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discord, war and blood. These wars the
prophet foretels under the first four trumpets* The irruptions of the Goths, Huns, Vandals, and other barbarous nations, into the Roman empire, then in the possession of the Christian church, began in the early part of this century, and continued to the latter end of the sixth. During that period, the Christian church was severely corrected and punished, with rapine, havoc, and desolation, and millions of her professors were put to death. But instead of being reformed by these great and afficting visitations, it was foreseen that she would continue to fall into heresies yet more inconsistent with the word of God: the prophet, therefore in the last verse of this chapter, denounces three woes, which he means to describe, in the subsequent part of his prophecy. “Wo, wo, wo, “ to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of “ the other voices of the trumpets of the three “ angels, which are yet to sound.”
We have seen that the first four trumpets are simply called trumpets, because they were only to announce the predatory incursions of the barbarian nations, those visitations of God mercifully intended to remind the church of the peace and tranquility she had lately enjoyed, while she held the true faith, and obeyed the divine precept of her immaculate Founder, But the three trumpets, which were to follow, are represented as events replete with affliction
and woe. They are called by commentators the three wo-trumpets, because, under the two first, the dreadful persecutions, the darkness and misery, by which the church was to be overwhelmed, or as it is expressed*,“ trodden under foot" by the Mohamedan and Papal heresies, are foretold, and because the third was to sound the events of the seven last vials of the wrath of Godt, which were to be poured out upon the ungodly in the last day.
From the rise of the church, down to the beginning of the seventh century, she had continued united under the Apostles, and afterwards under generalcouncils. Herfaith in God, andin Jesus Christ, notwithstanding occasional dissensions, and short-lived schisms, remained generally the same. There was no actual and final separation before that epoch ; but the time was now come, that the long continued contest for pre-eminence and dominion, between the bishops of Rome and of Constantinople, was to be terminated. The Roman pontiff, having received his commission of universal bishop, and being exalted in the West, drew all the western bishops, with their flocks, into his own pale, and soon after converted them to his idolatrous apostacy; when the eastern bishops, adhering to the hierarchy of Constantinople, soon after embraced the doctrines of Mohamed; and thus the church became divided into two great ecclesistical bodies, in the
* Chap. xi. 2.
† Chap. xvi.
seventh century. Moreover, as the events in which they were to be respectively concerned were also to be separate and unconnected, the prophet, having foretold, underthe woe-trumpet, the visitations of God upon the church, through the means of the barbarian nations, in her united state, proceeds to foretel those which were to befal the two churches after her disunion, under the second woe-trumpet. Here, with strict propriety, he begins with the events by which the eastern church was to be afflicted, because the original church had been planted in the eastern hemisphere, and the very great majority of her subjects remained there after the separation. Under this trumpet he describes all the prominent events which have produced and attended the rise and establishment of the Saracen-Mohamedan apostacy, that dreadful scourge of the Eastern church ; together with the darkness and misery in which it has involved the greater part of the Christian and Roman empire. * In verse 12, he tells us, “ one woe is past,” meaning the dreadful persecutions of Mohamed, and his immediate successors : and then adds,
16 And behold! there came two inore woes hereafter;" that is, two more woes between the termination of this first woe, and the end of the world.
Under the first of the last two woe-trumpets, he foretells the rise of the Ottoman empire upon the ruin of the Saracen, and the dreadful
* Chap. ix. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.
persecutions and darkness, in which the eastern church was to continue under the fatalism and sensuality of that apostacy* : a woe more severe and afflicting to the unreclaimed and perverse eastern part of the church, than the Saracen, under which it had lately suffered. It was, however, to be of the same nature ; for the Ottomans were to adopt the Mohamedan superstition; and it was to be of much longer continuance. They were together “ to tread “the holy city under foot, in the East, one “ thousand and two hundred and threescore
dayst” or years.
But this second woe was not to extend to the castern church only, The western was also to depart from the word of God, in the Gospel of Christ, and to be equally punished for her disobedience. She was to be persecuted and overwhelmed by the unrelenting cruelty of Popery, aad the voluntary ignorance, and still more dreadful tenets of French atheism. These two great events were to be contemporary, that is, to begin, continue and end, within the period allotted to the visitations of God in the East. Hence we find the prophet passing from the history of the eastern to that of the western church. In the tenth and eleventh chapters he takes a summary view of the more striking features and actions of the two great enemies and oppressors of the church in the West, namely, the Papal hierarchy, described under the figure of "the court which is with“ out the temple, given to the Gentiles*, and atheistical France, under that of “ the beast ascending out of the bottomless pit.t
*Chap. ix. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18.
Chap. Ai 2.
Having concluded this brief introduction to the account of the church of Rome, and revolutionary France (intending to treat of them more in detail afterwards) he tells ust “ the “ second woe is past ; and, behold, the third « woe cometh quickly.”
But in order to preserve the connection and harmony of his general history, and to bring into it the events, by which the western church was to be afflicted, the prophet reviews, in the twelfth chapter, the state of the church in general in the fourth century, before it was divided; and again alludes to the general conduct of the Papal church, and revolutionary France, towards the western church.
In the thirteenth chapter, from the beginning to the tenth verse inclusive, he treats in detail of the rise and conduct of the Papal apostacy, under the figure of the beast of the Sea, and its fall; and in the remainder of the chapter, of revolutionary France, under the appellation of “the beast of the Earth," the power to which he had before || briefly referred, under the figure of the “ Least of the bottomless pit :” a political hydra, that should far exceed in depravity, wickedness, and blasphe
Chap. xi. 2.
* Chap. xi. 7. $ Chap. xi. throughout. See the comment upon this chapter
# Chap. xi. 14. Chap. xj. .