Page images






We have already seen that the Prophets Daniel and St. John clearly revealed the rise and establishment of a Power in the East, at a certain period of time, which was to be a scourge “ to the people of God” for their manifold offences; and which is to be considered as one of the forms of Antichrift.We now proceed to prove, from the authority of the most eminent and learned Commenta, tors, Mede, Vitringa, Daubuz, Sir Isaac and Bishop Newton, More, Whiston, Lowman, and many others, and from the testimony of Historical facts, that these Prophecies are

See Introductory Chapter, vol. i. Class II.

ftrictly strictly applicable to Mahomet and his followers--that they have been accomplished by them as far as time will admit of their accomplishment, and are at the present hour fulfilling before our eyes.

In the ninth chapter of the Revelation, which the Reader will recollect was quoted at length in the Introductory Chapter to Class II. vol. i. St. John has prefigured under suitable emblems, the origin, the characteristic manners, the arts of war, and the destructive ravages of the pretended Prophet of Arabia and his followers—the Arabians, Saracens, and Turks

upon the idolatrous and corrupt Christians. This formidable power commenced about the

year of Christ 606, which is considered by most of the early Commentators, as the


when the Papal Antichrist was first established b.

By the permission of divine providence, whose designs are frequently represented in

b It is somewhat remarkable that thefe powers not only atose, but were fully established nearly together. In the year 758 the Pope received the exarchate of Ravenna, and foon after became sovereign of Rome, In 762, the Saracen Caliph, Almansor, built Bagdad as the capital of his extenfive empire. It is certain that they have declined together, and the popular opinion in Rome and Conftantinople concerning their fall is fingularly similar.


[ocr errors]


Scripture, and more particularly in the Apocalypse, as being accomplished by celestial agents; an angel descended and opened the cave of the abyss, for fo the words of the original Greek ought to be translated. This figurative representation properly expresses a commission from heaven to allow Satan to infeft the world with some new and great

“ The word standing in the original for cave, is more particularly expressive, of those caverns, which, on account of the springs they contain, emit a vapour, and were by Pagan superstition often considered às the seats of oracles and sources of inspiration. And does not this emblem most strikingly describe the rise of a pretended revelation? Or, when such, answering in all points to the prediction, was propagated at the period to which this Prophecy relates, does not the literal circumstance of its rise from a cave, both fix the application, and demonstrate the truth of the Prophecy? And that such was the origin of the Koran of Mahomet, we learn from Mr. Gibbon's declaration that Mahomet during the month Ramadan in each year withdrew from the world to the cave of Hera,'' and consulted the spirit of fraud and enthufiafmo. The

& Whitaker's View of the Proph. p. 119-121.

fun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pitd, when the falsehoods, contradictions, and fables of the Koran usurped the place of the Gospel truths. And that the preaching of Mahomet brought on a fpi. ritual darkness, by obscuring the light of Revelation, the fate of the Gospel in the countries ruled by his disciples sufficiently proves, without taking into the account the following words of the historian, when describing the treatment of Christians dwelling in Mahometan countries." A decent reverence for the national faith is imposed on their sermons and conversations : and the facrile gious attempt to seduce a Mussulman will not be suffered to escape with impunity.-In a time however of tranquillity and justice, the Christians have never been compelled to renounce the Gospel or to embrace the Koran; but the punishment of death is inflicted for the apoftates, who have professed and deserted the law of Mahomet ©.”_Restrictions like these, and especially the last, when laid

upon the lessons of truth, amount to obscuring it; though we add not the effect of other circumstances which have impeded the influence of the Gospel, and diminished the number of

d Rev, ix, 2.

e Gibbon, c.51.




its disciples in the regions under the dominion of the Musfulmen.

As out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, so the pretended divine mission of Mahomet was the immediate cause of the Saracens overrunning the countries they infested ; and the Historian before quoted gives us fufficient proofs of the connexion between the doctrines they taught, and the conquests they achieved ; and of the facility of establishing such a connexion in minds so ardent, and tempers fo enthusiastic as those of his foltowers. “ The Prophet of Medina afsumed in his new Revelations a fiercer and more fanguinary tone, which proves that his former moderation was the effect of weakness: the means of persuasion had been tried, the seafon of forbearance was elapsed; and he was now commanded to propagate his religion by the sword, to destroy the monuments of idolatry, and, without regarding the sanctity of days or months, to pursue the unbelieving nations of the earth.”* From all fides the roving Arabs were allured to the ftandard of religion and plunder.”_" Their intrepid fouls were fired with enthusiasm, the enjoyment of wealth and beauty was held out as the reward of 6


« PreviousContinue »