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There is not any supposable interval between the sounding of the third and fourth trumpets, because Antichristianism and ignorance go together; and therefore, as soon as the star of the third trumpet began to fall, the eclipse of the fourth must have begun to tinge the disk of the luminaries of the heavens. Its origin was in the commencement of the declination of the star ; but its duration is far beyond the limits of any natural eclipse of the sun or planets. For hundreds of years this darkness continued to thicken, and to spread the most fearful and destructive gloom over the world.-It must, however, be admitted, that the light of truth was never completely extinguished in the West. There were always some who lamented over the general ignorance and superstition of the times, who laboured to make themselves acquainted with the truth, and who were faithful and zealous to transmit it to succeeding witnesses. Wherever the darkness extended, it was black indeed ; sun, and moon, and stars, were smitten : but the whole surface of these luminaries was not covered with the shade ; it was only a third part that was obscured. The eclipse of this trumpet was widely different from the darkness of the next; for under the fifth trumpet, the whole disk of every luminous body in the mystical heavens was shrouded in darkness; the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke which rose up out of the pit,' chap. ix. 2.
This chapter is concluded with a general notice respecting the three following trumpets. A series of events was to take place under them which would be peculiarly distressing. Every blast of the preceding trumpets had been the sound of alarm; but the notice prefixed to those that were to succeed is fitted to excite a much greater degree of terror. A threefold woe is denounced by reason of the voices of the trumpets of the three angels which were yet to sound. And to mark the absolute certainty of the prediction, John assures us, that he both heard and saw the angel by whom these woes were proclaimed. Ver. 13. I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound.
tions of war, the sacerdotal and monastic orders lost gradually all taste for solid science, in the place of which they substituted a lifeless spectre, an enormous phantom of barbarous erudition.'-Mosh, Eccl. History, vol. I.
How all that is here stated hath been verified will come naturally to be considered in the illustration of the woe-trumpets, as laid in the order of the subsequent predictions.
OBSERV. 1st, A state of ignorance is fitly represented under the emblem of darkness. The natural condition of the soul is often symbolized by this figure. Of the Gentiles it is said, that they walked in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart,' Eph. iv. 18; and of believers in Christ we are told, that they are delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son, Col. i. 13.A state of darkness is both uncomfortable and perilous. And what consolations can those persons enjoy, who continue to be ignorant of all those sources whence genuine consolation may be drawn? How perilous the circumstances of those who are in danger of imposition from every seducer, of stumbling upon every block that may be lying in their way, and of falling headlong into the pit of everlasting despair !
2d, The greatest mental darkness may sometimes prevail, even among the professed friends and followers of Christ. This mystical eclipse was in the heavens of the church ; and, though it was only partial, yet the effect of it, as to multitudes, was the same as if it had been total. To them the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
3d, Whatever degrees of ignorance and corruption may prevail, the light of truth shall still be preserved. In no period since the revelation of mercy has the lamp of truth been quenched. When it was put out in one region, it was lighted up in another; when it perished in the East, it suffered only a partial eclipse in the West. Individuals were raised
who made themselves familiarly acquainted with the truth, and who were zealous in its propagation and defence. They shone like
stars between the openings of the clouds.* They were so widely scattered over the heavens, that there is no country in Europe but can boast of some of them as its chief ornaments.
4th, There is no judgment so terrible, but something worse may be dreaded, where the voice of warning is disregarded. We can hardly conceive of greater calamities than those described in the history of the first four trumpets ; and yet before the sound of the fifth was heard, an angel was seen flying in the midst of heaven, loudly proclaiming to the inhabitants of the earth, that far more serious calamities were about to befall them. What a fearful thing is it to fall into the hands of the .living God! The arrows of his quiver can never be exhausted.
Besides these numerous individuals, there were also public organized bodies of men throughout the whole of the dark ages, who were honoured to display a banner because of the truth. In the valleys of Piedmont, there were thousands of Christians who never once acknowledged the authority of the Pope, nor had any fellowship with that church of which he is the head. So far as their religious opinions can now be ascertained, they seem to have held the same grand articles of faith that were afterwards so generally embraced at the Reformation. In the sequestered valleys between the high mountains of the Alps, “ they continued steadfast in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Popish writers admit that they existed before the 12th century; they represent them as the most ancient of all heretics. They are supposed to have betaken themselves to this wilderness in the times of Heathen persecution, before Constantine's elevation to the throne. Many ages passed over before the church of Rome paid them any attention, or seemed to know that such a people existed. Like the Christians, who have lately been discovered in the remote regions of the East, they lived without being known or molested by the rest of the world. They were secured by the natural bulwarks of the country against any sudden attack; and by the same means they were kept at a distance from the errors and corruptions which disfigured the other parts of the Christian church. But after the followers of Peter Waldo fled from the fury of persecution to seek a refuge in the same mountains, they came more into public notice, and had the same cup put into their hands of which the Waldenses had been drinking. For the space of two hundred years after this, they continued to be hunted like wild beasts upon the mountains, and were counted as sheep for the slaughter. Multituđes perished ; others fled into the different countries of Europe, and went forth weeping, and sowing that precious seed which produced such a plentiful harvest at the period of the Reformation. In our own country, the Lord saw meet to ordain a lamp for his anointed, in the singular institutions of the Culdees. Their chief employment was to train up men for the office of the holy ministry; and as they drew their information from the proper source of light, the holy Scriptures, many parts of Scotland, especially in the Western islands, were favoured with a learned and evan. gelical ministry, while the inhabitants of a more genial climate and a richer soil were left to wander in all the mazes of error and delusion. It were easy to trace through the long period of Popish darkness, that the existence of a public body endeavoured to be faithful for Christ, who either had no connexion with the church of Rome, or boldly opposed her corruptions,
Rev. ix. 1-12. And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth : and to him was given the
key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out
of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and
the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth ; and
unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth
And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the
grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads, And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but
that they should be tormented five months : and their torment
was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it;
and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared
unto battle ; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their
faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were
as the teeth of lions. And they had breast-plates, as it were breast-plates of iron; and
the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many
horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions ; and there were stings in
their tails : and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon,
but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
The chapter we have lately explained is concluded with an intimation respecting the peculiarly afflictive nature of the events of the last three trumpets. That intimation was in a threefold woe, which has given to these trumpets the name of Woe-trumpets. They require anly to be read in order to convince us, that evils of a very serious nature are intended.The verses before us belong to the prophecy of the first woetrumpet, in which the principal symbols are a star and an angel. The first is introduced at the beginning, and the second towards the close, of the prophecy. The star being first in or. der has the previous claim to our attention.
John assures us, that when the fifth angel sounded, he saw a star fall from heaven to the earth. As we have frequently met with this symbol, it is sufficient to remind you, that a star is the common hieroglyphic for a minister of religion. This is its invariable meaning in all those texts that have come under our review, in which this figure was introduced. And while there is nothing in the connexion in which it is placed here that requires a different interpretation, we are under the necessity of concluding, that some public official character belong. ing to the church is intended by the symbol.
There are two particulars in which the star of the third trumpet differs from the star of the fifth. The former is said expressly to have been a great star, chap. viï. 10; but there is no such intimation with respect to the latter. We must therefore suppose that this was only an ordinary star; that there was nothing very luminous in its appearance, or eminently distinguished in the place which it occupied among the constellations of the heavens. It was the symbol of a minister of the word, whose gifts had either no great degree of brillianey, or whose sphere of action and of usefulness was very limited. But the principal thing which marks the difference between