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They were to find " no ease" among these nations; and was nothing in the circumstances of the Babylonian the almost constant and long-continued persecutions, empire when the prediction was uttered, to warrant robberies, and murder of Jews, not only in ancient na- the hope, much less to support a confident conjecture. tions, but especially among Christian nations of the Could the subversion of that powerful empire by a then middle ages, and in the Mahometan states to this day, obscure people, the circumstance which broke the are in wonderful accomplishment of this. They were bondage of the Jews, have been foreseen by man? or to be “ a proverb and a by-word among all nations ;" when we consider the event as fulfilling so distinct a which has been in every place fulfilled, but was surely prophecy, can it be resolved into imaginative interpreabove human intelligence to foresee: and “the stranger tation ? A future restoration, however, awaits this that is within th shall get above thee very high, and people, and will be to the world a glorious demonstrathou shalt come very low.For a comment on this, tion of the truth of prophecy. This being future, we let the conduct of the strangerTurks and others cannot argue upon it. Three things are however cerwho inhabit Palestine, towards the Jews who remained tain:--the Jews themselves expect it; they are prethere, be recollected,—the one party is indeed“ very served by the providence of God a distinct people for high," and the other“ very low." Other parts of this their country; and their country, which in fact is pos. singular chapter present equally striking predictions, sessed by no one, is preserved for them. uttered more than three thousand years ago, as remark- Without noticing numerous prophecies respecting ahly accomplished; but there are some passages in it ancient nations and cities, (2) the wonderful and exact acwhich refer in terms so particular to a then distant complishment of which has been pointed out by various event, the utter subversion of their polity and nation by writers, and which afford numerous eminent instances of the Romans, as to demonstrate in the most unequivo- the prescienceof contingent and improbable events, whose cal manner the prescience of him to whom all events, evidence is so overwhelming, that, as in the case of the the most contingent, minute, and distant, are known illustrious prophecies of Daniel, unbelievers have been with absolute certainty. That the Romans are in obliged to resort to the subterfuge of asserting, in optended, in verse 49, by the nation brought from “ the position to the most direct proofs, that the prophecies end of the earth,distinguished by their well-known were written after the events, we shall close our inensign “ the eagle,” and by their fierce and cruel dis- stances by adverting to the prophecies respecting the position, is exceedingly probable; and it is remarkable Messiah,-the great end and object of the prophetic that the account which Moses gives of the horrors of dispensation. of these not a solitary instance or two, the “ siege” of which he speaks, is exactly paralleled of an equivocal kind, and expressed only in figurative by those well-known passages in Josephus, in which or symbolic language, are to be adduced; but upwards he describes the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman army. of one hundred predictions, generally of very clear and The last verse of ihe chapter seems indeed to fix the explicit meaning, and each referring to some different reference of the foregoing passages to the final destruc- circumstance connected with the appearing of Christ, tion of the nation by the Romans, and at the same time his person, history, and his ministry, have been selected contains a prediction, the accomplishment of which by divines, exclusive of typical and allusive prediccannot possibly be ascribed to accident. " And the tions,(3) and those which in an ultimate and remote Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by sense are believed to terminate in him. How are all the way whereof I spake unto ihee, Thou shalt see it no these to be disposed of, if the inspiration of the Scripmore again : and there ye shall be sold unto your ene- tures which contain them be denied ? That these premies fomabondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall dictions are in books written many ages before the birth biy you." On this Dr. Hale's remarks, on the authority of their own national historian, Josephus, “ of the (2) No work has exhibited in so pleasing and comcaptives taken at the siege of Jerusalem, above seven- prehensive a manner the fulfilment of the leading proteen years of age, some were sent to Egypt in chains, phecies of Scripture, and especially of the Old Testathe greater part were distributed through the provinces tament, as Bishop Newton's Dissertations on the Proto be destroyed in the theatres, by the sword, and by phecies, and the perusal of it may be earnestly recomwild beasts; the rest under seventeen were sold for mended, especially to the young. His illustrations of blaves, and that for a trifling sum, on account of the the prophecies respecting ancient Babylon are exceednumbers to be sold, and the scarcity of buyers : so ingly interesting and satisfactory; and still farther that at length the prophecy of Moses was fulfilled proofs of the wonderfully exact accomplishment of ' and no man shall buy.' The part that were reserved those prophecies may be seen in a highly interesting to grace the triumph of Vespasian, were probably Memoir on the Ruins of Babylon, by Claudius J. Rich, transported to Italy in' ships, or by sea, to avoid a published in 1815. Immense ruins were visited by him prodigious land journey ihither through Asia and near the sunposed site of ancient Babylon, which proGreece,-a circumstance which distinguished this in- bably are, though the matter cannot be certainly as. vasion and captivity from the preceding by the Assy- certained, the remains of that astonishing city, now rians and Babylonians. In the ensuing rebellion, a indeed “swept with the besom of destruction." He part of the captives were sent by sea to Egypt, and seve- tells us, too, that the neighbourhood is to the present ral of the ships were wrecked on the coast.”

a habitation only for birds and beasts of prey; that the Thus, at a distance of fifteen centuries, were these dens of lions, with their slaughtered victims, are to contingent circumstances accurately recorded by the be seen in many places; and that most of the cavities prophetic spirit of Moses—the taking of innumerable are occupied with bats and owls. It is therefore innJews captive-their transport to Egypt-their being possible to reflect without awe upon the passage of sold till the markets for slaves were glutted, and no Isaiah, written during the prosperity of Babylon, more buyers were found, and embarked on board ves- wherein he says, “The wild beasts of the desert shall sels, either to grace the triumph of their conqueror, or lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful to find a market in different maritime ports. Is it pos- creatures, and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall sible that these numerous and minute circumstances dance there." The present ruins of that city also can be referred to either happy conjectures or human demonstrate, that the course of the Euphrates has foresight?

been changed, probably in consequence of the channel But Moses and other prophets agree, that, after all formed by Cyrus; and the yielding nature of the soil their captivities and dispersions, the Jews shall be demonstrates that such an operation could have been again restored to their own land. This was, as we performed by a large army with great facility and deshave said, in one instance accomplished in their resto- patch. ration by Cyrus and his successors; after which they The ruins examined by Mr. Rich bear testimony to again became a considerable state. But who could the immense extent of the city as described by ancient foretel that, but He who determines the events of the authors. Vast masses of masonry, of both burnt and world by his power and wisdom? Jeremiah fixes the unburnt brick and bitumen, were observed in various duration of the captivity to 70 years; he did that so excavations in these huge mountains of ruins, which unequivocally, that the Jews in Babylon, when the time are separated fronı each other by several miles. One approached, began to prepare for the event. But there is called by the Arabs Birs Nimrond; another the

Kasr, or Palace; and a third, which some have thought identity, which has remained in undiminished force for o be the ruins of the Tower of' Belus, is called by the nearly two thousand years, and still pervades every natives Mugelibè, OVERTURNED, which expressive term shred and fragment or their widely scattered popula- is also sometimes applied to the mounds of the Kasr. tion."-CHALMER'S Evidences

(3) See note (9), p. 70.

of our Saviour, is certain-the testimony of the Jews, | point, and show that the truth cannot be denied but by who reject Christ, amply proves this. That no in- doing the utmost violence to the understanding. terpolations have taken place to accommodate them That wonderful series of particular prophecies reto him is proved, by the same predictions being found specting our Lord, contained in Isaiah liii., will illusin the copies which are in the hands of the Jews, trate the foregoing observations, and may properly and which have descended to them from before the close this chapter. Christian era. On the other hand, the history of To this prophecy, it cannot be objected that its lanJesus answers to these predictions, and exhibits their guage is symbolic, or that in more than a few beautiful exact accomplishment. The Messiah was to be of the metaphors, easily understood, it is even figurative: its seed of David-born in Bethlehem-born of a virgin-style is that of narrative; it is also entire in itself, and an incarnation of Deity, God with us,-an eminent but unmixed with any other subject; and it evidently reunsuccessful teacher;-he was to open the eyes of the fers to one single person. So the ancient Jews underblind, heal the lame and sick, and raise the dead-he stood it, and applied it to Messiah ; and though the was to be despised and rejected by his own countrymen; modern Jews, in order to evade its force in the arguto be arraigned on false charges, denied justice, and ment with Christians, allege that it describes the sufcondemned to a violent death—he was to rise from the ferings of their nation, and not of an individual, the dead, ascend to the right hand of God, and there being objection is refuted by the terms of the prophecy itself. invested with power and authority, he was to punish The Jewish people cannot be the sufferer, because he his enemies, and establish his own spiritual kingdom, was to bear their griefs, to carry their sorrows, and to which shall never end. We do not enter into more be wounded for their transgressions. He hath borne minute predictions, for the argument is irresistible our griefs, and carried our sorrow's,” &c.; so that the when founded on these alone: and we may assert that person of the sufferer is clearly distinguished from the no man, or number of men, could possibly have made Jewish nation. Besides which, his death and burial such conjectures. Considered in themselves this is are spoken of, and his sufferings are represented (verse impossible. What rational man, or number of rational 12) as voluntary; which in no sense can apply to the men, could now be found to hazard a conjecture that Jews. Of himself, or of some other ınan," therefore, an incarnation of Deity would occur in any given place as the Ethiopian eunuch rightly conceived, the prophet and time—that this Divine Person should teach wis- must have spoken. To some individual it must be dom, work miracles, be unjustly put to death, rise again, applied; to none but our Lord can it be applied; and, and establish his religion? These are thoughts which applied to him, the prophecy is converted into history never enter into the minds of men, because they are itself. The prophet declares, that his advent and works suggested by no experience, and by no probability aris- would be a revealing ofthe arm of the Lord,"--a sining out of the usual course of human affairs; and yet gular display of Divine power and goodness; and if the prophets were not inspired, it would have been as yet, that a blind and incredulous people would not beimpossible for them to have conceived such expecta- lieve “the report.* Appearing in a low and humble tions as for us; and indeed much more so, seeing we condition, and not as they expected their Messiah, in are now familiar with a religion which asserts that such the pomp of eastern monarchy, his want of “comelievents bave once occurred. If then such events lay be- ness” and "desirableness” in the eyes of his countryyond not only human foresight, but even human thought, men, and his rejection by them, are explicitly stated they can only be referred to inspiration. But the case He was despised, and we esteemed him not.” He is does not close here. How shall we account, in the farther described as “ a man of sorrows and acquainted next place, for these circumstances all having met, with griefs ;" yet his sufferings were considered by strange as they are, in one person, and in one only the Jews as judicial, a legal punishment, as they coiiamong all the millions of nen who have been born of tend to this day, for his endeavouring to seduce men woman,--and that person Jesus of Nazareth ? He was from the law, and for which they had the warrant of of the house and lineage of David- he was born, and God himself in his commands by Moses, that such sethat by a singular event, in Bethlehem-he professed to ducers should be put to death. With what exactness be God with us," and wrought miracles to substan- are these sentiments of the Jews marked in the protiate his claim. At his word or touch, the "eyes of the phecy? We quote from the translation of Bishop blind were opened," the lame leaped as a hart,” the Lowth. dumb spake, the sick were healed, and the dead lived, “ Yet we thought him JUDICIALLY stricken, as the prophets had foretold. Of the wisdom of his SMITTEN OF God, and afflicted.” teaching, his recorded discourses bear witness. His Christ himself and his Apostles uniformly represented rejection and unjust death by his countrymen, are mat- his death as vicarious and propitiatory ; and this is preters of historic fact; his resurrection and ascension dicted and confirmed, so to speak, by the evidence of stand upon the lofty evidences which have been already this prophecy. adduced: the destruction of the Jewish nation, accord- “But he was wounded for our transgressions, ing to his own predictions, followed as the proof of the Was smitten for our iniquities; terror of his offended majesty; and his "kingdom" The chastisement by which our peace is effected among men continues to this day. There is no possible was laid upon him; means of evading the evidence of the fulfilment of these And by his bruises we are healed. predictions in the person of our Lord, unless it could We all of us like sheep have strayed ; be shown that Jesus and his disciples, by some kind of We have turned aside, every one to his own way; concert, made the events of his life and death to cor- And Jehovah hath made to light upon him the inirespond with the prophecies, in order to substantiate quity of us all. his claim to the Messianship. No infidel has ever been It was exacted, and he was made answerable." so absurd as to hazard this opinion, except Lord Boling- Who can read the next passage without thinking of broke; and his observations may be taken as a most Jesus before the council of the Jews, and the judgmenttriumphant proof of the force of this evidence from seat of Pilate? prophecy, when an hypothesis so extravagant was re- “As a lamb that is led to the slaughter, sorted to by an acute mind, in order to evade it. This And as a sheep before her shearers noble writer asserts, that Jesns Christ brought on his Is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. own death by a series of wilful and preconcerted mea- By an oppressive judgment he was taken off.” sures, merely to give his disciples the triumph of an The very circumstances of his burial are given : appeal to the old prophecies! But this hypothesis does “And his grave was appointed with the wicked, not reach the case; and to have succeeded, he ought to But with the rich man was his tomb." have shown, that our Lord preconcerted his descent Yet, though thus laid in the grave, the eye of the profrom David-his being born of a virgin--his birth at phet beholds his resurrection, “the joy set before him," Bethlehem--and his wonderful endowments ofeloquence and into which he entered; the distribution of spiritual and wisdom; that by some means or other he wilfully blessings to his people, and his spiritual conquest of the made the Jews ungrateful to him who healed their sick nations of the earth, notwithstanding the opposition of and cleansed their lepers; and that he not only con- the mighty;" and he enumerates these particulars trived his own death, but his resurrection, and his as- with a plaininess so wonderful, that, by merely an alcension also, and the spread of his religion in opposi-teration of the tenses of the verbs, the whole might be tion to human opinion and human power, in order converted into an abridged view of what has occurred, give his disciples the triumph of an appeal to the rs and is now occurring, under the Christian Dispepisaphecies! These subterfuges of infidels concede the tjon, in the furtherance of human salvation ;

“If his soul shall make a propitiatory sacrifice, can make it, that Isaiah wrote more than a hundred

He shall see a seed which shall prolong their days; years before the birth of Cyrus.(5) And the gracious purpose of Jehovah shall prosper The time when Daniel lived and wrote is bound up in his hands.

in like manner with public history, and that not only Of the travail of his soul he shall see (the fruit) of the Jews, but of the Babylonians and Persians; and and be satisfied;

could not be antedated so as to impose upon the Jews, By the knowledge of him shall my servant justify who received the book which bears his name into their many :

canon, as the production of the same Daniel who had For the punishment of their iniquities he shall bear. , filled exalted stations in the courts of Nebuchadnezzar Therefore will I distribute to him the many for his and his successors. In favour of a later date being portion ;

assigned to the book of Daniel, it has been said that it And the mighty people shall he share for his spoil; has many Greek terms, and that it was not translated by Because he poured his soul out unto death; the LXX., the translation now inserted in the SeptuaAnd was numbered with the transgressors : gint being by THEODOTIAN. With respect to the Greek And he bore the sin of many,

terms, they are chiefly found in the names of the muAnd made intercession for the transgressors." sical instruments; and the Greeks acknowledge that To all these predictions the words of a inodern writer they derived their music from the eastern nations. are applicable : “Let now the infidel or the skeptical With respect to the second objection, it is unfounded. reader meditate thoroughly and soberly upon these pre- The authors of the Septuagint did translate the Book dictions. The priority of the records to the events ad- of Daniel, and their version is cited by CLEMENS Romits of no question. The completion is obvious to MANUS, JUSTIN MARTYR, and many of the ancient every competent inquirer. Here then are facts. We Fathers; it occupied a column of the Hexapla of Oriare called upon to account for these facts on rational gen, and is quoted by JEROME. The present Greek and adequate principles. Is human foresight equal to version by Theodotian, inserted in the Septuagint, was the task? Enthusiasm ? Conjecture? Chance ? Politi- made in the second century, and preferred as being cal contrivance? If none of these, neither can any other more conformable to the original. The repudiated verprinciple that may be devised by man's sagacity ac- sion was published some years ago from an ancient count for the facts; then true philosophy, as well as MS. discovered at Rome.(6) true religion, will ascribe them to the inspiration of the The opponents of Scripture are fond of the attempt to Almighty. Every effect must have a cause.”(4) lower the dignity and authority of the sacred prophe

cies by comparing them to the Heathen Oracles. The absolute contrast between them has already been pointed

out ;(7) but a few additional observations may not be CHAPTER XVIIT.


Of the innumerable Oracles which were established OBJECTIONS TO THE EVIDENCE FROM PROPHECY

and consulted by the ancient heathen, the most celeCONSIDERED.

brated was the Delphic; and we may, therefore, for the Besides the objections which have been anticipated purpose of exhibiting the contrast more perfectly beand answered in the last chapter, others have been tween the Pythian Oracle and the prophecies of Scripmade to the argument from prophecy, which, though ture, confine our remarks to that. exceedingly futile, ought to receive a cursory notice, The first great distinction lies in th, that none of lest any should think them of greater importance. the predictions ever uttered by the Depnic Oracle went

It has been objected, as to some of the prophecies, deep into futurity. They relate to events on the eve of that they were written after the event; as, for instance, taking place, and whose preparatory circumstances the prophecy of Isaiah, in which the name of Cyrus is were known. There was not even the pretence of forefound, and the prophecies of Daniel. This allegation, sight to the distance of a few years; though had it been standing as it does upon no evidence whatever, and a hundred years, even that were a very limited period being indeed in opposition to contrary proof, shows the to the eye of inspired prophets, who looked through hopelessness of the cause of infidelity, and affords a the course of succeeding ages, and gave proof by the lotty triumph to the evidence of prophecy. For the very sweep and compass of their predictions, that they objector does in fact acknowledge that these predictions were under the inspirations of Him to whom“ a day is are not obscure; that the event exactly corresponded as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one with them; and that they were beyond human conjec- day.ture. Without entering into those questions respect- A second contrast lies in the ambiguity of the reing the date of the books of Isaiah and Daniel, which sponses. The prophecies of Scripture are sometimes properly belong to works on the canon of Scripture, obscure, though this does not apply to the most eminent we may observe, that the authors of this objection assert, but without giving the least proof, that Isaiah (5)“But if you will persevere in believing that the wrote his prophecies in order to flatter Cyrus, and that prophecy concerning Cyrus was written after the the book of Daniel was composed about the reign of event, peruse the burden of Babylon; was that also ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES. It is therefore admitted that written after the event ? Were the Medes then stirboth were extant, and in their present form, before the red up against Babylon? Was Babylon, the glory time of the Christian era; but if so, what end, we ask, of the kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees, then is answered by the objection? The Scriptures, as re- overthrown, and become as Sodom and Gomorrah ? ceived by the Jews, were verified by the sentence of Was it then uninhabited ? Was it then neither fit for our Lord and his Apostles; and unless their inspira- the Arabian's tent nor the shepherd's fold? Did the tion can be disproved, the objection in question is a wild beasts of the desert then lie there? Did the wild mere cavil. Before it can have any weight, the whole beasts of the islands then cry in their desolate houses, mass of evidence which supports the mission and Di- and dragons in their pleasant places? Were Nebuvine authority of our Saviour and the Apostles must chadnezzar and Belshazzar, the son and the grandson, be overthrown; and not till then can it in strictness of then cut off? Was Babylon then become a possession reasoning be maintained. But not to insist on this, the of the bittern and pools of water? Was it then swept assertion respecting Isaiah is opposed to positive testi- with the besom of destruction, so swept that the world mony. The testimony of the prophet h "self, who knows not now where to find it ?”—Bishop Watson's states that he lived " in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Apology. Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah ;" and the testi- (6) PORPIIyRY, in his books against the Christian mony of an independent witness, the author of the religion, was the first to attack the prophecies of Second Book of Kings; in the 20th chapter of which Daniel ; and in modern times, Collins, in his “Scheme book, Isaiah is brought forward in connexion with a of Literal Prophecy,” bent all his force against a book public event of the Jewish history--the dangerous sick- so pregnant with proofs of the truth of Christianity and ness and recovery of the king Hezekiah. The proof is the inspiration of ancient prophecy. By two learned then as decisive as the public records of a kingdom opponents, his eleven objections were most satisfac

torily refuted, and shown to be mere cavils--by Bishop (4) Simpson's Key to the Prophecies. See also a large Chandler, in his “Vindication" of his “ Defence of Collection of Prophecies with their fulfilment in the Christianity;" and by Dr. Sam. CHANDLER, in his Appendix to vol. i. of HORNE's Introduction to the “ Vindication of Daniel's Prophecies." Scriptures,

(7) Vide Chapter xvi.

of those which have been most signally fulfilled, as we on the part of God to make his favour to Israel more have already seen; but they never equivocate. For this conspicuous, by obliging a reluctant prophet to bless, the Pythian Oracle was notorious. Historians relate, when he would have cursed, and that in the very prethat ČResus, who had expended large sums upon the sence of a hostile king. When that work was done, agents of this delusion, was tricked by an equivocation; Balaam was consigned to his proper punishment. through which, interpreting the response most favour- With respect to the Jewish false prophets, it is a sinably for himself, he was induced to make an unsuc- gular proceeding to condemn the true ones for their cessful war on Cyrus. In his subsequent captivity he sake, and to argue that because bad men assumed their repeatedly reproached the Oracle, and charged it with functions, and imitated their manner, for corrupt purfalsehood. The response delivered to Pyrrhus was poses, the universally received prophets of the nation, of the same kind; and was so expressed as to be true, -men who, from the proofs they gave of their inspirawhether Pyrrhus conquered the Romans or the Ro- tion, had their commission acknowledged even by those mans Pyrrhus. Many other instances of the same kind who hated them, and their writings received into the are given ; not to mention the trifling, and even banter- Jewish canon,- were bad men also. Let the characing and jocose oracles, which were sometimes pro- ters of Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Nathan, Isaiah, nounced.(8)

Jeremiah,(9) Daniel, and the authors of the other proThe venality, wealth, and servility of the Delphic phetical books, be considered; and how true are the Oracle present another contrast to the poverty and dis- words of the Apostle, that they were “ HOLY men of interestedness of the Jewish prophets, whom no gifts old,as well as that they were moved by the Holy could bribe, and no power awe in the discharge of their Ghost." That the prophets who prophesied “smooth duty. Demosthenes, in one of his speeches to the things were never considered as true prophets, except Athenians, publicly charges this oracle with being for a time by a few who wished to have their hopes “gained over to the interests of King Philip;" and the flattered, is plain from this--none of their writings were Greek historians give other instances in which it had preserved by the Jews. Their predictions would not been corrupted by money, and the prophetess some- abound in reproofs and threatenings, like those of Isaiah times deposed for bribery, sometimes for lewdness. and Jeremiah; and yet the words of those prophets

Neither threats nor persecutions had any influence who were personally most displeasing to the Jews of with the Jewish prophets; but it would seem that this the age in which they lived, have been preserved, while celebrated Oracle of Apollo was not even proof against every tlattering prophecy was suffered to fall into obliraillery. At first it gave its answers in verse; but the vion almost as soon as it was uttered. Can we have Epicureans, Cynics, and others, laughing so much at the a more decisive proof than this, that the false prophets poorness of the versification, it fell at length into prose. were a perfectly distinct class of men,--the venal imi“It was surprising,” said these philosophic wits, " that tators of these holy men of old,” but who never gave, Apollo, the god of poetry, should be a much worse poet even to those most disposed to listen to their delusive than Homer, whom he himself had inspired.” Plu- prophecies, a satisfactory proof of their prophetic comtarch considers this as a principal cause of the declen- mission! sion of the Oracle of Delphos. Doubtless it had de- Attempts have been made to show, that a few of the clined much in credit in his day; and the farther spread prophecies of Scripture have failed. The following are of Christianity completed its ruin.

the principal instances : Can then the prophecies of Scripture be paralleled It has been said, that a false promise was made to with these dark and renal, and delusive oracles, with Abraham, when it was promised to him, that his deout impiety? and could any higher honour be wished scendants should possess the territory which lies befor the Jewish prophets, than the comparison into tween the Euphrates and the river of Egypt. But this which they are thus brought with the agents of pagan- objection is clearly made in ignorance of the Scriptures; ism at Delphos and other places? They had recourse for the fact is, that David conquered that territory, and to no smooth speeches, no compliances with the tem that the dominions of Solomon were thus extended.(1) pers and prejudices of men. They concealed no truth Voltaire objects, that the prophets made promises to which they were commissioned to declare, however the Jews of the most unbounded riches, dominion, and displeasing to their nation, and hazardous to themselves. influence; insomuch that they could only have been They required no caves, or secret places of temples, accomplished by their conquering or proselyting the from which to utter their messages; and those who entire of the habitable globe. On the contrary, he says, consulted them were not practised upon by the bewil- they have lost their possessions instead of obtaining dering ceremonies imposed upon inquirers at Delphos. either property or power, and therefore the prophecies They prophesied in streets, and courts, and palaces, are false. and in the midst of large assemblies. Their predictions The case is here unfairly stated. The prophets never had a clear, determinate, and consistent sense; and made such exaggerated promises. They predict many they described future events with so many particulari- spiritual blessings to be bestowed in the times of Mesties of time and place, as made it scarcely possible that siah, under figures drawn from worldly opulence and they should be misunderstood or misapplied.

power, the figurative language of which no attentive Pure and elevated as was the character of the Jew- reader can mistake. They also promise many civil adish prophets, the hardihood of infidelity has attempted vantages, but only conditionally on the obedience of the to asperse their character ; because it appears from nation; and they speak in high terms of the state of Scripture story, that there were false prophets and bad the Jewish nation, upon its final restoration, for which men who bore that name.

ohjectors must wait before they can determine the preBalaam is instanced, though not a Jewish prophet; dictions to be false. But did not Voltaire know, that but that he was always a bad man, wants proof. The the loss of their own country by the Jews, of which he probability is, that his virtue was overcome by the of- speaks, was predicted in the clearest manner? and fers of Balak; and the prophetic spirit was not taken would he not have seen, had he not been blinded by his away from him, because there was an evident design prejudices, that his very objection acknowledges the

truth of prophecy? The promises of the prophets have (8) Eusebius has preserved some fragments of a phi- not been falsified in the instance given, but their threats losopher, called Enomaus; who, out of resentment for have been signally fulfilled. his having been so often fooled by the oracles, wrote Paine, following preceding writers of the same sen. an ample confutation of all their impertinences: “When timents, xerts the prophecy of Isaiah to Ahaz not to we come to consult thee,” says he to Apollo, “if thou have been verified by the event, and is thus answered seest what is in futurity, why dost thou use expres- by Bishop Watson :(2) “ The prophecy is quoted by sions that will not be understood? If thou dost, thou you to prove, and it is the only instance you produce, takest pleasure in abusing us; is thou dost not, be in that Isaiah was a 'lying prophet and impostor. Now formed of us, and learn to speak more clearly. I tell I maintain, that this very instance proves that he was thee, that if thou intendedst an equivoque, the Greek word whereby thou affirmedst that Cræsus should (9) A weak attempt has been made by some in fidel overthrow a great empire, was ill chosen; and that it writers to fasten a charge of falsehood on Jeremiah, in could signify nothing but Cræsus's conquering Cyrus. the case of his contidential interview with King ZedeIf things must necessarily come to pass, why dost thou kiah. A satisfactory refutation is given by Bishop amuse us with thy ambiguities? What dost thou, wretch WATson in his answer to Paine, Letter vi. as thou art, at Delphi; employed in muttering idle pro- (1) Vide 2 Sam. viii. ; 1 Chron. xviii. phecies ?

(2) Apology, Letter v.

a true prophet and no impostor. The history of the pro- I and delivered into his liand:' so says the prophet. phecy, as delivered in the seventh chapter, is this What says the history? The men of war fled by night Rezin king of Syria, and Pekah king of Israel, made war and the king went the way towards the plain, and tha upon Ahaz king of Judah; not merely, or, perhaps, not army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overat all, for the sake of plunder, or the conquest of ter- took him in the plains of Jericho; and all his army ritory, but with a declared purpose of making an en- were scattered from him: so they took the king, and tire revolution in the government of Judah, of destroy- brought him up to the king of Babylon, to Riblah.' 2 ing the royal house of David, and of placing another Kings xxv.5.- The prophet goes on, 'Thine eyes shall family on the throne. Their purpose is thus expressed behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall --Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us speak with thee mouth to mouth. No pleasant cirmake a breach therein for us, and set a king in the cumstance this to Zedekiah, who had provoked the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal.' Now what did the king of Babylon by revolting from him. The history Lord commission Isaiah to say to Ahaz? Did he says, 'The king of Babylon gave judgment upon Zedecommission him to say, The kings shall not vex thee? kiah, or, as it is more literally rendered from the HeNo.-The kings shall not conquer thee? No.- The brew, .spake judgments with him at Riblah.' The kings shall not succeed against thee? No:-he com- prophet concludes this part with, “And thou shalt go missioned him to say—It (the purpose of the two to Babylon: the history says, The king of Babylon kings) shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.' bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and I demand–Did it stand, did it come to pass ? Was put him in prison till the day of his death.” Jer. lii. any revolution effected? Was the royal house of Da- 11.--- Thou shalt not die by the sword.' He did not die vid dethroned and destroyed ? Was Tabeal ever made by the sword, he did not fall in battle_But thou shalt king of Judah? No. The prophecy was perfectly die in peace.' He did die in peace, he neither expired accomplished. You say, “Instead of these two kings on the rack, nor on the scaffold ; was neither strangled failing in their attempt against Ahaz, they succeeded : nor poisoned, no unusual fate of captive kings; he died Ahaz was defeated and destroyed. I deny the fact : peaceably in his bed, though that bed was in a prison. Ahaz was defeated, but not destroyed; and even the - And with the burnings of thy fathers shall they 'two hundred thousand women, and sons and daugh- burn odours before thee.' I cannot prove from the his. ters,' whom you represent as carried into captivity, tory, that this part of the prophecy was accomplished, were not carried into captivity: they were made captives, nor can you prove that it was not. The probability is, but they were not carried into captivity; for the chief that it was accomplished; and I have two reasons on men of Samaria, being admonished by a prophet, would which I ground this probability. Daniel, Shadrach, not suffer Pekah to bring the captives into the land- Meschach, and Abednego, to say nothing of other Jews, • They rose up, and took the captives, and with the were men of great authority in the court of the king spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and of Babylon, before and after the commencement of the arrayed them and shod them, and gave them to eat and imprisonment of Zedekiah: and Daniel continued in to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble power till the subversion of the kingdom of Babylon of them upon asses (some humanity, you see, among by Cyrus. Now it seems to me to be very probable, those Israelites, whom you every where represent as that Daniel and the other great men of the Jews would barbarous brutes), and brought them to Jericho, the city both have inclination to request, and influence enough of palm-trees, to their brethren.' 2 Chron."xxviii. 15. with the king of Babylon to obtain, permission to bury The kings did fail in their attempt : their attempt was their deceased prince, Zedekiah, after the manner of lo destroy the house of David, and to make a revolution : his fathers.-But if there had been no Jews at Babylon bu: they made no revolution; they did not destroy the of consequence enough to make such a request, still it house of David, for Ahaz slept with his fathers; and Keze- is probable that the king of Babylon would have ordered kiah, his son, of the house of David, reigned in his stead.” the Jews to bury and larent their departed prince, after

A similar attempt is made by the same writer to fix the manner of their country. Monarchs, like other a charge of false vaticination upon Jeremiah, and is men, are conscious of the instability of human condithus answered by the Bishop of Llandaff: “'In the 34th tion; and when the pomp of war has ceased, when the chapter is a prophecy of Jeremiah to Zedekiah, in these insolence of conquest is abated, and the fury of resentwords, verse 2.--Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will ment is subsided, they seldom fail to revere royalty give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, even in its ruins, and grant without reluctance proper and will burn it with fire; and thou shalt not escape obsequies to the remains of captive kings.” out of his hand, but thou shalt surely be taken, and

Ezekiel is assaulted in the same manner. delivered into his hand! and thine eyes shall behold quote,” says the same writer, " a passage from Ezekiel, the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak in the 29th chapter, where, speaking of Egypt, it is with thee mouth to mouth, and thou shalt go to Baby- said—'No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot lon. Yet hear the word of the Lord, 0 Zedekiah king of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inof Judah: thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not die by habited forty years: this, you say, “never came to the sword, but thou shalt die in peace; and with thie pass, and consequently it is false, as all the books I burnings of thy fathers, the former kings that were have already reviewed are. Now that the invasion before thee, so shall they burn odours for thee, and predicted did come to pass, we have, as Bishop Newton will lament thee, saying, Ah, lord! for I have pro- observes, 'the testimonies of Megasthenes and Berosus, nounced the word, saith the Lord. Now, instead of two heathen historians, who lived about 300 years beZedekiah beholding the eyes of the king of Babylon, fore Christ; one of whom affirms, expressly, that and speaking with him mouth to mouth, and dying in Nebuchadnezzar conquered the greater part of Africa; peace, and with the burnings of odours at the funeral and the other affirms it, in effect, in saying, that when of his fathers (as Jeremiah hath declared the Lord him- Nebuchadnezzar heard of the death of his father, having self had pronounced), the reverse, according to the settled his affairs in Egypt, and committed the captives 52d chapter, was the case. It is there stated (verse whom he took in Egypt to the care of some of his 10), That the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zede- friends to bring them after him, he hasted directly to kiah before his eyes; then he put out the eyes of Zede- Babylon.' And if we had been possessed of no testikiah, and bound him in chains, and carried him to mony in support of the prophecy, it would have been a Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his hasty conclusion, that the prophecy never came to pass; death. What can we say of these prophets but that the history of Egypt, at so remote a period, being nothey are impostors and liars? I can say this--that the where accurately and circumstantially related. I admit prophecy you have produced was fulfilled in all its that no period can be pointed out from the age of parts; and what then shall be said of those who call Ezekiel to the present, in which there was no foot of Jeremiah a liar and an impostor? Here then we are man or beast to be seen for forty years in all Egypt; fairly at issue-you affirin that the prophecy was not but some think that only a part of Egypt is here spoken fulfilled, and I affirm that it was fulfilled in all its parts. of;(3) and surely you do not expect a literal accomplish'I will give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire! so says the prophet. (3) The opinion of the Bishop, that not the whole of What says the history? "They (the forces of the king of what is now called Egypt was intended in the proBabylon) burnt the house of God, and brake down the phecy, seems to derive confirmation from the following walls of Jerusalem, and burnt ali the palaces thereof passages in Richardson's Travels in Egypt in 1817:with fire. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 19.-- Thou shalt not es- ** The Delta, according to the tradition of the Jonians, cape out of his hand, but thou shalt surely be taken is the only part that is, strictly speaking, entitled to be

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