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it happened, or before that Prince was born,) with as much Exactness, as if that Prophet had himself been an Eye-Witness thereto: The Almighty foreknowing, at such a Distance of Timè, and indeed from all Eternity, the excessive Wickedness of that great City, with the Impiery and Tyranny of her Princes in general, heightened to the last degree by that of this Monarch, had not only sealed, but declared, her fearful Doom so long beforehand, with almost as much Clearners, as if it were a Narrative of somewhat actually already passed.
Nevertheless, it must be acknowledgrd, there is somewhat to be said, for the otherwise unaccounta. ble Security of the Inhabitants of Babylon, and their Monarch, when besieged by a powerful Army, and just upon the Brink of Destruction ; as the incredible Height and Thickness of their Walls, not to be Thaken, nor scaled, by any Engines or Machines then in use ; and it is even a Question, whether they could have been battered down by the largett Cannon now made. As it had nothing to fear from open Force, it had almost as little to apprehend from Famine; being stored with a Sufficiency, and even Plenty of all Manner of Provision, and Weapons for War, notwithstanding the infinite Nuai. ber of its inhabitants, for full Twenty Years : And this evidently appears, from the continual Practice of Bellbazzar, in indulging himself in Featting, and Drunkenness; which, impious as he was, it is not to be supposed he would have dared to do, had there been a Scarcity, for fear of a Mutiny A third Circumstance, which contributed grea:ly to the Strength of Babylon, and to the Befieged's ima. gining themselves in absolute Safety, was, its be. ing situated on the Banks of the Euphrates, a large and deep River. To ail shefe Advantages, if we add, that the Gates of the City were of fuid Brass, and of an immense Thickness, and also that it cuna
rained probably two Millions, undoubtedly above Fifteen Hundred Thousand Inhabitants, we shall have no great Room to wonder, presumptuous as most Men naturally are, that they apprehended no Darger, and derided all the empty Efforts, as they thought them, of the Besiegers.
But, to thew how much in vain, or useless, either Fortifications, Numbers, Plenty, Rivers, or any other additional Securities, which the Wit and Fore. sight of Man can invent, contrive, or have recourse to, are, when the Almighty fights against a People : Firf, The River whereon the Babylonians rely fo much, shall no longer be a Safeguard to them ; Cyrus, by an unparalleled Stratagem, whereof there never was any Example in History, before or since, Thall find the Means ro drain it quite dry, so that his Army hall advance along the very Channel, and enter the City at each End, just where the River used to pass : Bur even this is not sufficient ; the solid brazen Gaces, which shut up all the Descents, from the Keys to the Euphrates, and are not to be forced by any Human Art, are of themselves suf. ficient to render the whole Enterprize abortive. Well then, to remove this Obstacle, Cyrus Thall make his Attack on a Night of general Riot and Revelling; and the Inhabitants and Garrison, thos be fieged, shall be so unaccount bly and inexcusably negligent and forgetful, to leave them open. Well, but the Success may still be very dubious, if the Garrison are at all upon their Guard, and take the Alarm in any reasonable Time, before too many of the Enemy's Army are entered, and before they are advanced too far; why then they shall advance on each side along the Channel, till they join each other in the very Heart of the City, before they meer with any Opposition : All these Circumstances are particularly takeo-Notice of, and related with great Perspicuity by the Prophet Isaiah.. it
To return to the miserable Belpazzar: We have already observed, that he used to pass his Time al molt continually in Feasting, Revelling, and all Manner of Debauchery ; but, upon tome Account more than ordinary, at a certain Seacon of the Year, there was one particular Day, when the whole City were accustomed to give themselves up to Mirth, Jollity, and Rioting, and to spend the whole Night therein : Not to be behind hand, therefore, with his dissolute Subjects, on this solemn Occasion, Belbazzar himself made a sumptuous and Splendid Entertainment for no less than a thousand of his Nobles, as we are particularly informed by the Prophet Daniel; and being a little elevated with the Wine, as may probably be suppofed, which, added to his natural Pride and Insoience, being alro willing, at this jovial Season, to carry his Excess to a greater Height, and make a farther Oftentation of his Grandeur, chan he had ever yet pre umed to do, he ordered the Gold and Silver Vessels, which his Grandfacher Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the Temple at Jerufalem, and which had been set apart for, and devored to the Service of the Living God, to be brought before him, that himself, his Wives, and Concubines, together with his Nobles, might drink out of them, which was accordingly done.
This of itself was a gross Infult, and facrilegious Profanation of cho'e holy Utensils; and whar Mobile chadnezzer himseit, with all his Hsughtine's and Arrogance, had never dared to attemps. But, 1100 content with this, as if this was not enough, and resolving to add Outrage arid Affrone to Insur, whilft they were thus prophaning those sacred Vera sels, and thereby dishonouring the Most High, to whose Service they were consecrated, they icok that very Opportunity to praise their Gods of Gold, Silver, Brais, Iron, Wood, and Srone ; as if
they meant thereby, as undoubledly they did, to extol those Idols above the Living Lord of Heaven and Earth ; and to triumph over him themselves, by revellir g, as it were, in his Spoils; as thinking him not able to hurt them, or make them any Way Sensille of his Resentment.
Bur, so their inexpressible Contusion and Terror, the Almighty soon let them know, and that at the Expence of a Miracle, he had not only fufficient Power, bu Will also, to punish such notorious Of. fenders against his Mercy and Long-Sufferance, and that his long-delayed Judgments, were just about to break upon their guilty Heads. In the fame Hour, says the inspired Writer, came forth Fingers of a Man's Hand, and wrot: over against the Candlitick, upon the Plaisfer of the Wall of the King's Palace; and ibe King faw the Part of the H nd that wrote.
Je may well be imagined, as hardened in Wick. edness as Bolhazzar seems to have been, neither be ncr his Lords could behold fo dreadful a Sighi, without being prodigiously terrified ; accordingly we find, thar loitant, all his impious Haughiiners, Infolence, and high Looks, forlook him; insomuch Thar, as we are informed by Daniel, who was seno for to explain the Writing, and to see if he could administer any Comfori on so shocking an Occa. fion; Then the King's Countenance was changed, and bis Thoughts troubled him, fo that the Joints of bis Loins were looked, and his Knees Jmote one against another.
Nor does Daniel, who was an Eye.Witness there. of, defcribe the Confternation and Horror of this abominable Prince in plainer Terms, than the Prophet I/ajah paines chemin, lo many Hundred Years beforeibis dreadful Incident came to pass. Therefore are my Loins filled with Pain; Pangs have taken bold of me, as the Pangs of a Woman that travel
leth: I was bowed down at ibe hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it. My Heart panted ; Fear. fulness afrighted me ; the Night of my Pleasure hath be turned into Fear unto me Chap. xxi. 3,4. Wich what amazing Perfpicuity is every Circumstance here foretold, by chis divinely jiluminated Writer, at such a Diltance of Time beforehand! What a Pizure qf the most complea: Woes, and the most consumo mate Misery, is here exhibited, in the Person of one of the most haughty Tyrants, and most powerful Princes of Antiquity !
Consider this, se purple Homicides, se Million Mura derers, who now infert the Earth, and set the Wold in Flames for your own private and finifter Views, and tremble : You may here find, the a' l-seeing Eye of Heaven, is upon all your Ways, whin you lirile think of it; and can never have any tolerable Afurance you are not upon the Briok of Ruin and ere.na Mily, bur when, after a serious Revie vi of your puft Actions, our own Conscience pronoun. ces you blameless, and you meet nothing therein wherewith to reproach yourself.
The impious Belhazzar himself, before the Hand-writing upon the Wall, was in the Height of his Mirch and Jollity; and thought himself, uns doubredly, as fecure froin any i npendi'g Harm, is che greatelt of you can do, in the inmoit Revelles of your Palaces; nay, even after the Exploration of it, as ominous as it was to him, and as expresy as the Tranflation of his Kingdoin to the Enemy, then besieging his Capital, was foretold, yet as the precise Time when this Calamity was to befal him, was not named, neither any Mension made of his being to be niin, his fiatcering Courriers found the Means to dislipa:e those gloomy Terrors, with which this shocking Denucciarion of God's Vengeance, had filled him; insomuch that he was induced 10