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most distant voyages being made along the " coasts, the Phenician mariners would speak of " every place which lay to the west of the mouths “ of the Nile, as beyond the Nile, that is, in the “ poetical language of the prophet, beyond the “ rivers of Cush; because, keeping always along “ the coast, they would pass within sight of the “ mouth of the Nile, before they reached that “ western place. According to this nautical " phraseology of the voyagers of those times, the s circumstance of being beyond the rivers of Cush “ was alike applicable to France, Spain, Portugal, 6 Great Britain, Ireland, Denmark, in short any part " of Europe without the streights. Not more to any 56 part of Europe, thạn to any part of Africa, without as the streights. Not more to any part of Europe or “ Africą, than to the whole eastern coast of North " and South America. The particular situation
of the country therefore is by no means ascer“ tained by this circumstance *.” Yet, however indefinite the present prophecy may be in fixing the precise quarter of the globe where we are to look for the messenger people, others, which will be discussed hereafter in their proper place, give us sufficient reason to believe that they will be some European nation. What European nation indeed, is wholly uncertain; but their character, as de scribed by Isaiah, necessarily leads us to conclude, that they will be a maritime nation of faithful worshippers.
Letter on Isarab xviii,
The The prophet has now foretold the chief matters relative to the restoration of the converted Jews ; such as their being opposed unsuccessfully by the army of Antichrist, and their being assisted in their return to their own country by a great maritime nation of faithful worshippers : he proceeds therefore next to detail certain collateral events, which will be closely connected with their restoration. He had already foretold in a former prophecy *, that the Lord should smite with a drought the tongue of the Egyptian sea, and that he should shake his hand over the great river of Assyria with a vehement wind; in order that there might be a high-way for the remnant of his people, and that they might return, as they did of old out of the land of Egypt. He now enters more diffusely upon the subject, connecting it, as before, both with the exploits of Antichrist, and with the restoration of the Jews. In à strain of awful sublimity, he represents tlie Almighty as riding upon a swift cloud, and as confounding the counsels of Egypt; as sowing discord among her governors, and as giving her over into the hand of cruel lords and a fierce king. The tyrant and his inferior lords, bere described, I take to be Antichrist and his vassal king's, during the period of his temporary success. In a parallel prophecy of Daniel, his character is largely set forth: and it is intimated,
that, at the epoch of the restoration of the Jewis, . the land of Egypt shall not escape him; but that he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and that the Libyans and Cushiin shall be at his steps *. Hence Isaiah, in perfect accordance with Daniel, predicts, that, at this very epoch, Egypt shall be delivered into the hand of a fierce king : for, that the conquest of Egypt by the fierce king is to be referred to this epoch, will be manifest to any one, who compares the language used by Isaiah in his former prophecy with that which he uses at the close of the present prophecy. In the foriner, he foretells, that there shall be a high-way for the remnant of his people that shall be left from Assyria : in the present, he similarly foretells, that, notwithstanding the success of the Antichristian tyrant, God will deliver Egypt by the hand of a mighty Saviour, convert it to the profession of real religion, and cause a high-way to be made between it and Assyria through the land of Israel, so that there shall be a free religious intercourse between the three countries. And this, according to both prophecies, is to be effected by the drying up of the mystical Nile; and, according to the former prophecy, by the drying up both of the Euphrates and the Nile t...
Dan. xi. 41. xii. 1.. loose i + Let the reader compare together Isaiah xi. 15, 16, and Isaiah xix, 5, 23, 24; and he inust, I think, be convinced
. As for the manner in which Isaiah describes the religious state of Egypt at the period when it will be invaded by Antichrist, he seems in this, as in other instances *, to exhibit it to us, rather according to what it was in his own days, than what it probably will be in the age of the accomplishment of the prophecy : yet it is worthy of notice, that the prophecy is not incapable of receiving even a literal accomplishment. By the intermixture of the corrupt Christians of the Greek church with the professors of Mohammedism, much idolatry still prevails in Egypt; which we cannot conceive to be more acceptable. to God, than either its kindred papal idolatry, or the ancient pagan idon
tatry: and it is worthy of notice, that even some · of the Mohammedans themselves, according - to
i somit aj cm 9 that both these predictions relate to the same events. In this case, since Isaiah xi. 15, 16, must plainly be referred to the era of the restoration of Judah, the whole of Isaiah xix must likewise be referred to the same era. The propriety of such à conclusion will be the more evident, if he further compare both these prophecies with Zechar. X. 10, 11, 12; which, like Isaiah xi. 15, 16, will clearly not be accomplished till the Jews are brought back into the land of their fatliers. • Such an instance occurs indeed even in the course of the very prophecy concerning which I am fow treating. “ And or the Lord shall be known to Egypt; and the Egyptians shall “ know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and obla. " tion; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform “ it.” (Isaiah xix. 21.) Upon which Bp. Newton justly remarks, that's the prophet describes the worship of future 5 times, according to the rites and ceremonies of his own 42.: ime.” Dissert. xii. 3.
Niebuhr, are tainted with the superstitious veneration of images, which disgraces the worship of their Christian fellow-citizens *. But I am more inclined to adopt the other interpretation of this part of the prophecy, and to suppose that Isaiah describes Egypt agreeably to what it was in his own age.
The exhaustion of the river, which he dwells upon with so much minuteness, is plainly, according to the usual phraseology of symbols, nothing more than the overthrow of the Egyptian government with its concomitants. These concomitants, as in the case of the exhaustion of the great river Euphrates under the sirth apocalyptic vialt, seem to be a diminution of the population of Egypt, and an emigration of its inhabitants; for such is the most natural exposition that can be given of the drying up of its river, and the diversion of its streams into other channels.
It is worthy of notice, that the population of Egypt has already begun to diminish, much in the same manner as the population of Turkey, which
* See Niebuhr's Travels, Vol. 1. pp. 35, 47, 103, 195. In Skinner's Eccles. Hist. of Scotland, Vol. 11. p. 6314-639, there is a curious account of an attempt that was made, between the years 1716 and 1725, to effect an union between the non-juring prelates and those of the Greek church. The attempt failed from the resolute adherence of the Orientals to image-worship and other superstitious vanities.
+ See my Dissert. on the 1200 years, Vol. 11. p. 345-319. (2d Edit. p. 383_-387.)