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the body; and it is inevitable that adapted to nourish our principles, we should turn towards our colle- and nerve our purposes as seceders giate institutions with mingled pride from the Church of England. If and solicitude. They have won the the representatives of that commuconfidence, and secured the prayer- nity be sincere in their expressed ful interest of the majority of our desire to recall us to her fellowship, people, and they will, by their una- they adopt strange measures to sebated consecration to the interests of cure it. What possible inducement evangelical truth, continue, we are is there to seek the shelter of a body sure, to command them, “Doth a which has pomp without power, fountain send forth, at the same canons without unity, and ambition place, sweet waters and bitter?” without freedom-a body, which,
Let me add that it is our sacred however regally attired, grows pale obligation to maintain, in the spirit and motionless under the patronage of the Gospel, an increasingly con- of senators and princes, and which, scientious separation from the En- had it not called to its aid the dowed Church of the realm.
principle on which free-churches reCould we be persuaded to look pose, would by this time have been upon the important ecclesiastical a stately corpse. What temptation movement around us exclusively could be adequate to attract us from through the medium of Dissent, we our chosen seclusion, into the midst might be tempted rather to rejoice of a theatre, the stage of which is than to repine; but there are in- crowded by a motley group of clergyterests, whatever our accusers may men of every grade accompanied by pretend, far dearer to us than those councillors from every court conwhich such a relative position to tending about the first principles of surrounding parties implies; inter revealed religion, with a polished ests which lived long before the acrimony which inspires thoughtful English Church was framed, and spectators with shame and disgust? which will survive when that Church We, as a body, in conjunction with has passed away. It may not be a other sections of the Dissenting matter of indifference to us whether community, yield to none in loyalty the Episcopal, the Synodical, or the to the Queen, and in attachment to Independent form of Church Govern- her dynasty, and shall not cease to ment prevails; but this is, after all, offer our prayers at the throne of the but a trifling consideration when heavenly grace for her prolonged compared with the honour of our happiness and for the continuance Great Redeemer, and the progress of of her line--we honour and obey His cause in the land. When, there her as the head of the civil authority fore, we find men of high celebrity of the empire. But we repudiate circulating doctrines not according with renewed determination the conto godliness, and observe them en- nection which subsists between the couraged in their course by the Church and the State, and conscienhighest sanction of law, and witness tiously believe it to be dishonouring their conduct, receive the imprima- to God and to be fraught with tur of the most august authorities of manifold and grievous mischiefs to the realm, we hold it to be an occa- men; so that its dissolution would sion, not for triumph, but for la- conduce to the promotion of pure mentation and woe,—we mourn as
religion and to the honour and procivilians, as Christians, and as pa- gress of the Commonwealth. The triots. But surely this spectacle is
connection which subsists between
cause and effect must be strangely that relates to conscience and to disturbed and the laws which im- right; and while labouring in the vineperceptibly determine the processes yard of the Great Master with increasof decay must have been mysteri- ing solicitude and care, and wishously suspended, if recent events ing" grace, mercy, and peace, to all do not hasten this issue.
It is con- that in every place call upon the name trary to the reports of all history of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and utterly discordant with the ex- and ours," serenely to await the day, perience of ages, that prolonged in- when, emancipated from all worldly ternal contentions should not un policies, an unfettered Christianity settle and weaken the communities shall summon the nations to liberty or institutions they disturb,—that and life. contending policies and conflicting I have, then, my brethren, veninterests should not engender incon- tured to point to some of the features gruities and consuming animosities of the times, and to their attendant which are the forerunners of decay. obligations. In observing the one, Beside the fatal disease they feed and in fulfilling the other, we shall, i and influence within, they inspire venture to submit, be acting worthily by degrees, distaste, and aversion of our ancestry, have the approbation from without, so that spectators of conscience, and the smile of our stand prepared for their overthrow. common Lord; shall conduce to the The hour may be delayed and the prosperity of our beloved country at process be apparently slow, but the home, and to its augmented moral catastrophe is inevitable and such influence abroad, while each in his as no human strategy can avert. turn descends to the grave, enrolled In the meantime, it is for us to hold among those who, through evil refast the liberties we have won, to use port and good report, have sought all peaceful means to sweep away the the establishment among us of that petty tyrannies that remain, to sub- spiritual kingdom which can never stitute equality for toleration in all be moved.
THE FALL OF BABYLON.
PROPHECY AND HISTORY CONFIRMED BY RECENT DISCOVERIES.
ONE hundred and seventy years be- But the inspired man sees beyond fore the event, the Prophet Isaiah the splendour the ruin into which foretold the destruction of Babylon. the metropolis of nations should fall, She was then the "glory of king- and foretells that her battlements doms,” the centre of civilization and should be forsaken, her palaces beempire. The period of her greatest come caverns, in which the beasts of magnificence was when Nebuchad- the wilderness would dwell, and her nezzar lavished upon her temples, fertile fields be turned into swamps, her palaces, her hanging gardens, her echoing with the bittern's cry. She walls three hundred feet high, her for- should be plunged into the very gulf tresses, and her brass-leaved gates, the of destruction. wealth his conquests had procured. So clear is the vision of the
divinely-inspired seer that he fore- to the north, to the nations of the casts the name of the conqueror, Medes, as the quarter whence the and describes with wondrous minute- thunder-clouds of the Divine wrath ness the circumstances of Babylon's should come. On their approach fall. “Thus saith the Lord to his the sower should be cut off from the anointed, to Cyrus, whose right field, the reaper should cease to hand I have holden to subdue na- gather in his harvests from the open tions before him. ...I will go country. The warriors should be before thee and make the crooked content to hold watch and ward on places straight; I will break in pieces the walls to which they hasten for the gates of brass, and cut in sunder safety. But a snare should be laid the bars of iron.” Flushed with for them; the waters of the river victories over the nations of Western should be dried up, and in the night and Central Asia, Cyrus should has- of feasting, when Babylon's defenders ten with his conquering Medes, to are drunken, the plains of Chaldæa, from their
“Her dwellings are burned, northern mountain homes, to “put an Her barriers are broken in pieces. end to the arrogance of the proud,
Courier runneth to meet courier, and bring down the haughtiness of
And messenger to meet messenger,
To announce to the King of Babylon, the terrible." The assault on Baby
That his city is altogether taken; lon should be sudden, and the success That the passages are captured, complete. Her throne should be ex- That the stockades are burned with fire, changed for a seat in the dust; her
And the military thrown into con
fusion. fall be like that of a noble maiden,
And Babylon shall become heaps, the child of luxury, reduced to the An abode of jackals : indignity of grinding meal. Her An object of astonishment and derision, astrologers, her augurs, her sooth- Without an inhabitant." * sayers, with all their sorceries and No prophecies of Scripture are enchantments, would be unable to more precise than the above, or preavert her doom. It should come in sent more points by which to test the "night of pleasure," when the the reality of their inspiration; and carousals of the palace and the re- providentially secular history has velry of the watchmen would cover preserved to us ample proofs of their the noise of the tramp of the armed accuracy. Three historians may be host, as it bursts upon the riotous adduced, by whom the story of the multitude from the dried channel of fall of Babylon is with more or less the river's bed. Then should Bel minuteness recorded, while in the bow down and Nebo crouch. Then book of Daniel the Prophet, we have should “all hands be faint, and every vividly described what was passing man's heart melt ;” and the “ golden in the palace of the monarch on that city,” the “ornament of the pride of fatal night. the Chaldees, become the prey of the Herodotus, the father of history, spoiler. It shall come as a destruc- is the first of the secular historians tion from the Almighty.”
who relate the conquest of Babylon Time rolls on, and Nebuchadnezzar by Cyrus. He informs us that the reigns in Babylon. Fifty years are expedition of Cyrus was undertaken yet wanting to complete the tale of against Labynetus, who was the her iniquities when Jeremiah stands king of the Assyrians. After some forth to renew the warning, and to delay, occasioned by the rapid torremind her of the approaching day of • Jeremiah, Ch. li., vs. 30, 31, 37. Hendoom, Again does the seer point derson's Translation.
rent of a tributary to the Tigris It cannot, however, be doubted that which he had to pass, he marched he embodied many of the events of forward against Babylon in the early the life of Cyrus in an authentic spring The Babylonians, form, the knowledge of which he accamped in the open fields, awaited quired when he led the ever memorhis coming; but defeated in battle, able retreat of his ten thousand they withdrew to their defences. Greeks through Persia. The first Secure as they thought behind their step of Cyrus on arriving before lofty walls, and provisioned for many Babylon, Xenophon says, was to years, they hoped to hold out for a
reconnoitre the city. From inforlong time. Their resolve perplexed mation derived from a deserter, as Cyrus. No progress could be made well as from seeing the strength of in reducing the place, so strong were the defences, he was induced to the ramparts, so watchful the de- change the position of his army, and fenders. At length Cyrus thought to determine on reducing the city by upon the plan of diverting the Eu- famine. The idea of diverting the phrates from its bed. This was ac- river from its course then occurred complished. “Hereupon the Persians to him, and he immediately gave who had been left for the purpose at orders for digging trenches, and buildBabylon by the river side, entered ing towers to defend the workmen, the stream, which had now sunk so and which at the same time would as to reach about midway up a man's lead the Babylonians to suppose that thigh, and thus got into the town.” he intended only to blockade
The Babylonians were taken by the city. “But those who were on surprise. The street gates that the walls laughed at this blockade, opened on the river were found open, as being furnished with provisions and the walls unguarded. Owing for more than twenty years.” to the vast size of the place, the in- were still more amused when Cyrus habitants of the central parts (as the ordered his allies, the Phrygians, residents at Babylon declare), long Lydians, Arabians, and Cappadocians, after the outer portions of the town to guard his trenches; for these were taken, knew nothing of what nations were deemed more friendly had chanced; but as they were en- to the besieged than the Persians. gaged in a festival, continued dancing “ The trenches were now dug, and and revelling until they learnt the Cyrus when he heard that there was capture but too certainly.” * How a festival in Babylon, in which all the it fared with the monarch, Herodotus Babylonians drank and revelled the does not say.
whole night, took, during the time of Our next authority is Xenophon. it, a number of men with him, and Herodotus wrote a hundred years as soon as it was dark, opened the after the event; the date of Xeno- trenches on the side towards the phon's work is about fifty years later. river. When this was done, the The book in which this eminent water ran off in the night into the writer records the overthrow of trenches, and the bed of the river Babylon, is usually regarded as a through the city allowed men to walk work of fiction, written to display along it.” the virtues of Cyrus, and to recom- Cyrus now summoned his hosts mend to the Greeks a form of around him and addressed them. He government that Xenophon approved. urged them to enter boldly; they
would find their enemies intoxicated • Rawlinson's Herodotus, i. 188, 191. and asleep; and consternation would
They render the foe defenceless. He Cyrus came out of Persia with a great placed at their head two Babylonian army, and having already conquered all deserters, and the word to march was
the rest of Asia, he came hastily to Baby
lonia. When Nabonnidus perceived he given. "They went forward; of
was coming to attack him, he met him those that met them, some were with his forces, and joining battle with struck down and killed, some fled, him, was beaten, and fled away with a few and some raised a shout. They that of his troops with him, and was shut up were with Gobryas, one of the de- Cyrus took Babylon, and gave order that serters, joined in the shout, as if they the outer walls of the city should be dewere revellers themselves, and march- molished, because the city had proved very ing on the shortest way that they deal of pains to take it. He then marched
troublesome to him, and cost him a great could, arrived at the palace. As a
away to Borsippus, to besiege Nabonnidus; great clamour and noise ensued,
but as Nabonnidus did not sustain the those who were within heard the siege, but delivered himself into his hands, tumult, and as the king ordered them he was at first kindly used by Cyrus, who to see what was the matter, some of gave him Carmania as a place for him to them threw open the gates and
inhabit in, but sent him out of Babylonia.
Nabonnidus spent the rest of his time in rushed out.” The soldiers of Cyrus that country, and there died.”+ burst in, and found the king standing with his sword drawn." The party
If now we turn to the Scripture of Gadatas and Gobryas being nu
account, we find some important merous, mastered him; those who points of correspondence with these
narratives, and also what appear at were with him were killed, one holding up something before him,
first sight to be some very important another fleeing, and another defend
differences. It was on a night of ing himself in whatever way he revelry and feasting that the city
fell. could.” Cyrus then sent his cavalry
It was when the city was throughout the city, subduing and wrapt in fatal security, and the redisarming the inhabitants, and made
vellers “drank wine and praised the arrangements for its future govern- wall, interpreted by Daniel, an
gods,” that the handwriting on the ment. * We now turn to the Jewish his
nounced that the kingdom was about torian, Josephus, who has preserved
to be taken away on the victorious
assault of the Medes and Persians. a very valuable extract from Berosus,
But according to a Babylonian priest. He wrote a
Daniel, the history of the Chaldeans, founded on
name of the reigning king was Belthe archives of his native country. Shazzar, the king of the Chaldeans,
shazzaron " that night was BelHis means of information were therefore of the best kind, and such
slain." In the general circumstances
of this fearful event our authorities as were denied to Herodotus and Xenophon. After relating how cer
agree; but in the last two points the tain conspirators put the crown of disagreement appears striking and
irreconcileable. All niodern writers Babylon on the head of Nabonnidus, he proceeds
affirm that the Labynetus of Hero
dotus and the Nabonnidus of Berosus "In his reign it was that the walls of the city of Babylon were curiously built with
are one and the same person; but by burnt brick and bitumen ; but when he was no etymological craft can either of come to the seventeenth year of his reign, these names be tortured into Bel* Xenophon's Cyropædia, Book vii. ch.
+ Whiston's Josephus, cont. Apion i. 20. 5, Watson's Translation.
: | Daniel chap. v.