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the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months : and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he striketh a mun. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. 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. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions, and they had breastplates as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle ; and they had tails like unto scorpions; and there were stings in their tails : and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.-Chap. ix. 1–11.
Constantinople was besieged for the first time after the extinction of the western empire, by Chosroes, the king of Persia.
“ Under the reign of Phocas, (A. D. 611) the fortifications of Merdin, Dara, Amida, and Edessa were successively besieged, reduced, and destroyed by the Persian monarch: he passed the Euphrates, occupied the Syrian cities, Hierapolis, Chalcis, and Berrhæa or Aleppo, and soon encompassed the walls of Antioch with his irresistible arms. The rapid tide of success discloses the decay of the empire, the incapacity of Phocas, and the dissatisfaction of his subjects; and Jerusalem was taken by assault. Egypt itself, the only province which had been exempt since the time of Diocletian from foreign and domestic wars, was again subdued by the successors of Cyrus. Pelusium, the key of that impervious country, was surprised by the cavalry of the Persians : they pass
ed with impunity the innumerable channels of the Delta, and explored the long valley of the Nile, from the pyramids of Memphis to the confines of Ethiopia. In the first campaign, another army advanced from the Euphrates to the
Thracian Bosphorus ; Chalcedon surrendered after a long siege, and a Persian camp was maintained for ten years in the province of Constantinople.*
“From the long disputed banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, the reign of the grandson of Nushirvan was suddenly extended to the Hellespont and the Nile, the aucient limits of the Persian monarchy. Conscious of their fear and hatred, the Persian conqueror governed his new subjects with an iron sceptre. And as he suspected the stability of his dominion, he exhausted their wealth by exorbitant tributes and licentious rapine, despoiled or demolished the temples of the east, and transported to his hereditary realms the gold, the silver, the precious marbles, the arts, and the artists of the Asiatic cities. In the obscure picture of the calamities of the empire it is not easy to discern the figure of Chosroes himself, to separate his actions from those of his lieutenants, or to ascertain his personal merit in the general blaze of glory and magnificence.”+
A star fell from heaven unto the earth, and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
“ While the Persian monarch contemplated the wonders of his art and power, he received an epistle from an obscure citizen of Mecca, inviting him to acknowledge Mahomet as the apostle of God. He rejected the invitation, and tore the epistle. It is thus,' exclaimed the Arabian prophet, that God will tear the kingdom, and reject the supplication of Chosroes. Placed on the verge of these two empires of the east, Mahomet observed with secret joy the progress of mutual destruction; and in the midst of the Persian triumphs he ventured to foretell, that, before many years should elapse, victory should again return to the banners of the Romans.” “ At the time when this prediction is said to have been delivered, no prophecy could be more distant from its accomplishment (!) since the first twelve years of Heraclius announced the approaching dissolution of the empire.” $
It was not, like that designative of Attila, on a single spot that the star fell, but upon the earth.
Gibbon's Hist. vol. viii. p. 222_5. + Ibid. pp. 226, 227. Ibid. pp. 228, 229. SIbid,
Chosroes subjugated the Roman possessions in Asia and Africa. And “the Roman empire," at that period, " was reduced to the walls of Constantinople, with the remnant of Greece, Italy, and Africa, and some maritime cities, from Tyre to Trebisond, of the Asiatic coast. The experience of six years at length persuaded the Persian monarch to renounce the conquest of Constantinople, and to specify the annual tribute or the ransum of the ROMAN EMPIRE: a thousand talents of gold, a thousand talents of silver, a thousand silk robes, a thousand horses, and a thousand virgins. Heraclius subscribed these ignominious terms. But the time and space which he obtained to collect those treasures, from the poverty of the east, was industriously employed in the preparations of a bold and desperate attack.”**
The king of Persia despised the obscure Saracen, and derided the message of the pretended prophet of Mecca. Even the overthrow of the Roman empire would not have opened a door for Mahometanism, or for the progress of the Saracenic armed propagators of an imposture, though the monarch of the Persians, and the chagan of the Avars (the successor of Attila) had divided between them the remains of the kingdom of the Cæsars. Chosroes himself fell. The Persian and Roman monarchies exhausted each other's strength. And before a sword was put into the hands of the false prophet, it was smitten from the hands of those who would have checked his career, and crushed his power.
« Since the days of Scipio and Hannibal, no bolder enterprise has been attempted than that which Heraclius achieved for the deliverance of the empire. He permitted the Persians to oppress for a while the provinces, and to insult. with impunity the capital of the east; while the Roman emperor explored his perilous way through the Black Sea and the mountains of Armenia, penetrated into the heart of Persia, and recalled the armies of the great king to the defeuce of their bleeding country. The revenge and ambition of Chosroes exhausted his kingdom. The whole city of Constantinople was invested, -and the inhabitants descried
with terror the flaming signals of the European and Asiatic shores. In the battle of Nineveh, which was fiercely fought from day-break to the eleventh hour, twenty-eight standards, besides those which might be broken or torn, were taken from the Persians; the greatest part of their army was cut in pieces, and the victors, concealing their own loss, passed the night on the field. The cities and palaces of Assyria were open for the first time to the Romans. By a just gradation of magnificent scenes they penetrated to the royal city of Destagered, &c. The first evening Chosroes lodged in the cottage of a peasant, whose humble door could scarcely give admittance to the great king. On the third day he entered with joy the fortifications of Ctesipnon.t It was still in the power of Chosroes to obtain a reasonable peace; and he was repeatedly pressed by the messengers of Heraclius to spare the blood of his subjects, and to relieve a humane conqueror from the painful duty of carrying tire and sword through the fairest countries of Asia. But the pride of the Persian had not yet sunk to the level of his fortune; he derived a momentary confidence from the retreat of the emperor; he wept with impotent rage over the ruins of his Assyrian palaces, and disregarded too long the rising murmurs of the nation, who complained that their lives and fortunes were sacrificed to the obstinacy of an old man. That unhappy old man was himself tortured with the sharpest pains of mind and body; in consciousness of his approaching end, he resolved to fix the tiara on the head of Merdeza, the most favoured of his sons. But the will of Chosroes was no longer revered, and Sirois, who gloried in the rauk and merit of his mother Sira, had conspired with the malcontents to assert and anticipate the rights of primogeniture. Twenty-two satraps, they styled themselves patriots, were tempted by the wealth and honours of a new reigo : to the soldiers the heir of Chosroes promised an increase of pay; to the Christians the free exercise of their religion; to the captives liberty and rewards; and to the nation instant peace and reduction of taxes. It was determined by the conspirators that Sirois, with the ensigns of royalty, should appear in the camp; and if the enterprise should fail, his escape was contrived to the imperial court. But the new monarch was saluted with unanimous acclamations; the flight of Chosroes (yet where could he have fled ?) was nearly arrested. Eighteen sons were massacred before his
face, and he was thrown into a dungeon, where he expired upon the fifth day. The Greeks and Modern Persians mi. nutely describe how Chosroes was insulted and famished, and tortured by the command of an inhuman son, who so far surpassed the example of his father : but at the time of his death, what tongue could relate the story of the parricide ? what eye could penetrate into the tower of darkness? The glory of the house of Sassan ended with the life of Chosroes; his unnatural son enjoyed only eight months' fruit of his crimes; and in the space of four years the regal title was assumed by nine candidates, who disputed, with the sword or dagger, the fragments of an exhausted monarchy. Every province and every city of Persia was the scene of independence, of discord and of blood, and the state of anarchy continued about eight years longer, till the factions were silenced and united under the common yoke of the ARABIAN Caliphs."*
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth ; and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth, &c.
The Roman emperor was not strengthened by the conquests which he achieved ; and a way was prepared at the same time, and by the same means, for the multitudes of Saracens from Arabia, like locusts from the same region, who, propagating in their course the dark and delusive Mahometan creed, speedily overspread both the Persian and Roman empires.
More complete illustration of this fact could not be desired than is supplied in the concluding words of the chapter, from which the preceding extracts are taken.
“ Yet the deliverer of the east was indigent and feeble. Of the Persian spoils the most valuable portion had been expended in the war, distributed to the soldiers, or buried by an unlucky tempest in the waves of the Euxine. The loss of two hundred thousand soldiers who had fallen by the