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Prophetic Expositions, vol. 2

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    WHEN DID MAHOMMEDAN INDEPENDENCE IN CONSTANTINOPLE DEPART?

    In order to answer this question understandingly, it will be necessary to review briefly the history of that power for a few years past.PREX2 192.3

    For several years the Sultan has been embroiled in war with Mehemet Ali, Pacha of Egypt. In 1838 there was a threatening of war between the Sultan and his Egyptian vassal. Mehemet Ali Pacha, in a note addressed to the foreign consuls, declared that in future he would pay no tribute to the Porte, and that be considered himself independent sovereign of Egypt, Arabia, and Syria. The Sultan, naturally incensed at this declaration, would have immediately commenced hostilities, had he not been restrained by the influence of the foreign ambassadors, and persuaded to delay. This war, however, was finally averted by the announcement of Mehemet, that he was ready to pay a million of dollars, arrearages of tribute which he owed the Porte, and an actual payment of $750,000, in August of that year.PREX2 192.4

    In 1839 hostilities again commenced, and were prosecuted, until, in a general battle between the armies of the Sultan and Mehemet, the Sultan’s army was entirely cut up and destroyed, and his fleet taken by Mehemet and carried into Egypt. So completely had the Sultan’s fleet been reduced, that, when hostilities commenced in August, he had only two first-rates and three frigates, as the sad remains of the once powerful Turkish fleet. This fleet Mehemet positively refused to give up and return to the Sultan, and declared, if the powers attempted to take it from him, he would burn it.PREX2 193.1

    In this posture affairs stood, when, in 1840, England, Russia, Austria and Prussia interposed, and determined on a settlement of the difficulty; for it was evident, if let alone, Mehemet would soon become master of the Sultan’s throne.PREX2 193.2

    The following extract from an official document, which appeared in the Moniteur Ottoman, Aug. 22, 1840, will give an idea of the course of affairs at this juncture. The conference spoken of was composed of the four powers above named, and was held in London, July 15th, 1840:—PREX2 193.3

    “Subsequent to the occurrence of the disputes alluded to, and after the reverses experienced, as known to all the world, the ambassadors of the great powers at Constantinople, in a collective official note declared that their governments were unanimously agreed upon taking measures to arrange the said differences. The Sublime Porte, with a view of putting a stop to the effusion of Mussulman blood, and to the various evils which would arise from a renewal of hostilities, accepted the intervention of the great powers.”PREX2 193.4

    Here was certainly a voluntary surrender of the question into the hands of the great powers. But it proceeds:—PREX2 194.1

    “His Excellency, Sheikh Effendi, the Bey Likgis, was therefore despatched as plenipotentiary to represent the Sublime Porte at the conference which took place in London, for the purpose in question, It having been felt that all the zealous labors of the conferences of London in the settlement of the Pacha’s pretensions were useless, and that the only public way was to have recourse to coercive measures to reduce him to obedience in case he persisted in not listening to pacific overtures, the powers have, together with the Ottoman Plenipotentiary, drawn up and signed a treaty, whereby the Sultan offers the Pacha the hereditary government of Egypt, and all that part of Syria extending from the gulf of Suez to the lake of Tiberias, together with the province of Acre, for life; the Pacha, on his part, evacuating all other parts of the Sultan’s dominions now occupied by him, and returning the Ottoman fleet. A certain space of time has been granted him to accede to these terms; and, as the proposals of the Sultan and his allies, the four powers, do not admit of any change or qualification, if the Pacha refuse to accede to them, it is evident that the evil consequences to fall upon him will be attributable solely to his own fault.PREX2 194.2

    “His Excellency, Rifat Bey, Musleshar. for foreign affairs, has been despatched in a government steamer to Alexandria, to communicate the ultimatum to the Pacha.”PREX2 194.3

    From these extracts it appears,—PREX2 195.1

    1. That the Sultan, conscious of his own weakness, did voluntarily accept the intervention of the great Christian powers of Europe to settle his difficulties, which he could not settle himself.PREX2 195.2

    2. That they (the great powers) were agreed on taking measures to settle the difficulties.PREX2 195.3

    3. That the ultimatum of the London conference left it with the Sultan to arrange the affair with Mehemet, if he could. The Sultan was to offer to him the terms of settlement. So that if Mehemet accepted the terms, there would still be no actual intervention of the powers between the Sultan and Pacha.PREX2 195.4

    4. That if Mehemet rejected the Sultan’s offer, the ultimatum admitted of no change or qualification; the great powers stood pledged to coerce him into submission. So long, therefore, as the Sultan held the ultimatum in his own hands, he still maintained the independence of his throne. But that document once submitted to Mehemet, and it would be forever beyond his reach to control the question. It would be for Mehemet to say whether the powers should interpose or not.PREX2 195.5

    5 The Sultan did despatch Rifat Bey, in a government steamer, (which left Constantinople Aug. 5,) to Alexandria, to communicate to Mehemet the ultimatum.PREX2 195.6

    This was a voluntary governmental act of the Sultan.PREX2 195.7

    The question now comes up, When was that document put officially under the control of Mehemet Ali?PREX2 195.8

    The following extract of a letter from a correspondent of the London Morning Chronicle, of Sept. 18, 1840, dated “Constantinople, Aug. 27th, 1840,” will answer the question:—PREX2 196.1

    “By the French steamer of the 24th, we have advices from Egypt to the 16th. They show no alteration in the resolution of the Pacha. Confiding in the valor of his Arab army, and in the strength of the fortifications which defend his capital, he seems determined to abide by the last alternative; and as recourse to this, therefore, is now inevitable, all hope may be considered as at an end of a termination of the affair without bloodshed. Immediately on the arrival of the Cyclops steamer with the news of the convention of the four powers, Mehemet Ali, it is stated, had quitted Alexandria, to make a short tour through Lower Egypt. The object of his absenting himself at such a moment being partly to avoid conferences with the European consuls, but principally to endeavor, by his own presence, to arouse the fanaticism of the Bedouin tribes, and facilitate the raising of his new levies. During the interval of this absence, the Turkish government steamer, which had reached Alexandria on the 11th, with the envoy Rifat Bey on board, had been by his orders placed in quarantine, and she was not released from it till the 16th. Previous, however, to the Porte’s leaving, and on the very day on which he had been admitted to pratique, the abovenamed functionary had had an audience of the Pacha, and had communicated to him the command of the Sultan, with respect to the evacuation of the Syrian provinces, appointing another audience for the next day, when, in the presence of the consuls of the European powers, he would receive from him his definite answer, and inform him of the alternative of his refusing to obey; giving him the ten days which have been allotted him by the convention to decide on the course he should think fit to adopt.”PREX2 196.2

    According to the foregoing statement, the ultimatum was officially put into the power of Mehemet Ali, and was disposed of by his orders, viz., sent to quarantine, on the Eleventh day of August, 1840.PREX2 197.1

    But have we any evidence, beside the fact of the arrival of Rifat Bey at Alexandria with the ultimatum on the 11th of August, that Ottoman supremacy died, or was dead, that day?PREX2 197.2

    Read the following, from the same writer quoted above, dated “Constantinople, August 12, 1840:”—PREX2 197.3

    “I can add but little to my last letter, on the subject of the plans of the four powers; and I believe the details I then gave you comprise everything that is yet decided on. The portion of the Pacha, as I then stated, is not to extend beyond the line of Acre, and does not include either Arabia or Candia. Egypt alone is to be hereditary in his family, and the province of Acre to be considered as a pachalic, to be governed by his son during his lifetime, but afterward to depend on the will of the Porte; and even this latter is only to be granted him on the condition of his accepting these terms, and delivering up the Ottoman fleet within ten days. In the event of his not doing so, this pachalic is to be cut off. Egypt is then to be offered him, with another ten days to deliberate on it, before actual force is employed against him.PREX2 197.4

    “The manner, however, of applying the force, should he refuse to comply with these terms,-whether a simple blockade is to be established on the coast, or whether his capital is to be bombarded, and his armies attacked in the Syrian provinces,-is the point which still remains to be learned; nor does a note delivered yesterday by the four ambassadors, in answer to a question put to them by the Porte, as to the plan to be adopted in such an event, throw the least light on this subject. It simply states that provision has been made, and there is no necessity for the Divan alarming itself about any contingency that might afterwards arise.”PREX2 198.1

    Let us now analyze this testimony.PREX2 198.2

    1. The letter is dated “Constantinople, Aug.12.”PREX2 198.3

    2. “Yesterday,” the 11th of August, the Sultan applied, in his own capital, to the ambassadors of four Christian nations, to know them measures which were to be taken in reference to a circumstance vitally affecting his empire; and was only told that “provision had been made,” but he could not know what it was; and that he need give himself no alarm “about any contingency which might afterwards arise!!” From that time, then, they, and not he, would manage that.PREX2 198.4

    Where was the Sultan’s independence that day? GONE. Who had the supremacy of the Ottoman empire in their hands? The great powers.PREX2 198.5

    According to previous calculation, therefore, Ottoman Supremacy did depart on the eleventh of August into the hands of the great Christian powers of Europe.PREX2 198.6

    Then the second wo is past, and the sixth trumpet has ceased its sounding; and the conclusion is now inevitable, because the word of God affirms the fact in so many words, “Behold, the third we cometh quickly” And “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall be finished.” But what will take place when the seventh angel sounds? I answer, Great voices will be heard in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” Nor is this event a mere spiritual reign over the kingdoms of this world; but the Revelator goes on to say, “and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged; and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great, and shouldest destroy them that destroy the earth.” This, then, is the consummation, when every one shall receive his retribution, according to what he has done.PREX2 199.1

    “The third wo cometh quickly.” It cannot be afar off; it is nigh, even at the door. Men may scornfully inquire, “Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning.” “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.” There are abundant promises of his coming, and that speedily. But I do not expect another sign equal in strength and conclusiveness to the one now spread out before us in the present article. The present calculation was before the world two years and more before the time of fulfilment; and the attention of the whole community was turned toward it. There are few persons, in New England at least, whose minds were not arrested and turned to the 11th of August; and vast multitudes were ready to say, ay, did say, If this event takes place according to the calculation, at the time specified, we will believe the doctrine of the advent near. But how is it with them now? Why, just as it was with the old Jews in the days of Christ; when he was every day performing the most stupendous miracles in their sight, they said to him, “Master, we would see a sign of thee.” So now: men desire a sign from heaven. But let them be assured, they can never have a more convincing one than this;-the last great prophecy with which a prophetic period is connected, except the concluding period, when Christ will come, has been filled up in the exact time, and has brought us to the very verge of eternity. There is no time to be whiled away in idleness or indifference by those who love the Lord Jesus Christ. They have a great work to do, both for themselves and others. Nor should the sinner delay to awake from his slumbers, and lay hold on eternal life. Grace be with all who love the Lord Jesus Christ.PREX2 199.2

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