« EelmineJätka »
And, if it do extend its views beyond that event, to what can it extend them except the
final and general restoration of the house of Jacob? And, if it extend its views to this final restoration, as it plainly must do, then both Babylon and her king must be understood mystically. For it is said, that, in the day of that very restoration and deliverance which the prophet had been so fully describing, the people of the Lord shall take up their parable against the king of Babylon. But the literal Babylon has long since been blotted out of the list of nations. Therefore the Babylon, which is to be destroyed at the era of the yet future restoration of Israel, can only be a mystical Babylon: and consequently its king can only be a mystical king of Babylon *.
The accurate completion of the prophecy, particularly that part of it which is contained in the 13th chapter, in the downfall and present state of the literal Babylon, I shall pass over as being foreign to my subject: observing only, that the day of its overthrow is styled the day of the Lord, as being typical of the great day of the second advent; that is represented as being attended with signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, the usual prophetic imagery to describe political revolutions * ; and that the prediction, respecting the present desolate state of Babylon, has been manifestly copied and transferred by St. John to the future state of the mystical Babylon t.
* Mr. Lowth remarks, that Ísaiah xiv. is “a continuation " of the same subject". as that treated of in the three preceding chapters, “ containing a prediction of the utter down" fall of the Babylonian empire and extirpation of the royal
family there, under which description is figuratively represented the destruction of the powers of Antichrist; the
consequence of wlialı would be the deliverance and restos " ration of the Jewish nation in particular, and of the Church * in general.” Argument to comment on Isaiah xiv. K 2
I have observed, that the mystical Babylon is the whole papal Roman empire, both temporal and spiritual; which, at the era of the final restoration of Judah, will have coalesced into a grand confederacy of the beast under his last or Carlovingian head, the false prophet or the Romish hierarchy, and the vassal federal kings of the Latin earth. Such being the case, it may be a matter of some doubt, whether by the king of Babylon we are to understand the temporal, or the spiritual, chief of the Roman empire; the Carlovingian head (which recent events apparently teach us to identify with
* See Mr. Lowth on Isaiah xiii, 10.
+ Compare Isaiah xiii. 19-22 with Rev. xviii. 2, 22, 23, Mr. Lowth remarks, that from the tenor of ver. 19
we may “ conclude that this prophecy.looks further to another Baby14 lon, mentioned in the Revelation. This is a pregnant in
stance apjong many others, that the mystical sense of “ several prophecies, that is, the sense which is more tem
motely intended, comes nearer to the letter of the pro
phecies than that which some call the literal sense, and o think to have been immediately designed by the prophet."
the infidel Antichristian king), or the false prophet. There are certainly many points of resemblance in the predicted character of this mystical king of Babylon, which might lead us to conceive him to be the apostate bishop of Rome ; and there is undoubtedly no small similarity between his character and that of the prince of Tyre, as exhibited to us by Ezekiel, who teaches us like Isaiah to refer the overthrow of this prince to the days of the final restoration of Israel *. Now the prince of Tyre, as I shall hereafter shew at large, can only, from the description which is given of him, be the papal man of sin : whence we might suppose, that the king of Babylon, who is to perish at the very same era with the mystical prince of Tyre, must be the papal man of sin likewise, or the spiritual sovereign of the Roman empire. This however, I apprehend, is not the case; for there is a sufficient degree of difference between the two portraits to shew that they cannot both have been intended for the same person.
The prince of Tyre is represented as having once been perfect, and as afterwards corrupting himself, as having long been in the holy mountain of God, whence he is at length cast out on account of his sins; and as defiling his sanctuaries by the iniquity of his traffic. Whereas the king of Babylon is depicted as having been uniformly corrupt; as oppressing the nations with armed violence, rather
than seducing them byiniquitous blandishments; and as meditating, only at the time of the completion of the prophecy, to sit upon the mount of the divine presence, on the sides of the north. In ather respects there is a considerable resemblance between their characters. There is in short much the same difference and much the same resemblance between them, that there is between Daniel's infidel king and St. Paul's man of sin : and I am strongly inclined to believe, that the two portraits are altogether distinct, and were drawn by Isaiah and Ezekiel for the two sovereigns, temporal and spiritual, of the Latin empire; in other words, the Carlovingian head of the beast when united with Antichrist, and the false Romish prophet.
But let us examine, how far the character of the mystical king of Babylon will answer to that of tho infidel king
They are both to be oppressors: they are both to be notorious exactors of gold: they are both ta smite the peoples with unremitting strokes, and to rule the nations in their fury. If the king of Babylon is to sit in the mount of the divine presence ; the infidet king is to pitch the curtains of his pavilions in the glorious holy mountain between the şeas: and, if the king of Babylon is to be crushed in the land of God, and to be trampled down in his mountains; the infidel king is, in the very same region and at the very period, namely that of the final restoration of Judah, to come to his end,
none being able to help him *. The prince of Tyre indeed is said to be cast out of the holy mountain: but, in his case, the holy mountain must be understood, not of the literal mount Zion, but of the Christian Church; because he is described as haying long been in it, even during his perfect or uncorrupted state t. Whereas, in the case of the king of Babylon, the mount of the divine presence must, like the holy mountain between the seas mentioned by Daniel, be understood literally: both because the king is not said, like the prince of Tyre, to have sat there in a perfect state, but only in the course of those events which terminate in his destruction; and because it is afterwards literally predicted that his overthrow shall take place in Palestine. Hence we must, I think, as in the the parallel prophecy of Daniel, understand the king's sitting in the mountain of the divine presence, and his afterwards perishing in the holy land, as absolutely literal matters of fact. And here I may remark, that the region, assigned for the destruction of the king of Babylon, namely,
Mr. Lowth, like myself, supposes Isaiah xiv. 13, and Dan, xi. 45. to be parallel passages. Comment. on Dan. xi. 45.
+ Compare Isaiah xiv, 13. with Ezek. xxviii. 14, 15, 16. The whole context of this latter passage shews, that it can only be understood figuratively. But it will be discussed at large bereafter in its proper place.