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struction: and he declares, that in such a cause even the weak shall think themselves strong. Yet, when the nations are roused, when they have assembled themselves together in the valley of judgment, in the valley of the cursing of Megiddo; then will the Lord sit as a judge in the day of his great controversy with the Gentiles. The harvest of the rank vine of the Roman earth is now fully ripe : and the Almighty Word of God begins to tread the winepress of Bozrah, and to sprinkle his garments with the blood of Edom *. The sun and the moon of the Latin firmainent shall then be darkened t, and the
. * The vintage, here spoken of, is the great vintage of Armageddon under the lust vial. Compare Isaiah lxii, 1–6. and Rev. xiv. 17-20. xix. 15. This studied uniformity of me. taphor, for I can consider it in no other light, affords an argument to prove, that we ought to refer the prophecy of Joel to the second advent, and not to the period which Chandler imagines.
† I understand by this imagery the final overthrow of Antichrist. It may perhaps be said, that, while I shortly after object to Chandler because he affixes such various meanings to the phrase of the great day of the Lord as used by Joel, I myself apply differently the signs in the political keurens as mentioned in this passage and in the two preceding passages. My answer, is, that I am expressly warranted by the prophet himself in making such a distinction. The signs in the heavens, predicted in Joel ii. 10 and 30, 31, are occasioned by the locust-army and precede the great day of the Lord: whereas those, predicted in Joel iii. 15, are, in the day of the Lord; and the total oterthrow of the Antichristian confederacy, or the utter destruction of the Roman beust in his last form (Dan. vii. 11.), is the subject of stars shall withdraw their shining. The long-lived Roman beast shall be slain, and his false prophet shall be brought to utter destruction. For the Lord shall roar out of Zion, and shall be the hope of his people Israel. Jerusalem shall be holy, and shall no more be trampled under foot by strangers: the mountains shall drop down with new wine : and the waters of life, the healing streams of the Gospel, shall come forth out of the house of the Lord. · The learned Chandler * seems to me very greatly to have mistaken the drift of this prophecy of Joel. The nation spoken of in the first, and afterwards described at large in the second chapter, is undoubtedly a nation of locusts : no one, I apprehend, will be inclined to deny so plain a matter. But the question is, whether they be natural, or symbolical, locusts. Chandler resolutely maintains the first of these positions, and labours fruitlessly (I think) to remove the difficulties with which it is
them. Christ predicts in a similar manner, that his advent should be preceded, and as it were ushered in, by signs in the sun and moon (See Matt. xxiv, 29, 30, 33. Mark xiii. 24, 25, 26, 29. and Luke xxi. 25, 26, 27, 28, 31.): unless indeed we are bound to refer these different transcripts of the same prophecy to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans erclusively. I have never yet met with an exposition of our Lord's prophecy, that gave me entire satisfaction.
* To save the trouble of endless particular references, I beg, to refer the reader in general to Chandler's Comment, on Joel, and the annexed Dissertation.
clogged. If ever Judèa, in the days of her monarchy, had been visited by such a plague of locusts as that described by the prophet, a plague in no respects inferior to that with which Egypt was once visited, we might reasonably expect to find it mentioned in the historical part of Scripture. But nothing, that bears any resemblance to it, can there be discovered. Chandler indeed quotes R. Kimchi, as producing a Jewish tradition, that during four `out of the seven years of famine predicted by Elisha * there were four species of locusts, and that during the other three there was a great want of rain. The sacred text itself however gives not the least countenance to this mere Rabbinical gloss; and, even if it did, Chandler would have put it out of his power to avail himself of it by fixing the age of Joel in the reign of Ahaz, whereas Elisha's famine occurred in the days of Jehoram the son of Ahab considerably more than a century earlier. Accordingly he does not attempt to produce any account of these locusts from the scriptural history t.
But this difficulty is by no means the only one. Joel declares, that the army of locusts shall cause
* 2 Kings vijj. 1.
+ Bochart, who like Chandler understands the locusts literally, exerts all his ingenuity to parry the force of this argument, which had been strenuously urged by St. Jerome; but, I think, with very little success. Sec Hieroz. Pars 1. L. iv. C. 5. p. 482.
the heavens to quake, and the earth to tremble; that the sun and the moon shall be dark before them; and that the stars shall withdraw their shining *. These magnificent images, as it is well known, denote in the prophetic language great wars and revolutions, wherein established governments are either overthrown, or at least shaken to their very centre. Some great political commotion therefore must have taken place in consequence of the ra. vages of these locusts. Now, although a brief history might be silent respecting a mere plague of locusts; yet, if that plague occasioned a révolution in the government, it is incredible that the very shortest history should then have preserved a profound silence. Where then do we find any such circumstance mentioned in the sacred history ? To get quit of this difficulty Chandler maintains, that the expressions in question are to be understood literally. He tells us, that the earth really appears to tremble through the continual motion of a swarm of locusts; or at least that it may be fairly said to tremble through the excessive fear of its inhabitants: that the heavens shake, because the locusts obscure the very light of them: that the sun is turned into darkness, because they ordinarily fly. in the day time, and that in such numbers as to darken even the sun himself: and that the moon and the stars withdraw their shining, because they
may be supposed in warm eastern countries sometimes to shift their place by night.
Here an objector would naturally urge, that much the same imagery is twice elsewhere used by Joel * : are we then to conclude, that he is there likewise to be understood literally? for, to make him consistent with himself, we must, in all the three parallel passages, understand him either literally throughout, or figuratively throughout.
For this objection Chandler is prepared; and tells us, that the fire and pillars of smoke, mentioned in the 30th rerse of the 2d chapter, mean only the fire and smoke that proceed from burning towns and villages; and that the smoke, as it ascends, darkens the sun, and gives the moon a red and bloody appearance. He acknowledges indeed the propriety of Sir Isaac Newton's remark, that the darkening the sun, and the turning the moon into blood, denote, the ceasing or desolation of a · kingdom : but adds, that it is evident from the
10th verse of the 2d chapter, that it does not al. ways denote this; and thence infers, that neither does it in the 31st verse. Thus does he attempt to decide the sense of one disputed passage, by referring us to another which is no less disputed. The third passage, contained in the 15th verse of. the 3d chapter, he treats in the same manner; and refers us, for an authority, to what he had said on
*Joel ij. 30, 31. and iii. 15.