a power to act, will denote their rulers. And in this sense are the fishes mentioned in Ezek. 29:4, 5, explained of the princes of Pharaoh." "The ships." The introduction of ships into the prophecy indicates that the judgments of the second trumpet have especial regard to the naval and commercial interests of "the third." Job's days "passed away as swift ships." Here ships are used as a metaphor signifying swiftness. In this, his days were analogous to ships. "They that go down to the sea in ships, do business in the great waters." To destroy these ships, then, would be to destroy the business, whether naval and commercial: and to destroy those who worked them. In predicting this destruction, therefore, of the naval and commercial power of the western third's dominion, all that was necessary was to say, "the third of the ships was destroyed." 2. Historical Exposition The following is Mr. Elliott's sketch of the phenomena of this vision. "A pause ensues. Then presently there is heard another trumpetblast of judgment. Now, is the visitation of the Western Third of the Mediterranean sea, and the islands and transrmarine province included in it; a part hitherto unscathed and safe. Behold yon giant mountain-rock, blazing with volcanic fires, that upheaved from the southernmost point of Spain near the straits of Gades, and cast into the sea, looks like Etna in its raging! Mark how the waters of the midland sea are agitated by it! The lava pours down the mountain sides The igneous stones and ashes of the volcano are scattered for hundreds of miles all round, on sea and mainland, coasts and islands; first on the coast of Africa, then on that of the opposite continent, from the Atlantic Straits, all along up to the head of the Adriatic. Ships appear set on fire by them, at sea and in the harbors, and light the waters with their conflagrations. Blood marks the loss of life accompanying; the same as in the former vision. Over the whole maritime scene of its devastations whatever is habitable appears desolated; whatever had life, destroyed." To the Vandal power was providentially assigned the judicial execution of the second trumpet upon the guilty catholic population of the west. Their work began a.d. 429, by their precipitating their destroying hosts, led by Genseric their king, upon the rich and productive province of Africa. Gibbon styles him "the terrible Genseric; a name, which, in the destruction of the Roman empire, has deserved an equal rank with the names of Alaric and Attila." His ambition was without bounds and without scruples; and prompted him to any enterprise that promised plunder and dominion. His power was a volcanic mountain vomiting forth desolation and death upon what he styled "the guilty." The discord of Aetius and Count Boniface, two generals of the Western empire, was the fatal and immediate cause of the eruption of this Vandal volcano, which resulted in the loss of Africa and the islands. Boniface, then in arms against the administration, invited Genseric to an alliance. The Vandal king readily accepted the invitation; and, by the assistance of the Spaniards, who, anxiously desiring to get rid of them, furnished him with ships, he transported his Vandals over the Straits of Gibraltar to the coast of Mauritania where he mustered about 50,000 effective men. BARBARIAN INVASIONS When Genseric landed in Africa, he became the deliverer of the Donatists, who were then suffering the most rigorous persecution by the catholic officials, lay and clerical. Among the latter was their zealous enemy, the so-called "Saint" Augustin, Bishop of Hippo, who died just before his city was taken, a.d. 430, and, according to Mr. Elliott, was "joined to the white-robed company before the throne!!" Genseric being an enemy to the catholic faction in power, showed himself to the Donatists as a powerful deliverer, from whom they might reasonably expect the repeal of the odious and oppressive edicts of the Roman emperors. Genseric's vengeance descended with terrible effect upon the "wolves in sheep's clothing," who had been so long and cruelly oppressing all who were opposed to the reigning catholic superstition. Under the reign of the Vandals, whose success they favored, the Donatists of Africa enjoyed an obscure peace of one hundred years, at the end of which they may again be traced "by the light of the imperial persecutions." At the time of invasion, Africa was so fruitful as to deserve the name of the common granary of Rome and of mankind. On a sudden, the seven fruitful provinces from Tangier to Tripoli were overwhelmed. The Vandals where they found resistance seldom gave quarter, and the deaths of their comrades were expiated by the ruin of the cities before which they had fallen. Boniface having returned to his allegiance, obtained the command of a powerful armament of ships and land forces, with which he boldly attacked the Vandals before Hippo. But his defeat irretrievably decided the fate of Africa. Eight years after the fall of Hippo, Carthage was reduced to ignominious servitude. After permitting his troops to satiate their rage and avarice, he enjoined all persons, without fraud or delay, to deliver their gold, silver, jewels, and valuable furniture or apparel, to his officers; and the attempt to secrete any part of their patrimony was inexorably punished with torture and death, as an act of treason against the state. The nobility and senators of Carthage were condemned to perpetual banishment; and crowds of exiles, of fugitives, and of ingenuous captives, filled the provinces of the east and west. With the capture and sack of Carthage, all resistance to the "mountain burning with fire" ceased in Africa By the separation of this province, the internal prosperity of Rome was irretrievably destroyed. The rapacious Vandals confiscated the patrimonial estates of the emperors and cut off the regular subsidies. The distress of the Romans was soon aggravated by an unexpected attack, June 15, a.d. 455. There being nothing to tempt the rational ambition of the Vandal king in the direction of the desert, "he cast his eyes," says Gibbon, "toward the sea. He resolved to create a naval power, and his bold resolution was executed with steady and active perseverance. He animated his daring Vandals to embrace a mode of warfare which would render every maritime country accessible to their arms ;" so that, "after an interval of six centuries, the fleets that issued from the port of Carthage again claimed the empire of the Mediterranean." They vomited fire upon Sicily, which "became blood" in its conquest and the sack of Palermo. The Western empire being left without a defender and lawful prince, the avarice of Genseric increased, and, with a numerous fleet of Vandals and Moors, he cast the anchors of his burning power into the sea at the mouth of the Tiber. Having disembarked, he boldly advanced to the gates of Rome. The bishop (for there was then no Pope, no Pontiff King with temporal power, and "church-states" to be ruled with a grievous yoke) -- this bishop Leo, at the head of his clergy, issued in procession to supplicate with all due orthodox humility, a restraining of the fierce and burning wrath of the heretical defender of the Donatists. The Vandal king promised to spare all non-resistants, to protect the buildings from fire, and to except the captives from torture. Nevertheless, Rome and its inhabitants were delivered to the blind passion of his soldiery. The pillage lasted fourteen days and nights. Among the spoils transported from the city by the king were the Golden Table and the Seven-Branched Golden Light-stand, brought by Titus to Rome, where they were deposited in the temple of peace. Nearly four hundred years after, these spoils of Jerusalem were shipped for Carthage, with the rich plunder of the catholic bazaars, dedicated to demons called "guardian saints," and adorned by the excessive superstition of the coreligionists of Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and company. The gold and silver, amounting to several thousand talents, with the jewels, brass, and copper, accumulated by rapine, were all removed to the fleet, which returned laden with thousands of captives, with a prosperous navigation, to Carthage -- all except one vessel bearing the relics of the capitol, which descended to the bottom of the sea. But "the sea" had not yet sufficiently "become blood;" nor had "the third of the creatures in the sea, having souls, died;" nor had "the third of the ships" been "destroyed." To bring this about required the revival of "the kingdom of Italy's" power of resistance (for the Western empire had been reduced to an Italian kingdom) to Genseric upon the sea. The four years reign of the judicious and enterprising Majorian afforded scope for this. Perceiving that Rome could not be safe while Carthage existed as a hostile state, he determined to create a maritime power, and by it achieve the conquest of Africa. In three years he collected an imperial navy of three hundred large galleys, with an adequate proportion of transports and smaller vessels, in the secure and capacious harbor of Cathagena in Spain. Hearing of this, and apprehensive of Majorian's descent at his own original landing place, Genseric reduced Mauritania into a desert. Secret intelligence guided him to the anchorage of his foe, whose unguarded fleet he surprised in the bay of Carthagena. Many of the ships were taken, or sunk, or burnt, and the preparations of three years were destroyed in a single day. For six years after the death of Majorian, the government of Italy was in the hands of the Count Ricimer alone, one of the principal commanders of the barbarians, descended from the Visigoths and Suevi. Under his rule, the kingdom of Italy was afflicted by the incessant depredations and conflagrations of the Vandalic "mountain burning with fire." In the spring of each year, Genseric sallied forth from the port of Carthage in command of the most important expeditions. When asked by his pilot what course he should steer, "Leave the determination to the winds," said he, "they will transport us to the guilty coast whose inhabitants have provoked the divine justice." They repeatedly visited the coasts of Spain, Liguria, Tuscany, Campania, Lucania, Bruttium, Apulia, Calabria, Venetia, Dalmatia, Epirus, Greece, and Sicily. They subdued the island of Sardinia, and spread desolation or terror from the columns of Hercules to the mouth of the Nile; and, as they always embarked a sufficient number of horses, they had no sooner landed, than they swept the dismayed country with a body of light cavalry. The fierceness of the scourge is attested by the massacre of five hundred noble citizens of Zante, whose mangled bodies he cast into the Ionian sea -- "the sea became blood; and the creatures in the sea, having souls, died." The permission of such sanguinary severities by Providence can only be accounted for on the principle of the wicked being Yahweh's sword for the punishment of the hypocrisy, blasphemy, superstition, and immorality of the victims. Genseric seemed to recognize that he was the executioner of "divine justice" upon the orthodox catholic fraternity that inhabited "the sea". "The fury of the Vandals," says Gibbon, "was confined to the limits of the Western empire" -- to "the third of the sea, and of the creatures, and of the ships." The Italians, now destitute of a naval force, through the haughty Ricimer were at length reduced to address the throne of Constantinople in the language of subjects; and Italy submitted, as the price and security of the alliance, to accept a master from the choice of Leo the First, the Emperor of the East, in the person of Anthemius, who entered Rome as Emperor of the West, April 12, a.d. 467. Immediately after this, "regardless of the majesty of the purple," said he, "I gave my daughter to a Goth; I sacrificed my own blood to the safety of the republic." But this did not prevent Ricimer, his daughter's husband, from sacking Rome and putting him to death, a.d. 472. In the meantime, however, the alliance developed immense naval and military preparations on the part of the eastern Romans, languidly aided by the west, for carrying the war into Africa. One hundred and thirty thousand pound weight of gold (about 15,200,000), and seven hundred thousand of silver, paid into the treasury for expenses, reduced the cities to extreme poverty. The fleet it provided, and which sailed from Constantinople to Carthage, consisted of eleven hundred and thirteen ships, and the number of soldiers and mariners -- "the creatures in the sea having souls" -- exceeded one hundred thousand men. This formidable navy was increased by a fleet under Marcellinus from the Adriatic. Consternation seized the Carthaginians; but Genseric beheld the danger with firmness, and eluded it with his veteran dexterity. Having obtained a truce of five days to regulate the terms of submission, in this short interval the wind became favorable to his designs. He manned his largest ships of war with his bravest Moors and Vandals, who towed after them many large barks filled with combustible materials. In the obscurity of the night, "as it were a mountain burning with fire," these destructive vessels were impelled against the unguarded and unsuspecting fleet of the Romans. Their close and crowded order assisted the progress of the fire, which was communicated with rapid and irresistible violence; and the noise of the wind, the crackling of the flames, and the dissonant cries of "the creatures in the sea having souls" -- the soldiers and mariners, who could neither command nor obey -- increased the horror of the tumult. While they labored to extricate themselves from the fireships, and to save at least a part of the navy, the galleys of Genseric assaulted them with temperate and disciplined valor; and many of the Romans, who escaped the fury of the flames, were destroyed or taken by the victorious Vandals. "More than half the fleet and army was lost," and Genseric again became "the Tyrant of the Sea." The coasts of Italy, Greece, and Asia, were again exposed to his vengeance; and, before he died, in the fulness of years and of glory, a.d. 477, he beheld the final extinction of the Trinitarian Empire of the West. And thus "the third of the creatures in the sea, having souls, died; and the third of the ships were destroyed." Act III -- Third Wind-Trumpet The poisoning of the third of the rivers and fountains of waters with a deadly bitterness, by the Great Blazing Star Apsinthos falling from the heaven into them, and causing the death of many. a.d. 450, and onwards. "And the third angel sounded, and a great star blazing as it were a torch fell out of the heaven: and it fell upon the third of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters. And the name of the star is called the Apsinthian; and the third of the waters became undrinkable; and many of the men died out of the waters, because they were made bitter." Apoc. 8:10, 11 1. Symbols Explained On account of the luminaries in the natural heaven governing the day and the night (Gen. 1:14-18), all luminaries in the symbolical language signify ruling powers; and the light itself is well employed to signify the edicts, laws, rules, or directions that proceed from them for the good of their subjects. Thus of the Great King, styled the "Day Star," and "the Sun of Righteousness," it is said in Psalm 119:105, "Thy word is a light unto my path;" and in Hos. 6:5, "Thy judgments are as the light." "I am," saith the Lord Jesus, "the bright and the Morning Star" -- Apoc. 22:16; the Star which the Spirit compelled Balaam to predict would "come out of Jacob" (Num. 24:17). By this star is evidently intended a ruler, a conqueror, a great potentate; for, as the Sceptre of Israel, he is to "smite the princes of Moab, and to destroy all the children of Sheth." A Star, therefore, sometimes signifies a destroying power. The word is also put for that which is inconstant, or meteoric in its motions. Hence, in Jude, such stars are styled "wandering" or shooting stars. In this third trumpet prophecy, the star seen was of this species. It shot forth out of the heaven. John did not see it there, shining as a fixed star of great and sparkling, but steady light; its motion was erratic, wandering or shooting out of the starry sphere into regions below the ruling heaven. It fell from its position where it was "a Great Star" in the heaven. It fell, or descended, not because it was expelled as those stars of the heaven which the Little Horn of the Goat cast down to the ground, and stamped upon (Dan. 8:9, 10) by a superior power; but by its own precipitancy, derived from the motive power of Deity, whose agent it was for judgment upon the Laodicean Apostasy. In symbolic style, "a great star blazing as it were a torch" signifies no good to those upon whom it is said to fall. Its effects must be conflagrating and deadly. An ordinary, or literal, blazing torch would be extinguished by falling into water; but we know that certain bodies cast into that fluid will set it on fire, and convert it into a solution that would be fatal to the drinker. There is therefore a decorum, or fitness, in the language of the vision, which is now known to be founded in the nature of things. Mr. Cunninghame has therefore well remarked that "the language of symbols is not of arbitrary or uncertain signification, but is interpretable on fixed principles, to ascertain and define which, is the first duty of a commentator, as the judicious application of that language to the events of history is the second." "A shooting star was, in antiquity, the appropriate image of a powerful and successful invader from a distant country." "The more I read this wonderful book" (the Apocalypse), says Bishop Horsley, "the more I am convinced that the precision of the phraseology is little short of mathematical accuracy. The language seems highly adorned, but the ornaments are not redundancies: they are not of that sort that the proposition would remain the same if the epithets were expunged. And in passages which may seem similar, there never is the smallest variation of style, but it points to something of diversity, either in the subject or the predicate. With this notion of the style of the Apocalypse, I think it of importance to remark that the falling stars of the third and fifth trumpets fall 'from heaven,' or 'out of the sky,' but are not said to be of 'the stars of heaven,' which are seen to fall in ch. 6. But, further, that which falls 'from heaven,' or 'out of the sky,' upon the sounding of the third trumpet, is a great star, burning as it were a lamp. "Lampas, in the Greek language, is the name of a meteor of a particular sort. From Pliny's description, it is evident that lampas was one sort of those meteors which are commonly called 'shooting stars.' It was of that sort, in which a large ball, appearing first in time, and foremost in the direction of the motion, draws a long train of bright sparks after it. Such exactly was the meteor in the vision of the third trumpet. "The most remarkable circumstances in these shooting stars are these: 1. They have no appropriate place in the starry heavens, but are engendered in the lower regions of the earth's atmosphere. 2. They shine by a native light; but third, are visible only while they fall. 4. The motion is rapid. 5. The duration brief. 6. The brightness, while it lasts, intense. 7. The extinction instantaneous. 8. And when the light is extinguished, nothing remains: the body which emitted the light is nowhere to be found." The falling of a great star blazing like a torch out of the heaven, then, was symbolical of a great destroying power, issuing forth from a lower region of the political aerial, progressing by its native force with rapid, but brief, yet intense motion, coming suddenly to the end of its career, and leaving nothing but a smoking desolation as the memorial of its presence. "The heaven" out of which it blazed forth was the heaven under which were "the rivers and fountains of waters" into which the great star precipitated itself. "Wherever the scene is laid," says Daubuz, "heaven signifies, symbolically, the ruling power or government; that is, the whole assembly of the ruling powers, which, in respect of the subjects, or earth, are a political heaven, being over and ruling the subjects as the natural heaven stands over and rules the earth: so that according to the subject is the term to be limited and, therefore, Artemidorus, writing in the times of the Roman emperors, makes the country of Italy to be heaven. As heaven says he, is the abode of gods, so is Italy of kings." But after the times of the pagan emperors, and concurrent with those of the scarcely less pagan Constantine and his successors, the Roman Heaven expanded itself into the comprehensiveness of the three seats, or thrones, which ruled over the three thirds, or Imperial Praefectures, into which the dominions of Daniel's Fourth Beast, civil and ecclesiastical polity, were divided. These heavenly thirds are especially recognized in the vision of the fourth trumpet; and are styled in Dan. 7:27, "the Whole Heaven." The whole is more than its parts. These thirds of the heaven have relation to the thirds of the earth, or Roman Orb; and may be styled, the Byzantine or Constantinopolitan Heavenly, the Italian Heavenly, and the Illyrian Heavenly, all of them "the abode of kings." A shooting star, generally, projects itself obliquely: so, when this "great star blazing as it were a torch" fell, it fell "out of" its own appropriate heavenly, into "the waters" under the neighboring third, whose heavenly bodies were doomed shortly to be eclipsed. It fell from the Illyrian heavenly section of "the whole heaven," into the rivers under the Italian Third. Yahweh charges Sennacherib with saying by his messengers to Hezekiah: "With the multitude of my chariots, I have digged and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of fenced places." These waters and rivers were the foreign nations he had laid waste. And again: "O Jacob, when thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee": that is, waters or peoples, and rivers or nations. So they are also explained in Apoc. 16:4-7, where "rivers and fountains of waters" are declared to be those who have "shed the blood of saints and prophets"; and in ch. 17:15, "the waters" upon whom the Great Harlot sits are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. But we are not to suppose that because "waters" signify these populations of earth, their geography and topography are left undetermined. On the contrary, in the phrase, "upon the third of the rivers, and upon the foundations of waters," is a blending of the literal and the symbolical, which is so frequent in prophecy. There is a striking illustration of this in Apoc. 17:9, 10, where the seven heads of the beast are symbolical of seven supreme powers, or "kings"; and literally identical with the seven mountains on which they were successively located: so "the rivers" pertaining to "the third" represents symbolically the populations thereof; and their literal chorography in the mountainous and valley, or river, regions of the Catholic West. These "rivers and fountains of waters" had not, previously to the times of the third trumpet, done much in the way of shedding the blood of saints and prophets; they were beginning to approve this remedy for what they were pleased to style "heresy": nevertheless, they had proved themselves bitter persecutors of "the sealed servants of Deity," during the one hundred and twentyfive years their rulers, who were all "pious catholics," exercised dominion over Italy, Africa, Gaul, Spain and Britain. The third trumpet was an especial element of the judgment upon them. Its scorching visitations retaliated upon them bitterness and death for the bitterness they had caused "the sealed." But after the judgments of the third and fourth trumpets had extinguished the so-called orthodox catholic power of the West, another power arose out of the wreck, which was a perfect novelty in the earth. This has been known for more than a thousand years past as the Papal. It acquired sovereignty over "the rivers and fountains of waters," and energized them "to shed the blood of saints and prophets," to pour it out abundantly; so that they became worthy to receive blood to drink, by one who, under the third Vial, gloried in his resemblance to the Great Star that blazed like a torch in the judicial execution of the third trumpet retribution. "And the name of the star is called ho Apsinthos". This I have simply transferred as being the name of the star before the English tongue was written or spoken. As the star-power did not exist in John's day, the legetai, "is called," must be understood to mean that, in the days of the third trumpet, those who spoke Greek called it ho Apsinthos. It is a proper name; and is to be taken in a like sense as the name of the conqueror, styled by men in the days of the third vial, "the Corsican." This was applied to the first Napoleon as indicative of the country from which he came; so the Great Star was called by the Greeks, "the Apsinthian," to designate the region out of whose heaven he fell blazing upon "the third of the rivers," after he had proved a scourge to them. I have said that "the Apsinthian" fell upon "the rivers and fountains of waters," out of the Illyrian section of the whole heaven of the Roman orb. My reason for this is that Apsinthos is the name of a river in the Illyrian third of the Roman earth; and is therefore as significative of Illyria, as the Euphrates was of Assyria, or the Nile of Egypt. But, for what reason, may we conclude, did the Spirit select this river of Illyricum in preference to any other? Because of the signification of the name being appropriate to the nature of the judgments to be executed by the Illyrian Power, which had been developed in the preparation of the angels of the trumpets for sounding. The word radically signifies undrinkable from whatever cause. The trumpet mission of the Illyrian Power was to make the rivers of the third undrinkable, by putting many of the men of the waters to the sword, that they might die out from them. This was, as in the Arabic Romance, Antar, it is expressed, "Death serving them with a cup of apsinth by the sword." 2. Historical Exposition The following is Mr. Elliott's summary of the phenomena of the vision. "Which," he inquires, "is the new scene of judgment? 'The third of the rivers,' it is said, 'and the fountains of waters.' It begins where yon mighty river to the North forms the ancient limit between barbarian Germany, and the Illyrian, or Middle Praefecture of the Roman Empire. Mark the portentous meteor that glares over it; like a blazing torch trailing its red line of light behind it in the Northern sky! And see, where the Teiss pouring itself into the Danube, marks the central point of the base of the Great Illyrian Praefecture; there suddenly it descends, and blazes, and taints with its sulphurous exhalations the downward course of that ancient river. "But it was the same western third of the empire, as before, that was in this case too to taste specially of the bitterness of the woe. And mark how, in fulfilment of its mission, the meteor tracks the course of the Upper Danube, and then reaches and moves along the Rhenish frontier river of the Western Empire; blazing over and poisoning its waters, down even to the Belgic lowlands. Thence again unquenched it rises; shoots in rapid course westward; is repelled, as if by some counter electric force, and as from a region on which it behoved not that it should permanently shed its malignant influences; then in southerly direction falls on the fountains of European waters, there where the Alpine snows are dissolving from their eternal glaciers. Wheresoever it has fallen, the rivers and their tributaries have been poisoned by it; and the dead and dying of those that drink them, appear lying on the banks. Having thus done its part, it shoots back towards the Danube; there blazes for a moment longer, and is extinct." "In the reign of Attila the huns," says Gibbon, "became the terror of the world -- a formidable barbarian, who alternately insulted and invaded the east and the west, and urged the rapid downfall of the Roman Empire." He alone among the conquering meteors, or blazing torches, of ancient or modern times, united the two mighty kingdoms of Germany and Scythia under one sceptre. Claiming to be the rightful possessor of the Sword of Mars, he asserted his divine and indefeasible claim to the dominion of the earth. He soon acquired a sacred character; and the barbarian princes confessed, in the language of devotion or flattery, that they could not presume to gaze with a steady eye, on the Divine Majesty of the King of the Huns. As supreme and sole monarch of the barbarians, he was able, when he collected his military force, to bring into the field an army of five, or according to another account, seven hundred thousand troops. When these were set in rapid motion, they constituted a power, that may be very appropriately likened to "a Great Star blazing as a torch." The Attila-power, which prevailed from a.d. 433 to 453, was fitly designated "the Apsinthian," or Illyrian. It touched the Danube on one hand, and reached with the other, as far as the Tanais, or Don. On making peace with the Constantinopolitan power, after a ravaging war of five years to which he was stirred up by his African ally, the redoubtable Genseric. the eastern Catholic emperor, resigned to Attila an extensive and important territory, which stretched along the southern banks of the Danube from Belgrade to Nova, in the diocese of Thrace, a breadth of fifteen day's journey, and embracing Naissus within the limits of his dominion. The exact location of his capital is uncertain; but supposed to have been seated between the Danube, the Teyss, and the Carpathian hills in the plains of Upper Hungary. All these regions were embraced in the great Illyrian Praefecture; so that the great Attila-star might well be styled by its Greek contemporaries of the Byzantine dominion adjacent, "The Illyrian;" and by the Spirit symbolically, "theApsinthian." Theodosius the younger, emperor of the east, having acknowledged Attila, the Illyrian, as the lord of the Lower Danube, the Huns were now its masters, commanding the navigation to the Black Sea; and prepared to blaze forth in any direction Providence might impel them to take. "What fortress," said the Apsinthian to the Byzantine ambassadors, "what city, in the wide extent of the Roman Empire, can hope to exist, secure and impregnable, if it is our pleasure that it should be erased from the earth?" They knew by experience, that these were not mere words; and as they were unequal to contend with him in war, they sought to rid themselves of this "Scourge of God," by his assassination. But "the Apsinthian" was not to be thus imperially disposed of till his mission was fulfilled; and then the Deity would lay his instrument aside in his own way. Attila was informed of the conspiracy against his life; and though he had the meaner conspirators in his hands, he disdained to punish them; but reserved his just indignation for the pious catholic prince who approved his murder. He denounced Theodosius as a wicked slave, who had clandestinely conspired against his master, "whom fortune and merit had placed above him" Nevertheless, he consented to pardon the emperor, and to maintain peace. All the history of the Illyrian Conqueror goes to show, that his abode was in "the heaven," and that he was "a great star" therein; for he enjoyed the proud satisfaction of receiving in the same camp, the ambassadors of the eastern and western empires; and it is only to sovereign and recognized powers, that such apocalyptic "demons," are commissioned by the superior gods of their heavenlies. The inglorious life of Theodosius was closed a.d. 450. The Apsinthian Star forthwith assumed a threatening aspect against both empires. "While mankind," says Gibbon, "awaited his decision with awful suspense, Attila sent an equal defiance to the courts of Ravenna and Constantinople, and his ministers saluted the two emperors in the same haughty terms, saying, 'Attila my lord, and thy lord, commands thee to provide a palace for his immediate reception'." But "the Apsinthian" despising the Romans of the east, whom he had so often vanquished, soon declared his resolution of suspending the easy conquest, till he had achieved the more glorious and important enterprize of "blazing like a torch upon the third of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;" and thus unconsciously fulfilled the mission appointed for him by the finger of God. For this great and blazing descent upon the Western Third, the kings and nations of Germany and Scythia, from the Volga to the Danube obeyed the warlike summons of "the Scourge of God." From the royal village in the plains of Hungary, he marched to the conflux of the Rhine and the Neckar, where he was joined by the Franks. These hostile myriads were poured with resistless violence, into the Belgic provinces. The consternation of Gaul was universal. Its cities were besieged and stormed by the Apsinthian Huns, who practised their customary maxims of war. They made the waters undrinkable; so that multitudes were separated from them by death; for they were made very bitter. "They involved," says Gibbon, "in the promiscuous massacre, the priests who served at the altar, and the infants, who in the hour of danger had been providentially baptized by the bishop; and the flourishing city (Metz) was delivered to the flames." From the Rhine and Moselle, Attila marched into the heart of Gaul; crossed the Seine at Auxerre; and fixed his camp under the walls of Orleans. From this city, however, he prudently retreated to the plains of Chalons. The nations from the Volga to the Atlantic were marshalled here under the Illyrian, and Aetius and Theodoric, the catholic generals of the west. The results were very bitter to the contending hosts. Many of the Gothic warriors, who served in that memorable engagement informed Cassiodorius, that it was "a conflict fierce, various, obstinate, and bloody; such as could not be paralleled, either in the present or in past ages." The number of the polloi ton anthropon, the "many of the men" who were apsinthianized in this battle of Chalons, amounted to 162,000, or, according to another account 300,000. Though Attila was put to the worse in this battle, he threatened his foe with redoubled fury. Prudence, however, prevailed over revenge; and the allied army of Latin and Gothic catholics separated, and withdrew from the plains of Chalons. Attila's retreat beyond the Rhine confessed the last victory achieved in the name of the western empire. The Thuringians who served under "the Apsinthian," made the waters very bitter. They massacred their hostages and captives; they tortured young maidens with exquisite and unrelenting rage; their bodies were torn asunder by wild horses, or their bones were crushed under the weight of rolling wagons; and their unburied limbs were abandoned on the public roads, as a prey to dogs and vultures. The Empire divided into two parts answering to the legs of iron of the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:33). Neither the spirit, the forces, nor the reputation of the Apsinthian Star were impaired by the failure of the Gallic expedition. It had blazed like a torch, and imbittered the river populations of the country; but it had only partially executed its mission upon the worshippers of relics and demons. In the ensuing spring he passed the Alps into Italy with an innumerable host of barbarians. He laid siege to Aquileia, the most populous and strongest of the maritime cities of the Hadriatic. The Huns mounted the breach with irresistible fury, and the succeeding generation could scarcely discover the ruins of Aquileia. After this dreadful chastisement, this blazing torch descended upon Altinum, Concordia, and Padua, which were reduced into heaps of stones and ashes. The inland towns, Vicenza, Verona, and Bergamo, were exposed to the rapacious cruelty of his Huns. Milan and Pavia submitted without resistance to the loss of their wealth; and applauded the unusual clemency, which preserved from the flames the public, as well as private buildings; and spared the lives of the captive multitude. After this, the scorching ravages of this Great Star, blazing like a torch, overspread the rich plains of modem Lombardy, which are divided by the Po, and bounded by the Alps and Apennine. "It is a saying," says Gibbon, "worthy of the ferocious pride of Attila, that the grass never grew on the spot where his horse had trod. Yet the savage destroyer undesignedly laid the foundation of a republic, which revived, in the feudal state of Europe, the art and spirit of commercial industry." This was Venice. Before the Apsinthian descended like a blazing torch upon the Italian province of Venetia, extending from the confines of Pannonia to the river Addua, and from the Po to the Rhaetian and Julian Alps, this fertile region was adorned with fifty cities flourishing in peace and prosperity. They also were swept by the conflagration; "all was flight," says Sigonius, "depopulation, slaughter, slavery, and despair;" but many families who fled from the sword of Attila, found a safe, though obscure refuge in the hundred islets at the extremity of the Hadriatic. Upon these they laid the foundations of the queen of that sea, which in after times became the Tyre of the feudal world; "and," says Elliott, "he who has seen the fair Venice may do well to remember that he has seen in it a memorial of the terrors and ravages of that Scourge of God, the Hun Attila." What a terrible signification there is in the apocalyptic symbols: This great blazing star was still craving devastation and blood; and declared his resolution of carrying his victorious arms to the gates of Rome. But the Star was meteoric, and, as a meteor, must be of brief duration, and suddenly become extinct. It had been blazing and scorching among "the rivers and fountains of waters" during three years; but where was the power to extinguish it? The barbarians, who had defended Gaul, refused to march to the relief of Italy; and the succors promised by the Eastern Emperor were distant and doubtful. The only deliverance was in unqualified submission. The Western Emperor, with the Senate and people of Rome, by a solemn and suppliant embassy, embraced the salutary resolution of deprecating the wrath of "the Apsinthian." The barbarian monarch listened with favorable, and even respectful attention; and the deliverance of Italy was purchased by an immense ransom; but before he evacuated the country, he threatened to return more dreadful, and more implacable, if the treaty were not faithfully and punctually observed. But his mission being accomplished, he was of no further use. Having returned to his royal village between the Danube and the Teiss, the next year, which was a.d. 453, he was suddenly cut off by apoplexy, and this blazing "terror of the world" lay powerless in death. The empire and power of the Huns was soon after broken; and the wind of the third trumpet ceased to blow. Act IV -- Fourth Wind-Trumpet The darkening of the third of the luminaries of the Greco-Latin Catholic firmament by smiting them; so that the Day and the Night of their system were without ruling lights, and therefore, shone not for a third of them. a.d. 476 "And the fourth angel sounded, and the third of the sun, and the third of the moon, and the third of the stars, was smitten; so that the third of them was darkened, and the day shone not the third of it, and the night likewise." Apoc. 8:12 1. Symbols Explained "For the understanding of the prophesies," says Sir Isaac Newton truly, "we are, in the first place, to acquaint ourselves with the figurative language of the prophets; which is taken from the analogy between the world natural, and an empire or kingdom considered as a world politic." The sun, moon, and stars are therefore prophetic symbols taken from the natural world. "The Lord God is a Sun, and Shield" (Psalm 84:11). He is the universe's Ruler and Lightgiver, and Protector. This is the signification of sun, as a symbol, in its largest sense. But, in Jer. 15:9, it is used restrictedly in the testimony of the Spirit against Jerusalem; as "Her sun is gone down while it is yet day." In this instance the sun symbolized the sovereign power and glory of the commonwealth, of which Jerusalem was the capital. It went down when the state was destroyed by the Chaldeans. But it shone forth again; and again went down, when the kingdom was taken away from the Pharisees -- when "the sun was darkened, the moon gave no light, and the stars fell from the Heaven;" and were thenceforth suppressed superlatively "until He come whose right it is," even "the sun and shield." Then, the Spirit saith to Jerusalem, "the sun shall no more be thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but Yahweh shall be unto thee an everlasting light," or sun; "and thine Elohim thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for Yahweh shall be to thee for the Light," or sun, "of the Olahm;" and which is explained to signify, that "the days of Zion's mourning shall be ended" -- she should no more lose her sovereignty, and mourn the withdrawal of her ecclesiastical institutions and privileges. Again, when the Spirit revealed his purpose to subvert the Egyptian monarchy by the Chaldean power, he said to the King of Egypt, whom he likened to a dragon, in the seas, in Ezek. 32:6-8, "I will water with thy blood the land wherein thou swimmest; and when I shall extinguish thee, I will cover the heaven and make the stars thereof dark: I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. All the bright lights of heaven, will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith Adonai Yahweh." The Chaldean power under Nebuchadnezzar was the "cloud" that covered the sun of Egypt, and made the stars of its heaven dark, and its moon eclipsed; and the Pharaoh-Dragon thenceforth swam no more in Egypt. After the same manner the prophets spoke when they predicted the overthrow of the kingdoms of Babylon and Idumea. In foretelling the subversion of the former power by the Medes and Persians, Isaiah says in symbolizing ch. 13:9, "For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine" -- ver. 10; which in verse 11, is interpreted to signify the punishing of the Chaldean world for evil, "and the wicked for their iniquity." The threatening against the Idumean sovereignty is in the highly symbolic style of the sixth seal. "All the host of heaven," says the Spirit in Isa. 34:4, "shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll; and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven;" then follows the exposition: "Behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse to judgment." Thus, we see, that the moral universe, the Israelitish, the Egyptian, the Chaldean, and the Idumean, kingdoms and empires, have all their suns, moons, stars, and constellations, as well as the natural world or system of things. The supreme civil and military authority of a state is the sun which sheds forth all the light, power and glory of the polity. The moon, stars and constellations are the ecclesiastical and aristocratic orders, which reflect its beams upon the earth or subjects of the state. They rule the day and the night of their own polity, which, without their shining, has no distinction of day or night. Like the natural world luminaries, they are affected by eclipses, darkening, and so forth, which become causes intercepting or suspending their regular and peaceful influences upon the peoples. Daniel's fourth beast system of powers has its sun, moon, and stars, as well as the polities by which it was preceded. Under its pagan constitution, the authority and power vested in the imperial and senatorial orders were the sun of the Roman orb; its moon, the priestly orders of the state; and subject kings, nobles, and magistrates, its stars and constellations. When the pagan constitution that hindered was taken out of the way, the aerial, or political expanse, transmitted the rays of the same lights, only that they emitted influences less intensely heathen than before. The sun, moon and stars which continued to shine had become "catholic." They radiated the malign influences of the Laodicean Apostasy, and were essentially, though not professedly and in detail, as devilish as of old. In the earlier years of Constantine's reign, the Roman Sun was the one solar investment of three emperors -- Constantine, Licinius, and Maximin. So also, when "the silence in the heaven about half an hour" had ended, his three sons were clothed with the sun. In these instances, each emperor's jurisdiction was representative of "the third of the sun;" and the ecclesiastical orders in each imperial jurisdiction, of "the third of the moon;" and the nobles and magistrates also in each, "the third of the stars". If one of these emperors made war upon another of them, and defeated him, and incorporated the dominion of the vanquished in his own jurisdiction, then "the third of the sun and the third of the moon, and the third of the stars," would be "darkened" by smiting; and there would be no political "day" nor "night" peculiar to that smitten third. Now, in the days of the third trumpet, the sun of the Roman Heaven clothed the emperors of the eastern and western thirds, to say nothing of the Illyrian. The smiting of one of these thirds to obliteration from the political map, would be the darkening of that third in its imperial, ecclesiastical, and aristocratic relations to the subject peoples of its eclipsed jurisdiction. The unsmitten third would be "the third of the men," which so long as it continued a distinct and independent power, would be regarded as living, or not "killed" (Apoc. 9:18). When there are no heavenly bodies visible to a spectator supposed to be standing upon the earth, the alternations styled day and night, do not exist. To blot out the sun, moon, and stars of the natural universe, would be to extinguish day and night, and to establish "darkness upon the face of the deep." The effect would be analogous in the political universe. For, as in the case of Egypt, when Pharaoh's dominion was abolished, to make all the bright lights of heaven dark, would be to set darkness upon the land. But, as in the instance of the Greco-Latin Catholic dominion, if only one third of its sun, moon, and stars be smitten into obscuration, the day and night of the whole polity would not be extinguished, but only a proportional third. The imperial catholic day and night would be restricted to the unsmitten thirds, where the bright lights of their heaven would still be observed to shine. 2. Historical Exposition The phenomena of the fourth trumpet are thus briefly sketched by Mr. Elliott: "The vision has passed; the fourth angel sounds. Hitherto, though its land, its sea, and its frontier rivers and fountains of waters have been desolated, yet the sun has still continued shining on the Western Empire as before. But now at length this too is affected. To the extent of a third part of its orb, it suffers eclipse. The shadow falls over the Western Empire. Then the night supervenes. And see the eclipsing influences act on the luminaries of the night also. Presently the Western third of the moon becomes eclipsed; and of the stars scattered over the symbolic firmament, all that are in the third of the Roman sky, are darkened also." Thus, by the judgments of the first, second, and third, trumpets, the final catastrophe was preparing, by which the emperors of the west and their dominions were to be extinguished. Rome's glory had long departed; its provinces severally and successively separated from it; the territory still remaining to it had become like a desert; and its maritime dependencies, and its fleets and commerce, been annihilated. Little remained to it but the vain titles and insignia of sovereignty; and now the time was come that, by the smiting of the fourth trumpet, these too were to be withdrawn; and that the imperial, or Sixth Head of the Roman Dragon should be "as it were slain unto death," and give place to the Seventh Head, which had not then yet come, and which. "when he cometh, must continue a short space" (Apoc. 13:3 and 17:10). The blast of the fourth trumpet when it began to sound, found Romulus Augustulus, a.d. 476, the last and feeblest of emperors, upon the throne of the catholic dominion of the West. He was placed there by his Father Orestes, the secretary of state to the imperious Attila: and after his death "Patrician, and Master General" of the barbarian confederates in the service of the Western empire, who formed the defence and the terror of Italy. They oppressed and insulted the last remains of Roman freedom and dignity. Their insolence and avarice at length prompted them peremptorily to demand, that a third part of the lands of Italy should be immediately divided among them. But Orestes rejected the audacious demand. The standard of revolt was raised, therefore, by the bold barbarian Odoacer. From all the camps and garrisons of Italy, the confederates flocked to the standard of this popular leader. Overwhelmed by the torrent, Orestes entrenched himself in Pavia, which was stormed and pillaged; and the tumult could be appeased only by his execution. This "smiting" left Augustulus at the mercy of Odoacer, whose clemency he was induced to implore. The success of this revolt elevated the king of the Heruli to the Vicegerency of the Emperor of the West. But deeming the imperial office both useless and expensive, Odoacer determined to abolish it. The unfortunate Augustulus was made the instrument of his own disgrace, by sending in his resignation to the Senate. An epistle was addressed by their unanimous decree to Zeno, the contemporary incumbent of the Byzantine throne. In this document, they solemnly "disclaim the necessity, or even the wish, of continuing any longer the succession in Italy; since, in their opinion, the Majesty of a Sole Monarch is sufficient to pervade and protect, at the same time, both the east and the west. In their own name, and in the name of the people, they consent that the Throne of Universal Empire shall be transferred from Rome to Constantinople; while they renounce the right of choosing a master, the only vestige that yet remained of the authority which had given laws to the world. The republic might safely confide in the civili and military virtues of Odoacer; and they humbly request, that the Emperor would invest him with the title of Patrician, and the administration of the diocese of Italy." After some display of displeasure and indignation. Zeno's prudence and vanity prevailed. He was gratified by the title of Sole Emperor, and by the statues erected to his honor in the several quarters of Rome. He gratefully accepted the imperial ensigns, the sacred ornaments of the throne and palace, which the Patrician Odoacer was not unwilling to remove from the sight of the people. Speaking of Romulus Augustulus, whom Odoacer sent into banishment, Gibbon says, that of all the nine emperors of the last twenty years of the empire, Augustulus "would be the least entitled to the notice of posterity, if his reign, which was marked by the extinction of the Roman empire in the west, did not leave a memorable era in the history of mankind." The epoch was, indeed, remarkable and peculiar. The Roman Sun was still recognized as shining; but still it shed no administrative light in the west. One third of its face was pervaded by the shadow of a darkening body -- the administration of the Patrician of Italy. By this also the light of the Roman Moon was diminished one third; for of what account in the state were the bishop of Rome and his clergy, while "the diocese of Italy" was the patrimony, not of St. Peter and his pretended successor, but of Odoacer and his military compatriots? In a.d. 476, the Western Roman Empire came to end when Romulus Augustulus was deposed. The Eastern Empire gradually eroded until it was brought to its demise by the Ottoman Power in the overthrow of Constantinople in 1453. In the West, the Holy Roman Empire was established by Charlemagne, but in the east the Ottoman Power remained supreme until its decline. Odoacer was the first barbarian who reigned in Italy. The stem Ricimer had exercised the power, without assuming the title, of a king; so that the patient Romans were insensibly prepared to acknowledge the royalty of Odoacer and his barbaric successors. The laws of the emperors were strictly enforced, and the civil administration of Italy was still exercised by the praetorian praefect and his subordinates; while the Roman Magistrates were appointed by Odoacer to the odious and oppressive task of collecting the public revenue. Being an Arian Catholic, the Trinitarian Catholics of the Italian Diocese were in eclipse. Their sect no longer constituted the State Church. The bishop of Rome was now the mere bishop of churches in Rome; and he and his clergy were nothing but sectaries and dissenters. The absence of catholic abuse of the Patrician by his contemporaries, attests the toleration which they enjoyed. His praefect, however, had to interfere in the choice of their bishop that the peace of the city might be preserved. They regarded this interference with disgust; but being under eclipse they could not help themselves. The brightness of their ecclesiasticism was darkened over them; and Trinitarian churches had to submit to the humiliation and defilement of heretical Arian interference in the election of a so-called Successor of St. Peter and St. Paul! Notwithstanding the prudence and success of Odoacer, his patriciate exhibited the sad prospect of misery and desolation. The country was exhausted by the irretrievable losses of war, famine, and pestilence; and Gelasius, the Roman bishop, and one of Odoacer's subjects, affirms, that in Aemilia, Tuscany, and the adjacent provinces, the human species was almost extirpated. The plebeians of Rome, who were fed by the hand of their master, perished or disappeared, as soon as his liberality was suppressed; and the senators, "the stars" of the Roman firmament, bewailed their private loss of wealth and luxury. One third of their ample estates was appropriated to the use of Odoacer's confederates. Actual sufferings were imbittered by the fear of more dreadful evils; and as new lands were allotted to new swarms of barbarians, each senator, or "star," was apprehensive lest the arbitrary surveyors should approach his favourite villa, or his most profitable farm. But the darkening power was irresistible, and absolute master of their fortunes. Desiring to live, they owed some gratitude to the tyrant who spared their lives; and as he could have taken all, they had to accept the portion he was pleased to leave as his pure and voluntary gift. But the end was not immediately. The judgments of the fourth trumpet had not yet "slain" the Imperial Head "as it were to death." Odoacer was the Patrician Representative of the Constantinopolitan Imperiality. He had ruled as such during fourteen years in Rome, and the epoch had now arrived. a.d. 489-493, that he should succumb to the superior genius of Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths, who, after a march of seven hundred miles from the region of Illyria, descended from the Julian Alps, and displayed his invincible banners on the confines of Italy. After the loss of two battles, Zeno's Patrician fled to Ravenna. Favored, however, again "by fortune," Odoacer reappeared upon the field in formidable array. The fierce conflict that ensued was finally decided by the victory of Verona, which conferred on Theodoric the independent royalty of Italy. The assassination of Odoacer, a.d. 493, left him without a rival, and the emperor of the East without a representative to administer the Diocese of Italy. From the Alps to the extremity of Campania, from Sicily to the Danube, and from Belgrade to the Atlantic Ocean, Theodoric reigned first King of the Seventh Head of the Beast. His royalty was proclaimed by the Goths, with a tardy, reluctant and ambiguous recognition by the emperor of the East. He maintained with a powerful hand, during a reign of thirty-three years, the balance of the West; and the Greeks themselves acknowledged that the heretical king of Italy reigned over the fairest portion of the darkened empire of the West. "From a tender regard to the expiring prejudices of Rome, Theodoric declined the name, the purple and the diadem of the emperors; but he assumed," says Gibbon, "under the hereditary title of king, the whole substance and plenitude of imperial prerogative. His addresses to the Eastern Throne were respectful and ambiguous; he celebrated in pompous style the harmony of the two republics, applauded his own government as the perfect similitude of a sole and undivided empire, and claimed above the kings of the earth the same preeminence which he modestly allowed to the person or rank of Anastasius." Thus, while the jurisdiction and authority of the Sixth Head were completely darkened in Rome, after shining upon its Seven Hills for five hundred and twenty-four years, they continued in the light of imperial majesty to illume the eastern third of the catholic firmament. In regard to Rome, "it was slain as it were to death" by the Gothic sword. It seemed to be dead beyond all possibility of being "healed" or restored to life. It was expelled from the Seven Hills, and a new form of government established there, a Seventh Head, which claimed and possessed, and was able to maintain, the preeminence of its predecessor. In the recognition of the sovereignty of the Seventh Head, and the Horn-Powers that had established themselves in the sounding of these tempestuous trumpets, in Gaul, Spain and Africa, by the Sixth Head "the Dragon" had "ceded to the Beast his power, and his throne and a great authority"; so that the worshipful allegiance of catholics "in the whole earth" -- en hole te ge -- was divided between the Dragon and the Beast: as it is written, "they worshipped the dragon which gave power to the beast; and they worshipped the beast saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" -- ch. 13:3, 4. Under the first king of the Seventh Head, prosperity and peace were revived under the shadow of the Seven Hills. Theodoric cultivated the affections of the Roman Senate and people. The nobles were flattered by sonorous epithets and formal professions of respect; while the people enjoyed, without fear or danger, order, plenty, and public amusements. But the reign of Theodoric was only a temporary arrest of judgment. The Seventh Head was only to "continue a short space" -- sixty years, which is "short" compared with the supremacy of the Sixth. This was to be "healed" of its "deadly wound," a process to be enacted at a great cost of blood and treasure. The death wound to the authority of the Sixth Head could only be "healed" by the destruction of the Seventh. When this should be abolished, the obscuration of the Imperial Roman "day and night" would cease. The fourth trumpet does not symbolize the healing of the deadly wound it judicially inflicted. To this our attention will be recalled in my exposition of Apoc. 13. A Warning Proclamation Apoc. 8:13 "And I saw, and I heard from one, an eagle flying in midheaven, saying in a loud voice Woe, woe, woe, to the dwellers upon the earth, from the remaining voices of the trumpet-call of the three angels hereafter to sound." 1. Symbols Explained An angel, in a symbolic sense, represents a class of agents executing a mission to which they have been appointed. We have seen this use of the word in ch. 7:3, where an angel says: "Hurt not the earth and the sea until we have sealed the servants of our Deity." So also in the text of the English version, the "angel flying" is representative of a class of agents having a mission to perform. But Griesbach and other critical editors of the original text read aetos, an eagle, instead of aggelou, an angel. Upon this, Elliott remarks: "The external evidence of manuscripts is decidedly in favor of the former reading. On the other hand, the internal evidence of scriptural analogy, with which Griesbach and the rest did not concern themselves, is as decidedly -- indeed, as it seems to me even more so -- against it. For nowhere in the Apocalypse is the proclaiming function assigned to a bird, or, indeed to any being but an angel or the divine Spirit -- I do not therefore hesitate to retain the reading aggelou." Tregelles reads eagle in his translation, and gives us to understand that it is justified by manuscripts fourteen hundred years old. This would carry us back to the times of the second trumpet. In a note upon the word, the American Bible Union editor says: "I recommend that this reading be adopted and translated eagle; and that the following note appear in the margin: 'Or, as a few copies read angel'." I believe that eagle was the original and correct reading, and that it is supported both by the external evidence of manuscripts, and the internal evidence of apocalyptical testimony. It affords us a very important clue to the mystery of the text. Mr. Elliott is unquestionably mistaken in saying that "nowhere in the Apocalypse is the proclaiming function assigned to a bird." We find the very reverse of this is ch. 6:7, where the fourth living creature, likened to "an eagle flying" in ch. 4:7, makes proclamation, saying, "Come and see!" "An eagle flying" is the ensign of one of the camps of "the Israel of God"; and when we consider their relative position at the time when the Latin Catholic "day and night" were darkened by the fourth trumpet, it symbolized their community very fitly. The eagle was the ensign of the sealed servants of the Deity, who, during the tempestuous times of the first four trumpets, and for centuries after, were protected from extermination by the Serpent-power, in "the two wings of the Great Eagle" -- ch. 12:14. They were an eagle "flying" in the "midheaven" of the great eagle-dominion. They had an angelic mission indicated by the action of flying. This is motion from one place to another for a purpose. The eagle encampment was therefore an angel-community; and hence eagle and angel came afterwards to be traditionally used as equivalents in the text. The angelism of the eagle flying was to warn "the dwellers upon the earth" of what was still coming upon them. That flying in midheaven is symbolical of preaching, or making proclamation, is evident from ch. 14:6, where "another angel" is said to "fly in midheaven having the glad tidings of the Aion to preach unto the dwellers upon the earth." Midheaven, mesouranema is, according to the decorum of the symbol, the region of their flight. They are not luminaries of the political heaven; they are not constituents of the sun, moon, and stars, having no identity, officially or morally, with the secular and spiritual orders they symbolize. Neither are they "of the world," though encamping in the world. "The dwellers upon the- earth" were the Arian and Athanasian catholics, and others, to whom they preached. Hence, the Heavenly they occupied was peculiar to themselves; it was, as it were, in the midst between the heaven of government and the peoples governed. In this midheaven they winged their flight as "one" of the four living ones, the fourth, or eagle flying saying, "Woe, Woe, Woe, to the dwellers upon the earth" -- woes issuing "out of the remaining voices of the trumpetcall of the three angels hereafter to sound." And because these woes were to issue out of the fifth, sixth and seventh trumpets, the last three have been appropriately enough styled woe-trumpets. In the ninth chapter, we enter upon the consideration of the fifth and sixth woes; the latter not being exhausted till the epoch indicated in ch. 11:13, 14. The third woe will prove the most terrific of all winds and woes; to "the dwellers upon the earth," catholics, protestants, "sectaries," and "infidels"; for, to the Lion, the Ox, the Man and the Flying Eagle -- symbols of the saints -- will be given the consummating judgments of the three "Woes," that they may slay the beast, and give his body politic to the burning flame -- Dan. 7:11, 26. 2. Historical Exposition We have seen in ch. 7, that the judgments of the first four trumpets were restrained until the work of sealing the servants of the Deity should be sufficiently advanced. The tempests that were to wreck the state, and dash it in pieces upon the rocks, were not to blow until there should be a community of faithful ones developed, who should be able to read the signs of their times aright, and be able to instruct others. This is implied in their being "sealed in their foreheads". Being thus prepared, when the trumpets sounded they could call the attention of their contemporaries to the true situation of affairs; and in so doing deliver them from the superstition and blasphemy of such blind leaders as Chrysostom, Jerome, Augustine, Ambrose, Cyril, and others, of the catholic church by law established. These all assumed that the superstition they professed was the true religion; and that when Antichrist appeared, he would be "some great man raised up by the devil," who would head "the apostasy," which could be no other than a falling away "from the right faith, from truth, and from good works," as presented to the dwellers upon the earth in the traditions with which they made void the word. They taught that Antichrist was to appear in a Jewish temple, and from among the Jews, and gain the empire of the world. They were all impressed with the idea that the dissolution of the Roman empire into ten kingdoms was at hand; their Antichrist would be revealed, and then destroyed by Christ, about a.d. 500, which was to be the end of the world! The gloomy forebodings among them respecting their near future were heightened by chronological ignorance. They imagined that the world was nearly 6,000 years old. Hilarion, a.d. 402, thus wrote: "It now wants 101 years to the end of the Sixth Chiliad about the closing of which the ten kings must arise, Babylon, now reigning, fall, Antichrist arise and be destroyed by Christ's coming, and so the saints' sabbath millennary begin." To read the vagaries solemnly propounded by these Laodiceans, is to remind us of the times in which we live. The confusion of ideas was truly marvellous. Their speculations were as hairbrained as those of Mormons, Millerites and clergymen at large, in the age in which we live. They had been given over to "believe a lie, that they all might be condemned who believed not the truth; but had pleasure in" their own righteousness, which was "unrighteousness." What, then, was to be done in this extremity? They could no more deliver themselves from their own blasphemies, than the natural man from his own ignorance. The remedy was at hand, if they had been sagacious enough to discern it; but, like our contemporaries, they cruelly persecuted and denounced it as heresy, and put it from them. The remedy was the Eagle-Angel preaching of the truth. These preachers being "sealed in their foreheads," would be able to explain to them that the dissolution of the Western Empire was not the end of the world, but a judgment upon them as the real apostasy foretold by Paul. That they were deceivers and deceived. That the end of the world was not at hand, nor the reign of the saints either. That the trumpet-judgments of heaven were a call upon them to "repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship daemons, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood, which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk; -- to repent of their murders, of their sorceries, of their fornication and of their thefts" (ch. 9:20, 21). That of all these crimes they were guilty, and had been punished by heretical and pagan firebrands, as Alaric, Genseric, Attila, and other barbarian scourges; and that the terrible calamities they endured were not complete. That, as they repented not of the works of their hands; or, in the words of Jerome, though "the Roman world rushes to destruction, we bend not our neck in humiliation;" therefore, "Woe, Woe, Woe" to them, both of the east and the west, because of the judgments yet to befall them before the end should come. While this eagle-angel proclamation was warning the people, war, pestilence, and famine, in all the reign of Justinian, were plaguing them with unexampled miseries. A hundred millions of the human race were exterminated in his reign. But this was only introductory to the coming "woes." The camp of safety was with "the flying eagle." The belief and obedience of the gospel of the kingdom was then, as now, the only seal protective from the sword. Being the largest bird of Palestine, the eagle was considered the monarch of the skies. It is also identifiable with the standard of Dan. One of the faces of the Cherubim was that of the eagle (Ezek. 1:10; 10:14), and one of the four living creatures surrounding the throne of Rev. 4, is described as "like a flying eagle" (v. 7). The speed, vision, strength, and lofty skimming of the eagle are symbolic of the attributes of the Spirit.