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have,' says bp. Newton, observed on this seal, that a chænix of corn, the measure here mentioned was a man's daily allowance, as a penny?' was his daily wages ; so that if his daily labor could earn no more than his daily bread, without other provisions for himself or his family, corn must needs bear a VERY HIGH PRICE22. To the same pur, pose speaks Mr. Lowman in his paraphrase. In the times of this prophecy, the price of a measure of wheat shall be a penny, and three measures of barley shall cost the same price; the whole wages of a man's labor for a day, shall only purchase so much corn, as is an usual daily allowance; so that all he can get must be laid out on the very necessaries of life, without any provision of other conveniences for himself or family, and a scarcity of oil and wine 3 will make exactness in their measures very necessary also.'

phetic of a great scarcity of provisions is observed, among other commentators, by Goodwin, Lightfoot and Daubuz.

21 That is, a Roman Denarius.

22 Notwithstanding this observation of the prelate, he seems unaccountably to regard the third seal as predictive of a period rather of plenty than of want; and declares, that it refers to the two and forty years, which elapsed from the accession of Septimus Severus to the death of Alexander Severus. The prophecy has, also, in the opinion of bp. Newton, a par. ticular reference to the conduct of those two emperors, as well as to the state of the Roman empire at that time. What that conduct, and that state of things, was, the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire will inform us. Whenever Septimus Severus 'deviated from the strict line of equity, it was generally in favor of the poor and oppressed. - The calm of peace and prosperity was once more experienced in the provinces; and many cities, restored by the munificence of Severus, assumed the title of his colonies, and attested by public monuments their gratitude and felicity.--And he boasted with a just pride, that, having received the empire oppressed with foreign and domestic wars, he left it established in profound, universal, and honorabie peace.' Of this prince it is related, though the account cannot but be regarded as exaggerated, that he left in the public granaries a provision of corn for seven years, at the rate of 75,000 modii, or about 2500 quarters a day.' In the reign of Alexander Severus, the provinces flourished in peace and prosperity, under the administration of magistrates, wḥo were convinced by experience, that to deserve the love of the subjects, was their best and only method of obtaining the favor of their sovereign. While some gentle restraints were imposed on the innocent luxury of the Roman people, the price of provisions, and the interest of money, were reduced by the paternal care of Alexander.' Vol. I. p. 197, 198, 246. Whether the events of this period do, or do not correspond, to the emblems of the third seal, cannot, I think, be a question of very difficult decision.

Both the period of the third seal being ascertained, and the import of the prophetic symbols discovered, it will not, I apprehend, be very difficult to point to those great events, which constitute its accomplishment. It announces, that the Roman empire, which is the theatre of the events fore. told in the seven seals, shall, during the predicted period, of about 300 years, be the scene of mighty conquests ; it declares, that the political horizon shall be clouded by calamity, and that the inhabitants of the Roman empire shall be especially afflicted by an unaccustomed scarcity of provisions : and it refers to that mighty revolution produced by the successive inundations and numerous victories of the Goths, the Vandals, and the Huns, and the other

23 Wine, oil, and corn, together make, says Daubuz (in loc.), the whole product of the fruits of the earth necessary for human life.' That oil should be ranked as one of the necessaries of life, and classed among those things, the want of which would be most severely felt, may perhaps be a ground of wonder to the mere English reader. But such was the fact. Accordingly we find, that in different writers united mention is often made of wine, oil and corn. Thus in his account of a scarcity of provi. sions Julius Capitolinus (In Antonin. Pio, c. 8) has this expression, vini, olei, et tritici penuria ; and the following are the words of Mr. Gibbon (vol. VIII. p. 151), when speaking of the Lombards, the business of agriculture, in the cultivation of corn, vines, and olives, was exercised with degenerate skill and industry.' . When the luxurious citizens of Antioch complained of the high price of poultry and fish, Julian,' as the English historian relates (vol. IV. p. 147), publicly declared, that a fru. gal city ought to be satisfied with a regular supply of wine, oil, and bread;' and Mr. Gibbon else where says (vol. V. p. 281), in the manners of antiquity the use of oil was indispensable for the lamp, as well as for the bath ; and the annual tax, which was imposed on Africa for the bene. fit of Rome, amounted to the weight of three millions of pounds, to the measure, perhaps, of three hundred thousand gallons.' Oil,' says the president Goguet (Origin of Arts and Sciences, vol. I. p. 112), “is at least as necessary to man as wine, and other liquors of that kind. There are few arts which do not require the use of oil.' The ancients consumed vast quantities of it, and put it to many more uses than we do at present.'

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Barbarians of the North and the East; who dismembered the Roman empire, who served as a scourge in the hands of God to chastise the vices and superstitions of the Christian world, and who, by destroying a very large part of the inhabitants of civilised Europe by means of famine and the sword, and by embracing a religion of mildness and mercy, which they little understood, and were little disposed to practise, prepared the way for a more complete corruption of the religion of Jesus, for the conquests of the Saracens and the Turks, and for the consequent extinction of the Christian faith in Mahometan countries.

Having advanced an interpretation of the third seal altogether different from any before alleged, it is incumbent on me to bring forward historic attestations in support of it. They are taken from the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a work of incredible diligence, and displaying uncommon vigour of mind, but no part of which, we are certain, was intended by its unbelieving author to attest the truth, or to illustrate the meaning of prophecy. As the period, characterised by the emblems of the third seal, extends over three centuries, I cannot do justice to my subject, without transcribing a long chain of testimonies relating to the different parts of that period. But I certainly should not have ventured to have transcribed them, were not the subversion and dismemberment of the Roman empire, the consequent diminution of mankind, and the memorable relapse of the civilised world into ignorance and barbarism, events, in themselves, of the first magnitude and importance. I should, however, have been content to have referred the reader to Mr. Gibbon's History, were not the facts, illustrative of the third seal, scattered over many hundred pages of that work.

It is proper to premise, that the evils resulting from the devastation of armies, and the dearth of provisions, cannot all at once ascend to any very considerable height, but must be gradual in their progress; and it may be remarked, that, as the ravages of famine often spread in secrecy and silence, as the complaints of the poor are frequently stifled by the

arts of policy and the arm of power, and as occurrences of this kind are totally destitute of that variety and splendor, which characterise the operations of war and the revolutions of government, they are commonly passed over by the historian unexplained and unrecorded.

As early as the year 331, and when Constantine filled the throne of the Roman world, the Goth: ' passed the Danube, and spread terror and devastation through the province of Mæsia. To oppose the inroad of this destroying host, the aged emperor took the field in person ; bụt on this occasion either his conduct or his fortune betrayed the glory which he had acquired in so many foreign and domestic wars.' About the middle of the fourth century, the Bar. barians of the land and sea, the Scots, the Picts, and the Saxons, spread themselves, with rapid and irresistible fury, from the wall of Antonius to the shores of Kent.' And the Illyrian provinces, in the year 357, and in the reign of Constantius, the son of Constantine, were exposed, almost without defence, to the light cavalry of the Barbarians; and particularly to the inroads of the Quadi, a fierce and powerful nation. But there were other provinces, in the reign of the son of Constantine, still more cppressed by the depredations of the Barbarians. In the blind fury of civil discord, Constantius had abandoned to the Barbarians of Germany the countries of Gaul, which still acknowleged the authority of his rival. A numerous swarm of Franks and Alemanni were invited to cross the Rhine by presents and promises, by the hopes of spoil, and by a perpetual grant of all the territories which they should be able to subdue. But the emperor, who for a temporary service had thus imprudently provoked the rapacious spirit of the Barbarians, soon discovered and lamented the difficulty of dismissing these formidable allics, after they had tasted the richness of the Roman soil. Regardless of the nice distinction of loyalty and rebellion, these undisciplined robbers treated as their natural enemies all the subjects of the empire, who possessed any property which they were desirous of acquiring Forty-five flourishing cities, Tongres,

Cologne, Treves, Worms, Spirės, Strasburgh, &c. besides a far greater number of towns and villages, were pillaged, and for the most part reduced to ashes.-Fixing their independent habitations on the banks of rivers, the Rhine, the Moselle, and the Meuse, they secured themselves against the danger of a surprise, by a rude and hasty fortification of large trees.—The Alemanni were established in the modern countries of Alsace and Lorraine ; the Franks occupied the island of the Batavians, together with an extensive district of Brabant.-From the sources, to the mouth, of the Rhine, the conquests of the Germans extended above forty miles to the West of that river;-and the scene of their devastations was three times more extensive than that of their conquests. At a still greater distance the open towns of Gaul were deserted, and the inhabitants of the fortified cities, who trusted to their strength and vigilance, were obliged to content themselves with such supplies of corn, as they could raise on the vacant land within the inclosure of their walls. The diminished legions, destitute of pay and provisions, of arms and discipline, trembled at the approach, and even at the name, of the Barbarians.' In the year 362, it may be added, so considerable a scarcity of corn was felt in Antioch and the cities of Syria, as to generate public discontent.

Thirty thousand Visigoths, the subjects of Hermanric, who reigned from the Euxine to the Baltic, and over the greatest part of Germany and Scythia, passed the Danube in the year 366; " and the provinces of Thrace groaned under the weight of the Barbarians. Whilst the maritime provinces of Gaul and Britain, about the year 371, were harassed by the Saxons: the Quadi, and a body of Sarmatian cavalry, invaded Pannonia, in the year 374, and in the season of harvest ; and unmercifully destroyed every object of plunder which they could not easily transport24.'

24 Decl. and Fall of the Rom. Emp. vol. III. p. 123, 195, 213; vol. IV. p. 147, 286–329.



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