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à l'égard de la plúpart des peuples voisins, dont il ne nous reste aucuns monumens, ne servent pas peu à embarrasser les interpretes. Le Clerc, Bibl. Chois. xxvii. 381.
Nos sane suas elegantias esse Hebreorum Lingure, quemadmodum ceteris omnibus, non negamus; sed cum cultis et copiosis Linguis conferendam esse non putamus. Monendus tamen est Lector eam a nobis spectari, non qualis olim dum florebat fortasse fuit, sed qualis superest in Libris Sacris, quibus omnes ejus reliquice continentur: Multo quidem plura vocabula, pluresque phrases in usu fuisse, quam qure in modico volumine leguntur, non ægre fatemur. Sed quoad potest ex ejus reliquiis judicium ferri; inopem eam, ambiguam, et parum cultam fuisse existimamus, quod jam ostendere aggrediemur:
Linguarum omnium laudes in tribus potissimum rebus site sunt, in copia vocabulorum et phrasium, in perspicuitate orationis, ejusque elegantia, cujus a Rhetoribus Canones describuntur; quibus rebus multo Hebraicá superiores sunt multre Linguce, et Groeca quidem præ ceteris; nec quasi pulcherrimam jactari Hebraicam posse, manifestum est, &c.&c. Le Clerc, Proleg. ad V.T. Dis.i.
Such are the difficulties which attend the interpretation of the prophecies, and which I chose to represent in the words of competent judges. And yet
that Jesus was the Messias foretold by the prophets appears thus : The prophets speak of a new and second covenant, which God would make with his people : They mention, not once or twice, but very often, the conversion of the Gentiles from superstition and idolatry to the worship of the true God: They speak of four successive empires, the last of which was the Roman empire, and under this last empire they say that a new and everlasting kingdom should be established by one to whom God should give absolute
power and dominion. A great person was to come, who should be Immanuel, or, God with us, the Son of God, and the Son of Man, of the seed of Abraham, of Isaac, and of David; born of a virgin, poor and obscure, and yet one whom David calls his Lord; the Lord to whom the temple belonged, the mighty God, a great king, an everlasting priest, though not of the tribe of Levi ; born at Bethlehem, a prophet like unto Moses, but greater than Moses ; a prophet who should preach to the poor and meek, and proclaim liberty to the captives, and comfort the mourners, and heal the broken hearted ; who should proclaim his gospel first and principally in the land of Zebulon and Naphthali, in Galilee of the Gentiles; who should have a forerunner in the spirit of Elias, crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord; who should instruct in a mild and peaceable manner, without wrath and contention, before the destruction of the temple, in which temple he should be seen and heard ; who should enter into Jerusalem meek and humble, and riding on an ass; who should work miracles more than Moses and all the prophets, and miracles of the merciful and beneficent kind, open the eyes of the blind, and the ears of the deaf, and make the dumb to praise God, and the lame to leap like an hart ; who, notwithstanding all his power and goodness, should be rejected by the greater part of the nation, to whom he should be a stumbling-block, who should be despised and afflicted, a man of sorrow, and cut off from the land of the living ; who should have enemies numerous, powerful, crafty, and wicked, who should be accused by false witnesses, betrayed by an intimate and particular friend, sold for thirty pieces of silver, and the money given for a potter's field,
when it had been flung away by the traitor who should not live long after his crime, and whose office should be filled up by another ; that his enemies should use him contumeliously, buffet him, and spit upon him, whilst he should be led like a lamb to the slaughter, not opening his mouth, and uttering nothing, except intercessions for the transgressors; that his enemies should strip him of his raiment, divide it amongst themselves, and cast lots upon it, surround him, pierce his hands and his feet, mock him, and shake their heads at him, give him gall to eat, and vinegar to drink; that he should be reduced to so weak and languishing a condition that his bones might all be counted, his heart should melt within him, and his tongue cleave to the roof of his mouth; that he should be brought to the dust of death, that he should be pierced, and yet not one of his bones be broken ; that he should be laid in the sepulchre of a rich and honourable man, none of his enemies hindering it ; that he should rise again before he had seen corruption, and subdue his enemies, and ascend into heaven, and sit at God's right hand, and be crowned with honour and glory, and see bis seed and prosper, and justify many, and be adored by kings and princes; that then Jerusalem should be made desolate, and the Jews dispersed in all lands, and the Gentiles should be converted and flow into the church. These things were said concerning some person; and they are all applicable to Christ.
God foretold by his prophets in a clear and exact manner many great changes and revolutions, many things relating to the fates and fortunes of the Jews, and of the neighbouring nations with whoin they were concerned. The only possible objection which can be made to these predictions, is that perhaps they were
written after the event. I shall therefore mention a few, out of several, which cannot be suspected of such a forgery.
Ezekiel * thus prophecies concerning Egypt. Egypt shall be the basest of the kingdoms, neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations : for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations, xxix. 15.
Egypt was attacked and oppressed by the Persians, by Cambyses, by Xerxes, by Darius Nothus, and conquered by Ochus three hundred and fifty years before Christ; and from that time to this day, the Egyptians never had an Egyptian king, but have been under the government of the Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Saracens, and Turks. Eusebius was mistaken in dating the subjection of Egypt to a foreign power from the victory of Augustus at Actium, and the death of Antony and Cleopatra. Dem. Erang. vi. p. 299.
Concerning Babylon it was foretold; The wild beasts of the desart-shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein : and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and the neighbour cities thereof—so no man shall dicell there, neither
any son of man dwell therein.— They shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations ; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the Lord.-Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling place for dragons, an astonishment and an hissing, without an inhabitant.When thou hast made an end of reading this book, thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates. And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her.
-Babylon * Isaiah prophesied more than 700, Jeremiah more than 600, and Ezekiel almost 600 years before Christ.
shall any son
Babylon the glory of kingdoms-shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation : neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there, neither shall the shepherds make their fold there : But wild beasts of the desart shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and owls shall dwell there, and dragons in their pleasant places. Jer. I. 39. li. 26. 37. 64. Isai. xiii. 19.
Seleucus built Seleucia, before Christ 293, which completed the ruin and desolation of Babylon, a desolation that continues to this day. Prideaux Connect. P. I. B. viii. p. 448. fol. ed. and Vitringa on Isa. xiii.
Concerning Tyre it was prophesied ; I will make thee like the top of a rock : thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more ;-thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt be any more.
Ezek. xxvi. 14. 21. xxvii. 36. xxviii. 19.
Old Tyre and new Tyre are no more, and only exist in history. Tyrus insularis—tandem pervenit ad eum statum, quo hodie deprehenditur, ut in ipsa Tyro quoque Itinerator Tyrum qurerat et non agnoscut : perinde ut res se habuit cum Babylone. Qui articuli imminutionis Tyri, et varia ejus fata a me ex Historia demonstrari possent, si vere cum Marshamo aliisque mihi non persuaderem, vaticinium hoc Ezechielis intelligendum esse de Tyro vetere, urbe olim multo majore et potentiore, quam fuit Tyrus nova insularis, licet ea ipsi accensita fuerit; quce Tyrus insularis post hoc tempus sola culta est, et gloriam Tyri veteris sustinuit :- dum altera pars ejus, hoc est, Tyrus vetus, plane subverteretur, num. quam reædificanda, ab Alexandro dein plane diruta, qui ruderibus lapidibusque ejus usus est in Tyro insulari oppugnanda ; ut adeo hodieque ejus Palætyri nihil amplius