Imatges de pÓgina

44.) And in his prophetic Poem he hath alfo clearly pointed out to us the mercy of God in the preservation of the nation; as shewn in Vol. Ift. page 21. &c. And which hath been fo exactly accomplished to this very day, that we cannot but confider it as one of the most fignal and illuftrious acts of Divine Providence. And yet, Deists* and modern philofophers, fcruple not to call Mofes and the Prophets liars and impoftors. When I thus fee infidelity stalking abroad, in open day, I am loft in amazement and wonder, at the depravity of human nature, that can shut its eyes against the conviction of truth against what we all know to be true, and are ourselves eye witneffes of; I mean the preservation of an handful of people, scattered all over the face of the globe, and perfecuted by both kings and people: by Heathens, Chriftians, and Mahometans, who all have confpired to ruin and extirpate this nation; and yet have not been able to effect it. For this, it is impoffible for human wifdom to affign an adequate caufe; but that it is the will of God, who watches over, and

See Thomas Paine's age of Reafon, part IId.


preferves them for the great end of their redemption and falvation, by the hands of the true Meffiah, according to the promises delivered by the mouths of his fervants the Prophets.

I must now obferve that, none of the aforementioned fundamental principles contained in this prophecy, have hitherto been accomplished: not at their return from Babylon; for those that returned from Babylon, were the people of Judah only, who had been carried captive by Nebuchadnezzar : but here the Prophet tells us, that not only the captivity of Judah fhould be restored, but the captivity of Ifrael alfo; meaning the ten tribes that were carried away long before, by Shalmanefer king of Affyria, and who still remain in that captivity; having never returned to their own land, when those that were captive in Babylon went up; and which were only a few of Judah and Benjamin, and fuch as fell to them, and those not of the most respectable. But according to the terms of this prophecy, we are entitled to expect, not a partial, but a complete and univerfal restoration of both the kingdoms of Ifrael A a 2 and

[ocr errors]

and Judah; when God will manifeft himfelf, as aforetime, by the return of his divine prefence to the temple. Again, it is well known, that the circumference of the city of Jerufalem that was built when they returned from Babylon, did not by any means accord with the defcription here given thereof by the Prophet. Moreover, it is promifed, that after this restoration, they should not go into captivity more; neither should Jerufalem be plucked up, nor thrown down any more. And that 66 they should not teach any more, every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, faying, Know ye the LORD; for they fhall all know me, from the least of them, unto the greatest of them." But, it is well known, that during the fecond temple, they were fo far from being thus filled with the knowledge of the LORD, that they were extremely wicked ; and which wickedness, was the cause that Jerufalem and the temple were plucked up, and thrown down by the Romans; and they were carried into this long and dreadful captivity, where they have continued to this day; without either king or prince. From all which, it is manifeft, that these great and glorious

glorious promifes were not fulfilled at their return from Babylon. And, it is equally clear from the aforefaid reasons, that they never were accomplished by, or in the perfon of Jefus; whence it is manifeft, that they remain to be accomplished by the hands of the true Meffiah.

As to what the generality of Chriftian Writers affert, that it denotes the spiritual call of the Gentiles at the coming of Chrift; is futile, and highly fallacious; becaufe, the Prophet fays, verfe 9th, that those that are to be redeemed, are of the kingdom of Ifrael; emphatically, ftiled Ephraim; because their first king (Jeroboam) was of that tribe. And that those that were fcattered in captivity, are those that are to be gathered; ver. 10th. "He that scattered Ifrael will gather him." Whence it is clear to demonstration, that these promises cannot at any rate be applied to the Gentiles, who never went into any fuch captivity.

The fifth prophecy, commences verse 36th, chapter xxxii, and is continued to verse 41ft, of the fame.

The fubject of this prophecy, is to affure us of the complete restoration of the nation in


the latter days; when they are to have the entire and undisturbed poffeffion of the land for ever; and are never to be removed from it, or be carried into captivity more.

The Prophet having in the immediately preceding part of the chapter, fpo ken of the deftruction of Jerufalem, (verse 28th.) "Behold I am (about) giving this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he fhall take it. And the Chaldeans that fight against this city, shall enter, and fhall fet this city on fire, &c. For because of mine anger, and because of mine indignation, hath this city been to me, from the day that they built it, even unto this day, to remove it from before my face," &c. Now informs them, that although it was to be given into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, yet was it not to be given to him abfolutely, for ever, but only for a time; and which is, "because of all the wickedness of the children of Ifrael, and the children of Judah, which they have commit ted to provoke me to anger," &c. But as their wickedness will not continue for ever; as there will come a time, when I fhall gather


« AnteriorContinua »