Page images

shall be ashamed of your revenues, because of the fierce anger of the Lord.

14. Thus saith the Lord against all the evil neighbours, that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them. 15. And it shall come to pass after that I havc plucked them out, I will return and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land. 16. Andit shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The Lord liveth, as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the inidst of my people. 17. But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up, and destroy that nation, saith the Lord.


“ Prophecy was a business, in which the intel“ lect of man, under the controul of the inspiring “ Spirit, had an active share; and accordingly the " composition owes much of its colouring (but

nothing moré) to the natural genius and taste of " the writer. And hence it is that such a variety of style is found in the works of the different “ authors of the Old Testament, all equally ins's spired. In Isaiah the transitions are remarkably

“ sudden

the sudden and bold * :” Jeremiah possesses less of the sublime, and is for the most part lax and diffuse in his mode of writing to

It is generally maintained, that the twelve first chapters of this prophet were composed in the reign of Josiah I: and they afford, I think, a sufficient degree of internal evidence to warrant the opinion, that they all constitute jointly one continued prediction. Jeremiah's natural style has led him to expand through twelve chapters, what Isaiah would probably have condensed into one or two: and he has perpetually departed from his main subject to bewail the sins of his people, or to introduce what


be termned episodical prophecies g. Yet, true to his original point, he repeatedly and as it were anxiously recurs to some tremendous inrasion of Palestine from the north.

The most compact part of the prediction, if I may so speak, is contained in the 3d and 4th chapters; and this, I apprehend, will lead us to a right understanding of the whole. Jeremiah foretells, in the 3d chapter, that, as the house of Israel had been led away captive in consequence

[ocr errors]

* Bp. of St. A sapli's letter on the 18th chap. of Isaiah, p. 79.

t“ Jeremias, quanquam nec elegantia nec sublimitate

caret, tamen utraque cedit Isaiæ-In sensibus quidem ali“ quanto minus est elatus, in sententiis plerumque laxior et *** solutior. Lowth de sacra poesi. Heb. Præl. xxi.

I See Gray's Key, p. 378. $ Thus, in Chap: v. ver. 15-18, the desolation of Judah by the Romans is predicted,


of her spiritual fornication, so likewise should the house of Judah; that God however would not retain his anger for ever, but that the house of Israel upon her sincere repentance should certainly be restored; that the Lord would again marry her, and at the time of her restoration would gather her lost children, one out of a city, and two out of a family; that he would give her pastors according to his own heart; that, when her children should be multiplied and increased in the land, they should no longer, as in old times, venerate the ark of the covenant, but that the ceremonial law should be entirely abolished; that, at this same period, Jerusalem should be called the throne of the Lord; that all nations should be gathered unto it, even unto the name of the Lord; and that they should walk no more after the imagination of their evil heart: finally, that in those days the house of Judah should walk with the house of Israel * ; that they should no longer form two distinct and rival nations; but that they should coalesce together

*The reunion of Israel and Judah, and their joint parti"cipation of the blessings of the Messiah's kingdom, is else“ where foretold (See Jerem, xxiii. 6. xxx. 3—9. Isaiah “ xi. 12, 13. Ezek. xxxvii. 21, 22. Hos. i. 11, Rom. xi. 26.). " And that in the latter days they shall actually return from “ their several dispersions, to dwell as a nation in their own land, is declared in such express terms by most of the “ ancient prophets, that there cannot be a doubt, I think, “ of its being literally fulfilled in due time.” Dr. Blayney pn Jerem, iii, 18. U 3

into tween

[ocr errors]

into one; and should be brought back out of the land of the north into the land of the inheritance of their fathers.

It appears to mę sufficiently evident, that the whole of this is an unfulfilled prophecy. It nearly altogether treats of the general restoration of Israel, as contradistinguished from the partial res, toration of Judah. The house of Israel however has not yet returned: we have not yet beheld her lost children gathered, by some divine interpo. sition, individually, one out of a city, and two out of a family: the days are not yet arrived, when she hath received pastors according to the heart of the Lord: she hath not yet so returned unto the land of her inheritance, as there to have ceased to venerate the ark of the covenant and the ceremonial law; the nations have not yet been ga: thered unto Jerusalem; neither have they as yet ceased to walk after the imagination of their evil heart: Judah and Israel have not yet coalesced into one people. The only tịme, when this prophecy might be conceived to have been accomplished, was at the period of the restoration from Babylon, when several individuals of the ten tribes returned with and were mingled with the tribe of Judah : but (independent of such an interpretation being little better than a mere quibble), if we consider the general tenor of it, we shall be convinced that it is impossible to refer its completion to that era, During the time which elapsed be

[ocr errors]

tween the restoration from Babylon and the first advent of our Lord, we cannot allow the Jews to have been uniformly fed by faithful pastors; neither had they ceased to venerate the ceremonial law, neither were all nations gathered unto Jerusalem; nor had they ceased to walk after the imagination of their evil heart. Hence it is plain, that the prophecy was not then accomplished; and, if it were not then accomplished, we must look for its completion to some yet future period.

With this restoration however of Israel and Judah, which has never yet taken place, the prophet immediately connects some tremendous invasion of Palestine from the north. He mentions it in his first chapter, previous to his entering more immediately upon his main subject: he next, in his fourth chapter, unites it with his main subject: and he afterwards seems never to lose sight of it, for in the subsequent parts of his prediction he refers to it no less than three different times. What then are we to understand by this invasion from the north? It might be thought, from the circumstance of Jeremiah's elsewhere joining the families of the north with Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon*, that this northern invasion meant that of the Babylonians : but the general tenor of the prophecy will scarcely warrant such an opinion. Nebuchadnezzar might indeed pour into Palestine

* Jerem. xxv. 9.


« EelmineJätka »