Page images

to the sides of the pit. 16. Those, that see thee, shall look attentively at thee; they shall well consider thee: Is this the man, that made the earth to tremble; that shook the kingdoms? 17. That made the world like a desert; that destroyed the cities ? that never dismissed his captives to their own home? 18. All the kings of the nations, all of them, lie down in glory, each in his own sepulchre: 19. But thou art cast out of the grave, as the tree abominated; cloathed with the slain, with the pierced by the sword, with them that go down to the stones of the pit; as a trodden carcase. 20. Thou shalt not be joined unto them in burial; because thou hast destroyed thy country, thou hast slain thy people : the seed of evil doers shall never be renowned. 21. Prepare ye slaughter for his children, for the iniquity of their fathers; lest they rise, and possess the earth; and fill the face of the world with cities. ' 29. For I will arise against them, saith the Lord of hosts; and I will cut off from Babylon the name, and the remnant, and the son, and the son's son, saith the Lord; 23. And I will make it an inheritance for the porcupine, and pools of water; and I will plunge it in the miry gulph of destruction, saith the Lord of hosts. 24. The Lord of hosts hati sworn, saying: Surely, as I have devised, so shall it 02; and, as I have purposed, that thing shall stand : 95. To crush the Assyrian in my land, and to trample him on my mountains. Then shall his yoke depart from off them; and his burthen shall be removed from off their shoulder.


26. This is the decree, which is determined on the whole earth; and this is the hand, which is stretched out over the nations. 27. For the Lord of hosts hath decreed; and who shall disannul it? And it is his hand, that is stretched out; and who shall turn it back ?

COMMENTARY. This prediction affords one of the most remarkable examples of double prophecy, that is to be met with in the whole of the sacred volume. The first advent of Christ is here connected with his second advent; and the destruction of the literal Babylon, with the overthrow of the mystical Babylon. For, unless the two-fold mode of interpretation be adopted, we shall find it impossible to produce any consistent exposition of the whole prophecy.

Isaiah begins with foretelling the birth of Christ from the depressed and impoverished royal house of David. He thence proceeds to describe his character; and introduces, as one particular of it, a circumstance, which will not be accomplished till the times of the second advent. Our Lord is not only to judge the poor with righteousness, and to convince the meek with equity; but he is likewise to smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips to slay the wicked one. This exactly accords with the prediction of St. John, that he shall smite with a sharp sword, that


goeth out of his mouth, the congregated vassals of Antichrist, the kings of the Latin earth*; and with the parallel prediction of St. Paul, that he shall consume that wicked one, the papal man of sin, with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of his coming t.

Having described the character of the Messiah, Isaiah next pourtrays in glowing colours the blessings of his lingdom. The wild beasts are to lie down with the tame, and are to divest themselves of their savage natures. The ox is fearlessly to graze by the side of the lion, and the leopard is to dandle the kid. Beautiful as is the imagery of this celebrated passage I, I cannot consider it in the

light * Rev. xix. 15, 19. + 2 Thessal. ii. 8. It is remarkable that the Jews themselves understand this prophecy of Isaiah to relate to the final down. fall of the Roman empire, at which period they rightly believe that their restoration will take place. “ How much soever “ the man of sin may be exalted, and how long soever he may “ reign, yet at last the Lord shall consume him with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy him with the brightness of his , u coming. This is partly taken from the prophet Isaiah “ (xi. 4.), and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked one : where the Jews, as Lightfoot observes, put an emphasis “ upon that word in the prophet the wicked one, as it apo « peareth by the Chaldee paraphrast; who hath uttered it He « shall destroy the wicked Roman." Bp. Newton's Dissert. XXII. 3. See also Mr. Lowth in loc.

Independent of those ancient poets, Theocritus, Virgil, and Horace, and of some of the Arabian and Persian poets, whom Bp. Lowth has noticed as depicting with similar ima. gery the golden age, two at least, who have written since the VOL. 1.


light of a mere poetical description of a golden age. In the shadowy dispensation of the Mosaical law, a distinction was made between clean and unclean meats. Of the one the Jews were permitted to eat: from the other they were required to abstain. Now it will be found upon examination, that the animals, whose flesh they were forbidden to taste, were usually typical of some vices practised by the idolatrous; and, pursuant to the type, they carefully withdrew from the fellowship and company of the antitype, the heathen nations. Thus, not to notice other prohibited animals, lions, wolves, bears, and leopards, were fit embleins of rapacity, cruelty, and persecution. Hence their flesh was forbidden in the Mosaical law; and hence Daniel uses some of them to symbolize the persecuting and idolatrous empires of the Gentiles *.

Christian era, have attempted to copy the beautiful strains of the Hebrew bard; Nonnus, and Pope. The Messiah of the latter is well known; the classical reader will find the passage of the former, to which I allude, in the 41st book of his Dionysiacs. The following is a translation of it:

The tawny lion for a while forgot
His nature, and with wanton gambols play'd
Around the fearless ox; the generous steed
In graceful curvets testified his joy;
The spotted panther frolick'd near the hare
And close beside the wolf, the blithsome kid
Rejoic'd secure, and gaily play'd at will
His wayward fancies.

* See Dan. vii.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

On the other hand, the kinds of food, which the Jews were allowed to eat, were generally the flesh of certain animals emblematical of some virtue ; as the the or, of patience and industry; the sheep, of meekness and innocence. Consequently, as wild and ravenous beasts were typical of the Gentiles, so tame and domestic animals were con. sidered as proper symbols of the Church of God, at that time confined to the Jews *. Nor is this the mere fancy of a visionary commentator: we have the express warrant of inspired authority for adopting such an opinion. When God was about to send St. Peter to the devout Roman centurion Cornelius, foreseeing his scruples, he condescended to remove them by a vision, manifestly explanatory of this very prophecy of Isaiah. The Apostle beheld a great sheet descending from heaven full of all manner of animals, both wild beasts and tame beasts, both reptiles and birds : and, while he was thus looking upon objects which must have been an · abomination to a pious Jew, he suddenly heard a voice commanding him to kill and eat. To this! command he objected, on the plea that he had never eaten any thing forbidden by the law, and therefore accounted profane and unclean: but he was charged in return not to presume to call that

* For the reasons of the seeming exception in Dan, viii, where two elean animals, the ram and the goat, are used to symbolize the Persian and Macedonian empires. See Bp. Newton's Dissert. xv.


[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »