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to secure their lives by the forfeiture of their possessions? Of this there have been innumerable instances, and some even in our own country. King Henry III. of England always laid a heavy tax on the Jews at every low ebb of his fortunes. “One Abraham (says a celebrated writer) who was found a delinquent, was forced to pay seven hundred marks for his redemption. Aaron, another Jew, protested, that the king had taken from him, at times, thirty thousand marks of silver, besides two hundred marks of gold. And in like manner he used many others of the Jews." And when they were banished, in the reign of Edward I. all their estates were confiscated to the crown.
Their sons and daughters shall be given unto another people, Deut. xxviii. 32. This has been likewise fulfilled, for, in several countries, but more particularly in Spain and Portugal, their children have been taken from them, by order of the government, to be educated in the popish religion. Mr Basnage (in his history of the Jews) tells us, that " the council of Toledo ordered all their children to be taken from them, lest they should partake of their errors, and that they should be shut up in monasteries to be instructed in the christian truths.” And when they were banished from Portugal, “ the king (says Mariana) ordered that all their children, who were under fourteen years of age, should be taken from them and baptized." And they should be mad
for the sight of their eyes which they should see, Deut. xxxviii. 34. That this part of the prophecy has been most amply fulfilled we have the clearest evidence; for, into what madness, fury and desperation have they repeatedly been driven by the cruel usage, extortions and oppressions they have undergone? of this we shall only mention two particular instances, one from ancient, and the other from modern history. The first is related by Josephus, who says, “ After the “ destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, some of the worst of “ the Jews took refuge in the castle of Masada, where,
being closely besieged by the Romans, they, at the per،،
suasion of Eleazar their leader, first murdered their “ wives and children, after which ten men were chosen " by lot to slay the rest. This being done, one of the ten “ was chosen, in like manner, to kill the other nine, which “ having executed, he set fire to the place, and therr 6 stabbed himself; there were nine hundred and sixty “ who perished in this miserable manner, and only two 6 women and five boys escaped, which they effected by “ hiding themselves in the aqueducts under ground. The other instance is recorded by Mr Basnage, who says, “ In the reign of Richard I. of England, when the “ people were in arms to make a general massacre of the “ Jews, fifteen hundred of them seized on the city of “ York to defend themselves; but being besieged, they “ offered to capitulate, and to ransom their lives with “money. This offer being refused, one of them cried out “ in despair, that it was better to die courageously for “ the law, than to fall into the hands of the Christians. “ In consequence of this every man immediately took his “ knife and stabbed his wife and children. The men af“ terwards retired into the king's palace, which they set 6 on fire, and in which themselves were consumed."
The prophecy farther tells us, that they should become an astonishment, a proverb, and a by-word to all nations, Deut. xxviii. 37. And do we not hear and see this part of the prophecy fulfilled every day? Is not the avarice, usury, and hard-heartedness of a Jew grown proverbial? and are not their persons generally odious among all sorts of people? Mahometans, Heathens, and Christians, however they may disagree in other points, yet generally agree in vilifying, abusing, and persecuting the Jews. In most places where they are tolerated, they live in a separate quarter by themselves, and wear some badge of distinction. Their very countenances commonly distinguish them from the rest of mankind, and they are, in all respects, treated as if they were of another species.
Lastly, their plagues should be wonderful, even great plagues, and of long continuance, Deut. xxviii. 59. And have not their plagues continued upwards of seventeen hundred years? What nation has suffered so much, and yet continued so long? What nation hath subsisted as a distinct people in their own country so long as these bave done in their dispersion into all countries? And what a standing miracle is thus exhibited to the view and observation of the whole world?
These astonishing prophecies were delivered upwards of three thousand years ago, and from the fulfilment of them, which we see every play taking place in the world, are the strongest proofs that can be given of the Divine legation of Moses. They are truly, as Moses foretold they would be, a sign and a wonder for ever. Moreover, all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenest not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments, and his statutes which he commanded thee: And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for erer, Deut. xxviii. 15, 46.
Containing the Prophecics of JEREMIAH, ISAIAH, MICAH,
EZEKIEL, and other Prophets, relative to the Jeros.
THE punishment to be inflicted on the Jews for their manifold transgressions was not only foretold by their great legislator Moses, but likewise many other persons, who received the spirit of inspiration. These prophecies were delivered at different periods, and were designed to reform the Jews from the wicked course of life to which they were naturally addicted; but, as they continued inflexible, the prophecies denounced against them were strictly fulfilled.
Among others of the prophecies it was foretold that the ten tribes of Israel should be carried away captives by the king of Assyria, and that the two remaining tribes of Judah and Benjamin should be made captives to the king of Babylon; but with this difference, that the two tribes should be restored and return from their captivity, but the ten tribes should be lost and dissolved in theirs.
The time when the captivity of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin was to take place, as also that of their restoration, was foretold by the prophet Jeremiah. This VOL. iji,
whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years, Jer. xxv. 11. And again, Thus saith the Lord, that after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word towards you, in causing you to return to this place, Jer. xxix. 10.
This prophecy was delivered in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Jer. xxv. 1. In the same year the prophecy began to take place, for Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judea, besieged and took Jerusalem, made Jehoiakim his subject and tributary, transported the finest children of the royal family and of the nobility to Babylon to be brought up as slaves in his palaces. He likewise destroyed the temple, carried away the sacred vessels, and placed them in the temple of his idol Bel at Babylon. The whole number carried into captivity amounted to ten thousand, there being only a few left of very poor and mean condition to till and cultivate the land.
In this situation they remained for seventy years, when Cyrus, king of Babylon, issued a proclamation for the restoration of the Jews, and for the rebuilding of the temple of Jerusalem. In consequence of this the Jews immediately returned to their own country, and dispersed themselves into the respective cities they had formerly inhabited. The temple was begun and carried on with great assiduity for some time, but by the great interruption they met with from the Samaritans, was not finished till the reign of Darius, when all things were again restored to their former state. And thus was fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah relative to the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
The prophecy against the ten tribes of Israel was much more severe than that against the other two. The tribe of Ephraim, which was the chief of these, is often put for the whole ten, and it was predicted that within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken that it be not a people, Isaiah vii. 8. This prophecy was delivered in the first year of Ahaz king of Judah, when Rezin king of Syria, and Pekah king of Israel, formed
a conjunction to reduce Jerusalem; and it was to comfort Ahaz and the house of David in these difficulties and distresses, that the prophet Isaiah was commissioned to assure him, that the kings of Syria and Israel should remain only the heads of their respective cities; that they should not prevail against Jerusalem, and that within sixty and five years Israel should be so broken that it should be no more a people.
The fulfilment of this prophecy commenced in the reign of Ahaz, when Tiglath-pilezer took many of the Israelites, even the Keubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive into Assyria, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan. 1 Chron. v. 26. 2 Kings, xv. 29. His son Shalmaneser, in the reign of Hezekiah, took Samaria and carried away still greater numbers unto Assyria, and put them in Holah and in Habor, by the river of Gozan (the same places where their brethren had been carried before them) and in the cities of the Medes, 2 Kings, xviii. 11. His son Sennacherib came up also against Hezekiah, and all the fenced cities of Judah; but his army was miraculously defeated, and he himself was forced to return with shame and disgrace into his own country, where he was mur. dered by two of his sons, 2 Kings, xvii. 19. Another of his sons, Esarhaddon, succeeded him in the throne, but it was some time before he could recover his kingdom from these disorders, and think of reducing Syria and Pa. lestine again to his obedience: and then it was, and not till then, that he completed the ruin of the ten tribes, carried away the remains of the people, and, to prevent the land from becoming desolate, brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Hava, and
from Hamath, and from Sepharraim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria, instead of the children of Israel, 2 Kings, xvii. 24. Ephraim was broken from being a kingdom before, but it was now broken from being a people. And from that time to this what account can be given of the people of Israel as distinct from those of Judah? Where have they subsisted all this time? And where is their situation, or what their present condition?