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appear with one Shield before it; but fhould be turned back the same way he came, and thould fall by the Sword in his own Country.
Accordingly, all this foon came to pass, as the due Reward of that impious Prince's Blasphemy against the Almighty, and his open and manifeft Breach of the First Commandmeni, in exalting himself above God, and declaring he should not deliver Ferufalem out of his Hands. For, first, News was brought him, that the King of Ethiopia had denounced War against him, and was marching to attack him ; Secondly, chat very Night, the Lord sent the destroying Angel into his Camp, who flew one Hundred and Eighty five Thousand of his Men, which obliged him to return with Shame and Confufion of face to Nineveh; and, Thirdly, as he was there worshipping in the Temple of his false God, Nifroch, he was there perfidiously and cruelly Dain, in the very Act of Idolatry, by his two unnatural, Sons, Adramelech and Sharezer.
Now, what was very remarkable in this Instance, is, that this Tyrant might read the Enormity of his Sin, in his Punishment; he had rebelled against, and set at defiance his Heavenly Father, and God permits Satan to fir up his wicked Sons to rebel against, defy, and murder him ; he was so far from having none other than the true God,that he would not so much as allow him to be a God, but exalced himself above him ; and the Lord immediarely shews himself to be an avenging God, and his Malter, by cutting off almost his whole Army in one Night, rendering abortive all his haughty Di figns, and forcing him to return with Shame into his own Country; then, after this severe Judgment which might have convinced him he was the only True God, instead of humbling himself under his mighty Hand, acknowledging his Offence, and imploring his Pardon,
he immediarely has recourse to worshipping his own false God, and is flain in the very AA ; that is, in the very Violation of the Firft Command.
The next Example we hall cite, upon this Head, which is likewise very remarkable, is that of that mighty Monarch Nebuchadnezzar. This haughty and impious Prince, having over-son Egypt, reduced Tyre, subdued the Kingdoms of Israel and use dah, deitroyed Jerufalem, and conquered all before him, being puffed up with his Greatnes, cook it into his Head, to command at' his Subjects, of whar. ever Religion, Nation, and Language, to worship a goldea Image, which he caused to be erected in a large Plain, in the Province of Babylon ; and the Pena'ty of Disobedience, to this Command, was no less than being cait into a burniog fiery Furnace.
Now, this very Command was the groffest Dir. ebedience that possibly could be ; and a downright setting a ide of the first divine Mandate ; but, asif this was not Infult enough, when Shadracb, Meshacb, and
Abedinego, three captive Jews, who had been brought away from Jerufalem, peremprorily refused to obey this impious Law as being directly contradi&tory to the First Commandment, he ordered them, without any Pity, to be thrown into the beforementioned Furnace; haying first insolently asked them, Who is that God, that fall deliver you out of my Hands? And though the LIVING God, whom they served, foon Thewed him he was able to work their Deliverance, by preserving them unhurt in the Midst of the Flames, yet was his Guilt and Offence not a Jot the less.
However, the LORD, in his iofinite Mercy, did not think fit to take immediate Vengeance on him ; but allowed him fome Respite, in order to see if he would amend ; nay, so very gracious was God to
this haughty Prince, as he had made him his Inftrument, to execute his Judgments upon Tyre, J udah, and Egypt, that before he would punish him, fir his impious Pride, he gave him fair Warning thereof by a Dream, which the Prophet Daniel interpreted unto him, and even allowed him Time for Repentance.
But this powerful Monarch being quite intoxicated with his own Greatness, and forgetful of that God who had raised him so high, as he was walking in his sumptuous Palace, and contemplating the Magnificence thereof, with that prodigious Work, the Hanging Gardens, fo famous, and to highly ce. lebrated amongst the Antients, and as he was taking a View, at the same Time, of the astonishing Grandeur of his Capital, the mighty Babylon, could not forbear crying out, in Raptures at his own Performances, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the House of the Kingdom, by the Might of my powb er, and for the Honour of my Majesty!
Thus ascribing every Thing to himself, and rob. bing God of his Glory, he was guilty of a manifest Breach of the First Commandment; as well as the highest Ingratitude, for the extraordinary Blessings he had received at his Hands: No sooner, therefore, were the Words out of his Mouth, than this dreadful Sentence was pronounced against him, by a Voice from Heaven: o King Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken, The Kingdom is departed from thee. And immediately the so-long-delayed Punishment, of his Pride and impiety, was executed upon him.
What was very remarkable therein, was, that it was exiály proportionable and conformable to his Offence; as he had aimed, whilst in Power, at exalting himself, and being honoured above the Degree of the greatest of Men, so he was now le
velled and degraded below that of the meanest ; as he had seemed, by the absolute Obedience he exacted to his Commands, however unreasonable, not to think the rest of Mankind of the fame Species with himself, so now the rest of Mankind would not treat him as of the fame Species with themselves ; as he had no more Regard or Compaffion for them, if they any ways offended him, than for brüte Beasts, so now was he driven from the So. ciety of Mankind, and forced to herd with the Beasts of the Field.
And this terrible Penance was he to undergo, for the whole Space of seven Years ; deprived of Reason ; deprived in a manner of Human Shape ; his Hairs being grown like Eagles Feathers, and his Nails like Birds Claws; being reduced besides to eat Grass like the Oxen, and having not the least Shelter from the Inclemency of the Weather, but being at all Times exposed to the Rain and Dew of Heaven. Such was the Punishment of the impious Pride of that once great Prince! Can the Heart of Man conceive one more terrible, on this Side the Grave, or a more consummate Misery !
After such an Example made of so mighty a Monarch, would one think it was possible, another Prince of the fame Family Should so far forget it, as to become himself guilty of the same heinous of. fence! And yet we find Belshazzar, one of his Defcendants, and most probably his Grandíon, it not his immediate Succcffor, and his son, as he is stiled by the Prophet Daniel, not only utterly unmindful thereof, but even exceeding him in Impiety, and that very heinous Sin, for which his mighty Ancestor and Parent had fuffired so excessive and severe a Humiliation. As this was a considerable Aggravation of his Offence, and as the Ways of God are always equal, it was not to be expected, that he should escape
the Divine Vengeance, any more than his Grandfather; on the contrary, it is greatly to be feared, as there is no Mention made of his Repentance, that his Punishment far exceeded that of his illurtrious Predecessor ; who has left behind him upon Record, in Holy Writ, a memorable Proof of his Penitence, and Acknowledgment of the Sovereign. ty, Power, Truth, and Justice of the Most High; but of that more in the Sequel.
The unhappy Belsazzar, then, who was by no means a Prince of the fame Capacity and Abiliries as Nebuchadnezzar, instead of applying himself diligently and steadily to the governing and deo fending his People, (which was the more needful, as the famous Babylon itself, that so much celebrated Capital of his Kingdom, was then straitly befieged, by a formidable Army of Medes and Persians, under the joint Command of Cyaxares, called in Scripture Dariuş the Mede, and of Cyrus the Great,) spent most of his Time, it not all, in Revelling and Debau. chery. This Course of Life, though exceeding finful and fcandalous at any Juncture, and even in a profound Peace, was much more fo on this Occasion; and was a Proof of downsight Stupidity, and even Infatuation.
In effect, it really was fo; and was of God him. self ; who had long before pur posed to destroy Babylon, for her inhuman Barbarity and Cruel:y io his People, the Jews; and for her insupportable Pride, which was exceedingly aggravated at this Time, by the sacrilegious Impiery of her Monarch, which undoub:edly filled up the Measure of her Iniquity, and called for instant Devallation and Subversion. ; This evidently appears, because all the Particulars, that happened at that famous Siege, had been plainly foretold by the Prophet Ifaiab, and even Cyrus named, (and that about Three Hundred Years beiore