« AnteriorContinuar »
whom they had pierced ; that a bone of him should not be broken; these and many other incidents did the prophets foretell which severally and truly happened.
The Redeemer was crucified in company with two malefactors ; the soldier pierced his side with a spear; and the Jews, after looking upon him some time, and debating whether they should do to him as they had donc to the criminals whose legs they had broken, decided against it, and the sacred frame in an extraordinary manner was spared further insult. . .
Or, to put forth another supposition. What man of our own or any other nation is equal to the predicting the exact era in which this, or any other kingdom, shall fall to ruin and decay ? Or to the declaring by what foreign nation it shall be overthrown; its chief cities destroyed; the inhabitants made captives, and carried away to a particular spot? As well as under what king (mentioning him by name) the conquest is to be made ? The prophets did as much, with regard to their own nation, even describing a conqueror by the name of Cyrus, and foretelling a multitude of events, all of which fell out in the course of time with wonderful exactness and tremendous reality.
This divine spirit of prophecy was, then, a peculiar gift of God. A spirit which the writers of the Bible
same power which called it out of dust into life, to submit with gentleness and docility; and neither the adoration and extacies of the vast multitude, which burst forth in hosannas and praises to their Saviour, nor the spreading of branches of trees orer the road, produced any alarm.
all possessed, and which enabled them, whether they looked back upon history and penned accounts of the past, or whether they looked forward and registered events to come, to speak boldly, decidedly and nobly; fearing no man; anxious for the favour of none; seeking only truth, and speaking it unambitious of fame. In their books they continually appeal to God; and in the sincerity of their devotion, and the fervour of their inspiration, their appeal is thrown into language so forcible and sublime, with an eloquence, by turns sọ majestic and so affecting, as no uninspired writer ever attained to, of the whole pagan or christian world.
But of these relations and predictions the striking truth is their grand feature, for every tittle of their declarations was fulfilled. We may judge, then, of the invaluable testimony of Moses and others, who related only the past. And, what pleasure must we not have, in finding any corroborating passages in profane writers, which by the glimmering light of tradition, or in the broad day of actual observation, were traced, and now remain the venerable mirrors of antiquity, and the sole pagan guides we possess through every known region of the habitable world.
" BUT WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM; FOR
HE THAT COMETH TO GOD MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS, AND THAT HE IS A REWARDER OF THEM THAT DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM.”
- But let us, for an instant, consider a few of these évents mentioned in the Bible, and described with more or less exactness by profane writers, who for the most part neither knew nor had even heard of that sacred volume.
To begin with that of the deluge: Moses says, that men becoming corrupt and wicked, God destroyed every person by a flood, except the family of Noah, whom he instructed to make an ark, and to enter it with the male and female of every animal.
This same event has been variously represented by many heathen historians. Diodorus Siculus, the Greek historian, expressly says, that in the deluge which happened in the time of Deucalion (the name by which no other than Noah can be meant) almost all flesh died. .
Apollodorus mentions Deucalion being consigned to an ark, near which, upon his quitting it, he offers up a sacrifice to the God who delivered him.
Apollonius Rhodius, in describing this same Deucalion as saved from the deluge, makes him however a native of Greece.
Philo assures us, that the Grecians call the person Deucalion; but the Chaldeans style him Noe, in whose time there happened the great eruption of waters.*
But Lucian gives a most particular account of the deluge. He says, that the present race of mankind are different from those who first existed : for those of the antediluvian world were all swept away; that they were all lawless, and men of violence, and were all destroyed by a flood. That Deucalion and his family only were spared to repeople the world ; that he was sared in an ark, which he, and his sons, and their wives entered, along with every animal by pairs ; that, by the influence of the Deity, harmony was preserved in this ark throughout, between the men and animals, all being wafted together as long as the flood lasted ; that upon the disappearing of the waters, Deucalion went forth from the ark and raised an altar to God.
The next great events recorded in scripture, for which we may find parallels in profane writings, are the building of the Tower of Babel, and the founding of the first empire under Nimrod.
On the first point, the scripture begins by saying, that the whole earth was of one language and of one speech ; and as the sons or descendants of Noah were travelling from the east, they came to a plain, on which they dwelt for a time. And, of a sudden, they counselled one another to make bricks and mortar to build them a city and a tower, giving two reasons for
* See Chambers.
th etwo resolves ; first, that they might be famed in aftertimes for being the founders of the city ; secondly, that in raising a prodigiously high tower, they might have a place of refuge in case of another deluge. But the Almighty was displeased with their wicked expectations of baffling his power, and of resisting his decrees; he therefore struck them with the punishment of being obliged to speak in various languages, and to forget their own. In consequence of the confusion which arose, the work was left unfinished. The scripture does not so much as hint that the buildings were thrown down. On this spot, no very great while afterwards, we presume, we find in scripture that Nimrod, the mighty hunter, founded or finished the city of Babel, or Babylon, the beginning of his kingdom.
Now the profane writers variously speak of this city, and even mention the famous tower.
Callisthenes, a Greek philosopher, writers to Aris. totle, another philosopher, that the Babylonians then reckoned themselves to be at least 1,903 years standing, which makes their origin reach back to 115 years after the deluge.
To Nimrod the heathens give the title of Belus, or Saal, this word signifying Lord. He, having been a great conqueror and mighty man, was remembered and worshipped among those who knew of no true God. Some, says Quintius Curtius, the Roman, ascribe the founding of Babylon to Semiramis ; the rest to Belus.
Now the son of Nimrod was called Ninus ; and when Nimrod had conquered the land of Assur, who was a