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enemies. He obtained it by a Divine judgment, on account of his relapse from grace, not only into a state of sin, but even beneath the hopes of recovery by ordinary means. The Divine permission of this intercourse, and the consequent successful practice of those impious frauds, feats and stratagems, is this key to the bottomless pit; and the rise and successful propagation of Mahomedism is signified by the smoke, which darkened the sun, the gospel of Christ in many Christian countries; and the air, i. e. reason itself in all his followers. .
By the efficiency of this smoke, ascending in thick vollies · through the air, his reputation and authority soon extend
ed themselves among the ignorant multitude, and daily increased in his native country. The crowd of his admirers was now seized by the fire of a religious fanaticism and enthusiastic valour, which justified the most sanguine hopes, of seeing all his wishes realized. No sooner did he observe these propitious symptoms, than he began to plan military expeditions, and projected schemes of attacks, which were instantly executed against the opposers of his pretensions. He began by making successful sallies for ravage and plunder, in which his small parties showed that kind of high courage and puissance, which in similar circumstances, proved invincible. Elated by his good fortune, Mahomed now collected an army, took his native city by assault, vanquished tribe after tribe of his own nation, rendered himself terrible by invasions into the adjacent countries, and died A. D. 632 sole lord of Arabia, having laid the basis of a new religion, and a new empire in the world.
The spirit of the nation was now roused to a furious intrépidity, and excited to the performance of great enterprises. His followers led immense armies into the neighbouring kingdoms, and into almost all the countries of the ancient Roman empire; just as the natural locusts, at times, come forth from Arabia by innumerable hosts and
spread into the adjacent countries, where they devour all vegetables, and often produce great distress. Exod. x. 13. For this reason the Arabians are often compared to locusts, and called by this name also in other parts of Scriptore, Jud. vi. 5. ch. vii. 12; and large invading armies are r. presented by this threatening figure, on account of their sudden and ruinous incursions, Jer. xlvi. 23. chap. li. 14. They conquered Syria and Palestine with the holy city A. D. 634; Phoenicia, Mesopotamia, Armenia and the great Persian empire from A. D. 636_to 637; and penetrate into the East of Asia, even beyond the river Ghihoon into Samarkund. They also extended their conquests into Africa, and subdued the islands of Cyprus, Rhodes, Sicily and Leuca The African Moors, who, after being vanquished, had also received the Mahomedan religion, passod with their fleets into Europe, where they conquered Sardinia, A. D. 711, and the whole kingdom of Spain A. D. 713. Thus in less than a hundred years after the death of Mahomed, the Saracens had extended their terri. tories and dominion into three parts of the world, Asia, Africa and Europe, where they on all sides opposed the progress of Christianity, and in many places effected the ruin of the Church. Their rapid course was however checked by Charles Martel's victory, near Tours, A. D. 734, in which bloody engagement they lost 370,000 men, with the general at their head. This signal triumph on the part of Christendom, seems to have given a reverse of fortune to the Mahomedan invasions; at least they soon discontinued their inroads into other countries, and their power ceased to be destructive to the Church of Christ.
Verse 3. As the scorpions of the earth have power. There are three kinds of scorpions; the sea scorpions are a kind of fish, the scorpions of the air are winged, the scorpions of the earth are of the size and form of a crab, with stings in their tails, which are always prepared to do mischief, and are found in Italy, Africa, and the meridional
deserts of Asia and America. These last are intended here, as an emblem of a treacherous, furious people, who unexpectedly fall on others, and inflict tormenting wounds by surprise ; which perfectly corresponds with the character of the Saracens, and their descendants, the Arabians. The only alternative to escape misery, was to fly from
their presence. Du Verse 4. And it was commanded them that they should
not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any
death shall flee from them. ia. I Here St. John begins to comfort the true Christians of he' those days, who hảd the seal of Almighty God in their
foreheads, by an assurance, that these calamities were limited by Providence to a certain degree, beyond which they should not rise. The grass of the earth, green things, and trees, must here be taken in a figurative sense, as in ch. viii. 7. and in a comparative estimate with the locusts. They signify the sanctified believers, among the different classes of persons in the Church, which according to the religious fanaticism of the Mahomedans, would otherwise have become their first prey; as all green things are the natural sustenance of locusts, and what they mostly desire. These, they were commanded not to hurt. This word Adiéw, to hurt, also signifies, to infringe on another's rights and privileges, Acts xxv. 10. 2 Cor. vii. 2. Gal. iv. 12. and, I presume this to be the true acceptation in this place. The Saracens, for many years treated the private Christians, whom they found not in arms to oppose them, and especially those who rejected the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, with the utmost lenity and indulgence, and granted them perfect religious liberty; whilst on the contrary they reduced the Pagans to slavery, if they refused to become Mahomedans. Malomed prohibited his followers by a Testamentary Diploma from disturbing the Christians in his dominions in the enjoyment of their religion, or temporal possessions, the genuineness of which the Mahomedans unanimously acknowledge. This testament has greatly mollified the rigour of their measures, and assisted to accomplish this prophecy, by interdicting all public persecutions against the Church of Christ.
As the seal of God in their foreheads, here designates the Christian character of true believers, or their publicly confessed and acknowledged membership in the Church of Christ; so those wanting the seal of God, are the Pagans, and the unconverted Christian inbabitants of the Roman empire. The first would have been the principal sufferers, during the ravages of these locusts, but were re. strained by Providence from public persecution or martyrdom ; and in regard to the last, édoon (Exsía) they had only received authority to torment, and not to overwhelm with utter destruction. This word Basaview, to torment, however often signifies to explore, to extort by numerous torments, and is used to express the pains of the body, and the anguish of souls in hell, Luke xvi. 23; thus indicating the greatest degree of misery human nature can sustain. Such has actually been the deplorable condition of millions, during the Mahomedan invasions. Elated by success and prosperity, these imperious lords of the East, treated the Heathens with the greatest severity, and at last, many Christians without moderation. They made them feel all the rigour of despotism, by loading them with insupportable taxes, and obliging them, like slaves,
to suffer a variety of vexatious and oppressive measures. Fines, confiscation of goods and banishments were the order of the day, whilst those who remained inflexibly firm to their Pagan idolatry, were maimed and tormented in various ways. When the kingdom of Spain A. D. 713, fell a prey to their invasions, the sufferings of the Church were incomparably smaller, than the torments of the votaresses of chastity in the power of those brutal violators. Thousands would have preferred death, to the pangs of such a vile defloration of their families, or to being made the subservient victims of such violence in their own persons. And yet, this lamentable state of sufferings provailed for many years, more or less, in every country conquered by the Saracens, without amelioration or redress. These poignant distresses are here compared to the torment, occasioned by the poisonous stings of terrestrial scorpions ; which is said to consist in great bodily pain, and inexpressible anguish of soul, when the poison contracts the heart. Verse 7. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto ; horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads
were as it were crowns like gold, and their
faces were as the faces of men. 8. And they had bair as the hair of women, and
their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9. And they had breastplates, as it were breast
plates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses
running to battle. 10. And they had tails like unto scorpions; and
there were stings in their tails : and their power
was to hurt men five months. This description of locusts, contains the distinguishing characteristics of these invading hosts, which so perfectly accord with no other nation, as with the Saracens. They are here delineated as vigorous and swift, like horses of
tracts to pressible is said