« PreviousContinue »
written after the event. I shall therefore mention a few, out of several, which cannot be suspected of such a forgery.
Ezekiel * thus prophecies concerning Egypt. Egypt shall be the basest of the kingdoms, neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations : for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations, xxix. 15.
Egypt was attacked and oppressed by the Persians, by Cambyses, by Xerxes, by Darius Nothus, and conquered by Ochus three hundred and fifty years before Christ; and from that time to this day, the Egyptians never had an Egyptian king, but have been under the government of the Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Saracens, and Turks. Eusebius was inistaken in dating the subjection of Egypt to a foreign power from the victory of Augustus at Actium, and the death of Antony and Cleopatra. Dem. Evang. vi. p. 299.
Concerning Babylon it was foretold; The wild beasts of the desart-shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and the neighbour cities thereof-s0 no man shall dwell there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.—They shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations ; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the Lord.-Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling place for dragons, an astonishment and an hissing, without an inhabitant. When thou hast made an end of reading this book, thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates. And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her.
–Babylon * Isaiah prophesied more than 700, Jeremiah more than 600, and Ezekiel almost 600 years before Christ.
-Babylon the glory of kingdoms--shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation : neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there, neither shall the shepherds make their fold there : But wild beasts of the desart shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and owls shall dwell there, and dragons in their pleasant places. Jer. I. 39. li. 26. 37. 64. Isai. xiii. 19.
Seleucus built Seleucia, before Christ 293, which completed the ruin and desolation of Babylon, a desolation that continues to this day. Prideaux Connect. P. I. B. viii. p. 448. fol. ed. and Vitringa on Isa. xiii.
Concerning Tyre it was prophesied; I will make thee like the top of a rock : thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more ;-thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt be any more. Ezek. xxvi. 14. 21. xxvii. 36. xxviii. 19.
Old Tyre and new Tyre are no more, and only exist in history. Tyrus insularis—tandem pervenit ad eum statum, quo hodie deprehenditur, ut in ipsa Tyro quoque Itinerator Tyrum qucerat et non agnoscat : perinde ut res se habuit cum Babylone. Qui articuli imminutionis Tyri, et varia ejus fata a me ex Historia demonstrari possent, si vere cum Marshamo alüsque mihi non persuaderem, vaticinium hoc Ezechielis intelligendum esse de Tyro vetere, urbe olim multo majore et potentiore, quam fuit Tyrus nova insularis, licet ea ipsi accensita fuerit; quce Tyrus insularis post hoc tempus sola culta est, et gloriam Tyri veteris sustinuit : dum altera pars ejus, hoc est, Tyrus vetus, plane subverteretur, numquam reædificanda, ab Alexandro dein plane diruta, qui ruderibus lapidibusque ejus usus est in Tyro insuluri oppugnanda ; ut adeo hodieque ejus Palætyri nihil amplius
supersit, supersit, nec locus nisi ad signa veterum Geographorum, eaque non satis certa, demonstrari possit. Vitringa ad Isai. xxiii. p. 703. See also Prideaux Connect.
The city of Tyre, standing in the sea upon a peninsula, promises at a distance something very magnificent. But when you come to it, you find no similitude of that glory for which it was so renowned in ancient times. On the north side it has an old Turkish ungarrisoned castle ; besides which you see nothing here, but a mere Babel of broken walls, pillars, vaults, &c. there being not so much as one entire house left. Its present inhabitants are only a few poor wretches, harbouring themselves in the vaults, and subsisting chiefly upon fishing ; zoho seem to be preserved in this place by Divine Providence, as a visible argument how God has fulfilled his word concerning Tyre, that it should be as the top of a rock, a place for fishers to dry their nets on. Maundrel's Journey, p. 48.
In Genesis xvi. the angel said to Hagar-- Thou shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; And he will be a wild man; (as savage as a wild ass] his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him : and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
Ishmael was the father of the Arabs, who are, and ever have been, such as Ishmael is here described, robbers, free-booters, and independent vagabonds.
In the same book, ch. xxvii. Isaac says to his son Esau, by thy sword shalt thou live. Esau was the fa. ther of the Idumæans, who were always a warlike people, ravaging their neighbours, and of a restless disposition. Such they were in the days of Josephus, who gives them this character: Oopu6wdes rý áraxlov č Ovos, aí τε μετέωρον προς τα κινήματα, και μεταβολαίς χαίρον, προς ολίγην đi xa axi ay Tay SẼouêY QUY, Ta & Ad xvv, 9 x26aTt ti toàn, tic Tas wapalášess ¿ Te!youever. Turbarum avida, et incondita
gens, semperque ad motus suspensa, mutationibus gaudens, minimis petentium blanditiis arma mocens, et in prælia festinans, quasi ad festum. B, J. iv. 4. · The most extraordinary person who ever appeared amongst the Jews was Christ, who without human means, and with a few poor disciples, brought about a greater change, and accomplished a greater under taking, than any Jew ever conceived and attempted, If he was the Messias, it is reasonable to suppose that the prophets, who so accurately and undeniably foretold the things relating to Babylon, Tyre, &c. would give some indications of this sacred person, which was of more importance to the Jews and to mankind ; and consequently it is reasonable to think that we rightly understand in general the prophecies which are applied to him. If he falsely assumed the character which he took, yet, since he had the art and the success to make many of the Jews, and a great part of the Gentile world believe in him, it was to be expected that some caution would have been given in the prophetic writings to the Jews, that they might not be misled by him, nor expect any prophet after Malachi.
Passages in the Old Testament which have been applied to him, are of four sorts.
I, Accommodations :
I. Accommodations are passages of the Old Testament, which are adapted by the writers of the New, to something that happened in their time, because of some correspondence and similitude. These are no prophecies, though they be said sometimes to be fulfilled; for any thing may be said to be fulfilled, when
it can be pertinently applied. For example, St Matthew says, All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. The meaning is apparently no more than this, that what the Psalmist said of his way of teaching, might justly be said of those discourses of Christ.
Thus the apostles frequently allude to the sacred books; and thus Pagan writers often cite passages from their old poets, to describe things * of which those poets never thought; and this is no fault, but rather a beauty in writing; and a passage applied justly, and in a new sense, is ever pleasing to an ingenious reader, who loves to be agreeably surprised, and to see a likeness and pertinency where he expected none. He has that surprise which the Latin poet so poetically gives to the tree;
Miraturque novas frondes et non sua poma. • II. Direct prophecies are those which relate to Christ and the gospel, and to them alone, and which cannot be taken in any other sense. Upon these we ought principally to insist, when we would prove the truth of our religion from the predictions of the Old Testament; and of these there is a considerable number. Such are those which mention the calling of the Gentiles, the everlasting kingdom of the Son of man, to be erected during the time of the Roman empire, and the second covenant. Such is the cxth Psalm ; The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I
Diogenes the Cynic was remarkable for this sort of wit, and many of his applications, or parodies of Homer are very happy and in, genuous.