Obrazy na stronie

tory, can entertain the least doubt, concerning its fulfilment For the fact is rendered too obvious for denial, without an indiscriminate rejection of all historical evidence. The remaining part of this prophecy, which announces that they should be scattered among the heathen, and that a sword, the emblem of oppression and destruction, should be drawn out against them, remains yet to be considered.

And can any attentive reader of history be ignorant of the fulfilment of this prediction? Can any traveller upon the continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa, or even of America, for a moment, resist the evidence of his senses, in confirmation of this interesting fact, so long foretold?

From the days of Moses, during the period of 400 years, in which that nation was governed by Judges, no less than six captivities befel them, and each attended with immense and cruel slaughter. 1. They were captured by the Mesopotamians, and held in bondage eight years;-2. By the Moabites ;-3. By the Philistines ;4. By Jabin, king of Hazor ;-5. By the Midianites ;6. By the Amonites and Philistines. All these captivities took place more than 1100 years before the birth of Christ. After these, two captivities are mentioned of the house of Israel, which are worthy of particular notice; since these captivities effectually scattered the ten tribes.

Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria, called by profane historians, Ninus Junior, took several cities, and carried away a multitude of captives, principally from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manassah: Concerning these, we have no account of their return. This captivity occurred about 750 years before the birth of Christ.

About nineteen years after this, Salmanasar, another king of Assyria, invaded Samaria, and after a siege of three years, made himself master of the whole country, and carried the remaining part of the ten tribes, which had been left by Tiglath-Pileser, into captivity, and planted them beyond the river Euphrates, from which place, the great body of them never have returned: Thus ended the kingdom of Israel. It is undoubtedly true, however, that a portion of each of the tribes escaped this captivity, and remained in Samaria. Some of the Israelitish cap

tives also had permission to return to their own land, so that a sufficient number remained in Palestine in our Saviour's day to represent all the ten tribes. Besides these, it appears from the Samaritan Chronicle, as quoted by Don Calmet, "that in the 35th year of the pontificate of Abdelus, 3000 Israelites, by the permission of king Sauredius, returned from captivity, under the conduct of Adus, son of Simeon."

From the recent investigations of some of the most learned in India, the Affghan and Pyran nations are the descendants of the ten tribes. Dr. Buchanan informs us that when he visited the Black Jews in the South of India, he inquired of them where their brethren of the ten tribes were to be found, or the great body of them; and he tells us that they readily answered, "in the north, in the regions adjacent to Chaldea, the very country whither they were first carried into captivity."

Sir William Jones has given it as his opinion, that the Affghans are Jews, and quotes various authorities in confirmation of that opinion. "We learn," says this writer, "from Esdras, that the ten tribes, after a wandering journey, came to a country called Arsareth, where we may suppose they settled. Now the best Persian historians affirm that the Affghans are descended from the Jews; and they have among themselves traditions of the same import. It is even asserted, that their families are distinguished by the names of Jewish tribes."

Should it be asked why they have not retained the records of their country? The answer is perfectly easy. The Mahomedans came upon them with a powerful invading army; first inspiring them with the expectation of being exterminated, and then proposing to incorporate with them, and of uniting all their forces against the infidels. To render this proposal sure of acceptance, these invaders alleged that they were Jews; that they practiced circumcision and kept the Sabbath. Through fear, the Affghans consented to the proposal, when their ancient institutions soon became corrupted; their sacred books diminished in number, till they finally disappeared; since which time, they have passed for Mahometans.

Dr. Buchanan informs us there were Affghans in Cal

cutta at the time he resided there, and that he employed one of them as a servant : That he asked him if he was a Mahomedan; and that he answered "no, I am a Mahomedan Jew." This same author tells us that the account which the Affghans give of themselves, is, that they are descendants from the Jews: They assert that their common histories record the names of David, and Saul, besides the names of other kings of Israel.

It is impossible to calculate with certainty, to what extent the ten tribes have been scattered: But it is too obvious for denial, that the prophecy of Moses which announced that they should be "scattered among the heathen,” has received a literal fulfilment.

I have now laid before you the fulfilment of his prophecy, so far as the captivity and scattering of the ten tribes is concerned ;-it now remains to show the entire fulfilment of the whole prophecy, which foretold the despersion of the whole nation. But before I proceed to this proof, it may be expedient to notice for a moment, some facts concerning the present location of the scattered remnants of these tribes, so far as the historical evidence can with convenience be introduced, without an unreasonable amplification.

A late traveller in India,* informs us that he visited a colony of Black Jews, in Cochen, (a British province in Hindostan,) who told him that they were the descendants of the ten tribes whose history we have before noticed. The same traveller mentions also a colony of White Jews, in the same province, living on the sea-coast: The number of these colonies, amount to about 16,000. A small colony of Samaritan Jews are located near the Mediterranean sea. Indeed, through all the eastern continents, these interesting people are found, and among every kind of people and nation, they have preserved such of their laws and religious ceremonies, as clearly distinguish them from all the rest of the world. They were, therefore, emphatically, "scattered among the heathen," according to the prediction of Moses.

Soon after the general captivity of the ten tribes; commenced the captivities of the houses of Judah and of Benjamin. The first of these captivities occurred a little more

* Dr. Buchanan.

than 600 years before the birth of Christ; under the reign of Jehoiakim, when the prophet Daniel, (who was of the royal family,) and many others were carried to Babylon. The second happened only about three years after, when the Babylonians again invaded Judea, and carried away captives to the number of 3023 Jews. The third was effected about five years later, under the reign of Jehoiakim, son of the former prince of the same name, who with a multitude of the Jews, were captured and removed by the king of Babylon. About ten years after the last mentioned captivity, Nebuchadnezzar again invaded the Jews, and carried Zedekiah, king of Judea, and the great body of the nation which remained, to Babylon. Here commenced the famous captivity which was foretold by the prophet Jeremiah, and limited by the prophecy of Daniel to the term of seventy years. During these 70 years, their country was left desolate, and their cities were laid waste, as Moses had predicted. And although multitudes of them were permitted to return, under the reign of Cyrus, the Medo-Persian prince, who made himself Master of the Babylonish empire, still great numbers of them, unwilling to abandon the estates they had acquired in Chaldea, never returned to their own native country.

After their return from this captivity, the Jews are said to have carefully avoided the practice of idolatry, either in the worship of images, or of the hosts of heaven; believing that all, or nearly all the sad reversions of their national prosperity, had been occasioned by their departures from the statutes and commandments of Heaven. From that period, the Jews were never again carried into captivity till near the close of the apostolic age.

Soon after the crucifixion of the Saviour, the Jews began to prepare themselves for a formidable resistance to the Romans, to whose power they were partially in subjection. They did not break out in open hostilities, however, so as to produce any serious results, until about seventy years after the birth of Christ. Then the tocsin of war was sounded throughout the plains of Judea, and echoed through all her mountains. The Romans rallied their forces and attempted to awe the Jews into submission, but in vain. Proud of the antiquity of their nation, and infla

ted by superstitious confidence in the holiness of their city and temple, they bade defiance to the masters of the world, and scorned submission to any human power. Titus, son of the Emperor Vespatian, was placed at the head of a powerful invading army, and planted the Roman standard over against the walls of Jerusalem. This formidable city held out for a long time, after the rest of the cities of Palestine fell into the hands of the conquering Romans. A last, however, after a long and painful struggle, the walls of Jerusalem were broken, the city and temple destroyed, thousands fell by sword, famine, and pestilence; and the residue became captives to their conquerors. They were distributed throughout the Roman Empire, more or less of them dwelling in every country, and in almost every city.

In, or near the middle of the second century, in the days of Adrian, the Jews again rallied their forces, and made a desperate effort to free themselves from the Roman power. This was the signal for their masters to crush and destroy them as a nation forever, and scatter them to the four winds, by dispersing them throughout every province and country, till, as a people, they were literally drained of all the means that could render them either formidable, or even troublesome to the Romans.

Since that period, they have been compelled to wander as outcasts in every country, where trade and money circulate, and even to this day, they are scattered through every nation and kingdom, and are well known throughout the whole civilized world. How plainly and literally do we behold, in the present state of the Jews, the full and entire accomplishment of the prediction to which your attention has been called! A prediction which was uttered by Moses, more than 3000 years since, and which, through a period of nearly 1800 years, has stood without a parallel in the records of human kind! They are, indeed, a monument of the divine displeasure, set up, as it were, in every country, and preserved through a long succession of ages, to warn mankind of the faithfulness of ancient prophecy, and the danger and misery which await a rebellious nation.

In the same connexion, we find other prophecies of Mo

« PoprzedniaDalej »