Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

of the Turks, under the names of the king of the south, and the king of the north, are described with all the accuracy of actual history. Mahometanism is thus, in the first instance, described, so to speak, by itself, or without any express specification, of the Saracenic and Turkish powers. These, in regard to Mahometanism, had both one character and object, and needed only in that respect to be united into one view. But in regard to their history, in a political sense, as distinct empires, varying as to the period and place of their origin, and the mode or degree in which they respectively executed the same work, they did admit of and received a separate illustration.

After the same pattern and parallel, in which Daniel thus first portrayed Mahometanism in one vi. sion, and afterwards in another the empires of the Saracens and of the Turks, John in the Apocalypse represents them anew. In the different forms of religion, Mahometanism appears, symbolically indeed, but undisguisedly, in its genuine character. A white horse having been previously represented and recognised as the symbol of the Christian religion, Mahometanism was set forth under a similar symbol, but of another appearance and nature. It was a red horse which symbolized the faith of the warrior-prophet, or on which he and the kings who subsequently represented him, did sit : and to him was given a great sword. It was his character and office to take peace from the earth. Such of itself was Mahometanism. But the hands in which the sword was to be successively put, were different. And while each, who was to hold it, was to be the defender, propagator, or chief of the Mahometan faith,—the former distinction is renewed and further developed ; and the king of the south and of the north are represented under their appropriate characters of the first and second woe. Mahometanism arose at the time of the end

when the transgressors had come to the full. And at the time of the end, the Saracens, and afterwards the Turks, came against an apostate and idolatrous church, headed by the pope, who magnified himself above all. And in exact keeping with their character and commission, the appropriate designation as woes has its best illustrations, both from the previous announcement of the things that they were to do, and the historical retrospect of the things that they have done.

The more closely that this analogy is traced between the king of the south and the king of the north, and the first and second woe, the more clearly are they identified as representing the empires of the Saracens and of the Turks. Each of these separate representations occupy the last part of the respective predictions. The king of the south, or the caliph of the Saracens, assaulted an apostate churoh, when the transgressors came to the full. And the first woe on Christendom began, after the subversion of the western empire of Rome, and when all the trumpets that had been sounded against it had terminated in its overthrow. The emperor of Rome, as reigning in that city, was thus taken away, and that wicked one, who exalted and opposed himself above all, was revealed. It was no longer therefore an earthly empire that had to be broken down ; but an idolatrous church, headed by the pope, that had to be punished. The corruption of Christianity, the recognition of the head of the church” in another than the Lord Jesus Christ, the prevalence of idolatry, and the trust that was reposed in other strongholds than in the rock of salvation, and the consequent corruption of manners and prevalent transgressions, did not long call in vain, after being perfected into a system, and having come to the full, for a sign on earth of the wrath of heaven :- And the first woe arose. The forms and instruments of that chastisement are the same, whether we look to the achievements of the king of fierce countenance, (or Mahometanism, as symbolized by the little horn of the he-goat,) and of the kings of the south and of the north, the active forms which Mahometanism assumed, or whether we behold it again as a religion armed with a sword and marked with blood, and look to the first and second woes.

The sole task, we apprehend, that remains to complete the likeness, and to identify Mahometanism, under both its symbols, and the king of the south and the king of the north with the first and second woe—the things that the former were to do, with the woes that the latter were to be-is to come and see how the whole figure is filled up, or the whole history completed, in the prophetic delineation of the second woe. And, in the first instance, it may here be necessary to trace the connexion between the Saracens and the Turks, not only as espousing the same cause, and accomplishing the same ends, but constituted also for the same work, and forming parts of the same system, as the sultan was installed into his office by the caliph.

Already have we seen how the Turks elected a king or sultan, on the defeat of the Gaznevides and the subjection of Persia, and how they afterwards came like a whirlwind on the Asiatic provinces of Rome; and we have now again to take up a page of their early history, in order to trace, in the words of Gibbon, the connexion between the Saracens and the Turks, or how the first and second woe were linked together, how the spirit of the one, before its final departure, was infused into the other or the same sword was consigned over to a different hand, to execute or renew the same work of woe. The mantle of Elijah, as he was ascending into heaven, fell on

Elisha. And prophet after prophet, as they saw afar off the day of Jesus, testified of that Prince of Peace. But the mantle of the false prophet of Mecca was a martial cloak; and with it a sword was given, and peace was to be still taken from the earth. No vision was to be seen of an inhabitant of earth arising into heaven ; but a blood-stained rider on a war-horse, though representing a form of religion, was seen, when his strength was exhausted with slaughter, and when he was just about to sink on the earth for ever, to resign his seat and charge to another; and the same red horse was backed again; and the sword that was destined to take peace from the earth did not rust in its scabbard.

The whole body of the Turkish nation embraced with fervour and sincerity the religion of Mahomet. The NORTHERN swarms of barbarians who overspread both Europe and Asia, have been irreconcilably separated by the consequences of a similar conduct. The first of the Seljukian sultans was conspicuous by his zeal and faith : each day be repeated the five prayers which are enjoined to the true believers; of each week, the two first days were consecrated by an extraordinary fast, and in every city a mosch was completed, before Togrul presumed to lay the foundations of a palace.

“With the belief of the Koran, the son of Seljuk imbibed a lively reverence for the successor of the prophet. But that sublime character was still disputed by the caliphs of Bagdad and Egypt, and each of the rivals was solicitous to prove his title in the judgment of the strong, though illiterate barbarians. Mahmud the Gaznevide had declared himself in favour of Abas; and had treaded with indignity the robe of honour which was presented by the Fatimite ambassador. Yet the ungrateful Hashimite had changed with the change of fortune; he applauded the victory of Zendecan, and named the Seljukian Sultan his TEMPORAL VICEGERENT OVER THE MOSLEM WORLD. As Togrul executed and enlarged this important trust, he was called to the deliverance of the caliph Cayem, and obeyed the holy summons, which gave a new kingdom to his arms. In the palace of Bagdad, the commander of the faithful still slumbered, a venerable phantom. His servant or master, the prince of the Bowides, could no longer protect him from the insolence of meaner tyrants; and the Euphrates and Tigris were oppressed by the revolt of the Turkish and Arabian Emirs. The presence of a conqueror was implored as a blessing; and the transient mischief of fire and sword were excused as the sharp but salutary remedies which alone could restore the health of the republic. At the head of the irresistible force,( the king who came like a whirlwind,) the Sultan of Persia marched from Hamadan ; the proud were crushed, the prostrate were spared, the prince of the Bowides disappeared; the heads of the most obstinate rebels were laid at the feet of Togrul; and he inflicted a lesson of obedience on the people of Mosul and Bagdad. After the chastisement of the guilty, and the restoration of peace, the royal shepherd accepted the reward of his labours; and a solemn comedy represented the triumph of religious prejudice over barbarian power. The TURKISH SULTAN embarked on the Tigris, landed at the gate of Rana, and made his public entry on horseback. At the palace gate, he respectfully dismounted, preceded by his emirs without arms. The caliph was seated behind his black veil: the black garment of the Abassides was cast over his shoulders, and he held in his hand THE STAFF OP THE APOSTLE OF God. The conqueror of the east kissed the ground, stood some time in a modest posture, and was led towards the throne by the vizier and an interpreter. After Togrul had seated himself on another throne, HIS COMMISSION WAS PCBLICLY READ, WHICH DECLARED HIM TEMPORAL LIEUTENANT OF THE VICAR OF THE PROPHET. He was successively invested with seven robes of honour, and presented with seven slaves, the natives of the seven climates of the Arabian empire. His mystic veil was perfumed with musk; two crowns were placed on his head; TWO SCIMITARS WERE GIRDED TO HIS SIDE, as the symbols of a double reign over the east and west. After This INAUGURATION, the Sultan was prevented from prostrating himself a second time; but he twice kissed the hand of the commander of the faithful, and his titLES WERE PROCLAIMED BY THE VOICE OF HERALDS AND THE APPLAUSE OF THE Moslems. In a second visit to Bagdad, the Seljukian prince again rescued the caliph from his enemies; and devoutly, on foot, led the bridle of his mule from the prison to the palace. Their alliance was cemented by the marriage of Togrul's sister with the successor of the prophet. Without reluctance he had introduced a Turkish virgin into his harem ; but Cayem proudly refused his daughter to the Sultan, disdained to mingle the blood of the Hashemites with the blood of a Scythian shepherd; and protracted the negotiation many months, till the gradual diminution of his revenue had admo

« AnteriorContinuar »