Page images
PDF
EPUB

of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch, iv. 1. This was truly accomplished, though every unconverted Jew did not perish in that general calamity, Proverbial sayings are not mathematical axioms.

Eusebius, mentioning the prophecy of Micah, Zion shall be plowed as a field, iii. 12. says, Ei yor to dúvalous j ani ημέτερα ισορία, καθ' ημάς αυτες την σάλαι βωομένην Σιων ζεύγεσι βοών υσό Ρωμαίων ανδρών αρεμένην οφθαλμοίς σαρειλήφαμεν, και την γε Ιερεσαλήμ, ως αυτό γε φησι τό λόγιον ; οπωροφυλακία δίκην απολειφBirlos, év wavlenci xalasãour épnuía. Quod si quidquam nostra quoque historia valet, nostris ipsorum temporibus, illam antiquitus celebratam Sion junctis bubus a Romanis viris arari, nostris oculis inspeximus, et ipsam Hierusalem, quemadmodum ipsum hoc ait oraculum, instar pomorum custodiæ desertce, ad extremam redactam solitudinem. Dem. Evang. v. 273. Eusebius was Bishop of Cæsarea, and lived near enough to have frequent opportunities of viewing the ruins of Jerusalem, and in them the completion of Christ's predictions. The words ý muerépce isopice mean, the knowledge and the testimony of what we have seen ourselves; and the Latin tongue has no single word which exactly answers to this sense of isopio. Herodotus begins his book thus, 'Hpodórou Anexapracoonos isopins ázółežio jde, which James Gronovius translates, Herodoti Halicarnassensis curce demonstratio hæc est. But this interpretation stands in need of another. Kus, ter thus explains the place, Notandum est isopíru non 80lum denotare historiam, sive rerum gestarum narrationem, vel descriptionem ; sed etiam, et quidem proprie, cogni- . tionem rerum quas vel oculis ipsi lustravimus, vel ex alüs sciscitando didicimus; vel studium res varias, eo, quo dirimus, modo cognoscendi. Et quoniam primi et antiquissinii Historici vix alias res memorice prodere poterant, quam

mi

quas vel ipsi vidissent, vel ex aliis sciscitati essent, hinc recte et proprio sensu dicebantur isopixoi. Postea vero latius, ut fieri solet, extensâ vocis ejus significatione, etiam quicumque alii rerum gestarum scriptores eodem nomine simpliciter appellari cæperunt. Proæmium Historice Herodoteæ Latine sic verterim : Rerum ab Herodoto Halicarnassensi curiose observatarum specimen hoc est. Vel per longiorem periphrasin : Curiositatis, quam Herodotus adhibuit, in rebus, quas narrat, vel lustrandis, vel sciscitandis, specimen, vel argumentum, hoc est.

Le Clerc thinks that isopins áródešis may be rendered, Quod in historia præstitit. But, however, the observations of Kuster upon the word isopin are just and true. See Le Clerc, Bibl. A. & M. V. 385. 'Hposórou isoping árółešus n&e, ás unte.--Herodotus res a se observatas et investigatas edidit, ut neque, fc.

I now proceed to make some remarks on prophecy in general, and then on the prophecies of the Old Testament relating to our Saviour.

That God foreknows even all the future actions of men, is what the holy scriptures most evidently suppose and prove, and what the bulk of inankind in all ages have believed. This opinion arose probably, not so much from arguments drawn from the Divine pere fections, as from experience, tradition, and revelation. It appears in sacred history, that God Almighty from the most ancient times revealed himself to men by foretelling future events, which is prophecy. The uses of prophecy, besides gradually opening and unfolding the things relating to the Messias, and the blessings which by him should be conferred upon mankind, are many, and great, and manifest.

1. It

. 1. It served to secure the belief of a God, and of a providence.

As God is invisible and spiritual, there was cause to fear that in the first and ruder ages of the world, when men were busier in cultivating the earth, than in cultivating the arts and sciences, and in seeking the necessaries of life, than in the study of morality, they might forget their Creator and Governor; and therefore God maintained amongst them the great article of faith in him, by manifestations of himself; by sending angels to declare his will.; by miracles and by prophecies. These were barriers against Atheism. · 2. It was intended to give men the profoundest veneration for that amazing knowledge from which nothing was concealed, not even the future actions of creatures, and the things which as yet were not. How could a man hope to hide any counsel, any design, or thought from such a being ? . 3. It contributed to keep up devotion and true religion, the religion of the heart, which consists partly in entertaining just and honourable notions of God and of his perfections, and which is a more rational and a more acceptable service than rites and ceremonies.

4. It excited men to rely upon God, and to love him, who condescended to hold this mutual intercourse with his creatures, and to permit them to consult him, as one friend asks advice of another. . 5. It was intended to keep the people to whom God revealed himself, from idolatry, a sin to which the Jews would be inclined, both from the disposition to it which they had acquired in Egypt, and from the contagion of bad example. The people of Israel were strictly forbidden to consult the diviners, and the gods. of other nations, and to use any enchantments and

wicked arts; and that they might have no temptation to it, God permitted them to apply to him and to his prophets, even upon small occasions ; and he raised up amongst them a succession of prophets, to whom they might have resort for advice and direction. These prophets were reverenced abroad, as well as at home, and consulted by foreign princes, and in the times of the captivity they were honoured by great kings, and advanced to high stations. · Man has a strong desire to look forward, and to know things to come. This desire, if it be discreetly governed, is natural and innocent, and there are several things which it would be of great temporal benefit and advantage to foresee. For example : Man would be glad to know how he may shun a future evil. Thus Noah was warned to build an ark, in which he and his family should be saved from the flood : thus Lot was commanded to fly from Sodom, with his wife and daughters : thus David was told to escape from a strong hold where he dwelt, and afterwards from Keilah : thus, in the Pagan world, Socrates, as his disciples Plato and Xenophon affirm, had a dæmon or good genius, who never exliorted him to any thing, but dissuaded him from such things as would prove hurtful ; by which secret warning he is said often to have preserved himself and his friends, and to have given them advice, which, if they followed not, they constantly found cause to repent. See a dissertation of Olearius in Stanley's Historia Philosophice, and Le Clerc Bibl. Chois. xxii. p. 426. xxiž. p. 226. and Silo. Philol. c. iii. Olearius and Le Clerc believed that Socrates had such a dæmon, and I confess myself so far a fanatic, as to incline to the same opinion, but without blaming those who are of another mind.

When

125e

When Socrates, just before he expired, ordered hig his friend to offer up a cock to Æsculapius, it is possible that he was delirious, through the poison which he had taken, as a learned and ingenious physician observed to me. Scribonius Largus says, Cicutam ergo potam caligo, mentisque alienatio, & artuum gelatio insequitur : ultimoque præfocantur, qui eam sumserunt, nihilque sentiunt. Compos. 179.

To this head belong sundry prophecies containing a double fate, if you will permit the expression, which should be accomplished according as men would act. Thus Jeremiah told the kings and the people of Judah, that if they would repent, they should be prosperous ; if not, they should be destroyed : And to Zedekiah he privately declared ; Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, If thou wilt assuredly go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burnt with fire, and thou shalt live, and thy house. But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the Lord which I speak unto thee : so shall it be well with thee, and thy soul shall live.

Thus Achilles in Homer is represented as having a twofold conditional event declared to him ; if he returned home, he was to prolong his days, but to live and die in obscurity ; if he continued in the army, he was to be cut off in the flower of his youth, but to obtain everlasting honour; upon which he preferred glory to length of life.

Mìone yaz té un onoi Sea, Oftes ággupómeza,
Διχθαδίας κηρας φερόμενα θανάτοιο τέλοσδε.

. E

W

« PreviousContinue »