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CHATER THE SECOND.
THE RISE, PROGRESS, ESTABLISHMENT, AND DECLINE OF THE MAHOMETAN POWER OF
WE have already feen that the Prophets Daniel and St. John clearly revealed the rise and establishment of a Power in the Eaft, at a certain period of time, which was to be a fcourge "to the people of God" for their manifold offences; and which is to be confidered as one of the forms of Antichrift. We now proceed to prove, from the authority of the most eminent and learned Commentators, Mede, Vitringa, Daubuz, Sir Ifaac and Bishop Newton, More, Whifton, Lowman, and many others, and from the teftimony of Hiftorical facts, that these Prophecies are
See Introductory Chapter, vol. i. Clafs II.
Atrictly 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 prefent 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 fuitable emblems, the origin, the characteristic manners, the arts of war, and the deftructive ravages of the pretended Prophet of Arabia and his followers-the Arabians, Saracens, and Turks-upon the idolatrous and corrupt Chriftians. This formidable power commenced about the year of Christ 606, which is confidered by most of the early Commentators, as the year when the Papal Antichrist was first established Þ.
By the permiffion of divine providence, whose designs are frequently represented in
It is fomewhat remarkable that thefe powers not only arofe, but were fully established nearly together. In the year 758 the Pope received the exarchate of Ravenna, and foon after became fovereign of Rome. In 762, the Saracen Caliph, Almanfor, 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 fimilar.
Scripture, and more particularly in the Apocalypfe, as being accomplished by celeftial agents; an angel defcended and opened the cave of the abyss, for fo the words of the original Greek ought to be tranflated. This figurative reprefentation properly expreffes a commiffion from heaven to allow Satan to infeft the world with fome new and great trial. The word ftanding in the original for cave, is more particularly expreffive of those caverns, which, on account of the fprings they contain, emit a vapour, and were by Pagan fuperftition often confidered as the feats of oracles and fources of infpiration. And does not this emblem most ftrikingly defcribe the rife of a pretended revelation? Or, when fuch, answering in all points to the prediction, was propagated at the period to which this Prophecy relates, does not the literal circumstance of its rife from a cave, both fix the application, and demonstrate the truth of the Prophecy? And that fuch 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 confulted the fpirit of fraud and enthufiafm.
< Whitaker's View of the Proph. p. 119-121.
fun and the air were darkened by reafon of the Smoke of the pit, when the falsehoods, contradictions, and fables of the Koran ufurped the place of the Gofpel truths. And that the preaching of Mahomet brought on a fpiritual darkness, by obfcuring the light of Revelation, the fate of the Gospel in the countries ruled by his difciples fufficiently proves, without taking into the account the following words of the hiftorian, when describing the treatment of Christians dwelling in Mahometan countries." A decent reverence for the national faith is imposed on their fermons and converfations: and the facrile gious attempt to feduce a Muffulman will not be suffered to escape with impunity.—In . a time however of tranquillity and juftice, the Chriftians 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 profeffed and deserted the law of Mahomet "."-Restrictions like these, and especially the laft, when laid upon the leffons of truth, amount to obfcuring 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. VOL. II.
• Gibbon, c. 51.
its difciples in the regions under the dominion of the Muffulmen.
As out of the fmoke came locufts upon the earth, fo the pretended divine miffion of Mahomet was the immediate caufe of the Saracens overrunning the countries they infefted; and the Hiftorian before quoted gives us fufficient proofs of the connexion between the doctrines they taught, and the conquefts they achieved; and of the facility of establishing such a connexion in minds fo ardent, and tempers fo enthufiaftic as thofe of his folJowers. "The Prophet of Medina affumed 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 season of forbearance was elapfed; and he was now commanded to propagate his religion by the sword, to destroy the monuments of idolatry, and, without regarding the fanctity 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 their