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Prophetic Expositions, vol. 2

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    Verse 12: “One wo is past; and behold, there come two woes more hereafter.”PREX2 181.2

    Verse 13: “And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice, from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God.”PREX2 181.3

    Verse 14: “Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.”PREX2 181.4

    Verse 15: “And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, a day, a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.”PREX2 181.5

    The first wo was to continue from the rise of Mahommedism until the end of the five months. Then the first wo was to end, and the second begin. And when the sixth angel sounded, it was commanded to take off the restraints which had been imposed on the nation, by which they were restricted to the work of tormenting men, and their commission extended to slay the third part of men. This command came from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God. “The four angels,” are the four principal sultanies of which the Ottoman empire is composed, located in the country of the Euphrates. They had been restrained; God commanded, and they were loosed.PREX2 182.1

    In the year 1449, John Paleologus, the Greek emperor, died, but left no children to inherit his throne, and Constantine Deacozes succeeded to it. But he would not venture to ascend the throne without the consent of Amurath, the Turkish Sultan. He therefore sent ambassadors to ask his consent, and obtained it, before he presumed to call himself sovereign.PREX2 182.2

    “This shameful proceeding seemed to presage the approaching downfall of the empire. Ducas, the historian, counts John Paleologus for the last Greek emperor, without doubt, because, he did not consider as such a prince who had not dared to reign without the permission of his enemy.”PREX2 182.3

    Let this historical fact be carefully examined in connection with the prediction above. This was not a violent assault made on the Greeks, by which their empire was overthrown and their independence taken away, but simply a voluntary surrender of that independence into the hands of the Turks, by saying, “I cannot reign unless you permit.”PREX2 182.4

    The four angels were loosed for an hour, a day, a month, and a year, to slay the third part of men. This period amounts to three hundred and ninety-one years and fifteen days; during which Ottoman supremacy was to exist in Constantinople.PREX2 183.1

    But, although the four angels were thus loosed by the voluntary submission of the Greeks, yet another doom awaited the seat of empire. Amurath, the sultan to whom the submission of Deacozes was made, and by whose permission he reigned in Constantinople, soon after died, and was succeeded in the empire, in 1451, by Mahomet II., who set his heart on Constantinople, and determined to make it a prey. He accordingly made preparations for besieging and taking the city. The siege commenced on the 6th of April, 1453, and ended in the taking of the city, and death of the last of the Constantines, on the 16th day of May following. And the eastern city of the Cæsars became the seat of the Ottoman empire.PREX2 183.2

    The arms and mode of warfare by which the siege of Constantinople was to be overthrown, and held in subjection were distinctly noticed by the revelator.—l. The army.PREX2 183.3

    Verse 16: “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.”PREX2 183.4

    Innumerable hordes of horses and them that sat on them. Gibbon describes the first invasion of the Roman territories by the Turks, thus:—“The myriads of Turkish horse overspread a frontier of six hundred miles from Tauris to Azeroum, and the blood of 130,000 Christians was a grateful sacrifice to the Arabian prophet.” Whether the number is designed to convey the idea of any definite number, the reader must judge. Some suppose 200,000 twice told is meant, and then following some historians, find that number of Turkish warriors in the siege of Constantinople. Some think 200,000,000 to mean all the Turkish warriors during the 391 years, fifteen days of their triumph over the Greeks. I confess this to me appears the most likely. But as it cannot be ascertained whether that is the fact or not, I will affirm nothing on the point.PREX2 183.5

    Verse 17: “And thus 1 saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates 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.”PREX2 184.1

    On this text I shall again refer to Mr. Keith for on illustration of it:—PREX2 184.2

    “The color of fire is red, of hyacinth or jacinth blue, and of brimstone yellow, and this, as Mr. Daubuz observes, ‘has a literal accomplishment; for the Othmans, from the first time of their appearance, have affected to wear such warlike apparel of scarlet, blue, and yellow. Of the Spahis, particularly, some have red and some have yellow standards, and others red or yellow mixed with other colors. In appearance, too, the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions, to denote their strength, courage and fierceness.’ Without rejecting so plausible an interpretation, the suggestion may not be unwarrantable, that a still closer and more direct exposition may be given of that which the prophet saw in the vision. In the prophetic description of the full of Babylon, they who rode on horses are described as holding the bow and the lance; but it was with other arms than the arrow and the spear that the Turkish warriors encompassed Constantinople; and the breastplates of the horsemen, in reference to the more destructive implements of war, might then, for the first time, be said to be fire, and jacinth, and brimstone. The musket had recently supplied the place of the bow. Fire emanated from their breasts. Brimstone, the flame of which is jacinth, was an ingredient both of the liquid fire and of gunpowder. Congruity seems to require this more strictly literal interpretation, as conformable to the significancy of the same terms in the immediately subsequent verse, including the same general description. A new mode of warfare was at that time introduced, which has changed the nature of war itself, in regard to the form of its instruments of destruction; and sounds and sights unheard of and unknown before, were the death-knell and doom of the Roman empire. Invention outrivalled force, and a new power was introduced, that of musketry as well as of artillery, in the art of war, before which the old Macedonian phalanx would not have remained unbroken, nor the Roman legions stood. That which John saw ‘in the vision,’ is read in the history of the times.”PREX2 184.3

    Verse 18: “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.”PREX2 185.1

    “‘Among the implements of destruction, he studied with peculiar care the recent and tremendous discovery of the Latins, and his artillery surpassed whatever had yet appeared in the world. A founder of cannon, a Dane or Hungarian, who had been almost starved in the Greek service, deserted to the Moslems, and was liberally entertained by the Turkish sultan. Mahomet was satisfied with the answer to his first question, which he eagerly pressed on the artist,—“Am I able to cast a cannon capable of throwing a ball or stone of sufficient size to batter the walls of Constantinople?” “I am not ignorant of their strength, but were they more solid than those of Babylon, I could oppose an engine of superior power; the position and management of that engine must be left to your engineers.” On this assurance a foundery was established at Adrianople; the metal was prepared; and at the end of three months Urban produced a piece of brass ordnance of stupendous and almost incredible magnitude. A measure of twelve palms was assigned to the bore, and the stone bullet weighed about six hundred pounds. A vacant place before the new palace was chosen for the first experiment; but to prevent the sudden and mischievous effects of astonishment and fear, a proclamation was issued that the cannon would be discharged the ensuing day. The explosion was felt or heard in a circuit of a hundred furlongs; the ball, by the force of the gunpowder, was driven about a mile, and on the spot where it fell, it buried itself a fathom deep in the ground. For the conveyance of this destructive engine, a frame or carriage of thirty wagons was linked together, and drawn along by a train of sixty oxen; two hundred men on both sides were stationed to poise or support the rolling weight; two hundreds and fifty workmen marched before to smooth the way and repair the bridges, and near two months were employed in a laborious journey of a hundred and fifty miles. I dare not reject the positive and unanimous evidence of contemporary writers. A Turkish cannon, more enormous than that of Mahomet, still guards the entrance of the Dardanelles, and if the use be inconvenient, it has been found, on a late trial, that the effect is far from contemptible. A stone bullet of eleven hundred pounds weight was once discharged with three hundred and thirty pounds of powder; at the distance of six hundred yards it shivered into three rocky fragments, traversed the strait, and leaving the waters in a foam, again rose and bounded against the opposite hill.’PREX2 185.2

    “In the siege, ‘the incessant volleys of lances and arrows were accompanied with the smoke, the sound, and the fire of their musketry and cannon. Their small arms discharged at the same time five or even ten balls of lead of the size of a walnut, and according to the closeness of the ranks, and the force of the powder, several breastplates and bodies were transpierced by the same shot. But the Turkish approaches were soon sank in trenches, or covered with ruins. Each day added to the science of the Christians, but their inadequate stock of gunpowder was wasted in the operations of each day. Their ordnance was not powerful either in size or number, and if they possessed some heavy cannon, they feared to plant them on the walls, lest the aged structure should be shaken and overthrown by the explosion. The same destructive secret had been revealed to the Moslems, by whom it was employed with the superior energy of zeal, riches and despotism. The great cannon of Mahomet has been separately noticed; an important and visible object in the history of the times; but that enormous engine was flanked by two fellows almost of equal magnitude; the long order of the Turkish artillery was pointed against the walls; fourteen batteries thundered at once on the most accessible places, and of one of these it is ambiguously expressed that it was mounted with one hundred and thirty guns, or that it discharged one hundred and thirty bullets. Yet in the power and activity of the sultan we may discern the infancy of the new science; under a master who counted the moments, the great cannon could be loaded and fired no more than seven times in one day. The heated metal unfortunately burst; several workmen were destroyed; and the skill of an artist was admired who bethought himself of preventing the danger and the accident by pouring oil after each explosion into the mouth of the cannon.’”PREX2 187.1

    This historical sketch from Gibbon, of the use of gunpowder, fire-arms and cannon, as the instrumentality by which the city was finally overcome, is so illustrative of the text, that one can hardly imagine any other scene can be described.PREX2 188.1

    The specified time for the continuance of Turkish or Mahometan supremacy over the Greeks, was an hour, day, month, and year. A prophetic year, three hundred and sixty days; a month, thirty days; one day; and an hour, or the twenty-fourth part of a day. Three hundred and sixty, the number of days in a prophetic year, divided by twenty-four, the number of hours in a day, gives us fifteen days. Three hundred and ninety-one years and fifteen days.PREX2 188.2

    Commencing when, the one hundred and fifty years ended, in 1449, the period would end August 11th, 1840. Judging from the manner of the commencement of the Ottoman supremacy, that it was by a voluntary acknowledgment on the part of the Greek emperor that he only reigned by permission of the Turkish sultan, we should naturally conclude that the fall or departure of the Ottoman independence would be brought about in the same way; that at the end of the specified period, the Sultan would voluntarily surrender his independence into the hands of the Christian powers, from whom he received it.PREX2 189.1

    When the foregoing calculation was made, it was purely a matter of calculation on the prophetic periods of Scripture. Now, however, the time has passed by, and it is proper to inquire what the result has been-whether it has corresponded with the previous calculation.PREX2 189.2

    I shall now pass to the question, has that supremacy departed from the Mahometans into Christian hands, so that the Turks now exist and reign by the sufferance and permission of the Christian powers, as the Christians did for some two to three years by the permission of the Turks?PREX2 189.3

    First Testimony.—The following is from Rev. Mr. Goodell, missionary of the American Board at Constantinople, addressed to the Board, and by them published in the Missionary Herald, for April, 1841, p. 160:—PREX2 189.4

    “The power of Islamism is broken forever; and there is no concealing the fact even from themselves. They exist now by mere sufferance. And though there is a mighty effort made by the Christian governments to sustain them, yet at every step they sink lower and lower with fearful velocity. And though there is a great endeavor made to graft the institutions of civilized and Christian countries upon the decayed trunk, yet the very root itself is fast wasting away by the venom of its own poison. How wonderful it is, that, when all Christendom combined together to check the progress of Mahommedan power, it waxed exceedingly great in spite of every opposition; and now, when all the mighty potentates of Christian Europe, who feel fully competent to settle all the quarrels, and arrange all the affairs of the whole world, are leagued together for its protection and defence, down it comes, in spite of all their fostering care.”PREX2 189.5

    Mr. Goodell has been for years a missionary in the Turkish dominions, and is competent to judge of the state of the government. His deliberate and unequivocal testimony is, that “the power of Islamism is broken forever.” But it is said the Turks yet reign! So also says our witness—“but it is by mere sufferance.” They are at the mercy of the Christians. Their independence is broken.PREX2 190.1

    Another Witness.-Rev. Mr. Balch, of Providence, R. I., in an attack on Mr. Miller for saying that the Ottoman empire fell in 1840, says:—“How can an honest man have the hardihood to stand up before an intelligent audience, and make such an assertion, when the most authentic version of the change of the Ottoman empire is that it has not been on a better foundation in fifty years, for it is now re-organized by the European kingdoms, and is honorably treated as such.”PREX2 190.2

    But how does it happen that Christian Europe re-organized the government? What need of it, if it was not disorganized? If Christian Europe has done this, then it is now, to all intents and purposes, a Christian government, and is only ruled nominally by the sultan, as their vassal.PREX2 191.1

    This testimony is the more valuable for having come from an opponent. We could not have selected and put together words more fully expressive of the idea of the present state of the Ottoman empire. It is true the Christian governments of Europe have re-organized the Turkish empire, and it is their creature. From 1840 to the present time, the Ottoman government has been under the dictation of the great powers of Europe; and scarcely a measure of that government has been adopted and carried out without the interference and dictation of the allies; and that dictation has been submitted to by them.PREX2 191.2

    It is in this light politicians have looked upon the government since 1840, as the following item will show:—PREX2 191.3

    The London Morning Herald, after the capture of St. Jean d’Acre, speaking of the state of things in the Ottoman empire, says:—“We (the allies) have conquered St. Jean d’Acre. We have dissipated into thin air the prestige that lately invested as with a halo the name of Mehemet Ali. We have in all probability destroyed forever the power of that hitherto successful ruler. But have we done aught to restore strength to the Ottoman empire? We fear not. We fear that the Sultan has been reduced to the hank of a puppet; and that the sources of the Turkish Empire’s strength are entirely destroyed.PREX2 191.4

    “If the supremacy of the Sultan is hereafter to be maintained in Egypt, it must be maintained, we fear, by the unceasing intervention of England and Russia.”PREX2 192.1

    What the London Morning Herald last November feared, has since been realized. The Sultan has been entirely, in all the great questions which have come up, under the dictation of the Christian kingdoms of Europe.PREX2 192.2

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