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Prophetic Expositions, vol. 2

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    SECOND TRUMPET

    Verses 8, 9: “And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea; and the third part of the sea Became blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.”PREX2 142.3

    The history illustrative of the sounding of this trumpet has been given so fully in the first chapter of this volume, that it will be unnecessary to repeal it here. The reader will find it at large in the exposition of Daniel 11:30. It relates to the invasion and conquest of Africa, and afterward of Italy, by the terrible Genseric. His conquests were for the most part naval, and his triumphs were “as it were a great mountain burning with fire, cast into the sea.” The repetition of one or two extracts from Gibbon must suffice:—PREX2 143.1

    “The woods of the Appenines were felled; the arsenals and manufactures of Ravenna and Misenum were restored; Italy and Gaul vied with each other in liberal contributions to the public service; and the imperial navy of three hundred long galleys, with an adequate proportion of transports and smaller vessels, was collected in the secure and capacious harbor of Carthagena in Spain. But Genseric was saved from impending and inevitable ruin by the treachery of some powerful subjects, envious or apprehensive of their master’s success. Guided by their secret intelligence, he surprised the unguarded fleet in the bay of Carthagena; many of the ships were sunk, or taken, or burnt, and the preparations of three years were destroyed in a single day.PREX2 143.2

    “Italy continued to be long afflicted by the incessant depredations of the Vandal pirates. In the spring of each year they equipped a formidable navy in the port of Carthage; and Genseric himself, though in a very advanced age, still commanded in person the most important expeditions. His designs were concealed with impenetrable secresy till the moment that he hoisted sail. When he was asked by his pilot, what course he should steer—‘Leave the determination to the winds,’ replied the barbarian, with pious arrogance—‘they will transport us to the guilty coast whose inhabitants have provoked the divine justice.’ The Vandals repeatedly visited the coasts of Spain, Liguira, Tuscany, Campania, Leucania, Brutium, Apulia, Calabria, Venetia, Dalmatia, Epirus, Greece, and Sicily; they were tempted to subdue the island of Sardinia, so advantageously placed in the centre of the Mediterranean, and their arms spread desolation or terror from the column of Hercules to the mouth of the Nile. In the treatment of his unhappy prisoners, he sometimes consulted his avarice, and sometimes his cruelty; he massacred five hundred noble citizens of Zante, or Zaynthus, whose mangled bodies he cast into the Ionian sea.”—[Gibbon, pp. 180-182, 187, 188.]PREX2 143.3

    A last and desperate attempt to dispossess Genseric of the sovereignty of the sea, was made in the year 468, by the emperor of the east.PREX2 144.1

    “The whole expense of the African campaign amounted to the sum of one hundred and thirty thousand pounds of gold-about five millions two hundred thousand pounds sterling. The fleet that sailed from Constantinople to Carthage, consisted of eleven hundred and thirteen ships, and the number of soldiers and mariners exceeded one hundred thousand men. The army of Heraclius, and the fleet of Marcellinus, either joined or seconded the imperial lieutenant. The wind became favorable to the designs of Genseric. He manned his largest ship of war with the bravest of the Moors and Vandals, and they towed after them many large barks filled with combustible materials. In the obscurity of the night these destructive vessels were impelled against the unguarded and unsuspecting fleet of the Romans, who were awakened by a sense of their instant danger. Their close and crowded order assisted the progress of the fire, which was communicated with rapid and irresistible violence; and the noise of the wind, the crackling of the flames, the dissonant cries of the soldiers and marines, who could neither command nor obey, increased the horror of the nocturnal tumult. Whilst they labored to extricate themselves from the fire-ships, and to save at least a part of the navy, the galleys of Genseric assaulted them with temperate and disciplined valor; and many of the Romans who escaped the fury of the flames were destroyed or taken by the victorious Vandals. After the failure of this great expedition. Genseric again became the ‘tyrant of the sea;’ the coasts of Italy, Greece and Asia were again exposed to his revenge and avarice. Tripoli and Sardinia returned to his obedience; he added Sicily to the number of his provinces; and before he died, in the fulness of years and of glory, he beheld the final extinction of the empire of the west.”—[Ibid., pp. 203, 205.]PREX2 144.2

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