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Catholics by Huneric's successors, Gondamund and Thrasimund. But the emperor Justinian in 535 sent his general Belisarius into Africa, who defeated the Vandals, and put an end to their kingdom and power.

Let this account suffice to show, with how much propriety the Arian heresy is styled in our text of the Apocalypse a great mountain burning with fire flung into the Church. It now appears what a flame it kindled of discord, intestine convulsions, and persecution, and that it corrupted the faith of a considerable part, both of its pastors and people. But we must at the same time take notice that, notwithstanding all the different artifices and violences employed by the Arians to increase their party, and to suppress that of the orthodox, the greatest portion of the flock of Christ, even in the East, stood firm in their faith, and adhered closely to the determination of the Council of Nice. This is attested by St. Athanasius, who lived in the midst of the scene, and bore a great share in it. The same is asserted by St. Basil, in the time of the emperor Valens. Besides! the Western Church was for a considerable time almost unanimous in its detestation of that blasphemous heresy, till it was imported thither by foreign people, who came and settled in her countries. It is said that the fiery mountain corrupted a part of the waters of the sea; in like manner Arianism infused its infection into some part of the Church; but as the waters of the sea, by their natural convulsive motion, cast forth the filth they contain in their bosom, and purify themselves; so the pastors and community of the faithful, as soon as they perceived the lurking poison of Arianism, bestirred themselves to repel it, by assembling councils, by preaching, praying, &c. which efforts had their full effect, and defeated the enemy. The mighty power of emperors and kings came in to its assistance, but that even fell before infirm defenceless men, the faithful pastors, who stood intrepid against it; for, the weak things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the strong, 1 Cor. 1. 27. How vain and senseless the attempt, in any power below heaven, to force the Church to change her belief! when he, who built her up, had pronounced that the

gates of hell should never prevail against her, Matt. xvi. 18. How is it possible that the Church should ever be prevailed upon to declare against the divinity of Christ, which is the very rock on which she stands? The rise of Arianism, therefore, served only as a touchstone, to distinguish the sound part of Christians from the unsound. It was an useful instrument to separate the chaff from the corn: There must be heresies, says St. Paul, that they who are approved, may be made manifest, 1 Cor. xi. 19. This method Christ made use of to purge away all dross from his Church, and the pure metal only remaining, she shone with more brightness. While on the other hand Arianism, not being able to stand against such superior lustre, withdrew by degrees, and sunk quite away.

Such is the history of what relates to the second age of the Church.


The History of the Third Age of the Christian Church.

The Opening of the third Seal.

APOC. Chap. VI. v. 5. And when he, the Lamb, had

opened the third scal, I heard, says St. John, the third living creature, saying: Come, and see. And behold, a black horse, and he that sat on him, had a pair of scales in his hand.

V. 6. And I heard as it were a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying: Two pounds of wheat for a penny, and thrice two pounds of barley for a penny, and see thou hurt not the wine and the oil.

Here is announced a dreadful famine, which is the first step taken by the Almighty for the destruction of the empire of pagan Rome; and with it commences the third age of the Church, about the year 406.

The voice cries out: Two pounds of wheat for a penny, and thrice two pounds of barley for a penny. The Roman penny, or denarius, is, in our money, about seven pence three farthings, an exorbitant price in those days for two pounds of wheat or six pounds of barley, and shows great scarcity. This famine afflicted the western Roman empire in 406, and the following years, when Arcadius reigned emperor in the east, and Honorius in the west; the body of the Roman empire having been divided into two states; the eastern, the capital of which was Constantinople; and the western, having Rome for its capital; which last is the subject of our present consideration. The famine was occasioned by the irruption of those barbarous nations, the Goths, the Vandals, the Huns, the Alans, &c. who came in swarms from the north, invaded the Roman provinces, and carried

devastation along with them. This is attested by all the historians of those times. These people were sent by Almighty God to execute his avenging justice on idolatrous Rome and its empire, to distress it with calamities, to seize its provinces, to humble its pride, and put an end to its power and dominion.

The black colour of the horse is suitable to the nature of famine, which wastes and dries the body, and tinges the skin with a blackish hue, agreeably to that of Jeremias: Our skin is burnt as an oven, by reason of the violence of the famine, Lamen. v. 10. The black or funeral colour of the horse agrees also with the condition here considered of the heathen Roman empire, which is now going into destruction. And he that sits on the horse, is Alaric, king of the Goths, the principal nation among those that concurred in the subversion of the Roman state and in Alaric may be comprehended the chiefs of the other nations. The rider holds a pair of scales in his hand to weigh the grain, which indicates that the dearth will be so great, that all grain will be sold by exact weight and measure. And here we may take notice of the propriety of this spectacle being shown to St. John by the third living crcature, or the prophet Ezekiel, who had announced to the Jews the like calamity, with which God intended to punish them. Thus spoke God by that prophet: Behold, I will break in pieces the staff of bread in Jerusalem; and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and in distress, Ezek. iv. 16. Let us also observe, that the voice which spoke, came from the midst of the four living creatures, that is, it was one voice composed of the voices of the four living creatures, or of the four great prophets, Isaias, Jeremias, Ezekiel, and Daniel. They severally foretold the fall of ancient Babylon, which was a figure of the fail of pagan Rome, this city being styled Babylon in the Apocalypse. On account therefore of their common prediction, their voices are joined in one to announce the approaching fate of Rome. But it is added: Hurt not the wine and the oil. This expression seems to point at the character of the invaders of the Roman territory, who were all Northern

people, and consequently not being used to wine and oil, which are not produced in their countries, naturally neglected them, while at the same time they swept away all the grain. In northern countries, at present, both wine and oil are imported, and commonly used, but it was not so in those days, when little or no commerce, or even communication, subsisted between the northern and southern nations.

In the subject of this seal, we see shine forth that Wisdom, the attribute of the Lamb, Apoc. v. 12. see p. 18, according to the dictates of which he demolishes kingdoms and raises up others.

The sounding of the Third Trumpet.

APOC. Chap. VIII. v. 10. And the third Angel, says St. John, sounded the trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, burning as it were a torch, and it fell on the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters.

V. 11. And the name of the star is called wormwood. And the third part of the waters became wormwood: and many men died of the waters, because they were made bit


Here is an allegorical description of new calamities that were to be inflicted on heathen Rome and its provinces. A great star falls from heaven : this great star represents the above-named powerful nations of the North; it falls from heaven; they are sent by Almighty God to destroy Rome, as formerly Nabuchodonoser was sent to destroy Jerusalem, and Cyrus to destroy Babylon. This star is said to burn like a torch, on account of the desolation which these barbarians spread in their progress, by laying waste the cities and country by fire. The star fell on the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters. Those people spread themselves over a third part of the Roman provinces, signified by the rivers; they invaded particularly the western parts; then fell upon Rome itself and Italy, denoted by the fountains of waters. That the rivers and waters signify the provinces of the Roman empire, appears from the explication given by the Angel to St. John, in chap. xvii. ver. 15, of the Apoca

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