« PoprzedniaDalej »
them. They had awed and instructed races who had flourished three thousand years ago. Through the portals which they guarded, kings, priests, and warriors had borne sacrifices to their altars long before the wisdom of the East had penetrated to Greece, and had furnished its mythology with symbols long recognized by the Assyrian votaries. They may have been buried and their existence may have been unknown, before the foundation of the .eternal city. For twenty-five centuries they had been hidden from the eye of man, and they now stood forth once more in their ancient majesty. But how changed was the scene around them. The luxury and civilization of a mighty nation had given place to the wretchedness and ignorance of a few half barbarous tribes. The wealth of temples and the riches of great cities had been succeeded by ruins and shapeless heaps of earth. Above the spacious hall in which they stood, the plough had passed, and the corn now waved. For now “Nineveh is a desolation, and dry like a wilderness, and flocks lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations; both the cormorant and the bittern, lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice sings in the windows, and desolation is in the thresholds."Zeph. ii. 13.
It is thus that God fulfils prophecy, and that
all men are agents, consciously or unconsciously executing his purposes. Rather than one evidence be wanting to vindicate his truth, a traveller shall be sent from England to Assyria, and Arabs, and Mahometans, and viziers, and cadis shall laboriously dig into the earth, and lay bare the irresistible evidence of verbal inspirationof God proclaiming what would be, till history, from the pen of Mr. Layard, shall prove that God has watched the currents of events, and worked out the proofs that He is and reigns.
We might very easily gather similar proofs of Providence fulfilling prophecy, from the state of Idumea, Babylon, and Judea.
But one race we cannot pass by, whose existence is eloquent evidence of Providence fulfilling prophecy. We mean the Jews. The future state of their land is thus described by Ezekiel, vi. 5, 6, 14,--"In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate.” “Your altars waste and laid desolate :" “The land more desolate than the wilderness." In Jeremiah, xix. 8, it is written, "I will make this city desolate, and a hissing ; every one that passeth by shall be astonished, and hiss because of all the plagues thereof."
The author of the “Holy Land Restored," a work of great interest, thus describes the fulfilment of these and innumerable parallel predictions.
“The cities are ashes of the dead. Tombs cover the land. The inhabitants are scattered from each other, and live in single hundreds, surrounded by hundred of thousands of monuments, each witnessing to the populousness of former generations. The soil is secretly pregnant with a hundred teeming harvests, yet there is no one to reap them, none to sow. Birds of prey soar in silent attention over these places. The whole country seems abandoned to the rob
er Arabs. Human life is insecure and uncertain. No one who sows knows who will reap his harvest, and those who hastily gather it with their weapons by their side, hurry it home like men who are stealing from a land which is not their own. The traveller watches
distant cloud of dust, lest it should reveal a glittering gunbarrel, or spears of a robber horde. In the heart of the best portion of the world, at the head of the most renowned sea, with ports that were originally the mistresses of the most lucrative commerce between east and west, it is inhabited only by necessity, and man snatches a hurried and feverish existence without comfort or settled security for its plains and mountains. The desolation is almost complete. The population goes on diminishing. The rivers appear to have all diminished in volume and breadth. The springs which in ancient times flowed and wept for very joy, in every ravine and on the sides of all the hills, are parched up and wasted —their rocky urns are filled with dust. Yet rains are abundant. “ The whole land thereof is brimstone and salt, and burning, it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth thereon, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, which the Lord overthrew in his anger and in his wrath."
Of the Jews God thus spake hundreds of years before the destruction of Jerusalem :-“I will scatter you among the heathen :” “Thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations, whither the Lord shall lead thee :" Among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest."
Jerusalem has been trodden under foot, says Dr. Cumming, literally and terribly till now, by the iron heels of western christians, who deluged it with blood, by the hoofs of Arab and Moslem horsemen, and by the bare feet of Greeks, Romans, and Armenian monks. Each sect spared its rival in order to crush the Jew. To plunder and maltreat the Jew was regarded as the expression of a piety singularly acceptable to God. No experience of man can explain
this. The Jew is a living mystery, which prophecy alone clears up.
Many other predictions, intimate the destinies of this mysterious race till Christ All nations have homes in Jerusalem. The Jew has none. They have been sifted through all nations, and have taken root in none. They are the subjects of every dynasty—the victims of every tyranny—the scoff of the infidel—the scorn of the great. From the Thames to the Tiber, and from the Tiber to the Ganges, and from the Ganges to the Missouri—from "Greenland's icy mountains, to India's coral strand”. they are found insulated from the sympathies of all men, indicating alinity with something above and before, but with nothing around.
That once great nation has been poured down upon the earth like quicksilver—it has split into innumerable scattered globules, which the hand of the Great Proprietor will yet collect, and form into a mighty mass that shall glow with imperishable splendour and reflect his glory. Many thousand years ago, God in prophecy pronounced the future dispersion and doom of the Jews, and God in history has kept them like the bush on Horeb—burning and not consumed -till that day come when the glory shall return from between the cherubim, and the dry bones rush together from a thousand lands, and the