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undations of the Euphrates, two artificial canals were cut at some distance above the city, by which the course of the waters was directed into the Tigris; and prodigious banks were formed on each fide the river, to keep the waters in their channel. To facilitate the execution of these great works, it is faid that a very large artificial lake was dug, of forty miles fquare, and thirtyfive feet deep, into which the waters of the river were turned, by means of a canal, until the whole enterprife was finifhed.

At each end of the bridge was a magnificent palace, the one of which had a communication with the other, by means of a vault that was made under the channel of the river. The palace, on the east, is faid to have been three miles and three quarters in compafs; and that on the west, seven miles and a half: and both were furrounded with three walls, at confiderable diftances.There were alfo in this city hanging gardens, containing a fquare, measuring four hundred feet on each fide. They were made in form of terraces, carried up as high as the walls of the city, by means of arches built on the top of arches, and encompaffed by a wall of twenty-two feet in thicknefs. On the top of the arches were laid large ftones: these were covered with reeds, mixed with bitumen, upon which were laid bricks cemented with plafter; and above all thefe, thick fheets of lead, on which was laid the mould of the gardens, fo deep that the largest trees might grow there. In the upper terrace was a pump, by which water was drawn up from the river, to moisten the foil of the gardens. In the arches were magnificent apartments, from which were feen the most beautiful profpects.

The magnificent temple, which was built in the form of a pyramid, ftood near the palace; and, at the foundation, measured half a mile in compass. The tower, on the top of it, was faid to be a furlong in height; on which was raifed an obfervatory, the afcent to which was by ftairs on the outfide, turned

in the manner of a fpiral line. In this temple was performed the worship of the god Belus or Baal, and other deities. The riches it contained in ftatues, tables, &c. were immense, reckoned by fome to have amounted to twenty-one millions Sterling. Such were the wonderful structures for which this great city was renowned, and by which it was richly ornamented.

Babylon was no lefs remarkable for antiquity than grandeur. The foundations of the city were laid by Nimrod, the great grandfon of Noah, about a hundred years after the deluge. In after times, Semiramis, that she might surpass all who had preceded her in enterprise and magnificence, and immortalize her name, employed two millions of men in building and decorating this royal emporium of the Babylonish empire; which increafed through various periods, until it attained the fummit of its power and fplendor in the days of Nebuchadnezzar. This is great Babylon, of which Isaiah treats in the prophecy be

fore us.

The burden. The root from which the word here tranflated burden is derived, fignifies to lift up or to bear; and, by an eafy tranfition, it is used to denote the awful doom pronounced upon a perfon or people. The prophecies containing denunciations of divinę judgments, which were to be inflicted upon various nations as the juft punishment of their wickedness, are called burdens in this and the following chapters. Such was to be the intolerable weight of the predicted calamities, that they were greatly to diftrefs and crush thofe on whom they were laid. So heavy and unfupportable are the effects of the divine difpleafure, that they are a burden by far too much for men to bear. This truth was acknowledged by David, the fervant of the Lord, in these words: Mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me *.' So great was the load of guilt

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* Pfal. xxxviii. 4.

which he had contracted, and fo dreadful the wrath of God he deferved, that he apprehended it altoge ther intolerable. If the hand of God is thus heavy on his people, when he chaftens them for their profit, how dreadful must be thofe terrible calamities whereby he punishes and confumes the wicked! None knoweth the power of God's anger, the awful effects of which crush into ruin the ftrongest nations of the earth, and prove a burden too heavy for them to fuftain. So frequently was this expreffion ufed by the prophets of the Lord, that there were fome fcoffers who, on that account, derided them with contempt, with whom God was highly displeased, and whom he threatened, by the prophet Jeremiah, feverely to punish, in these words: And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, fhall afk thee, faying, What is the burden of the Lord? thou fhalt then fay unto them, What burden? I will even forfake you, faith the Lord *.'--This burden Isaiah, the fon of Amoz, did fee. The calamities which he foretold were to be inflicted on Babylon were very clearly revealed to him, probably by means of a vifion, wherein he had a diftinct reprefentation of the approaching divine judgments that fhould fpread defolation over that great city. This vifion which he beheld, either with his bodily fight, or with the eyes of his mind, was attended with fuch fatisfying evidence, and convincing power, that he could not entertain a doubt concerning the truth of what he relates.

2 Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, fhake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.

The prophecy begins with the command of God, to collect together the forces which he had appointed

* Jer. xxiii. 33. et feq.


to execute righteous judgments upon Babylon. To the Lord of hofts it belongeth to mufter the armies of battle, and to give out his orders to his fervants, that they may fulfil the purposes which he hath formed. The armies whom the Almighty was to employ, as the inftruments of his vengeance againft Babylon, were to be composed of Medes and Perfians; and to them the orders, here delivered, may be confidered as particularly addreffed, though it is unneceffary anxioufly to inquire, who were the perfons by whom the command was given? In explaining prophetic vifions, it is of much more importance to attend to the leading truths which were thereby illuftrated, and the principal defigns for which they are recorded, than to minute circumftances, which may be mentioned only to connect their feveral parts together.The orders are thus expreffed, Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain. Three different figns have been used to collect troops together with expedition, for hoftile purposes, all of which are required to be made on this occafion. Well known confpicuous fignals, fuch as lifting up a banner or standard on a high hill, are first mentioned. Loud calls were to be given to the foldiers, by fuch voices, and great founds, as might be heard at a confiderable distance. Besides, fome fignificant geftures were to be likewife employed, fuch as fhaking the hand, in order to convene military people from all quarters, and to haften their march to the arduous fervice of attacking Babylon.The defign of all these fignals was, That they may go into the gates of the nobles. That they might enter into thofe ftrongly fortified gates, which feemed for ever to exclude the approach of an enemy: that they might enter thofe fplendid doors, by which the princes and nobles of Babylon went into their stately palaces. The words plainly intimate, that all the creatures are under the direction of divine Providence, who difpofes of them as he pleases, and affigns them the various fervices which they are to perform.


They ftrongly exprefs the fuccefs with which the martial achievements of the forces, collected by the above fignals, fhould be attended, through the remarkable interpofition of divine Providence, removing every impediment that might retard their progrefs.



I have commanded fanctified ones, my have alfo called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.

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These words defcribe the character of the people whom the Almighty was to employ, in executing his purposes with refpect to Babylon.--I have commanded my fanctified ones. The persons here intended, were not really and internally fanctified, and made holy; but they were chofen and fet apart by the Lord of hofts, to perform the arduous fervice to which they were called. In the ftyle of fcripture, people are fometimes faid to be fanctified, who are separated, by the providence of God, to any important work, by which the divine glory is illuftriously difplayed. Thus, in the Prophecies of Zephaniah, chap. i. 7. it is faid, The Lord hath fanctified, or 'prepared his guefts.' In this fense the expreffion must be understood in the words before us. people are farther described in the following claufe of this verfe: I have alfo called my mighty ones for mine anger. The troops of Media and Perfia, who are here intended, were renowned for their valour and ftrength; and, on thefe accounts, are celebrated by thofe who have delineated their character. God calis them his mighty ones, in as much as from him they derived all their military skill and prowefs, and to him they were indebted for the wonderful fuccefs which accompanied their enterprifes, particularly against Babylon. If they vanquished all oppofition, if they proved invincible in war, if their attempts were crowned with victory, all this proceeded from VOL. II.




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