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of heart. As whirlwinds which uproot trees and throw the barren soil to the surface, create sterility, and sterility gives birth to scarcity, Vitringa interprets that agency of the tempest of famine, and for like reasons, lightnings of pestilence, and blood of war. Mr. Mede, Dr. More, Sir Isaac Newton, Mr. Daubuz, Bishop Newton, Dean Woodhouse, and most others, follow that rule universally. But it is as alien from the laws of symbolization, as it were from those of language, to interpret the words of a sentence independently of their relation to each other. Wind, vapor, ice, rain, lightning, united in one resistless agent, and sweeping devastation over a fertile country, are as different from those elements taken separately, as the muscle, bone, nerve, life, and sense that united make up a ferocious wild beast, are from its constituent parts when divested of life and distributed to their several elements; and it is accordingly as preposterous to seek the import of a prophetic symbol by an analysis of its parts, as it were to attempt to ascertain the nature of an animal, by a chemical examination of the last forms into which its body is capable of being resolved.
Mr. Mede, Dr. More, Mr. Jurieu, Mr. Daubuz, Mr. Whiston, Bishop Newton, Mr. Faber, Mr. Cuninghame, and many other commentators, unite in regarding the symbol as denoting the invasion of the empire by the Goths; some interpreting it of their first incursions from the year 363 or 376 to 395, others, with whom I concur, of those following the death of Theodosius in 395 to 410. It was not until the reign of Theodosius that the great revolution denoted by the earthquake, and commenced under Constantine, was consummated by the legal prohibition of paganism and adoption of Christianity as the sole religion of the empire.
CHAPTER VIII. 8, 9.
THE SECOND TRUMPET.
And the second angel sounded ; and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea. And the third of the sea
· Codicis Theod. lib. xvi. tit. x. leg. 7–12. Gibbon's Hist. Decl. and Fall, chap. xxviii.
became blood, and the third of the creatures in the sea which had life died, and the third of the ships were destroyed.
This symbol is a volcanic mountain, thrown up from its ancient station at a vast distance by an explosion of the flaming elements at its base, precipitated into the Mediterranean Sea, spread out to the eye of the prophet as he stood at the vestibule of the temple, and from that position projecting its burning lava over the neighboring waters, discoloring them by the gleam of its fires or the intermixture of its ashes, strewing them with fish destroyed by its poisonous minerals or heat, and firing the ships or dashing them by the descent of heavy masses. The third of the sea denotes, as in the former symbol
, the proportion of the surface of the water which was discolored, and the third of the fish and of the ships, the proportion of the fish and ships that were destroyed to the whole ; not the whole of the water, the fish, and the ships of one-third of the sea, in distinction from the other two-thirds. The masses thrown from a volcano fall at different points, and leave wide interspaces unaffected. The direction of the lighter elements is determined largely by the wind. They shower as the breeze varies, or they ascend' into different currents of air, now on this region and now on that.
An agent descending into the Roman empire, to correspond with this symbol, must obviously be one of great power, impelled from its ancient position by an irresistible force, carrying within itself the elements of annoyance and destruction to surrounding objects, assuming a fixed station in the empire, and thence frequently projecting the instruments of devastation and death on the neighboring regions. And such most conspicuously were the Vandals under Genseric, who forced from their native seat by the Hunns, passed through France and Spain into Africa, conquered the Carthaginian territory, established an independent government, and thence through a long period, harassed the neighboring islands and the Mediterranean shores by predatory and devastating incursions, intercepting the commerce of the sea, plundering and firing the cities, and slaughtering the inhabitants. These latter characteristics were peculiar to them,
1 “Genseric having strengthened himself by Moorish auxiliaries, as often as spring returned, harassed now Sicily, now Italy, by marauding invasions ; reducing some cities to servitude, demolishing others, and exhausting all by plunder and exactions, until induced by their devastation and poverty to sail away, he turned to the eastern empire, and invaded Illyria, Peloponnesia, and the adjacent islands, and returning again entered Italy and Sicily, and gleaned whatever
nder he had before left.”—Procopii Hist. Vandal. lib. i. p. 18. Also Isidori Hist. Wandal. pp. 733–735. Gibbon’s Hist. chap. xxxvi.
and distinguished them from the earlier and later Gothic armies, as widely as a volcano differs in its fixed station and distinctive agency, from the rapid movement and transitory influence of a burning tornado.
The different views which writers have given of the symbol present nothing to invalidate this exposition. Grotius exhibits both the sea and the fish as the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the mountain as the fortress Antonia, and the ships as the sacred vessels which were plundered from the temple; a fancy too absurd to need a refutation. Was the tower Antonia precipitated into the city from a distance? Is there any analogy between ships floating the ocean, navigated by men, laden with treasures, and fired or sunk by burning masses from a distant volcano, and tongs, snuffers, censers, knives, cups, plates, and other utensils, plundered from the temple ?
Dr. Hammond and Rosenmuller interpret the sea of Galilee, the volcano of the army of Vespasian desolating it in the year 69, the fish of the Jewish population, and the ships of the cities. But they are without any correspondence with the symbol. The Roman army did not enter Galilee from without the empire. Vespasian did not establish a new and independent government; he merely checked an insurrection, and reinstated the Roman power in its supremacy. His was not a wanton attack on the peaceable and unoffending for mere plunder and devastation ; but a resistance of assailants and a conquest of revolters; and finally, its period was twenty-five or twenty-six years anterior to the visions.
Cocceius interprets the dejection of the mountain into the sea, of the overthrow of Jerusalem and the temple, and dissolution of the Jewish polity; the destruction of the fish of the relapse of men from Christianity to gentilism, and the burning of the ships, of the subversion of churches
and synagogues ; all which are inconsistent with the symbol. The volcanic mountain represents the destructive agent, not the subject of the destruction; and its dejection its movement to the scene of its agency, not the effects wrought on the waters by the fall of its lava. The fish denote persons that are destroyed by its agency, not such as are induced by other causes to relapse to a false worship.
Mr. Brightman regarded the sea as pure doctrine, the mountain as aspiring prelates, the fire as their ambition, the discoloration of the waters as the introduction of false doctrines, the fish as the lower ranks of ecclesiastics and the monks, the ships of those whose office it was to preach the gospel ; applications
which it were not easy to transcend in absurdity. What resem-
Mr. Daubuz interprets the mountain of Rome, its burning of
Vitringa interprets it of the incursions of the Goths in the latter half of the third century, Mr. Mede of the sack of Rome, and devastation and conquest of the provinces from the year 410 to 450, Bishop Newton of the ravages by Attila, Dr. Cressner of the invasions and conquests of the transalpine provinces from 412 to 446, Mr. Cuninghame of the ravages of Alaric, Rhadagaisus, and others, as well as Genseric.
Dean Woodhouse, proceeding on the assumption that the events foreshadowed by the symbols of the trumpets as well as the seals, are to be sought in the religious rather than in the civil and military world, interprets the mountain of the idolatrous powers of the Roman empire, its burning of the gradual decay of that party, the sea of ihe gentile Christians, and the blood and devastation of their apostasy under persecution. But they present none of the required resemblances, and contradict analogy. Those idolaters did not intrude into the empire from a distant region, and establish themselves in opposition to another religious body. They did not sink from power by a natural decay, but were opposed and overthrown by antagonists of the Christian religion. The gentile Christians sustained no such relations to the Roman people at large, as a sea sustains to other waters. They were not a separate community, but intermixed promiscuously with the heathen population. And finally, though the violent destruction of the body may appropriately represent the violent destruction of the soul, the death of animals cannot symbolize a spiritual death. As the antithesis of the human body is the conscious intelligent spirit, so the antithesis of the body of a brute is that element of its nature which is the seat of its
perception and consciousness If the death of the bodies of brutes therefore were a symbol of the death of perceptive natures, it would denote the extinction of their own perceptive and conscious nature, not a fall of intelligent beings to a false religion.
Mr. Faber, Mr. Keith, Mr. Elliott and others, interpret the symbol chiefly of the conquests and devastations by Genseric, but on grounds differing from those which have led me to that construction.
CHAPTER VIII. 10,11.
THE THIRD TRUMPET.
And the third angel sounded; and a great star burning like a torch fell from heaven, and fell on the third of the rivers and on the fountains of waters. And the star was named The Wormwood : and the third of the waters became wormwood, and many of the men died of the waters, because they were embittered.
The star obviously was not a solid globe, but a thin transparent meteor, which as it swept along near the surface and sunk to the ground, still left the objects it enveloped perceptible to the apostle ; and was soon absorbed by the waters and earth. He beheld the rivers and fountains still running, discerned a change wrought in them by the meteor, and saw that it was the new element infused into them that rendered them deadly to many of those, who dwelling on their banks at a distance, drank of them. As the scene exhibited to him was the apocalyptic earth, and the waters its real rivers and fountains, the meteor doubtless descended on a part of the Roman empire where fountains abounded and conspicuous rivers begin their course, and therefore on a mountainous region. And as the Alps give rise to a greater number of considerable streams than any others in the empire, it is probable the angel sounding the trumpet was stationed over their heights, and that the meteor fell on the lofty ranges whence the streams emerge, and the valleys through which they descend to the Mediterranean, the Adriatic, and the Euxine seas.
The third of the rivers denotes the proportion of those which the meteor embittered, to the whole. The meteor was named