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copy of some of the volumes of that valuable work from being destroyed by fire; so the Editor of this, thinks proper to inform his readers of an instance, somewhat similar, in the preservation of Mr. ORTON'S Exposition. Be fore the manuscript copy came into the possession of the Editor, the whole, or a part of it, had been put into the hands of a reverend gentleman, in order to its being transcribed into long hand. Sometime afterward this gentleman died; and his papers were disposed of. The person who had intrusted Mr. ORTON's Manuscripts to him, for the purpose above mentioned, became extremely anxious as to the fate of them; and, after much inquiry, found they had been sold to an inferior shopkeeper for waste pa per; in one of whose garrets he met with them, where they only waited for their being called for in order to supply the uses of his shop. Whoso is wise, and will observe such things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord. Psalm cvii. 43."
The English Editor had "intended to have given a short account of the Author, by way of Appendix to the last volume," but was prevented by the prospect of one more complete, from the pen of the late Dr. KIPPIS. The American Editor has not learned whether the Doctor lived to fulfil this expectation. And having received no biographical account of Mr. ORTON from any other source, this omission of necessity remains unsupplied.
As Mr. ORTON's Exposition of the Old Testament, with Dr. DODDRIDGE's Family Expositor, form a complete practical comment on the whole of the Sacred Writings, the Subscriber has issued proposals for publishing a new edition of the latter, to correspond in size, and binding, with his edition of the former. And from the patronage he has received for the one, he is encouraged to hope, that it will be extended with equal liberality to the other also.
CHARLESTOWN, March 1, 1806.
The Book of the PROPHET
EZEKIEL was one of those Jews who were carried captive to Babylon along with Jehoiakim, or Jeconiah, king of Judah. In the fifth year of this captivity, the era from which he dates his prophecies, he began his office; which he exercised about twenty one years. The commencement of this period falls on the year before Christ 595, and thirty four years after Jeremiah had began his office; so that the last eight years of Jeremiah coincide with the first eight of Ezekiel. The chief design of this prophet seems to be, to convince his fellow captives in Babylon that they were mistaken in supposing that their brethren who still remained in Judea were in happier circumstances than they; and for this purpose he describes the terrible judgments impending over that country; the final destruction of Jerusalem, both city and temple; and inveighs against those heinous sins which were the cause af such calamities.
More particularly, the first three chapters contain a glorious ap pearance of God to the prophet; who is commissioned to his office, with instructions and encouragements in the discharge of it. The prophet then, to chap. xxv. displays the sins and punishments of the Jews, especially of those left in Judea, by several apt visions and similitudes, From thence to chap. xxxiii. he foretells the destruction of several neighbouring nations who were enemies to the Jews; and from chap. xxxiii. to xl. censures the sins, murmurings, and hypocrisy of the Jewish captives in Babylon; with which, however, he intersperses promises of their approaching deliverance, together with intimations of a still more glorious redemption in future times under the Messiah, The nine last chapters contain a remarkable vision of the structure of a new temple and a new polity for Israel and strangers; applicable, in the first instance to the return from the Babylonian captivity, but, its ultimate sense, to the glory and prosperity of the universal church of Christ in future times.
The style of Ezekiel is generally very bold and majestic. It is a peculiar species of the sublime, to which some have given the name of The Terrible. From the nature of his visions, however, more than from his language, he is often obscure, especially toward the beginning and end of his Book. The freedom with which he reproved his countrymen for their idolatry, is said to have cost him his life; the fate of many of the prophets.†
Bp. Newcome says, Nahum sounds the trumpet of war; Hosea is sententious; Isaiah sublime; Jeremiah pathetic; Ezekiel copious; and this diffusiveness of manner in mild and affectionate exhortation, this vehement enlarging on the guilt and consequent sufferings of his countrymen, seems wisely adapted to their capacities and circumstances, and must have had a forcible tendency to awaken them from their lethargy. Preface, p. 28.
This chapter contains an account of the glorious appearance of God to Ezekiel, to give him a commission to execute the prophetic of fice among the captives in Babylon, and to fill his mind with an holy awe of God. This vision was before the destruction of the temple.
TOW it came to pass in the thirtieth year, (either from the birth of the prophet, or the renewal of the covenant in Josiah's time, when the people were put on another trial) in the fourth [month,] in the fifth [day] of the month, as I [was] among the captives by the river of Chebar, with a colony of captives who were settled on the banks of that river, which runs into the Euphrates, [that] the heavens were opened, 2 and I saw visions of God. In the fifth [day] of the month, which [was] the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity, 3 The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, or, to Ezekiel the son of Buzi the priest, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him; there was a deep, sensible influence of God's Spirit upon him, and then he saw a remarkable vision; not any external object, but an impression upon his mind.
And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness [was] about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire; a cloud, containing a large globe of fire, came rolling along from the north, to intimate the destruction of Israel, which was to come from an enemy out 5 of the north, that is, the Chaldeans, Also out of the midst thereof [came] the likeness of four living creatures. And this [was] their appearance; they had the likeness of a man; an erect, and, in the main, a human figure, and were intelligent creatures, designed to represent the angels as executing God's 6 purposes; they are called cherubims, chap. x. 1. And every 7 one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet [were] straight feet; the sole of their feet [was] like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of bur8 nished brass. And [they had] the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides: and they four had their faces and their wings; they had all the same appearances `and proportions, wings, feet, and hands, to represent their steadiness, 9 dexterity, and dispatch in business. Their wings [were] joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward; this intimates the sincerity of their intentions, the unanimity of their designs, and the con