Obrazy na stronie

strongly marked, is become a military despotism. Recent events have made the chief of that despotism the undoubted representative of Charlemagne, by whose very name indeed his servile flatterers delight to call him; and consequently have made him the last or Carlovingian head of the beast. And scarcely has he acquired this long coveted pre-eminence, ere he begins to form a conspiracy of federal kings as himself indeed scruples not to call them; a conspiracy, the rise of which we are taught by St. John to expect about this very period, and which, under the sixth apocalyptic vial, after the Ottoman empire shall have been overthrown, will begin to be gathered by secret diabolical influence to Megiddo in Palestine *. The end of the monster few perhaps of the present generation will behold: yet that end is unanimously predicted by the inspired prophets who treat of the restoration of Judah ; and, from the accuracy with which all that they have foretold respecting this impious tyranny has been hitherto accomplished, we cannot doubt that all which they have declared respecting its end will be no less accurately accomplished.

Let any person, with these views of the subject, carefully peruse the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah, and, I think, he cannot but be struck with its wonderful exactness of description. Judah and Israel, now restored to their own country, exult over the downfal of a mystic king of Babylon; whose empire is characterized as a rapacious exactress of gold, and himself as a merciless oppressor of the nations. The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, the sceptre of the rulers; the sceptre of him that smote the peoples in his wrath, that ruled the nations in his anger. By his fall the whole earth is at rest; and all, that behold it, exclaim; "Is this the man that made the earth to tremble; that shook the kingdoms; that made the world like a desert; that destroyed the cities? How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! How

* It is a curious circumstance, that in one of the speeches, detailed by the Moniteur as delivered to the legislative body, the political system, which we now behold rapidly advancing to maturity, is styled a confederacy and a pious league.

art thou cut down to the earth, thou that didst subdue the nations! Thou didst say in thy heart: I will ascend the heavens; above the stars of God I will exalt my throne; I will sit upon the mount of the divine presence, on the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. But thou shalt be brought down to the grave, to the sides of the pit. Thou shalt be crushed in the land of the Lord; thou shalt be trampled upon in his mountains. Thy yoke shall depart from off Judah; thy burden shall be removed from off their shoulder *."

Such will be the destruction of Antichrist: but the prophet, by "one of the boldest prosopopoeias that ever was attempted in poetry," carries us yet beyond his de

Vitringa supposes, that this prophecy respecting the king of Babylon will. receive its ultimate accomplishment in the downfal of the Papacy. Though I think that the character of this mystic sovereign corresponds much better with the infidel tyrant than the Pope, the interpretation of Vitringa is nevertheless important, as it shews his decided opinion, like that of the two Lowths, to have been, that we must look beyond the literal king of Babylon for the complete fulfilment of the prediction.

"Imperii vero Babylonici, ad quod Joannes in Apocalypsi alludit, quo modo in hac prophetia describitur, hi sunt characteres. a. Est imperium magnum et vastum. 6. Cujus metropolis est urbs magna, ampla, splendida, regnorum decus, excellentia sua superbiens (Cap. xiii. 19.). 7. Quæ captivum tenet populum Dei olim et longum tempus liberum, cumque duro premit juge servitutis (Cap. xiv. 1, 2, 3, 4.) . Cui præest Rex sive Reges violenti, tyranni crudeles, exactores, populis violenter et inclementer imperantes. (Cap. xiii. 11. xiv. 6, 12.). Tanto fastu se supra humana omnia efferentes, ut se Deo æquent, et summam cum eo partiri gaudeant gloriam (Vs. 13, 14.), sedentes in templo Dei, tanquam Deus, et quidem ad latera Aquilonis. . Turbantes totum orbem, bellorumque inter gentes jacientes semina (Cap. xiv. 16.). a. Qui Rex, complexè sumptus, vi tandem dejiciendus sit de throno imperii, et detrudendus ad inferos (Cap. xiv. 15.). 9. Cum admiratione omnium populorum et gentium, quæ crediderant imperium ejus fore æternum (Cap. xiv. 6.). . Abolita simul omni hujus imperii successione (Vs. 21, 22.). x. Interitu autem suo involvet plenarium excidium Babelis, ita destruendæ, ut nunquam postea habitetur (Cap. xiii. 20, 21. xiv. 23.) x. Cujus judicii administri essent maximam partem gentes truces, crudeles, bellicosa, Babeli septentrionales, non parsuræ incolis Babelis (Cap. xiii. 17.). u. Effectus autem esset liberatio ecclesiæ a jugo, quo hactenus pressa fuerat, ejusque jubilum cum deprædicatione divinæ justitiæ et gratiæ (Cap. xiv. 1, 2.) Hæc nunc applica, sodes, ad Romam, persecutricem sanctorum, et mysticos tanti imperii reges, et nullibi hærebis, exceptis iis, quorum implementum adhuc expectamus." Comment. in Jesaiam in loc.

It is a remarkable circumstance, that, as the literal Babylon was destroyed by the instrumentality of nations which lay northward of it, so we have some reason to believe from prophecy that a great northern nation will be employed to punish the Roman Babylon while Antichrist is engaged in his expedition against Palestine. This point will be discussed hereafter, when I treat of the predictions of Daniel and St. John.


"The regions of the dead are laid open, and Hades is represented as rousing up the shades of the departed monarchs. They rise from their thrones to meet the king of Babylon at his coming; and insult him on his being reduced to the same low estate of impotence and dissolution with themselves. The image of the state of the dead, or the Infernum poeticum of the Hebrews, is taken from their custom of burying those at least of the higher rank, in large sepulchral vaults hewn in the rock. Of this kind of sepulchres there are remains at Jerusalem now extant; and some that are said to be the sepulchres of the kings of Judah. You are to form to yourself the idea of an immense subterraneous vault, a vast gloomy cavern, all round the sides of which there are cells to receive the dead bodies. Here the deceased monarchs lie in a distinguished sort of state, suitable to their former rank, each on his own couch, with his arms beside him, his sword at his head, and the bodies of his chiefs and companions round about him. These illustrious shades rise at once from their couches, as from their thrones; and advance to the entrance of the cavern to meet the king of Babylon, and to receive him with insults on his fall.


"I believe it may with truth be affirmed, that there is no poem of its kind extant in any language, in which the subject is so well laid out, and so happily conducted, with such a richness of invention, with such a variety of images, persons, and distinct actions, with such rapidity and ease of transition, in so small a compass, as in this ode of Isaiah. For beauty of disposition, strength of colouring, greatness of sentiment, brevity, perspicuity, and force of expression, it stands among all the monuments of antiquity unrivalled*."

*See Bp. Lowth's elegant and classical elucidation of this ode, in the notes to this translatian of Isaiah.


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The dispersion of the Jews-The irruption of Antichrist at the time of their restoration-The character of some maritime nation destined to restore the converted Jews-The occupation of mount Zion by Antichrist-His invasion of Egypt―The state of Egypt at this period-The religious connection of Assyria, Israel, and Egypt.

Isaiah xvii. 1. The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. 2. The cities of Aroer are forsaken : they shall be for flocks which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid. 3. The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the Lord of hosts. 4. For in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean. 5. And it shall be, as when the harvest man gathereth the corn, and his arm reapeth the ears; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim. 6. Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olivetree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost branches of its fruitfulness, saith the Lord God of Israel. 7. At that day shall each man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel. 8. And he shall not look unto the altars, the work of his hands; and what his fingers made he shall not regard, even the groves, and the images. 9. In that day, the cities of his strength shall be as the leaving of a ploughed field and a branch, which they have left before the face of the children of · Israel and there shall be desolation. : 10. Because thou


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*The leaving of a ploughed field.] I entirely agree with Mr. Parkhurst in this translation of the passage. The words contain a manifest allusion to the Mosaic laws relative to the not gleaning of their ploughed fields, vineyards, and olive-yards, but leaving somewhat of the fruits for the poor of the land (Compare Levit. ix. 9, 10. and Deut. xxiv. 19-21. in the Hebrew). The idea here designed to be conveyed, is the same as that in Ver. 6. an idea of desolation so extreme, as to leave in the land nothing more than the bare gleanings of the people. See Parkhurst's Heb. Lex. Vox wan

hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and the rock of thy strength thou hast not remembered; therefore thou shalt plant desirable plants, and a twig as a stranger shalt thou sow it. 11. In the day thou shalt vehemently labour to make thy plant grow; even in the early morning shalt thou cause thy seed to flourish: nevertheless the heap of the harvest-man shall be in a day of grief and heavy trouble.

12. Ho! multitude of many people; as the tumultuous noise of the sea they roar tumultuously: and the vehement noise of the nations, as the noise of mighty waters they vociferate! 13. The nations shall roar indeed as the roaring of many waters: yet he shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off; and they shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and as a rolling thing before the whirlwind. 14. In the time of the evening, and behold destruction! before morning, and they are not. This is the portion of them that trouble us, and the lot of them that spoil us.

xviii. 1. Ho! land spreading wide the shadow of thy wings*, which art beyond the rivers of Cush. 2. Accustomed to send messengers† by sea, even in bulrush vessels‡, upon the surface of the waters! Go, swift messen


*Shadow of thy wings.] "The shadow of wings is a very usual image in prophetic language for the protection afforded by the stronger to the weak. God's protection of his servants is described by their being safe under the shadow of his wings. And, in this passage, the broad shadowing wings may be intended to characterize some great people, who should be famous for the protec tion they should give to those whom they received into their alliance; and I cannot but think this the most simple and natural exposition of the expression" (Bp. Horsley's Letter on Isaiah xviii.). It is not impossible however, and certainly not incongruous with the figurative language of prophecy, that, since the messengers described in this prediction are plainly a maritime nation, the shadowy wings here spoken of may mean the sails of their ships. Indeed the learned prelate, to whom I am so much, or rather so wholly, indebted for all the succeeding remarks on this chapter, seems himself to allow, that something like this may be insinuated in the imagery of the first verse.

† Accustomed to send messengers.] "The form of the expression in the original signifies, not a single act of sending once, but the habit of sending perpetually. The word may be taken for persons employed between nation and nation, for the purposes either of negociation or commerce." Letter on Isaiah xviii.

Bulrush vessels.] "This is a figurative expression; descriptive of skill in navigation, and of the safety and expedition with which the inhabitants of the land called to are supposed to perform distant voyages. Navigable vessels are certainly meant. If the country spoken to be distant from Egypt, vessels of bulrush are only used as an apt image, on account of their levity, for quick-sailing vessels of any material." Letter on Isafah xviii.

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