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sign of making it the seat of his empire; but death put a sudden stop to his intention. The rival city of Seleucia, sometimes called by the name of Babylon, and erected upon the neighbouring banks of the Tigris, gradually drew away its inhabitants; and the city of Ctesiphon, afterwards built by the Persian Kings, who succeeded the Macea donian empire, completed its ruin. Heros dotus, the most antient of the Greek historians, who visited Babylon about a century and a half after the time of Cyrus, mentions, that even at that period the walls were in a great degree decayed. Strabo, the accurate Geographer, who flourished in the reign of Augustus, six centuries after the conquests of Cyrus, relates, that a great part of the city, once so splendid and populous, was then a mere desert. Even then her foundations were fallen, and her walls were thrown down. Paufanias, a celebrated Greek traveller and author, who flourished in the third century af.
• The walls of Babylon were built partly of brick and bitumen, and partly of brick alone. The bricks were made upon the spot, and hardened in the fun. When a wall of this fort comes to be out of repair, and is ne. glected, in no long course of ages it must be totally destroyed by the heavy rains, and at length washed away, and reduced to its native earth, Lowth's Ilaiah, p. 95. Notęs.
ter Christ, records, that of “ Babylon, the greatest city that the sun ever shone upon, nothing remained but some of its walls.” Jerom, an eminent Father of the Church, in the following century saw it when reduced to ruins, and remarked, that the part of the walls which remained, served only as an inclosure for a royal park. Benjamin of Tudela, a learned Jew, in his Journal, written more than seven centuries ago, has recorded, that “ Babylon was then laid waste, but that fome remains might be traced of the royal palace of the antient Kings. Persons feared to approach too near to this spot, as it was infested by ferpents and other venomous animals.” The wild beasts of the desert laid there, and the houses were full of doleful creatures f. From the accounts of more modern travellers, it appears that the traces of this once magnificent city are become less and less visible. Rauwolf, a German, who travelled at the close of the sixteenth century, relates, that some parts of what he supposed to be the celebrated Tower of Belus, remained ruinous, low, and full of poisonous animals. Petrus Vallensis, a noble Roman, reported at the beginning of the seventeenth century, that a
f Ifai. xiii. 21.
huge huge pile of ruins remained upon the fame spot, and within fifty or fixty paces were traced some foundations of buildings. Succeeding travellers have asserted, that even the ruins were so much decayed as to leave very flight traces of the fituation of the city. Every one that goeth by is astonished to behold her that was queen among nations, now a wilderness, a dry (or barren] land, and a deferts. The daughter of Babylon has long fat in duft; there has been no throne for the queen of the Chaldeans. She has not been inhabited from generation to generation, except by the wild beasts. The Almighty has executed his awful purpose declared by the mouth of his holy Prophets. This great city has been swept with the besom of destruction, and hardly a memorial of it remains but in history, in the denunciations of the Prophetic writers, and in the accounts of their accomplishment.
The truth and clearness of these Prophecies concerning Cyrus and Babylon, and the core responding historical facts, are so well known and so generally acknowledged, that a short Statement of the principal circumstances has
• Jer. 1. 13, &C
been deemed sufficient. Many other particulars relating to the siege of Babylon, the time and manner of its reduction, and the various nations that joined in the confederacy against it, are mentioned by the Prophets, and confirmed with equal exactness by both sacred and profane historians. But, as the subject of the preceding is closely connected with that of the present Chapter, I shall beg permission to consider them together.
It may be remarked, that Cyrus, the generous deliverer of the Jewish people, was equally celebrated in profane and in sacred history, for his eminent virtues and extensive conquests. He was at once the shepherd of the Lord to gather his flock into their fold; and the sword of his vengeance against an impious nation, who had filled up the measure of their iniquities. The apostacy and wicked. ness of the children of Israel required especial correction ; but to prove to them and to the world, that they were still under his peculiar care (as destined to fulfil the gracious designs. of his Providence), and subjected to the power of an idolatrous nation by the exprefs appoint-. ment of their God, and not by what is called the chance of war, or the superior force of the Assyrians, it pleased God to declare by
his servants the Prophets, while his people dwelt in peace and safety, previous even to the threats of the King of Babylon, the name of the nation by whom their city and temple were to be destroyed, and themselves conquered and carried away captive — the time when this event was to take place -- the term of years during which their captivity was to last and the name of their deliverer, Cyrus, by whose authority they should be restored to their own land at the appointed time, with signal marks of favour, allowed to rebuild Jerusalem, and afterwards to enjoy a period of security and happiness. And, notwithstanding the high improbability that a people so long and so perversely addicted to idolatry, should renounce the worship of idols, in a city where every enticement must have been offered : at a time too, when they feemed to be forsaken by their God, and when many of the visible demonstrations of his presence were withdrawn these people, it was also declared, should remain for ever free from the sin for which they had so fe. verely suffered ; and faithful to the Law, which, after their residence in the capital of Asiatic luxury and vice, it must have been more difficult to obey.