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also to those who shall remain in their dwellings and observe a strict neutrality, and when they have seen our conduct with their own eyes hasten to submit to us; but the dreadful punishment of death awaits those, who shall take up arms for the Beys and against us. For them there shall be no deliverance, nor shall any trace of them remain-All the inhabitants of Egypt shall offer up thanks to the Supreme Being, and put up public prayers for the destruction of the Beys. May the Supreme God make the glory of the Sultan of the Ottomans eternal, pour forth his wrath on the Mamalucs, and render glorious the destiny of the Egyptian nation*."
This man, this tender respecter of the rights of nations and individuals, has since become Emperor of the French; and, yet more recently, like Charlemagne, the uncontrolled Emperor of the West. There is no reason to suppose, that success will render him less ambitious; or that his conquests in Europe will induce him to give up his schemes against Palestine and Egypt. We may frequently observe a sort of undecided coincidence in the inspired writers, and in no instance perhaps more than in the present. It is predicted, that, at the time of the end, Antichrist and his vassals shall invade the East, and oppose the return of the converted Jews; but that some mighty maritime nation, evidently hostile to Antichrist, shall be the carriers of God's message to them, and the appointed instruments of bringing them as a present to the Lord of hosts. Now Joel styles the army of Antichrist the northern army; by which, I think, we can only understand, that to a person in the holy land it should appear as coming from the north. Such being the case, the route of Antichrist will be through Greece and Asia Minor; unless indeed, what is not very probable, we suppose him to circuit the Euxine. Accordingly Daniel represents his progress as being by land, and not by sea; as being an expedition, in which he should enter into the countries and overflow and pass over, previous to his entering also into the glorious land, and previous to the land of Egypt not escaping him. But why should this expe
*Cited by Kett, Hist. the Interp. Vol. 11. p. 258–261.
dition be undertaken by land, rather than by sea? The answer is afforded us by Isaiah, in the course of the prophecy now under consideration: a mighty maritime power shall be friendly to the converted Jews, and therefore hostile to Antichrist; consequently the same 'fleets, which will assist in the restoration of the former, will be an effectual obstacle to any maritime expedition upon a large scale undertaken by the latter. It is worthy of notice, that, as the prophets exactly coincide with each other respecting the route of Antichrist being by land and not by sea, so the existing posture of affairs exactly coincides with the declarations of the prophets. In the first edition of my Dissertation on the 1260 days, I had not an opportunity of noticing the direful conclusion of the war between France and Austria; a war undertaken with every reasonable human prospect of success, yet a war which has given to a foreign usurper the sceptre of Charlemagne : I could only then observe in general terms, that, without presuming to foretell its issue, the Christian could not reasonably doubt that the hand of God is now stretched forth over the earth in a peculiar and remarkable manner; and that all things would assuredly work together to fulfil those prophecies which yet remain unaccomplished, and to prepare a way for the last tremendous manifestations of God's wrath*. The battle of Austerlitz has since decided the fate of the Roman Emperor†, and has opened to Buonaparte a free passage into the very heart of the Turkish dominions: nor can he surely be deemed guilty of any very great presumption, who is inclined to believe, that the late signal humiliation of Austria, and her constrained cession to France of Istria, Friuli, and Dalmatia, serve only to pave the way for the last tremendous enterprize of the infidel king. The downfal of the Ottoman empire, predicted under the sixth vial, is placed by St. John previous to the expedition of the beast and the false prophet into Palestine, and is apparently represented by him as being preparatory to it. What length of time indeed may be occupied in the preparations for this expe
Postscript to Preface, 1st Edit.
Subsequent to my writing this, the chief of the house of Austria has formally abdicated the title of Emperor of the Romans, and has been constrained to dissolve officially the Germanic constitution. August 1806.
dition, the Apostle does not determine; that a considera-
The tenor both of the present and the preceding prophecy necessarily leads us to conclude, that, at the period of their accomplishment, the Jews will abound in the land of Egypt. Mr. Niebuhr accordingly informs us, that "the Jews are the most numerous class in Ciaro, next after the Mohammedans and the Copts. Some Pharisees or Talmudists reside here, as well as Karaites; who, though not numerous, have a synagogue of their own. The Talmudists are numerous and powerful. They have long farmed all the customs; an undertaking, which brings them both wealth and credit. In the republican government of Egypt they find it easier to gain steady protectors, than in the other provinces of Turkey, where all depends upon the caprice of a Pacha who knows not how soon he may lose his place, or of the superintendant of the customs who resides in Constantinople. One proof of the consequence, which the Jews enjoy under the aristocracy of Cairo, is, that the offices of the customs are shut upon their sabbath, and no goods can pass on that day, although belonging to Christians or Mussulmans*."
The prophet, having now foretold the temporary calamities which the Egyptians should experience from the invasion of Antichrist, proceeds to announce their conversion to genuine Christianity. In the midst of their troubles, when they cry unto the Lord because of their oppressors, he shall send them a Saviour and a Great One, and he shall deliver them. In consequence of this happy change in their circumstances, the Lord shall be known to Egypt; and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall minister sacrifice and oblation: Assyria likewise shall partake of the blessing, and join with Israel and Egypt in praising God. Now, since this knowledge of the Lord is the evident result of a Saviour and a Great * Travels, Vol. i. p. 102.
One being sent to the Egyptians, I know not what person we can reasonably understand by THE SAVIOUR, except the MESSIAH.
What precise five cities are alluded to, as adopting the religious confession of Canaan, and as swearing by the Lord of hosts, can only be satisfactorily determined by the event. The most natural explanation seems to be, that the five principal cities of Egypt are considered as including all the rest; and that this phraseology is only a varied method of declaring, what the prophet in the course of the same prediction more explicitly declares, that the whole land of Egypt should be converted to the profession of the true faith. It perhaps may not be altogether unworthy of notice, that D'Anville, in his map of Egypt, assigns to the Delta precisely five principal cities, the names of which he writes in capitals: Alexandria, Rashid, Damiat, Fouah, and Mahalle Kebir. He likewise divides the Delta into exactly five provinces: Bahire, Garbie, Dakelie, Sharkie, and Menufie. As for Cairo, it is situated at the head of the Delta, somewhat higher than the grand division of the Nile. In one of these provinces stood, I believe, the ancient Heliopolis, or city of the Sun *.
At the conclusion of the present prophecy, Isaiah predicts, as he had already done at the conclusion of his former prophecy, that there should be a close intercourse and religious connection between Assyria, Israel, and Egypt. They should be united together, as the different parts of a single kingdom are, by a common highway; and they should jointly experience the benefit of being the blessed of the Lord of hosts †.
In the interpretation, which I have here given of the 19th chapter of Isaiah, I am conscious that I have most materially differed from Bp. Newton and his precursor Vitringat. The Bishop conceives, that the cruel lords and the fierce king primarily mean Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians; but principally Cambyses, Ochus, and
* See the Map prefixed to the report of Citizen Ripaud.
† Compare Isaiah xi. 15, 16. with xix. 5, 23, 24, 25.
Bp. Lowth follows Bp. Newton in his opinion respecting the accomplishment of this prophecy.
the Persians that what is said, respecting the exhaustion and diversion of the river, alludes to the consequences of the subjection and slavery to which Egypt was reduced by the Persians, her poverty and want, her mourning and lamentation, her confusion and misery: that the saviour and the mighty one, who delivered the Egyptians, is Alexander the great*; that their conversion is the partial diffusion of religious knowledge by the instrumentality of the Jews, who are thence represented as the medium of religious connection between Egypt and Assyria: that the five cities were Heliopolis, mentioned by the prophet himself, and four others spoken of by Jeremiah as being the places of the residence of the Jews; namely, Migdol, Tahpanhes, Noph, and some other in the country of Pathros, the name of which is not particularized: and that the building of the altar in the midst of the land of Egypt alludes to the building of a Jewish temple by Onias in the prefecture of Heliopolis •
The whole of this interpretation appears to me to fall very far short of the most natural and obvious meaning of the original. The immediate connection of the 19th chapter with its two predecessors certainly leads one prima facie to conclude, that its subject is the same : because we find Egypt and Assyria similarly, almost indeed in the very same words, connected with the restoration of the Jews by Isaiah himself in his 11th chapter; because Zechariah again, still almost in the same words, unites the restoration of Israel with the fates of Egypt and Assyria‡; and because Daniel exactly in the same manner predicts, that at the era of the restoration of the Jews Egypt should be conquered by Antichristy. But, if the 19th chapter of Isaiah be connected with the restoration, as the general harmony of prophecy seems to require, and as its situation immediately after the 17th and 18th chapters naturally suggests, I know not now it can have any relation to events long since past. What the Bishop says respecting
* His Lordship seems to think, that not only Alexander may be intended by the Saviour and the great one, but also his immediate successor in Egypt, Ptolemy, who like himself was styled the great, and Ptolemy Soter or the Saviour. This play upon words would have better become a less grave commentator than the excellent Newton. † Dissert. xii.
Zechar. x. 10-12.
§ Dan. xi. 42, 43, xii. 1.