« 上一页继续 »
rapidly approaching. So strong is this feeling upon some vigorous and intelligent, not puny and enthusiastic, intellects, that when they take their pen in hand to promulgate their opinions, they proceed currentissimo calamo, lest the events they anticipate should occur before their embryo publication arrive at maturity.
It is not, however, the object of the following compilation, for the writer aims at no higher title, to enter into the discussion of such questions; but it has appeared to him, that a work shewing a clear and succinct consecutive account, of the rise and fall of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, illustrated by such notices as may be found of them in the profane writers and in ancient and modern travellers, was still a desideratum, and might be serviceable to fix a steady belief in divine revelation in the minds of young people; and excite a general interest as to the future prospects of a race, who not only stand in such a relation to the great author of the universe, as no other nation under heaven can lay claim
that every descendant of Abraham in his day is not, nolens volens, a standing witness for Jehovah? “ I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease ; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction."* And what a reproach is it not to Christian princes and Christian bishops, as they call themselves, when even an avowed infidel like Frederick, either from motives of policy, or the restraining providence of God, was induced to bear an unwilling testimony to the truth of divine revelation, which they themselves hesitate not to disregard and despise.
to; but in whose destinies, as we have before remarked, there can be no doubt those of every other nation in the world are more or less involved.
The preceding remarks were written before the Editor had seen or read Mr. A. Keith's work on the Evidences from Prophecy, and his Signs of the Times; and aware as he is how very imperfect his own publication is, and of how much improvement it might be susceptible in the hands of a person of greater learning, and more information and leisure; yet he shall feel satisfied his labour will not be lost, and that he has rendered a sufficient service to the cause of Christ and his holy religion, if he produces no other effect, than introducing the valuable and highly important publications of Mr. Keith to the notice of some, who otherwise might never have heard of them. And if it should please the supreme disposer of all human events, that this new form of tracing the national history of his venerated ancestors, should be the means of attracting but one single Jew to a more serious consideration of the prophecies relating to the character, the miraculous birth, the life, the death, the resurrection, and the glorious ascension of their own and only Messiah, the LORD JESUS Christ; and to a saving acquaintance with the precious doctrines of the Gospel, then the gratification of the Editor will be complete indeed.
LYROM the time that God called Abraham out of Ur,* of
the Chaldees, and said to him, “ I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing : and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed;'”+ it may be considered that the eye and providence of Jehovah were more especially set upon this holy patriarch and his future progeny. The communications with which he and his immediate descendants, Isaac and Jacob, were favoured from time to time by the Angel of the Covenant, establish the existence of this relation to the death of Joseph, when an interval takes place in the Sacred History of probably 120 years, during which, the Holy Spirit does not inform us what were the dealings of God with the Children of Israel.
From the birth of Moses, however, we have a detailed and minute account of the extraordinary proceedings of Jehovah towards the descendants of Abraham, in Egypt, at the Red Sea, in the Wilderness, at Jordan, and in their progress and settlement in the land of Canaan, according to his promise to Abraham, 430 years before, “ Unto thy seed will I give
• The Edessa of the Greeks, and now called Orfan.-Buckingham's
Travels in Mesopotamia, vol. i. 88.
this land," * for 800 years, down to the age of the prophet Samuel; during which period Jehovah himself condescended to rule and direct even the minutest concerns, in the government and religion of this highly favoured race; to appoint over them rulers, judges, and prophets, constituting them, as it were, his own viceroys; to hear their complaints; to redress their grievances; to protect them from their enemies ; and to prepare them for future glory, grandeur, and happiness. Of such a people, well might the Psalmist exclaim“ Happy is that people that is in such a case ; yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.”+
It might have been imagined that the mere selection of an individual nation, and the transaction of such extraordinary events with one peculiar people, and they the fewest of all people, I would of itself form a sufficient and invincible argument to all unbelievers; for well indeed might the Divine Saviour say, “ If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”'S
The two fatal battles of Aphek,ll in the last of which the Israelites lost the Ark of God and 30,000 men, had subjected them to the oppression of the Philistines, who appear to have ruled them with a rod of iron : but God so displayed his power in overthrowing their idols,** that those enemies were soon glad to send back the palladium of Israel's security; and, after twenty years, “Samuel called to Israel to return to the Lord, and put away the strange gods and Ashtoreth+t from among them. Having yielded to this appeal, the prophet assembled them at Mizpeh, evidently with a view to throw off the yoke of Philistia ; but the lords of that nation having collected a great army, the Israelites became fearful, and besought Samuel not to cease to cry unto the Lord for them.
* Gen. xii. 7. xv. 16. + Ps. cxliv. 15. Deut. vij. 7. $ Luke, xvi. 31. || 1 Sam. iv.
I 1 Sam. xiii. 19, 20. Burdēr, 0. C. 293. ** | Sam. v. ++ A goddess of the Zidonians, 1 Kings, xi. 33. She was the same as Astarte or Astronoe, called by the Phænicians, the mother of the gods-compounded from As-Tora, the Heifer of the Sun; or * 1 Sam. vii. 13, 14. + Deut. xvii. 14.
The prophet accordingly offered up a sucking lamb, and cried unto the Lord for Israel, and he heard him ; for the Philistines having drawn near to attack the Israelites whilst Samuel was performing the sacrifice, the Lord thundered at the Philistines, and discomfited them, and they were smitten before Israel; whereupon Samuel set up a stone between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, “ Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”
“So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel : and the band of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to them, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coast thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites."*
Insensible, however, to the high advantages and inestimable privileges with which they had so long been favoured, the Israelites grew tired of that very distinction from other nations, which they ought to have esteemed their highest honour; and even all the elders of Israel called upon Samuel, as Moses had prophesied, † to make them a king, to
As-Tora-Noe, the Heifer of Noah of the Sun. This etymology will perfectly accord with the Narrative of Sanchoniatho, who teaches us, that Astarte was represented with the horns of a bull. The Phænician mother of the gods was merely the No-etic Ark, represented in the person of Astarte, under its usual emblem, the Heifer ; while her lover, Esculapius, was the Solar Noah.–Faber. MysT. CABIR. Vol. I. 103.