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CONCEIVED TO TYPIFY
Nosce teipsum was the leading maxim of the Spartan Sage ;* and the Seriptures emphatically exhort us to examine, prove, and know our own. selves. Nations, as well as individuals, from their infancy to their decay, are ever under the influence of some reigning virtues and vices; those moral precepts, therefore, which are good for one member of society are equally' so for society itself. A nation ready, then, to act on this wise and good maxim, know thyself, will set to work to faithfully examine into its own inoral condition.
National prosperity, like individual affluence, has too often led to corruption of morals; and corruption of morals to the ruin of every state which has heretofore sunk into contempt, or been swept off from the face of the earth. Which way soever the eye is turned, confirmations crowd upon confirmations, vouching for this sorrowful fact. Palatable or uppalatable, pray do not let such serious truths be taken for mere flashes of censure, The future is depending much on the present; and it is to a fair and candid insight into the state of virtue and vice among us, as a people, and the con. sequences which, according to all former example, impend, that I would fain work up general attention.
Nothing, I am persuaded, is more dangerous to the stability of a nation, than shutting its eyes to its own degeneracy, and to the peril that comes sneaking behind habitual vices, which manage to familiarise themselves with all ranks of society. Corruption of national manners, when the foul in. fection has been thoroughly caught, is a plague not easily got rid of; and if left to run its length, the existence of the state is not worth a farthing. Let, however, the examples afforded by the thousands of kingdoms which have prematurely perished from this cause, operate as they ought; and, perhaps, in our case, it is not too late to apply a remedy. “Scornful men bring a city into a snare;”+ and this is the fatal spare of which we have to take heed.
Time is hurrying us on towards those extraordinary scenes of whichi, through the mirror of prophecy, we have caught a distant glimpse. Christians of every class, who have been watchful of its career, must be deeply desirous to learn how much longer the Church is destined to continue militant. St. John, upon this question, is the oracle to be consulted. Under his Visions of the Seven Seals—the Seven Trumpets—and the Seven Vials, he has set before us the entire period of its warfare. From this mystical representation, it may be inferred, that the term signified by the Seven Seals, together with that included under Six of the Trumpets, bas
already expired—that under the Seventh Trumpet, which is yet sounding, Six of the Vials are, at the same time, gradually exhausting their contents upon the several States which, after effectual purgation, are to constitute Christendom-that when the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet shall cease, the last Vial will begin to pour; during the running of which final plagne, terrible changes will be going on in the world, as presignified by the Battle of Armageddon-the Fall of Spiritual Babylon-and the great Earthquake. * Of the exact time yet to elapse before the last Vial comes on, we are not ēmēģ22?2?Â2/2ūņētiņ22ņģē?Â2â??Â2222 –22ņģ22/2/2/2/2m22titiâēģăòffi–ūti?titiòēņģ2 day-one year-or it may be some few years.
Esdras may be qnoted in corroboration of St. John; and as casting a further ray upon this solemn prospect. “Shew me,” says he to the Divine Messenger, " whether there be more to come than is past, or more past than is to come. What is past, I know; but what is to come, I know not. And he said, Stand up, upon the right side, and I shall expound the similitude unto thee. So I stood and saw; and behold, a 'hot burning oven passed by before me; and it happened, that when the flame was gone by, I looked, and behold, the smoke remained still. After this, there passed by before me, a watery cloud, and sent down much rain, with a storm; and when the stormy rain was past, the drops remained still. And he said unto me, Consider with thyself, as the rain is more than the drops, and as the fire is greater than the smoke (but the drops and the smoke remained behind), so the quantity which is passed doth more exceed.”+-Thus we gather, that the world is far advanced towards its catastrophe—that the fire has become extinct, though the smoke of the embers continues that the torrent of rain has gone by, though a few drops stiil continne to fall.
As expressly snitable to the present aspect of the world, that part of Scripture, which so emphatically points at “perilous times,” to which, “ in the latter days,” nations are to be exposed, through the conduct of such as the Apostle calls “traitors heady, high-minded; lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God," I &c. deserves special attention.-With such adversaries as these is the Church militant to contend in the last period of her warfare: and these are the “ perilous times ” that nations are destined to encounter. But is it to be thought, that vast communities of mankind are left thus exposed without the means of foreknowing and averting “ perils” which, in their ivfliction, form but a link in the chain of predestination ? Is the Great Creator to be deemed so fickle as to control a world of his in. tellectual creatures by no settled laws ?-Most impious, indeed, would such a notion be, held in the face of those immortal documents which unre. servedly attest how Divine Justice is uniformly administered, and has been, ever since the beginning of the world, in elevating, depressing and overturning kingdoms.--"At what instant,” says the All-Supreme, “I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.”
This plain and unequivocal manifesto of the Most High refers, certainly, to every colony of men that ever did settle, or ever will settle, under heaven. The dispensations of Providence, then, are in nowise directed by chance or caprice, but according to laws immutably fixed from the beginning-accord. ing to the test of good set against evil.
Yet, let it not be thought that a proof of such weight is rested upon one solitary text. As far as it historically records, or didactically admonishes,
* Rev, xvi, xvii. + 2 F d. iv. 45–50. 2 Tim. iii. 4. Jer. xviii. 7, 8.
or prophetically foreshows, or divinely reveals, as to this matter, the såcred canon, throughout, authorises the general import which has been deduced. · But besides biblical testimonies, let any authentic histories of civil
governments be consulted ; and not an instance will be found of any - nation having been annihilated, until it had reached a manifest climax of depravity. · It may, in contradiction, be pretended, that we sometimes see wicked nations prosper, and the more virtuous under calamity: but are vur observations, in these cases, taken so deeply as to enable us to well distinguish between dispensations which are 'temporary and Auctuatiny, having no settled root in the manners of a people; and those which are secretly and steadily working towards a consummation, as a consequence arising out of settled habits and propensities, either good or evil ?' Objections of this nature are unworthy of being answered by anticipation, except on such a question as the present, which includes within its limits every fraternity of mankind on the face of the earth.
Men cannot act conformably to that of which they are ignorant. Adam once knew good only; but tasting of " the tree of knowledge of good and évil,” came to know evil as well as good. We, for the opposite reason, seek to taste of the same tree, that we may learn, “ to retiise the evil and chvose the good;"*-that we may be better qualified to economise, as a nation, according to such principles as are right, and favoured with a solemn pledge of benediction; and enabled to renounce such as are wrong, and contain the seeds of national bane. · The chief of those principles comprised under the term good, as conducing to the well-being of political bodies, are, simple religion, strict morality, pure honour, and disinterested patriotism. The contraries to any of these are, consequently, to be esteemed bad or evil principles, and such as contribute to bring on misery and destruction.
The two opposite poles on which national destiny revolves, namely, good and evil, having been thus sufficiently explored, and the certainty that states rise and sink, as these incline, having been, in a general way, evinced ; the next certainty to be inculcated is, that the fate which has buried in oblivion thousands of kingdoms of former times, awaits those of the present day, which persist in a like career of evil.
The curse upon the unrepenting Cities of Chorasin, Bethsaida, and Lapernaum, was even to exceed the horror of that which desolated the profane kingdoms of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom. "Woe unto thee, Chorasin; woe unto thee, Bethsaida; for it the mighty works which were done in yoii had been done in Tyre and Sidov, they would have repented long ago in -sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for
Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And thou, Caper.naum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell; for it the mighty works which have been done in thee, bad been done in Sodoin, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodon, in the day of judgment, than for thee.”'t :. That these desolations are to be regarded rather as examples to future generations, than as mere historical facts, may be gathered from the follow. ing evidences: “Woe unto thee, Assur, thon that bidest the unrighteous in thee; O thou wicked people! Remember what I did unto Sodom and Gomorrha, whose land lieth in clods of pitch and heaps of ashes : even so will I do unto them that hear me not, saith the Lord."*_“And turning the Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah,” says St. Peter, “into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow; making them an EXAMPLE unto those that after should live nogodly." -Add to these the like warning of St. Jude Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them, ip like manner giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an EXAMPLE, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” I
* Isaiah, vii. 15.
* Matt. xi. 21--24.
Upon seriously contemplating the miserable end of our forerunners, every one endued with religious susceptibility will see that there is before is a precipice prodigiously awful! In every heart that professes to be pions, moral, honourable, or patriotic, one sentiment ought to be uppermosi-the good of posterity. Had “ten righteous men” been in her, Sodom would have escaped Divine vengeance. Had tbat which has been revealed to us been known to her, she would not have been prematurely cut off; but, as the Saviour expresses it, “ remained until this day.”-Tyre and Sidon, with the opportunity of our experience, would “have repented in sackcloth and ashes." Shall we, then, any longer risk its being more tolerable for these heathen people than for us who profess Christian tenets? “Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall ALL like-, wise perish!”$
Having thns prefaced my subject with some truths calculated to improve its effect, I have now, before coming to investigate the Prophecy itself, that the parallel between the type and antitype may be more clearly visible, and for the sake of despatching that part of the prophetic condemnation with less interlocutory commeut which applies immediately to Phenician Tyre, to make a few extracts descriptive of the grandeur and opulence of the city. * Morden says, “ If its situation were considered, it was a fortress-if its traffic, a mart—if its magnificence, a royal court-if its richies, the treasury of the universe !"|| Heylin describes it as “ impregnably fortified, both by art and nature ”"a city of great trade and wealth, excelling all others of those times both for learning and manufactures”-“grown to great pride by reason of her wealth and pleasures”—“now nothing but a heap of ruins; but the ruins of so fair a prospect as striketh both pity and amazement into the beholders, showing them an exemplary pattern of our haman frailty." Isaiah describes its "inerchants as princes, and its trafficers as the bonourable of the earth.” **
Tlie Ethiopian Eunuch, upon reading some part of the prophecy of Isaiah, put to Philip this question, “I pray thee of whom speaketh the Prophet this; of himself, or of some other man?"** Thus, on an occasion like the present, must we ask, Is the Prophet speaking literally or fignratively? To ascertain this, it is necessary that we come to our task with a mind free from all bias, humbly dependent on “the Spirit of Truth, that guides us into all truth,”11 and on not hing else.
66 And it came to pass," says Ezekiel,“ in the eleventh year, in the first day of the month, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, Because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people; sbe is turned into me; I shall be re. plenished now she is laid waste: therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against
* 2 Esd. ii. 8, 9,
Luke, xiii. 2, 3. ** Isaiah, xxiii. 8.
+ 2 Pet. ii. 6.
Jude, ver. 7.
Cosmog. folio, p. 640. 11 St. John, xvi. 13.
tnee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up: and they shaul aestroy tne walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also serape the dust from her; and make her like the top of a rock : it shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken it, saith the Lerd God; and it shall become a spoil to the nations; and her daughters, which are in the field, shall be slain with the sword; and they shall know that I am the Lord.” *
Jeconiah, king of Judah, after a reign of three months, with all the
chief men of his court, among whom was Ezekiel, were carried prisoners to Babylon, by Nebuchadnezzar, and in the eleventh year of their bondage, the prophecy is dated. — Vast numbers of people, trom all quarters, used to flock to Jerusalem, for the purposes of religion, and public business; and hence, in allusion to the Syrian custom of holding national courts, meetings, marts, &c. at the chief gate of a city, her great renown is shown by styling her “ the gates of the people.” For splendour and popularity, Tyre stood next to Jerusalem, and upon the misfortunes of the other, vaunts upon becoming first. On account of her proud boasting and self-security, the part of the prophecy above-cited, pronounces, in a general form, the approaching calamities of the exulting Tyrians, and the total ruin of the city. -The coming up of many nations, as the waves of the sea, that is, one after another, is a figure that strikes me as very fully describing the successive attacks this power was to undergo from the time of the prophecy, until her utter overthrow by the last overwhelming billow. By her “ daughters in the field ” is meant all her dependent provinces, cities, towns, &c. which were doomed to share the fate of
their ruling city. « For thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus, Nebu. chadnezzar, King of Babylon ; (also) a King of Kings from the North, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people. He shall slay with the sword thy, daughters in the field ; and he shall make a fort against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee, and he shall set engines of war against thy walls; and with his axes he shall break down thy towers "_" he shall slay thy people with the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground: and they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and a prey of thy merchandise; and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant honses; and they shall lay thy stones, and thy timber, and thy dust, in the midst of the water : and I will cause thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard.”+
The Prophet, from a general proposition goes here into particulars, and
points out Nebuchadnezzar as the first assailant. It can hardly be supposed that Ezekiel, who wrote there, would call, relative to Tyre, the King of Babylon “ a king of kings from the North,” when the latitude of Tyre was higher than that of Babylon. The Kings of Babylon are scarcely mentioned in the remains of the Greek bis. torians which have come down to us, which they would have been, as well as those of Media, had they obtained a footing any where in or about Asia Minor: so that the Monarch of Babylon could, in no sense of the word, be styled “a king of kings from the North," as it respects Tyre. From the context of the prophecy, the phrase must surely mean Alexander, who was “king of all the kings,” any wbere immediately northward of Tyre. The Isle on which the city was built, this General attacked, by joining it to the continent by a mole: and after a terrible siege of seven months, took it by storm ; put 8000 inhabitants to the sword; crucified 2000 on the shore; and * Ezekiel, xxvi 1.
· Thid. xxvi. 7-13.