« AnteriorContinuar »
teriin, getting all his forces together, he posted one part of them at the place where the river ran into the city, and the other where it came out, with orders to enter the city that night by the channel of the river, as soon as they should find it fordable. And then, towards the evening, he opened the head of the trenches on both sides the river, above the city, to let the water of it run into them. And by this means, and the opening of the great dam, the river was so drained that by the middle of the night it being then in a manner empty, both parties, according to their orders, entered the channel ; and finding the gates leading down to the river, which used on all other nights to be shut, then all left open, through the neglect and disorder of that time of rioting, they ascended through them into the city ; and both parties being met at the palace, as had been concerted between them, they there surprised the guards, and slew them all. And when, on the noise, some that were within opened the gates to know what it meant, they rushed in upon them and took the palace ; where, finding the king with his sword drawn, at the head of those who were at hand to assist him, they slew him valiantly fighting for his life, and all those that were with him. After this, proclamation being made of life and safety to all such as should bring in their arms, and of death to all that should refuse so to do, all quietly yielded to the conquerors, and Cyrus, without any further resistance, became master of the place.
of brick and bitumen, and were carried from the bottom of the river to the top; the walls being of the solidity and thickness of those of the city. Prideaux, rol. i.
Such is a sketch of the account given by the most celebrated heathen writers of antiquity. And it exactly agrees with that of scripture ; for we there read that Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, his wives and concubines, and that in that very night he was slain, and Darius thé Mede, that is, Cyaxeres, the uncle of Cyrus, took the kingdom * for to him Cyrus gave the title of all his conquests as long as he lived. In this feast Belshazzar commanded the gold and silver vessels which had been pillaged from the temple of Jerusalem, to be brought into the banqueting-house, and he and his company drank out of them. And in the midst of the impious feast, the Almighty shewed his displeasure by sending a hand, which wrote on the wall characters that none could explain; whereupon the queen-mother, a woman the pagans represent as of very extraordinary abilities, went to the king and told him of Daniel the prophet, whom she knew to be eminently skilful in expounding mysteries. The prophet was sent for : and he declared the meaning of the writing was, that for his wicked deeds, and profanation of God's sacred vessels, the sentence of God was denounced against him ; that his kingdom was taken from him, and given to the Medes and Persians. It seems to have been immediately after this that the palace was taken, and the king slain. The first thing the conquerors did afterwards was to thank the Gods for having at Jast punished that impious king. These words are Xenophon's, and are very remarkable.
* Cyrus allowed his uncle Cyaxeres, as long as he lived, a joint title with him in the empire, although it was all gained by his own valour; and, out of deference, put his uncle's name first. Prideaux.
So far was this prophecy fulfilled: but not entirely so, until the total ruin and destruction of Babylon were effected. Babylon, say the sacred writers, shall be utterly destroyed, as the criminal cities of Sodom and Gomorrah formerly were.
In the first place, Babylon ceased to be a royal city; the kings of Persia preferring any other for their place of residence, and did themselves destroy good part of Babylon.
Strabo and Pliny inform us that the Macedonians, who succeeded the Persians, did not only entirely neglect it, but built a city (Seleucia) in the neighbourhood, on purpose to draw away its inhabitants, and cause it to be deserted.
The new kings of Persia, who afterwards became masters of Babylon, completed the ruin of it by building Ctesiphon, which carried away all the remainder of the inhabitants.
Ninety-six years before Christ she was so totally forsaken, that nothing of her was left but the walls, which condition is at that time noticed by Pausanias, in his remarks upon Greece.
The kings of Persia finding the place deserted, made a park of it, in which they kept wild beasts for hunting. Thus did it become, as the prophet had foretold, a dwelling place for ravenous beasts that are enemies to man, and for timorous animals that flee before him.
At length the walls fell down, and were never repaired; the animals kept for the pleasure of the Persian kings fled the place. Serpents and scorpions remained, so that it became a dreadful spot for persons that should have the curiosity to visit, or search after its antiquities. The Euphrates, that used to run through the city, having no longer a full channel, took its course another way; so that in the time of Theodoret there was but a very little stream of water left, which ran across the ruins, and having no free passage, degenerated, of necessity, into a marsh.
Alexander the Great, designing to fix the seat of his empire at Babylon, projected the bringing back the Euphrates into its former channel; and actually set his men to work. But the Almighty, who watched over the fulfilling of his prophecy, and who had declared that he would destroy even to the very remains and footsteps of Babylon, defeated this enterprize by the death of Alexander, which happened soon after. Thus was Babylon converted into an inaccessible pool, which covered the very place where that impious city had stood, as Isaiah had foretold, “ I will make it pools of water.”
By means of all these changes, Babylon became an utter desert, and all the country round fell into the same state of desolation and horror; so that the most able geographers at this day cannot determine the place where it stood. And thus did God bring to pass, what He only could foretel, through the mouth of those whom he himself inspired.
" THIS THING WAS NOT DONE IN A CORNER." “ FOR THE PRO
PHECY CAME NOT IN OLD TIME BY THE WILL OF MAN : BUT HOLY MEN OF GOD SPAKE AS THEY WERE MOVED BY THE HOLY GHOST.” “WHAT GOD HATH SHEWED, HE HATH SO FULFILLED,”
One more prophecy, with its perfect accomplishment, I must be permitted briefly to advert to ; and will then hasten to the application of these trutlıs.
It is the prediction of a Redeemer; which prediction and accomplishment, in vital importance, outweighs all events that ever happened among mankind.
The promise of One who should triumph over Satan, and redeem all born of woman, came first from God himself to Adam and Eve.
The same promise was renewed to Abraham for his posterity by the Almighty..
To Jacob an angel spoke, and mentioned the tribe of Judah, from which this promised One was to proceed.
To David were the family and lineage of the Redeemer revealed, and declared to be from his own race.
Isaiah was given to shew that his birth should be miraculous, and his mother a virgin ; and that his death should be for the redemption of mankind.
The prophet Micah next predicted the birth-place of this illustrious visitor. Thus when king Herod