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O virgin daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground. Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness; O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called the lady of kingdoms. Were the Babylonians punished, severely punished, because they detained the Jewish nation in captivity and bondage, and treated them with cruelty and oppression, for long seventy years? Then what shall be the fate of those nations, called Christian, who have enslaved and oppressed a greater number of the human race, for some centuries of years? How fearful the doom! how dreadful the punishment, that must await them!
From the overthrow of Babylon, I pass on to the destruction of Jerusalem. For a series of years, rather ages, the Jews had been favoured above all the other nations of the earth. In numberless instances, and with a high hand they had sinned. Their sins had not passed unreproved. Prophets had, time after time, remonstrated against them, and foretold the fatal consequences which followed. Their predictions. and remonstrances were, by the great body of the Jewish nation, disregarded. Like the nations of our times, they were hardened in sin, and persevered in the practice of it. Judgment, however, at last overtook them; and, to this
day, they are memorials of divine resentment, and of the divine veracity. Often do we tantalize our Maker, but he never tantalizes us. If he promises good things, we have every reason to expect them. If, on the contrary, he threatens evil things, we have every reason to fear them. Has he punished the most favoured nations of antiquity? Do the nations, in our times, tread in their steps; and shall they not be sharers in their plagues? Is not God as holy; and is not sin as hateful as ever? That favoured nations may effectually be warned, and the reflection of threatened calamities happily prevented, let them review, seriously review, that awful instance and proof of the certain, though slow, completion of prophecy in works of judgment, as well as mercy, the fearful destruction of the city of Jerusalem, the total abolition of the Jewish polity, civil and ecclesiastical, and the final dispersion of that once happy, but now unhappy nation.
It has been observed, that prophecies are permanent miracles, whose authority is sufficently confirmed by their completion, and are therefore, solid proofs of the supernatural origin of the religion, whose truth they are intended to attest. Of all the various proofs, by which the truth of revelation has been evinced, that which arises from the ex
act fulfilment of prophecy, is, perhaps, the most obvious, and the most convincing. Numerous are the instances in which this observation might be exemplified. Events the most improbable, which no human sagacity could foresee or foretel, have been, in the most circumstantial manner foretold; and the predictions have been literally fulfilled. Of all the instances of the ven-` geance of heaven against cruel and bloody, but refractory and impenitent, nations, which the history of past ages furnishes, the most striking is the final destruction of Jerusalem and dispersion of the Jews. At an early period was this dreadful catastrophe foreseen and predicted. Upwards of fifteen hundred years before it happened, Moses, in the most circumstantial manner, foretold it. Review and compare his prophetical description in the twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy, and the historical relation of Flavius Josephus, who was an eye-witness of the event. Between the former and the latter is there not, in all the material circumstances, such a surprizing agreement, as no man, friend. of revelation, or foe, can candidly review without astonishment. With the early prophecies of Moses, the predictions of the subsequent proprophets agree. The Lord, says Moses, shall bring a nation from far, as swift as the eagle
flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand. A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters in the siege, and in the straitness wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee. So that the man who is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children, which he shall leave: so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children, whom he shall eat; because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. The tender and delicate women among you, which would not adventure to set the soal of of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil towards her husband of her bosom, and towards her son, and towards her daughter, and towards her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege. The people of the prince that shall come, says Daniel, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the
end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. In how exact, full, and circumstantial a manner these predictions were accomplished, we shall immediately see. Could any degree of human sagacity, or political wisdom foresee, at so early a period, the tragical scene, which those prophets, in such an explicit manner, foretel? No. This foreknowledge must have proceeded from that omniscient spirit, to whom all events past, present, and future, are alike known.
In a manner, still more explicit and full, does our Lord, in the days of his personal ministry, foretel the speedy approach of this unparalelled catastrophe. The fearful prodigies and signs which were to precede it; the unexampled and unequalled sufferings, which the unhappy Jews were to undergo; the dreadful concomitants and consequences of it; and the short time in which all these things were to be accomplished, he foretels, in a manner, that has rather the appearance of a narrative of an event already past, than a prophecy of one to come. Thus he speaks-There shall not be left one stone upon another which shall not be thrown down. The days shall come upon thee, O Jerusalem! when thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and keep thee in on every side,