Page images
PDF
EPUB

not only to implore our protection and pity for the exiled priests of France as fellow-creatures, (for that would be praise-worthy, for, if thine eneny hunger, feed him) but as our brethren, members of Christ, and heirs of the promises; • more near and dear to us by far than some who, affecting to be called our Protestant brethren, have no other title to be called Protestant than a Jew or a Pagan, wbo, not being a Christian, is for that reason only, not a Papist ;"—while I hear them softening our renunciation of the Antichristian church of Rome, into an estrangement, and her idolatry and blasphemous dogmas into “ what we deem their errors and corruptions ;--- whilst I hear them wail over the fallen altars and violated riches of Papal idolatry and superstition, without one sentence which may lead us to adore God, in the contemplation of those righteous and awful judgments by which he fulfils his word, and avenges the cause of the innocent ;--- perceive in this unity of sentiment between such exalted Protestants and the church of Rome a sign of the times wbich indicates no good to the friends of civil and religious liberty..

-But I leave such men to the mercy of God, and the public to their own reflections. Rejoicing that the law protects the innocent, I hope that such men will never be permitted to realize their zeal in any thing beyond invective and wailing; and then, let them inveigh, let them wail.-Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but, who are these?- Not the genuine friends either of Protestantism, their country, the king, or the constitution, which they make their theme.

The next sign of the times which I shall notice respects the Ottoman empire. In Dan. xi. 40–45. we have a prophecy of the calamities which the people of the fourth monarch, or rather of the Papal church, should suffer from the king of the South, or the Saracens; and from the king of the North, the Turks, who came originally from the north quarter. After enumerating the conquests of this last enemy, the prophet says, ver. 44." But tidings out of the east, and out of the north, shall trouble him; therefore shall he go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make'away many;" ver. 45."

yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.” “ And at that time” (xii. 1.) " shall Michael stand up, the great Prince, which standeth for the children of thy people,” (the Jews,) " and there shall be a time of trouble, such as there never was since there was a nation; even to that same time, and at

[ocr errors]

that time, thy people" (the Jews) " shall be delivered, every one that shall be written in the book.” Then follows a description of their political rising, after the manner of the eastern style.

Enemies from the east, from towards Persia or Arabia, and from the north, are to be the means of bringing the Turkish monster to an end, and this is to be preparatory to the return of the Jews to their own country, which the Turks now possess, and at which time such troubles will afflict the nations as have never been known.-One enemy is to come from the east, and another from the north; and it is deserving the attention of those who would observe the progress of things towards the accomplishment of God's

purposes, that at the present time the Ottoman em. pire is at once threatened from both these quarters. The new sect of the Vehabis in Arabia, are said to become more and more formidable. These are Mahomedan infidels, rand their doctrine has nothing less in view than the destruction of the whole system of Mahometanism, as a system of superstition, oppression and bloodshed. The founder of the sect was the Sheik Mahomed Jbn Abdubl Vehab. This doctrine has been brooding, it is said, near sixty years, and its advocates now support their opinion by force of arms. They have adherents both secret and revealed among the Arabians in general. They are re. ported to possess the greater part of the country from Medina to Bassora, on the Euphrates, and beyond it, and 40,000 men have been found insufficient to overpower them. The Porte is pursuing measures for their reduction, and we must wait the issue before we can form any certain opinion; but it is probable that Mahometanism, as well as Popery, will owe its fall to the prevalence of infidelity: -The second great enemy which is to contribute to the destruction of the Turkish empire, is to come from the north, and this seems at present the most formi. dable. Ever since the time that we have supposed the rage of the second woe to have terminated, (the latter end of the last century) the power of the Russians has been getting a head of that of the Ottomans, and at this moment Constantinople trembles at the frown of the Northern despot.

But here a difficulty presents itself. As the Turks came originally from the neighbourhood of Mount Caucasus, where the family of Gog was settled, and as they have Jong been in possession of most of those countries men

tioned by the prophet Ezekiel, (chap. xxxviii. 2-6.) as the invaders of Palestine, after the Jews' restoration, it has therefore been thought that the Turks are the people to whom the prophecy refers. But, if the Turkish empire is to be overthrown to make way for the restoration of the seed of Abraham, how is this to be reconciled with the prediction of the prophet, and the generally received opinion ? Were I to enter into a laboured consideration of this subject, it would carry me far beyond the bounds I have prescribed myself. I shall therefore but just touch upon it, and refer the reader for farther information to Well's Geography of the Old Test. vol. 1. chap. 3. sect. 2.

Respecting Gog and his associates, mentioned by Ezekiel, it appears that Gog, or Magog, the son of Japhet, settled himself about Mount Caucasus, and is esteemed the father of the Scythians, who dwelt on the east and northeast of the Euxine or Black Sea; Gomer and his son Togarmah peopled the northern track of the lesser Asia; Meshech settled to the eastward of Gomer, in part of Cappadocia and Armenia, to the south and south-east of the Black Sea; Tubal settled still farther to the eastward, to wards the Caspian Sea. These two latter were the near neighbours of Gog. From a colony of Tubal sprung the Russians; and the Muscovites owe their origin to a colony of Meshech. Dr. Wells, (vol. 1. p. 158.) treating on the origin of the Muscovites and Russians, says, " That the Moscovites or Muscovites in Europe were a colony origi. nally of Meshech or Mosoch, called by the Greek Moschi, is very probable, not only on account of likeness of names, but also of the respective situations of the Asiatic and European Moschi one to the other. Add to this another consideration, that whereas in our and some other translations, the Hebrew text, Ezek. xxxviii. 2. is ren. dered thus; The chief prince, or (as it is in the margin of our Bibles) the prince of the chief of Meshech and Tubal ; in other translations, and particularly in the Septuagint, it is thus rendered; The prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. The thing is, the Hebrew word vry Rosh, by some is taken to be an appellative, by others a proper name. The learned Bochart has observed from the Nubian geographer, that the river in Armenia, called by the Greeks Araxes, is by the Arabians called Rosh. And hence he not only probably infers, from other instances of the like nature, that the people that lived in the country about that river were also denominated Rosh, but also proves

from Josephus Bengorion, that there were a people in these parts named Rossi, Now the Moschi and Rossi being thus neighbours in Asia, their colonies kept together in Europe, those of the Moschi seating themselves in the province of Muscovy, properly so called, that is, the parts about the city of Moscow: those of the Rossi seated themselves in the parts adjoining on the south. For the learned Bochart has observed from Tzetzes, that the people called Tauri, and from whom the Taurica Chersonesus took its name, were, in the days of Tzetzes, better known by the name of Ros than of Tauri. Upon the whole, therefore, it may be very probably believed, that the Muscovites and Russians in Europe were colonies of Meshech, or else of Meshech and Tubul jointly." Treating on the situation of Gog, as north of Tubal, &c. he says, “ This si. tuation is confirmed by the scripture itself; Ezek. xxxviii. 2. Set thy face against Gog, in, or of, the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, &c. From hence, we learn, that the land of Magog must be near to that of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; and it could be so only on the vorth. The learned Mr. Mede has observed, that the name Gog' signifies the very same with Magog, the letter mem being but an heemantick letter, i.e. not a radical, but an additional letter to the radix or primitive word. And he conceives that it pleased the Spirit of God to distinguish thus between the land, and the people of the land, by calling the people Gog, and the land the Land of Magog.

Thus the Russians and Muscovites themselves appear to be included in the enumeration of Ezekiel, and we may observe that they have already extended their conquests into the neighbourhood of the Black and Caspian Seas, and of those parts originally settled by Gog and their an. cestor Tubal. The probability is, that they will extend their conquests still farther, and be distinguished instruments in the overthrow of the Turkish empire. And having effected this, it is likely that, with the assistance of their then newly acquired subjects or allies from the Caspian to the Propontis, with the Persians, &c. (the people enumerated by Ezekiel,) they will be the invading multitude marked out by the Spirit of Prophecy.

There is another sign of the times also, which ought not to be entirely omitted. More than two thousand five hun. dred

years ago, the ten tribes of Israel were carried captive into Assyria. About a hundred and fifteen years after

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

this, Judah and Benjamin also were carried away to Ba. bylon. These returned, and some few of the other tribes with them; but as a nation, Israel was never restored. According to Esdras, (book 2, chap. xiii, 41–50.) they took counsel among themselves, and emigrated into a distant country, where never man dwelt; that the name of this country was Arsareth, at the distance of a year and a half's journey, where they are to dwell till the latter time, when God will bring them back with great wonders. The prophets abound with promises, not only respecting the restoration of Judah, (the Jews,) but of Israel also. From these tribes not having been heard of for so many ages, and the improbability of such a people escaping the notice of all travellers, the generality have been induced to conclude that they no where exist, as a distinct people, but have long ago been melted down among other nations, except those that united themselves with Judah and Benjamin, at their return from Babylon. That they should still exist, is certainly a very extraordinary circumstance; and should Providence bring them forward by and by, to act à conspicuous part in the great scene which is now opening, it will doubtless excite great astonishment; but both the event and the surprise were foreseen and predicted by the prophets. They foresaw that the re-union of Ephraim with Judah would not take place till after the great dispersion, and their resurrection from the long political death which they were to suffer for their sins.

Then are Ephraim and Judah to be one people again, (Ezek. xxxvii. 16--22.) And Judah shall say, “ Who hath brought up these? Behold I was left alone, these, where have they been?” (Isa. xlix. 21.)

Independent of the prophecies, there is reason to conclude that this people do still exist distinct from other nations. The grounds for this conclusion may be seen in the Asiatic Researches, vol. 2. That the reader may judge for himself, I shall take the liberty of quoting the extract which we find in the Monthly Review enlarged, vol. 10.p. 502. The account is whimsical enough; but considering the number of ages since the carrying away Israel captive, their corrupt state at that time, their miserable condition since, their ignorance of printing, &c. it affords as much proof as can be expected, at the first dawn of their existence. When we are better acquainted with them, their MSS. customs, &c. we may expect more light.

« PreviousContinue »