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not presumptuous. Recollect the preface to this book, Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein. What is meant by reading and hearing, but to endeavour to understand? And how are we to keep these things, that is, Come out of Babylon and not partake of her sins; nor receive the mark of the beast, nor the number of his name, if we are ignorant of the things here written? An unclouded knowledge is not to be expected; but all that is necessary to direct in duty; to teach the wonderful ways of God, and to guard from evil; the wise may understand." *
“ The evils of those trumpets,” says Dr. Cressener, “ which happened during the reign of the beast, must be " the most remarkable calamities that befel the Roman
empire within the twelve hundred and sixty years of “ his reign. From hence it would be inferred, that the “ Saracen vexations of the Roman empire, must necessa“ rily be one of the plagues of these trumpets.”+ He goes on to argue that the Turkish hostilities must be the business of another, and that the Saracen, and Turkish empires, must 'necessarily be the first and second woes. Of this, indeed, there can be but little doubt among wellinformed Christians. This being admitted, we next proceed to inquire which were the four most remarkable calamities that fell upon the Roman empire, and hastened its ruin, previous to the irruption of the Saracens? And as the overthrow of the Eastern part of that empire was reserved for the Turks, the inquiry more immediately concerns those calamities which precipitated the ruin of the Western part; the body of the fourth beast of Daniel, and of these calamities, four of them must be more re- ' markable than the rest.
The fourth trumpet appears plainly to have brought those calamities, which hastened the downfal of the western Cæsars, Consuls, Præfects, Senate, '&c. for sun, moon, and stars, we have seen to signify, in the prophetic style, the supreme and subordinate rulers in a state. Nor are we to look, as is generally agreed, for the commence
* Dan, xii. 10.
+ Judgments of God, &c. p. 13. The Jesuit Pererius in Disput. 9. in Apoc. says,
" This is abov all to be retained, that there are ere “ foretold the most eminent and most remarkable furtunes and events in “the Church, both prosperous and the contrary, from the beginning of 6l it to the last end of it."
ment of the judgments of the first trumpet, till the Roman empire becaine Christian in the reign of Constantine; and it is probable, that the half hour's silence in heaven, (the political heaven, verse i.) signifies the universal peace, which succeeded the settlement of Constantine on the imperial throne, that is, from the year 314 to 320; for silence, as Daubuz has observed, “ metaphorically « signities any ceasing from action, silence in war is a ces“sation from acts of hostility, thus Tully's Silentio civile “ bellum confecerat, * and Statius, Jusiique silentia bello." + According to prophetic time, the period of the above peace exactly agrees with this half hour's silence.
Allowing that we are to look for the judgments of the first four trumpets, between the time when the empire became Christian, or rather Antichristian, and the ravages of the Saracens, as all our best writers agree, our business then is to examine whether history supports the propriety of this application, and what those four great calamnities were, which terminated in the smiting of the third part of the sun, moon, and stars, of the Roman empire.
Men having, from the earliest ages, made the convulsious of nature, and the changes which it undergoes from the agitation of the elements, the symbols of political commotions, and revolutions ; it is no wonder that the terrors of the one should excite in their minds foreboding apprehensions of the other. This was the case previous to the bursting out of those extraordinary miseries which precipitated the fall of the western Roman empire. “In * the second year of Valentinian, and Valens, (A. D. 365.) " the greatest part of the Roman world was shaken by a “ violent earthquake. The impression (says Gibbon) was
communicated to the waters; the shores of the Media “ terranean were left dry, by the sudden retreat of the
sea; great quantities of fish were caught with the “ hand; large vessels were stranded on the mud; and a “ curious spectator amused his eye, or rather his fancy, “ by contemplating the various appearance of vallies and “ mountains, which had never, since the formation of the “ globe, been exposed to the sun. But the tide soon re" turned, with the weight of an immense and irresistible
I M.T. Cic. Philip. xiii. § Pap. Stat. Theb. Lib. x, ver. 756.
" 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 people, “ with their habitations, were swept away by the waters; " and the city of Alexandria annually commemorated the “ fatal day, on which fifty thousand persons had lost their " lives in the inundation. This calamity astonished and "terrified the subjects of Rome-they considered these “ alarming strokes as the prelude only of still more dread
ful calamities; and their fearful vanity was disposed to o confound the symptoms of a declining empire and a
sinking world.”* But, as the historian adds, “ Man “ has much more to fear from the passions of his fellow
creatures, than from the convulsions of the elements. “ The mischievous effects of an earthquake, or deluge, a “ hurricane, or the eruption of a volcano, bear a very in" considerable proportion to the calamities of war.-In " the disastrous period of the fall of the Roman empire, “ which may justiy be dated from the reign of Valens, " the happiness and security of each individual were per“sonally attacked, and the arts and labours of ages were “rudely defaced by the barbarians of Scythia and Ger
many. The invasion of the Huns precipitated on the provinces of the west, the Gothic nation, which ad
vanced, 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.'
From this period we may date the sounding of the first trumpet. In the year 376, the Northern nations, inhabiting the vast regions from the Caspian to the Baltic, were instantaneously, as at the sound of some mighty trumpet, put into one general commotion. The Huns were the first who started from their comparative repose : and suddenly transporting themselves, their fiocks and herds, their wives and children, their dependants and allies, across the Volga, they first attacked the Alans, and then the Goths; and seizing their territories, drove before them innumerable multitudes of wretched fugitives, who fled to seek a new country.
* Gibbon's Decline and Fall the Roman Empire, Vol. IV. page + Gibbon, Vol. IV. page 371-375.
Those who were first driven upon the confines of the Roman empire were the Visigoths; that is, Western Goths. Their multitudes, say's Gibbon, covered the space of many miles along the banks of the Danube. Urged by despair and hunger, they, with out-stretched arms, and the most bitter lamentations, solicited admission into the Roman territory. Valens listened to their prayers, , and they were transported over the Danube, and a settlement allotted them in Thrace. The number of Gothic warriors are fixed at two hundred thousand men, and, with the women and children, Gibbon calculates the whole mass of people, which composed this formidable emigration, to amount to near a million of persons of both sexes, and of all ages.
Soon after these followed the Ostrogoths, or Eastern Goths, who also intreated a settlement in the Roman ter: ritory. “ The refusal of Valens suspended their progress " --refused a settlement, they advanced into the unknown o countries of the north ; but, after four years, they re66 turned to the banks of the Lower Danube, and though " defeated by the Romans, obtained, from Theodosius, a “ settlement in Thrace and Italy.”* As to the Visigoths, no sooner had they passed the Danube, than, pinched with hunger, and cruelly oppressed by the Roman governors, they revolted; and, defeating the Roman army, they ravaged Thrace and the adjoining provinces. This was the beginning of the most dreadful evils that ever afflicted the Roman empire. In the year 395, being under the conduct of their renowned leader, Alaric, they turned their arms against Greece, Macedonia, Thessala, and Pannonia, destroying all with fire and sword. In the year 400, the west was alarmed with a sudden irruption of the same Barbarians. Italy, they again, and again, laid waste ; and, in the year 410, Rome was taken by Alaric, and given up to plunder. “The calamities of “ Rome and Italy (says Gibbon) dispersed the inhabitants " to the most lonely, the most secure, the most distant 6s places of refuge.--This awful catastrophe of Rome os filled the astonished empire with grief and terror." +
Alaric dying, (A. D. 410.) he was succeeded by Ataulphus, who, negotiating a peace with the Imperial Court,
* Univer. An. Hist. Vol. XVII. page 191. Gib. Vol. V. page 176, 177.
† Vol. V. page 190, 252, 289, 303–322. Univ. An. Hist. Vol. XVII. page 194.-197.
turned his arms against the Barbarians, who, taking ad, vantage of the troubles which afflicted Rome, had seized some of the most fertile provinces of Gaul. He soon reduced Narbonne, and Toulouse, and láid the foundation of a Gothic kingdom, of which Toulouse became, and continued to be, for the space of eighty years, the capital; that is, till the year 508, when Clovis, (whose name was also written Hludovius, Ludovius, and Ludicin) king of the Franks, overcame the Visigoths, and united their kingdom to his own.
In the year 415, Ataulphus entered Spain, and attacked the Vandals, Alans, and Suevians, who had seized that country. His successor here fought the battles of the Romans against the Barbarians, and was rewarded with an addition of territory by the cession of Aquitain Secunda. “ About the same time, in the last years of Honorius, the " Burgundians and the Franks also obtained a perinanent 66 seat and dominion in Gaul. Thus was the Roman empire falling to pieces, and becoming the property of new masters. The Visigoths pursued their ravages and conquests, till the Romans had lost all footing in Gaul. The dominion of the Goths extended from the Loire to the Alps; whilst the Alamans, the Burgundians, and Franks, occupied the other parts, from the Batavian isle in the North; and from the Rhine to the British Channel. The kingdom of the latter is said to have been founded by Pharamond, who reigned from the year 417, to the year 428, and increased to what we have seen it; the scourge of Europe, and the tomb of Christian martyrs. We have witnessed its end, and in its downfal has been displayed the justice of God in avenging the blood of the innocent. +
In Spain also, a Gothic kingủom was erected by Euric, king of the Visigoths, who, in the year 463, drove the Romans quite out of that country, after they had possessed it seven hundred years; and governed it (except Galicia, and part of Lusitania, now Portugal, which was subject to the Suevians,) by his Lieutenants; himself res siding at Thoulouse. I
* Gib. Vol. V. p. 359.
+ The Alamans were subdued by Clovis, king of the Franks, A. D. 496; and the final conquest of the kingdom of the Burgundians was effected A. D. 532: Gib. Vol. VI. p. 315, 328. The reader is not to suppose that the Goths were the only people