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SIGNS OF THE TIMES,
AS DENOTED BY THE FULFILMENT OF
FROM THE BABYLONISH CAPTIVITY TO
THE PRESENT TIME.
REV. ALEXANDER KEITH,
MINISTER OF ST, CYRUS,
" At the end it shall speak, and not lie."-HAB. ii. 3.
of the times?"- MATT. xvi. 3.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
WILLIAM WHYTE & CO.
BOOKSELLERS TO HER MAJESTY ;
LONGMAN, REES, ORME, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMAN, LONDON;
W. COLLINS, AND M. OGLE, GLASGOW.
THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES,
The previous visions bring us down historically till we have passed the period of the siege of Constantinople, its capture by the Turks, and the extinction of the Eastern empire. The second woe was not ended when Mahomet II. occupied the throne of Palæologus ; and other events were yet to intervene before it should be past. The overthrow of the Western empire of Rome served to exalt the papacy ; and the papal yoke was not broken with the last sceptre of the Cæsars, which had been swayed in Constantinople for eleven hundred years. The Turkish empire in Europe and Asia was divided into Pachalics. The nations of Europe, which were not subjected to the Turkish sway, continued the unrepentant worshippers of idols and workers of iniquity. And from the year 1453 to the end of that century, the prophetic character of the times continued unchanged—and the fact is notorious in history that
during that period, men did not repent of their corrupt worship or of their evil deeds, and that these together grew to such an excess, that the papal yoke could no longer be borne. But with a new century a new era began.
The first four trumpets, before which the Western empire fell, and the two woe-trumpets on apostate Christendom, by the last of which the empire of the East was also subverted, followed in close succession, and the events which they respectively represent were immediately connected. The Goths, the Vandals, the Huns, and the Lombards, gave no pause to the downfall of Rome ; nor was any event interposed between the wars which they waged, to merit a peculiar page
in history or a word in prophecy. Alaric, Genseric, Attila, opened a way for the first barbaric king of Italy ; and the sun of Rome was set. The first and second woes, though perfectly distinct, were not only of a kindred character, but they came into immediate contact, and there was a bond between them : The caliph invested the sultan, and put the great sword in his hand. But it is not thus in the course of the second woe, for other scenes are introduced before it is past, and before it is then said that the third woe cometh quickly. A pause is interposed, and a new description is introduced after the fall of Constantinople and the continued impenitence, immediately after that event, of the European nations which were not subjugated by the Turks.
It is also peculiarly observable, that the first sounding as well as the whole burden of each and all of the former trumpets, indicate, by the most expressive symbols and signs, the judgments that were to come generally or partially on the earth. These were all of fearful import—such as fire and hail mingled with blood cast upon the earth—the effect of which was burning-a great mountain burning with fire cast into the sea,--a great star falling from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and whose name was wormwood,—the smiting of the third part of the sun and of the moon and of the stars, with the consequent darkness. These were also followed in like manner, under the very name of woes, by the opening of the bottomless pit, and the rising of a smoke, enough to darken the sun and the stars, and out of which issued locusts upon the earth ; and also by the loosing of the four angels, that were bound on earth and did not descend from heaven, whose time of preparation to slay the third part of men was already measured and begun. All these, however dissimilar in form, are the same in kind. And it needs but the slightest observation to discern that the next vision is altogether of a different order ; and that, in conformity with the symbol, the next great event which it typifies, is necessarily different in nature and in character, as all these various forms of wars and woes are different from the descent of an angel from heaven.
Reaching, then, the very dawn of the Reformation, and looking on a new prophetic scene, may we not regard history as again the interpreter, and draw all our illustrations of the whole from it alone ? Was there nothing then seen like ANOTHER mighty angel -the angel of the Reformation-coming down from heaven-was there not something like a rainbow on his head, a sign that the world was no longer to be deluged with darkness,—was not his face seen to shine as the sun, when Jesus, the sun of righteousness, again became the light of the world, did not his feet shine as pillars of fire, enlightening the place on which he stood—was it not on the sea, the shores of the Baltic and the island of Britain, that he set his right foot, the brightest regions of protestantism, and on the earth, in inland Europe, that, somewhat less firmly and brightly, he placed his left ? What else