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Besides these general notices, there is a more particular account of this vast army in what follows: ver. 17, And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breast-plates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone : and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions : and out of their mouths issued fire, and smoke, and brimstone.—John had a distinct representation both of the riders and their horses. The first appeared to him to have breast-plates of fire, and jacinth, and brimstone. Fire and brimstone, in the literal sense of the terms, never could compose any part of the materials of a breast-plate ; instead of defending, they would have suffocated the wearer. Neither could jacinth be of any utility for defence; the first stroke of a sword or sabre would ' have broken it in pieces. The allusion, it is presumed, is rather to the colour or appearance of the breast-plates
, than to the materials of which they were framed. Fire has a red or scarlet appearance, jacinth is blue, and brimstone is yellow ; and to this day the uniform of the Turkish troops is of these three colours. In this remarkable vision, the prophet to have been favoured with a representation of a Turkish in full uniform, drawn up in the order of battle.-With respect to the horses, he tells us that their heads were as the heads of lions. The Saracen soldiers had teeth like a lion ; but here the comparison is stated, not with the teeth merely, but with the whole head of that beast of prey. As the head of the lion has something peculiarly bold and majestic, this emblem might be intended to intimate, that the strength and the appearance
of this army would be very formidable.
Though horses are mentioned, it is extremely probable that cannon or artillery is the thing meant. This opinion is corroborated by the two following considerations:First, It was very common in the early period of this branch of warfare, to have a device like the head of a lion, or some other beast of prey, upon the heavy artillery. Secondly, The clause that immediately follows out of their mouth proceeded fire, and smoke, and brimstone-can hardly be applied to any
else than fire-arms or artillery.-John speaks of them under the name of horses, because in his day fire-arms were unknown; and as cavalry was then the most formidable species of military force, it was natural for him to make use of a figure borrowed from them, to describe the physical as well as the numerical strength of the Turkish army. It was under this trumpet, about the year 1340, that gunpowder was discovered, by Schwartz, a monk of Cologne, and soon after applied to the purposes of war. All the nations of Europe availed themselves of this terrible engine of destruction ; but at first it was not more generally nor more successfully used by any people than by the Tụrks. They were among the first that employed cannon for battering down the walls of fortified places; some of which were of such enormous size, that they required sixty or seventy yoke of oxen to drag them along. Fourteen batteries, with cannon of this description, thundered at once upon Constantinople, till it was reduced. John seems to have got a representation of a modern battle, or was shown by significant emblems how sieges were to be conducted in the period of this trumpet. When he looked upon this army, he could see nothing but fire and smoke, and hear only the confused noise of musquetry, or the roar of artillery. Hence it is said, that out of their mouths issued fire, and smoke, and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
It is added in the close of the description, as in ver. 19. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails : for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. These symbolical horses did mischief in different and opposite directions; they had power both in their mouths and in their tails; they appeared as if they had been possessed of two heads, both of which had the power to do hurt, and were therefore peculiarly formidable on the field of battle.*
The allusion is supposed to be to a very singular species of serpent' which has two heads, one at each end of the body; and of which Pliny in his natural history has given the following description :- Geminum caput Amphisbenæ, hoc est ad caput, et ad caudam, tanquam parum esset uno ore fundi venenum.'Plin. Hist. Nat. quoted by Lowman.
To form some idea of what the prophet saw, you must conceive of a train of artillery dragged by horses, whose riders were armed with carabines or muskets, which, when discharged over the heads of the horses, to the view of the prophet, who never saw nor heard of any thing in war like it, must have appeared as if the fire and smoke had proceeded out of their mouths. The cannon must have appeared as the tail, and the device, or lion's head, as the mouth of the tail; and when discharged, the fire, and smoke, and sulphur, must have appeared as if they had proceeded from the tail.
But this is not the whole of what is intended by the figure. The Saracen locusts had tails, and stings in their tails, which, we have seen, must be understood of the corrupt doctrines which they propagated ; “for the prophet which teacheth lies, he is the tail.” And in the same sense we must consider the figure in this prophecy; for the Turks propagated the same destructive system of opinions with the Saracens. Whatever country they subjugated, the religion of Mahomet was instantly established in it. They were generally more violent and bloody in their measures for its propagation and establishment than their predecessors. This false system of faith and worship is the spurious brood of the old serpent; and when the tails of these symbolical locusts are said to have been like unto serpents, the figure is the more descriptive of that wicked system which it is intended to symbolize.
OBSERv. 1st, The intercession of Christ, whether in behalf of his friends, or against their enemies, is very powerful. The voice which John heard from the golden altar seemed to proceed from the horns of the altar. As if every horn had been a mouth, and all of them were speaking at the same time, the united sound of the four horns must have been very powerful. • Him the Father heareth always.
2d, The enemies of the church are bound or loosed at the pleasure of her King. For many ages he imposed powerful restraints upon the angels of the Euphrates; but when the commission was given that they should be loosed, all restraints were taken off, and they soon became the terror both of Asia and of Europe, and a greater scourge to mankind than all that had preceded them.
3d, The work of judgment in this world is limited; there are certain limits beyond which the executioners of wrath are not permitted to pass. For 391 years and 15 days this army of horsemen might traverse the globe, and plunder and make havock wherever they came; but after this period, though they might still continue to be numerous, they would cease to be successful. The Ottoman empire still exists ; but its military force is now become contemptible, and its existence, as a political association, is becoming every day more and more precarious.
4th, The greatest judgment that can befall a people is the propagation of a false system of religion among them. It is particularly noticed of the locusts, that they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails; and with equal particularity it is mentioned of the army of horsemen, that their power was in the mouth, and in the tails of the horses; for their tails, were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they did hurt.
THE RELIGION AND MORALITY OF THE CHURCH OF ROME.
Rev. ix. 20, 21. And the rest of the men, which were not killed
by these plagues, yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood; which neither can
see, nor hear, nor walk : Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries,
nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
The verses before us partake of the same prophetical character with those already considered; but they are written in a style very different from that which is commonly employed by this prophet. Here we meet with almost nothing that can be said to be figurative. The language is plain, simple, and familiar ; and must be understood in the same sense in which we would undoubtedly have taken it, supposing the terms and expressions had been used in his gospel, or in any of his epistles
. They are intended to describe the hardened and unfeeling state of those who are called the rest of the men, and who were not killed by the judgments either of the first or of the second of the woe-trumpets.
The first point to be determined is, Who are meant by these hardened and impenitent men ? The text is not without intimations which may lead to a discovery." They are such as were not killed by the army of the horsemen. And, as the ravages of this army were spread over all those regions of the East where the religion of Jesus Christ had been propagated, we must look for them in the West, where neither the plague of the locusts was permitted to torment, nor the plague of the horsemen to destroy the inhabitants. They cannot be understood of the sealed company, because that company