Page images

Chains forSeventy Years, We had not so much as felt the weight of ours, but they were ready for our Necks, and wanted nothing but putting on and fastning; and had not our Cyrus stept in, in a very critical Moment, in probability we should have groan'd under them much longer than they. Such Thoughts as these Haiah will suggest to your Lordship, and such Thoughts I penSwade my self cannot fail of furnishing agreeable Entertainment to You

In Confidence of which, I humbly.' lay this Commentary at Your Feet , prefaming on Your Lordships Pardon for not complying with a very prevailing Custom of setting forth the Vertues of the Patron ta whom we Dedicate any Work. I know my self too well to pretend to do Justice to such a Subject, I know so much of the World, as to be fully fatisfy'd there is no occasion of, attempting it ; and give me leave to say

I know your Lordship so well, as to think it would not be acceptable, if I fhould succeed never go well in it.

I am

Your Lordship’s Most Obedient,

and most humble Servant,

and Chaplain,





Work of this Nature stands in need of no
Apology, and therefore I shall not trouble

the Reader with the Reasons which induc'd me to set about it at first, and now to publish it. The Method I have taken is that of the Learned Grotius, who of all the Commentators I have met with is the most Rational: He keeps to the proper and genuine Signification of the Words, and carefully observes the Connexion; which the rest not regarding, have swelld up their Notes to large Volumes, and given their own Fancies, instead of the Sense of the Prophet.

That this is no ill-grounded Censure, I shall give some Instances whereby it will appear, how little the generality of them mind the signification of the Words; and then shew that they altogether neglect the Connexion, make the Prophet frisk up and down, and skip from Subject to Subject, as if his Discourses were like the wild incoherent Raptures of Lacy, without either Head or Tail; or as if, because he was inspir’d, he did not write Sense.

And first for the Words: For through the voice of the Lordsball the Assyrian be beaten down, by which 6. 30. 31. any unprejudic'd Reader would think the Prophet meant Sennacherib, or some other Monarch of that first Empire of the World, because that is the genuine fignification of the Word: And yet the very best



6. 31.1,

[ocr errors]

6. 13. 1. 1.19.

6. 25. 10

of the Antient Commentators will tell you, the Pro

phet by. Assur means no less than the Devil; and one Wbifton Colka of script. of our Modern Writers, that he means the Great Prophecies Turk, or Antichrist. When the Prophet in the next Divis: 5.

Chapter denounces a Wo against those that go down to (a) Leo Caftii- Ærypt for help, (a) one is positive that by Ægypt must

be understood the Romans; which if granted, it

would be impossible to make Sense of the Prophet; (b) Forerius and (b) another, in another place, understands by it

the whole World. For tho' the Prophet inscribe his Prediction the burden of Ægypt, I doubt not (fays he) but Ægypt here bears the Type of the World, which our Saviour assures us he conquer'd.

And to Instance in but one more proper Name : And Moab shall ke troden down under him; where St. Thomas very honestly understands the Word in the usual acceptation of it, and thinks Isaiah speaks of the Inhabitants of that Land, which went by the Name of Moab in those days. But if we will take a (c) Jesuit's

Word the Prophet meant no such thing, but is to €) Comelius be understood of the Devil and the damn'd, by a SyA Lapide

Recdoche; because the Moabites were perpetual Enemies of God's People. Now I cannot for my Life raise my self up to such a pitch of Credulity, as to take St. Jerom or Mr. Whilton on their Words in this cafe, because at this rate of interpreting Scripture it may be made what we please; for why may not Asur signify Aurenzebe, as well as Satan! What reason can be affign'd why Ægypt may not signify the West-Indians, as well as the Romans? and Moab the Goths and Vandals, as well as the damn'd? As for other words the abuse is no less in them than in the proper Names, The Mount ain of the Lord's House, the House of the God of Jacob, must signifie the Church of Christ; Why? because the Temple of Jerusalem was situated on an Hill, and the Church like a City

[ocr errors]


on a Hill is always visible. The Law must signify the Gospel, c. 2. 3. A City, the World, in that Day, I don't know how many Thousands Years afterward, as it is all along fallly apply'd by Mr. Whiston, in his Collection of Scripture Prophecies. But there would be no end, if I should descend to Particulars, and shew how the generality of Commentators overlook the genuin signification of single Words, and make them like so many Puppets just speak as they please; And this will appear as well by a few Instances out of a great number I have gather'd, with reference not to single Words, but whole Sentences.

Thus when the Prophet speaks very figuratively of the Jews uniting together, and revenging the Injuries they suffer'd from the Philistines, Moabites and Amorites, the inveterate Enemies of their Na- c. 11. 14. tion, They sball fy upon the Shoulders of the Philistines, A Lapide &c. That is, the Apostles shall fome by Land, and some by Water, fly with all imaginable Expedition to the Conversion of the Nations; and the Learned Critic quotes Adricomius and Baronius about the Aourishing State of the Gospel in those Parts, in the time of Aihanasius and Chrisóstom. If one should ask Cornelius how he knows the Prophet speaks of those Persons and Tiines? I know,his Answer, the Fathers told me so. But the Words say no such thing, and Cyril I doubt whether the Authority of the Fathers will bear one out in such a case. Thus again, when the Prophet describes the condition to which the Jews should be reduc'd, a little before their Captivity; among other things he tells them, they should have the misfortune to be govern’d by weak Princes, Boys 1: 3.12. in Understanding and Women in Heart. The interprecation of Sasbout is very diverting, the Wifes of the Scribes and Pharisees shall hen-peck their uxorious Husbands, and consquently govern che relt of the



a 2

« PreviousContinue »