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SCRIPTURE continued from last Volume.



Scripture, JEREMIAH was called to the prophetic office in the 13th year of the reign of Josiah the son of Amon, A. M. 3376, A. C. 628, and continued to prophecy upwards of 40 years, during the reigns of the degenerate princes of Judah, to whom he boldly threatened those marks of the divine vengeance which their rebellious conduct drew on themselves and their country. After the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, he was suffered by Nebuchadnezzar to remain in the desolate land of Judea to lament the calamities of his infatuated countrymen. He was afterwards, as he himself informs us, carried with his disciple Baruch into Egypt, by Johanan the son of Kareah.



It appears from several passages that Jeremiah committed his prophecies to writing. In the 36th chapter we are informed, that the prophet was commanded to write upon a roll all the prophecies which he had uttered; and when the roll was destroyed by Jehoiakim the king, Jeremiah dictated the same prophecies to Baruch, who wrote them together with many additional circumstances. The works of Jeremiah extend to the last verse of the 51st chapter; in which we have these words, "Thus far the words of Jeremiah." The 52d chapter was therefore added by some other writer. It is, however, a very important supplement, as it illustrates the accomplishment of Jeremiah's prophecies respecting the fate of Zedekiah.

The prophecies of Jeremiah are not arranged in the gical ar. chronological order in which they were delivered. rangement What has occasioned this transposition cannot now be of his wri- determined. It is generally maintained, that if we consult their dates, they ought to be thus placed : In the reign of Josiah the first 12 chapters.


In the reign of Jehoiakim, chapters xiii. xx. xxi. v. 11, 14; xxii. xxiii. xxv. xxvi. xxxv. xxxvi. xlv.- xlix. I-33.

In the reign of Zedekial, chap. xxi. 1—10. xxiv. xxvii. xxxiv. xxxvii. xxxix. xlix. 34-39. 1. and li. Under the government of Gedaliah, chapters xl. xliv. The prophecies which related to the Gentiles were con

tained in the 46th and five following chapters, being Scripture. placed at the end, as in some measure unconnected with the rest. But in some copies of the Septuagint these six chapters follow immediately after the 13th verse of the 25th chapter.

Jeremiah, though deficient neither in elegance nor sublimity, must give place in both to Isaiah. Jerome seems to object against him a sort of rusticity of language, no vestige of which Dr Lowth was able to discover. His sentiments, it is true, are not always the most elevated, nor are his periods always neat and compact; but these are faults common to those writers whose principal aim is to excite the gentler affections, and to call forth the tear of sympathy or sorrow. This observation is very strongly exemplified in the Lamentations, where these are the prevailing passions; it is, however, frequently instanced in the prophecies of this author, and most of all in the beginning of the book (L), which is chiefly poetical. The middle of it is almost entirely historical. The latter part, again, consisting of the last six chapters, is altogether poetical (M); it contains several different predictions, which are distinctly marked; and in these the prophet approaches very near the sublimity of Isaiah. On the whole, however, not above half the book of Jeremiah is poetical.


The book of Lamentations, as we are informed in The book the title, was composed by Jeremiah. We shall present of Lamento our reader an account of this elegiac poem from the tations. elegant pen of Dr Lowth.

The Lamentations of Jeremiah (for the title is properly and significantly plural) consist of a number of plaintive effusions, composed on the plan of the funeral dirges, all on the same subject, and uttered without connection as they rose in the mind, in a long course of separate stanzas. These have afterwards been put together, and formed into a collection or correspondent whole. If any reader, however, should expect to find in them an artificial and methodical arrangement of the general subject, a regular disposition of the parts, a perfect connection and orderly succession in the matter, and

(L) See the whole of chap. ix. chap. xiv. 17, &c. xx. 14-18.

(M) Chap. xlvi.—li. to ver. 59. Chap. lii. properly belongs to the Lamentations, to which it serves as an exordium.

VOL. XIX. Part I.

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If there be any sorrow, like unto my sorrow, which is Se inflicted on me;

Which Jehovah inflicted on me in the day of the vio-
lence of his wrath.

For these things I weep, my eyes stream with water;
Because the comforter is far away, that should tranqui-

lize my soul :

Scripture. and with all this an uninterrupted series of elegance and correctness, he will really expect what was foreign to the prophet's design. In the character of a mourner, he celebrates in plaintive strains the obsequies of his ruined country: whatever presented itself to his mind in the midst of desolation and misery, whatever struck him as particularly wretched and calamitous, whatever the instant sentiment of sorrow dictated, he pours forth in a kind of spontaneous effusion. He frequently pauses, and, as it were, ruminates upon the same object; frequently varies and illustrates the same thought with different imagery, and a different choice of language; so that the whole bears rather the appearance of an accumulation of corresponding sentiments, than an accurate and connected series of different ideas, arranged in the form of a regular treatise. There is, however, no wild incoherency in the poem; the transitions are easy and elegant.


How di vided.


59 The subject and beauty of it.


The work is divided into five parts: in the first, second, and fourth chapters, the prophet addresses the people in his own person, or introduces Jerusalem as speaking. In the third chapter a chorus of the Jews is represented. In the fifth the whole captive Jews pour forth their united complaints to Almighty God. Each of these five parts is distributed into 22 stanzas, according to the number of the letters of the alphabet. In the first three chapters these stanzas consist of three lines. In the first four chapters the initial letter of each period follows the order of the alphabet; and in the third chapter each verse of the same stanza begins with the same letter. In the fourth chapter all the stanzas are evidently distichs, as also in the fifth, which is not acrostic. The intention of the acrostic was to assist the memory to retain sentences not much connected. It deserves to be remarked, that the verses of the first four chapters are longer by almost one half than Hebrew verses generally are: The length of them seems to be on an average about 12 syllables. The prophet appears to have chosen this measure as being solemn and melancholy.

"That the subject of the Lamentations is the destruction of the holy city and temple, the overthrow of the state, the extermination of the people; and that these events are described as actually accomplished, and not in the style of prediction merely, must be evident to every reader; though some authors of considerable reJosephus. putation* have imagined this poem to have been comJerome, posed on the death of King Josiah. The prophet, inUsserius, deed, has so copiously, so tenderly, and poetically, bewailed the misfortunes of his country, that he seems completely to have fulfilled the office and duty of a mourner. In my opinion, there is not extant any poem which displays such a happy and splendid selection of imagery in so concentrated a state. What can be more elegant and poetical, than the description of that once flourishing city, lately chief among the nations, sitting in the character of a female, solitary, afflicted, in a state of widowhood, deserted by her friends, betrayed by her dearest connections, imploring relief, 'and seeking consolation in vain? What a beautiful personification is that of " the ways of Sion mourning because none are come to her solemn feasts ?" How tender and pathetic are the following complaints?

Chap. i, 12, 16.

Is this nothing to all you who pass along the way? behold and see,

My children are desolate, because the enemy was strong. But to detail its beauties would be to transcribe the entire poem."

ceived the first revelations from heaven, in the fifth year Ezekiel was carried to Babylon as a captive, and reof Jehoiakim's captivity, A. C. 595. The book of Ezekiel is sometimes distributed under different heads. In the three first chapters the commission of the prophet is described. From the fourth to the thirty-second chapter inclusive, the calamities that befel the enemies of the Jews are predicted, viz. the Ammonites, the Moabites, and Philistines. The ruin of Tyre and of Sidon, and the fall of Egypt, are particularly foretold; prophecies which have been fulfilled in the most literal and astonishing manner, as we have been often assured by the relation of historians and travellers. From the 32d chapter to the 40th he inveighs against the hypocrisy them to resignation by promises of deliverance. In and murmuring spirit of his ceuntrymen, admonishing the 38th and 39th chapters he undoubtedly predicts the final return of the Jews from their dispersion in the latter days, but in a language so obscure that it cannot be understood till the event take place. The nine last chapters of this book furnish the description of a very remarkable vision of a new temple and city, of a new religion and polity.


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"Ezekiel is much inferior to Jeremiah in elegance; Charact in sublimity he is not even excelled by Isaiah: but his as a wri sublimity is of a totally different kind. He is deep, vehement, tragical; the only sensation he affects to excite is the terrible; his sentiments are elevated, fervid, full of fire, indignant; his imagery is crowded, magnificent, terrific, sometimes almost to disgust: his language is pompous, solemn, austere, rough, and at times unpolished he employs frequent repetitions, not for the sake of grace or elegance, but from the vehemence of passion and indignation. Whatever subject he treats Lowth of, that he sedulously pursues, from that he rarely departs, but cleaves as it were to it; whence the connection is in general evident and well preserved. In many respects he is perhaps excelled by the other prophets; but in that species of composition to which he seems by nature adapted, the forcible, the impetuous, the great and solemn, not one of the sacred writers is rior to him. His diction is sufficiently perspicuous; all his obscurity consists in the nature of the subject. Visions (as for instance, among others, those of Hosea, The greater part of Ezekiel, towards the middle of the Amos, and Jeremiah) are necessarily dark and confused. book especially, is poetical, whether we regard the matter or the diction. His periods, however, are frequently so rude and incompact, that I am often at a loss how to pronounce concerning his performance in this respect.



Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, as far as relates to style, may be said to hold the same rank among the Hebrews, as Homer, Simonides, and Eschylus among the Greeks."




So full an account of Daniel and his writings has been already given under the article DANIEL, that little remains to be said on that subject. Daniel flourished daring the successive reigns of several Babylonish and Median kings to the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus. The events recorded in the 6th chapter were contemporary with Darius the Mede; but in the 7th and 8th chapters Daniel returns to an earlier period to relate the visions which he beheld in the three first years of Belshazzar's reign; and those which follow in the four last chapters were revealed to him in the reign of Darius. The last six chapters are composed of prophecies delivered at different times; all of which are in some degree connected as parts of one great scheme. They extend through many ages, and furnish the most striking description of the fall of successive kingdoms, which were to be introductory to the establishment of the Messiah's reign. They characterize in descriptive terms the four great monarchies of the world, to be succeeded by "that kingdom which should not be destroyed."

The whole book of Daniel being no more than a of his pro- plain relation of facts, partly past and partly future, phecies must be excluded the class of poetical prophecy. Much indeed of the parabolic imagery is introduced in that book; but the author introduces it as a prophet only; as visionary and allegorical symbols of objects and events, totally untinctured with the true poetical colouring. The Jews, indeed, would refuse to Daniel even the character of a prophet: but the arguments under which they shelter this opinion are very futile; for those points which they maintain concerning the conditions on which the gift of prophecy is imparted, the different gradations, and the discriminations between the true prophecy and mere inspiration, are all trifling and absurd, without any foundation in the nature of things, and totally destitute of scriptural authority. They add, that Daniel was neither originally educated in the prophetic discipline and precepts, nor afterwards lived conformably to the manner of the prophets. It is not, however, easy to comprehend how this can diminish his claim to a divine mission and inspiration; it may possibly enable us, indeed, to assign a reason for the dissimilarity between the style of Daniel and that of the other prophets, and for its possessing so little of the diction and character of poetry, which the rest seem to have imbibed in common from the schools and discipline in which they were educated.


Their au

The prophecies of Daniel appear so plain and intelthenticity. ligible after their accomplishment, that Porphyry, who wrote in the 3d century, affirms, that they were written after the events to which they refer took place. A little reflection will show the absurdity of this supposition. Some of the prophecies of Daniel clearly refer to Antiochus Epiphanes, with whose oppressions the Jews were too well acquainted. Had the book of Daniel not made its appearance till after the death of Epiphanes, every Jew who read it must have discovered the forgery. And what motive could induce them to receive it among their sacred books? It is impossible to conceive one. Their character was quite the reverse: their respect for the Scripture had degenerated into superstition. But we are not left to determine this important point from the character of the Jews; we have access to more decisive evidence; we are sure that the book of Daniel contains prophecies, for some of them have been accom

plished since the time of Porphyry; particularly those Scripture. respecting Antichrist: now, if it contains any prophecies, who will take upon him to affirm that the divine Spirit, which dictated these many centuries before they were fulfilled, could not also have delivered prophecies concerning Antiochus Epiphanes ?

The language in which the book of Daniel is com posed proves that it was written about the time of the Babylonish captivity. Part of it is pure Hebrew: a language in which none of the Jewish books were composed after the age of Epiphanes. These are arguments to a deist. To a Christian the internal marks of the

book itself will show the time in which it was written, * Ezek. xiv. and the testimony of Ezekiel will prove Daniel to be at least his contemporary *.


14. xxviii. 3. 65 The twelve minor prophets were so called, not from Twelve any supposed inferiority in their writings, but on ac- minor prophets. count of the small size of their works. Perhaps it was for this reason that the Jews joined them together, and considered them as one volume. These 12 prophets presented in scattered hints a lively sketch of many particulars relative to the history of Judah and of Israel, as Gray's Key well as of other kingdoms; they prophecy with histori- to the Old cal exactness the fate of Babylon, of Nineveh, of Tyre, of Sidon, and of Damascus. The three last prophets especially illustrate many circumstances at a period when the historical pages of Scripture are closed, and when profane writers are entirely wanting. At first the Jewish prophets appeared only as single lights, and followed each other in individual succession; but they became more numerous about the time of the captivity. The light of inspiration was collected into one blaze, previous to its suspension; and it served to keep alive the expectations of the Jews during the awful interval which prevailed between the expiration of prophecy and its grand completion on the advent of Christ.


Hosea has been supposed the most ancient of the 12 Prophecies minor prophets. He flourished in the reign of Jero- of Hosca. boam II. king of Israel, and during the successive reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Abaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. He was therefore nearly contemporary with Isaiah, Amos, and Jonah. The prophecies of Hosea being scattered through the book without date or connection, cannot with any certainty be chronologically arranged.

67 Hosea is the first in order of the minor prophets, and Character is perhaps, Jonah excepted, the most ancient of them of their all. His style exhibits the style. appearance of very remote antiquity; it is pointed, energetic, and concise. It bears a distinguished mark of poetical composition, in that pristine brevity and condensation which is observable in the sentences, and which later writers have in some measure neglected. This peculiarity has not escaped the observation of Jerome: "He is altogether (says he, speaking of this prophet) laconic and sententious." But this very circumstance, which anciently was supposed no doubt to impart uncommon force and elegance, in the present ruinous state of the Hebrew literature is productive of so much obscurity, that although the general subject of this writer be sufficiently obvious, he is the most difficult and perplexed of all the prophets. There is, however, another reason for the obscurity of his style: Hosea prophesied during the reigns of the four kings of Judah, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. The duration of his ministry, therefore, in whatA 2


The following prophecy of a plague of locusts is described with great sublimity of expression:

Scripture. ever manner we calculate, must include a very considerable space of time. We have now only a small volume of his remaining, which seems to contain his principal prophecies; and these are extant in a continued series, with no marks of distinction as to the times in which they were published, or the subjects of which they treat. There is, therefore, no cause to wonder if, in perusing the prophecies of Hosea, we sometimes find ourselves in a similar predicament with those who consulted the scattered leaves of the Sibyl.


Prophecies of Joel.

69 Character of their style.

Lowth on Hebrew Poetry, Sect. 21.

As a specimen of Hosea's style, we select the following beautiful pathetic passage :

How shall I resign thee, O Ephraim !
How shall I deliver thee up, O Israel!
How shall I resign thee as Admah!
How shall I make thee as Zeboim !
My heart is changed within me ;

am warmed also with repentance towards thee. I will not do according to the fervour of my wrath ;' I will not return to destroy Ephraim:

For I am God, and not man;

Holy in the midst of thee, though I inhabit not thy cities.

Concerning the date of the prophecy of Joel there are various conjectures. The book itself affords nothing by which we can discover when the author lived, or upon what occasion it was written. Joel speaks of a great famine, and of mischiefs that happened in consequence of an inundation of locusts; but nothing can be gathered from such general observations to enable us to fix the period of his prophecy. St Jerome thinks (and it is the general opinion) that Joel was contemporary with Hosea. This is possibly true; but the foundation on which the opinion rests is very precarious, viz. That when there is no proof of the time in which a prophet lived, we are to be guided in our conjectures respecting it by that of the preceding prophet whose epoch is better known. As this rule is not infallible, it therefore ought not to hinder us from adopting any other opinion that comes recommended by good reasons. Father Calmet places him under the reign of Josiah, at the same time with Jeremiah, and thinks it probable that the famine to which Joel alludes, is the same with that which Jeremiah predicted, ch. viii. 13.

The style of Joel is essentially different from that of Hosea; but the general character of his diction, though of a different kind, is not less poetical. He is elegant, perspicuous, copious, and fluent; he is also sublime, animated, and energetic. In the first and second chapters he displays the full force of the prophetic poetry, and shows how naturally it inclines to the use of metaphors, allegories, and comparisons. Nor is the connection of the matter less clear and evident than the complexion of the style this is exemplified in the display of the impending evils which gave rise to the prophecy; the exhortation to repentance; the promises of happiness and success both terrestrial and eternal to those who become truly penitent; the restoration of the Israelites; and the vengeance to be taken of their adversaries. But while we allow this just commendation to his perspicuity both in language and arrangement, we must not deny that there is sometimes great obscurity observable in his subject, and particularly in the latter part of the prophecy.

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Amos was contemporary with Hosea. They both Pro began to prophecy during the reigns of Uzziah over of A Judah, and of Jeroboam II. over Israel. Amos saw his first vision two years before the earthquake, which Zechariah informs us happened in the days of Uzziah. See AMOS.

Amos was a herdsman of Tekoa, a small town in the territory of Judah, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit. In the simplicity of former times, and in the happy climates of the East, these were not considered as dishonourable occupations. He was no prophet (as he informed Amaziah +), neither was he a prophet's son, + An that is, he had no regular education in the schools of 14. the prophets.

The prophecies of Amos consist of several distinct discourses, which chiefly respect the kingdom of Israel; yet sometimes the prophet inveighs against Judah, and threatens the adjacent nations, the Syrians, Philistines, Tyrians, Edomites, Ammonites, and Moabites.



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Jerome calls Amos "rude in speech, but not in Thei knowledge ‡;" applying to him what St Paul modestly Pro professes of himself. Many (says Dr Lowth) have Comm followed the authority of Jerome in speaking of this prophet, as if he were indeed quite rude, ineloquent, 6. and destitute of all the embellishments of composition. The matter is, however, far otherwise. Let any person who has candour and perspicacity enough to judge, not from the man but from his writings, open the volume of his predictions, and he will, I think, agree with me, that our shepherd is not a whit behind the very chief of the prophets .' He will agree, that as in sublimity 2 Co and magnificence he is almost equal to the greatest, so in splendour of diction and elegance of expression he is scarcely inferior to any. The same celestial Spirit indeed actuated Isaiah and Daniel in the court and Amos in the sheep-folds; constantly selecting such interpreters of the divine will as were best adapted to the occasion, and sometimes from the mouth of babes and sucklings perfecting praise :' occasionally employing the natural eloquence of some, and occasionally making others eloquent."

Mr Locke has observed, that the comparisons of this prophet are chiefly drawn from lions and other animals with which he was most accustomed; but the finest

images and allusions are drawn from scenes of nature.
There are many beautiful passages in the writings of
Amos, of which we shall present one specimen:
Wo to them that are at ease in Zion,
And trust in the mountains of Samaria;
Who are named chief of the nations,
To whom the house of Israel came:
Pass ye unto Calneh and see,
And from thence go to Hamath the Great;


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