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judicial blindness, under which we behold them suffering, constitutes an irresistible evidence of the truth of Christianity.
The whole of this series of prophecies, in- , deed, as to the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews, is so broad and unambiguous in its main features, so numerous and distinct in its details, so minute in many of its parts, combines events so utterly improbable when it was delivered, is so defined as to the time of its accomplishment, was fulfilled by persons so unlikely to concur in such transactions, is connected with so many events now fulfilling in the world, looked back to so many prophecies of the Old Testament, and looked forward to so many ages of modern history, during which it has continued to receive its accomplishment and is so incontestably confirmed by the very attempts made to defeat it, and especially by the mysterious, and, except on the hypothesis of the truth of the scriptures, the unaccountable state of the Jews before our eyes in the present day-as to constitute altogether an evidence which has never failed to overwhelm with conviction the mind of every sincere and candid enquirer; it raises the argument in favour of Christianity to the highest point of moral demonstration. It can be explained
away by no fortuitous circumstances, it admits of no evasion, it stands forth a palpable, bold, unequivocal monument of the divine prescience of our Lord, and of the truth of the Christian religion.
It is for this reason that I have dwelt the longer upon this first branch of the fulfilment of prophecy. Our remaining points must be considered with greater brevity; for we still have other points of high importance to produce. The scheme of scriptural prophecy extends, as we observed, over the whole surface of the history of the Jewish and Christian church, and the nations connected with them. But I shall confine myself to the accomplishment of it in those events which remain still open to the inspection of mankind. I omit, therefore, all that mass of prophecy which was delivered by the patriarchs. I omit the immense number of predictions in the times of the Judges and Kings of Israel. I pass by those varied and numerous prescient descriptions of the nations adjoining the Jewish; and many relating to that extraordinary people themselves.
I proceed, therefore, to select,
II. The accomplishment of prophecies relating to VARIOUS CITIES, NATIONS, AND ENPIRES OF THE WORLD, as connected with the designs of God in the development of the great work of redemption, and now submitted to the examination of mankind.
1. I speak first of cities. I will not dwell on the prophecies relating to Nineveh and Tyre. It is sufficient for me to ask, where is their former grandeur, power, riches? I ask, who it was that declared that an utter end should be made of Nineveh, that exceeding great city of three day's journey? I ask, who said of Tyre, once the most celebrated of the cities of Phænicia, and the ancient emporium of the world—of whose colonies Carthage, the rival of Rome, was one; whose merchants were princes, and her traffickers the honourable of the earth; which sat as a queen in the midst of the seasI ask, who it was that said of her, I will lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the waters—I will make her like the top of a rock-it shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea ? I ask, who it is that has accomplished these denunciations with an exactness so unerring, that the very site of Nineveh is unknown; while that of Tyre just preserves the marks imprinted on her by the prophetic word. She is “ a rock, whereon fishers dry their nets.”? “ The whole village
7 The very words of Bruce.
. of Tyre contains now only fifty or sixty poor
families," says a modern traveller, afterwards a leader of the French infidelity, “ who live obscurely on the produce of their little ground, and a trifling fishery—their houses are wretched huts, ready to crumble into ruins.”8
I pass on to Babylon. Of its glory, of its walls and hanging gardens, of its palace and temple of Belus, of its lakes and embankments, I will not speak. But I will ask, who predicted by name, more than a century and a half before his birth, Cyrus, the conqueror of this haughty city, the deliverer of the Jews, and the monarch that issued the decree for rebuilding the temple ? I ask, who foretold the very plan which he adopted for effecting his purpose? Who spake of the two barred gates, and the gates of brass not being shut; of the drying up of the river; of the might of the defenders failing them ; of the posts running one to meet another to show the king of Babylon that his city was taken at one end; of the heat of the feasts and the drunken, and their perpetual sleep? Let history tell. Let the same profane historians, who record her riches and her glory, relate the account of her subjugation. The divine books condescend neither to the one nor the other.
It is not there I can learn the particulars either of her greatness or of her fall. But the prophetic word gives me the key to the profane history, and furnishes me with an unanswerable proof of the fulfilment of its denunciations. It does more. It tells me that the same events which fulfilled the sacred predictions, served also to punish the pride and impiety of the monarch of Babylon, in bringing out the sacred vessels of gold and silver for the purpose of insulting the majesty of the God of heaven. It tells me that the very night of Belshazzar's impious feast was the instant of his fall. It points out to me, not only an omniscient God fulfilling his word; but a sovereign Judge vindicating his righteousness. It does more. It tells me that these same events provided for the fulfilment of the prophecies respecting the termination of the seventy years captivity of his people, and gave a pledge of that greater redemption from spiritual bondage, and that greater overthrow of the mystical Babylon, which belong to the New Testament history.
But the prophecy stops not here. The scriptures foretell its perpetual desolation—that the Arabian should not pitch his tent there; but that the wild beasts should dwell there; and the houses be filled with doleful creatures, and the owls, and the satyrs dance there; that it should be made