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the waters of the river ran into them, and the channel of the Euphrates was quickly emptied, and a passage made for Cyrus and his soldiers, who imme. diately marched to the gates of the city, which were open; for the persons who had charge of the gates, in the excess of their drunkenness, had forgotten to shut them the preceding evening. When the guards saw the approach of their enemies, they strove to defend themselves, but were killed on the spot; the palace gates were of course opened to know the cause of the noise, when the Persian troops rushed in with drawn swords, and put the impious Belshazzar and his sacrilegious company instantly to death. From this signal night Babylon began to totter to its fall. Thus it passed from the Assyrians to the Persians, and after that to the Macedonians, who severally assisted in its destruction; at last it was turned into a park, in which the kings of Persia hunted, even while Joram lived, and soon after it was scarcely used for this purpose, on account of venomous creatures
that lodged in holes, which they made in the rubbish. Hence, it was dangerous for people to approach nearer to it than balf a league; in short, the prophecy of Isaiah,
relative to this devoted city, was, to all intents and purposes, literally fulfilled, viz.
And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation ; neither shall the Arabian pitch his tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there : But wild beasts of the desart shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the island shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces : and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.
The destruction of Jerusalem, is of itself an absolutely irresistible proof, that God will not let the most favoured nation pass on without punishment, when impenitent and rebellious. It is well known that the Jews were the most prosperous people on earth, and the most highly distinguished and honour, ed of God. Yet alas! they repeatedly rebelled against him, and he as repeatedly punished them for the same. Till, to complete their wickedness and ingratitude, they crucified bim who came to them to be their glory, and the light of the Gentiles, and thus filled up the measure of their iniquity. Next to Babylon, Jerusalem may be considered to have been a prodigy for strength and grandeur. It was built upon two mounlains, and surrounded by three prodi. gious walls, which were fortified by one hundred and seventy-four towers of peculiar strength and excellent architecture; all of which were built of white marble. Still more elegant and splendid was the royal palace; its apartments, porticoes, pillars, galleries, aqueducts, fountains, gardens, groves, and in short its singular and majestic scenery, both inside and outside, beggars description.
But the temple out-shone them all, and was the most superb fabric ever constructed by mortals.-The circuit of the building was four furlongs, and one hundred cubits high, and was sustained by one hundred and sixty pillars of the most beautiful marble, adorned with solid plates of gold. At a distance this amazing fabric appeared like a mountain of marble, supported on pillars of snow, and sprinkled with blazing suns, for the plates of gold were scarcely less dazzling; and the richness and splendour of its interior far exceeded even its outward magnificence. Well might the disciples remark to Christ, “ How it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts.” Yet, notwithstanding the elegance and strength of this sacred. temple, it was, according to our dear Lord's prediction, levelled with the ground, consumed by fire, and not even one stone of it was left upon another. And what was this for? Undoubtedly for the wickedness of the people, and for an example to future generations. And this one instance of the severity of
God to hardened sinners, if there was no other, will demonstrate that the great and just God of heaven and earth will not be trifled with by poor, petulant and perishing mortals. If our limits would permit us to give a copious description of the direful calamities which befell the Jews, with their unparalleled degradation, every intelligent reader would be constrained to acknowledge the force of the preceding remark. But we are necessitated to be exceedingly brief in the discussion of the subject. Our blessed Lord predicted that the Israelites in general, and the people of Jerusalem in particular, should, for their wickedness and obduracy, “ Fall by the edge
of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations, and that Jerusalem should be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the time of the Gentiles should come.” And the prediction was literally fulfilled. It is well known that the Jews were subjugated by the Roman army under Pompey, about sixty years before the birth of Christ; and from time to time manifested a refractory