Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

is no help for it, and you must be patient : it is only for one night.' I am satisfied I am on my journey to Rome, and to be sure was it worse, Rome is an obje& worth suffering fomething in its pursuit ; so, till supper comes, and to prevent me from being afraid of spisits, I will write on, and inform you that the road from Sienna hither is in length fix polls, the last post exceflively bad. The grim inhabitants of the palace, who seem as if descended from the Cyclops, have just been with us to announce the long wilhed for approach of the lupper, which is upon its march from the kitchen. Supper is over ; it confified of a dish of eggs, which I had ordered to be boiled in the thell; but, alas! they were all rotten : then appeared an ani. mal, which I am sure would have puzzled the most ingenious author that ever wrote upon zoology to say what species of winged creature is had been. It had extended legs and wings, was black, and appeared to have been dislocated alive; they inbited upon its being a poolarde ; had they asserted it to have been a grifin, I lould have been inclined to believe it ; some wretched bread, of what date I know not, and some sauce made with stinking oil concludes the bill of fare-the wine poisonous--the water muddy.-Goodnight. For me, if sleep should kindly lend her aid, may I dream of a piece of English bread and cheese, and a draught of small beer. My little barbett is so discontented and cross, that the barks incessantly at the howling of the wind, and disdains to eat.

LET TER. XLIII. S. Sebastiano alle Catacombe, fituated on the Appian way, was founded by Conftantine the Great, in honour of this saint; who is represented lying in his tomb, pierced with arrows. The sculpture by Giorgetti. The portico of this church is supported by fix antique columns of a very rare species; two of them of white granite, and two of green, with uncommon spots in them. The catacombs are the vastest, and the most noted in the neighbourhood of Rome. We explored them accompanied by a ragged ill looking fellow, whose buliness is to sweep the church, and thew these filent mansions of the dead. One of our footmen was sent of a message, the other followed us. We were provided with little wax candles, and descended the ftaircase, each carrying a lighted bougie; the others were for provie from, left any of those already lighted should burn out or extinguish. Haring, at length, reached the bottom, after no very agreeable descent, we found ourselves in a labyrinch of very narrow passages, turning and winding incessantly; moit of these are upon the nope, and, I believe, go down into the earth to a considerable depth. They are not wider than to admit one person at a time, but branch out various ways like the veins in the human body ; they are also extremely damp, being praxised in the earth, and caused our candles to burn blue. In the fide niches are deposited the bodies (as they say) of more than seventy-four thousand martyrs. These niches are moitly closed by an upright fab of marble, which bears an inscription descriptive of their contents. Several are allo buried under these passages, whose graves are secured by iron grates. We followed our fattered guide for a confiderable time through the passages ; at lait he flopt, and told M if he would go with him to a certain

Souterrain

Souterrain jaft by, he would shew him a remarkable catacomb. At that moment I was Aaring about at the inscriptions, and took it for granted that M_was really very near, but after some moments I aked the footman, who was standing at the entrance, if he saw his mafter ; he replied in the negative, nor did I bear any voice : this alarmed me; I bid him go forward a little way, and that I would wait where I was, for I feared lofing myself in this labyrinth in attempting to get out, not knowing which way they had turned. I waited a little time, and finding the servant did not return, called out as loud as I could, but, to my great disappointment, perceived that I scarce made any noise; the found of my voice, from the damp: ness of the air, or the lowness of the passages, remaining (as it were) with me. I trembled all over, and perceived that my bougie was near its end ; I lighted another with fome difficulty, from the thaking of my hands, and determined to go in fearch' of M myself, at any hazard ; but figure to your self the horror that seized me, when, upon attempting to move, I perceived myself forcibly held by my cloaths from behind, and all the efforts I made to free myself proved ineffectual. My heart, I believe, ceased to beat for a moment, and it was as much as I could do to sustain myself from falling upon the ground in a swoon. However, I fummoned all my resolution to my aid, and ventured to look behind me, but faw nothing. I then again attempted to move, but found it impracticable. Just God, faid I, perhaps M-is affalfinated, and the servant joined with the guide in the perpetration of the murder, and I am miraculously held fait by the dead, and shall never leave these graves. Notwithftanding fach dreadful representations that my frighted imagination pi&tured to me, I made more violent efforts, and in struggling, at last discovered, that there was an iron grate, like a trap door, a little open behind me, one of the pointed bars of which had pierced through my gown, and held me in the manner I have related. I foon extricated myself, and walking forward, luckily in the right path, found

Mwho was quietly copying an inscription, the guide lighting him, and the servant returning toward me with the mot unconcerned afpect imaginable. I had the discretion to conceal my fright as much as I was able, and only expressed, with some impatience, my desire of returning into the open air. M, who is ever complaisant to my wishes, instantly complied ; and as we were reçiring, the poor guide whom my imagination had represented as an affaffin, told us, that there was a pit amongst the catacombs of which the borcom could never be discovered ; and he had been told, that formerly a great many people had been abused, robbed, and Aung into it. I thanked God, inwardly, that he had not told me this Atory earlier.-Having entered the carriage, I determined within myself, that this visit to the catacombs should be my last.'

'Were we to insert all the entertaining passages which we are tempted to select from these letters, we should find the limits of a whole Review too narrow to contain them.

ART, ART. V. Ar Efay towards an Interpretation of the Prophecies of Da.

niel. With occasional Remarks upon some of the mott celebrated Commentaries on them. By Richard Amner. Svo. 35. Johnfon. 1776. HE prophecies of Daniel are a very important part of the

scriptural canon, and yet, on various accounis, obscure and difficult. Every new attempt to fix and illuftrate their meaning deserves attention ; though in this department of biblical criticism great abilities are required, nor can the most ingenicus expect success without a considerable degree of patience and perfeverance. However commentators have differed with respect to the immediate design of particular predictions, they have very generally agreed in fuppofing that there is, at least, a partial and ultimate reference in one or other of these prophecies to the times of the Messiah. But the Author of the Enlay now before us bas proceeded farther than most of his predecessorsa, and altogether appropriated Daniel's predictions to the circumstances and times of the Jewish people, previous to the intro, duction and establishment of Christianity. We are far from wishing to retain any evidence in favour of Christianity which we, have always deduced from the celebrated prophecy of Daniel, if it cannot be supported by just criticism; nor have we any apprehension that it will suffer from a liberal and judicious inveltigation.

Our Readers are well apprized, that the commentators on the book of Daniel have been divided into two classes : the famous Mr. Mede, who has been followed by Sir Isaac Newton and many others, considers this book as “ the sacred calendar, and great almanac of prophecy,” or in other words, “ a prophetic chronology of times, measured by the succession of four principal kingdoms, from the beginning of the captivity of Ila rael, until the Mystery of God” in his providential dispensations " thall be finished." ós Whereas Grotius, on the contrary, and who has been followed on his part by Le Clerc, Prideaux, Calmet, and others of no less reputation, is able to discover little more than an ancient persecution of the Jews in them.”

Our Author has adopted the system of Grotius, and literally adhered to it, till he comes to his explication of the prophecy. in chap. ix. ver. 24—27. We have carefully compared his interpretation with that of Grotius in his Commentary on the Book of Daniel, and find very little variation or enlargement; except in a few instances, where he has availed himself of Grotius's seferences and of the assistance of later writers. He apprehends, that all the prophecies terminate in the grievous perfecution and oppreffion which the Jews suffered from Antiochus Epiphanes; and accordingly, with Grotius for his guide, he Rev. Auz: 1776.

I

examiges

[ocr errors]

far

examines the cotemporary history of neighbouring nations, as

as the Jews were in any way connected with them, and with a view of alcertaining the sense and intention of the several predictions, which he explains.

As most of our Readers, who are converfant with this kind of literature, have easy access to the valuable commentary of Grotius, we shall only join iffue with our Author where he leaves him; as he does in interpreting the prophecy above referred to. Grotius applies it to the Meffiah and the subsequent state of the Jewish nation; Mr. Amner explains it in the following manner : Seventy weeks or fedens;" that is, seven times the seventy years, or number of years, which thou haft been turning over in thy thoughts and meditating upon; (ver. 2.) • are abbreviated upon thy people and upon thy holy city; that city and people whom thou haft been so vehemently and concernedly praying for :- for finishing the transgression,' or defection ; which has been more than once mentioned *, and to which there seems here a very strong reference :--and for making an end of fins, and reconciliation for iniquity' in general, by not any longer exacting the punishment of them :• and for bringing in the righteousness of antiquity,' or of the earlier and more virtuous ages of the Jewish state; and which, if continued in, would have prevented all these present disorders and punishments :- and for sealing up, or closing the prefent vision, or series of visions and prophecy,' by the complete and entire fulfilment of them :- and for anointing the most holy place,' or holy of holies. Very evidently meaning, by all this variety and emphafis of expression, that none of the events which are mentioned in them, and about which he had been fhewing such very great anxiety, would completely come to pass till that season.

As that which follows goes on to explain, with yet greater force and perfpicuity, “know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the word, of which thou waft thinking, (ver. 2.) for the restoring and building Jerusalem, unto the the Melian Prince, or the Anointed Prince,' as Cyrus is expressly called, and as such prophesied of, in Isaiah xlv. I; add also chap. Ixiv. 26, 27, 28.-' fhall be seven weeks,' that is, of years; or so many times feven years; the phraseology being to be explained by verse the second, to which the reference is made, and in which years and not days are spoken of.

• And threescore and two weeks, fill reckoning from the same going forth of the word, or æra, 'the street Thall be built again, and the wall,' that is, the walls and streets of JerufaTem,—though in troublous times,'-or notwithstanding the * Chap. xi. 30. Chap. viii, 23.

trouble t Jer. xxv. 1, 2. I 2

trouble of them. Most probably referring to that opposition which the Jewish people at first met with from the Samaritans, and their other unkind neighbours.

* And after the threescore and two weeks shall Meffiah,' that is, another Meffiah or Anointed Person, be cut off,'--meaning the good high-prieft Onias, who was mentioned formerly, but not because of himself,' or of any demerit and male adminiftration of his own, deserving or requiring such punishment: - And the people of the Prince that shall come, meaning Epiphanes, fhall deftroy the city, and the fanctuary, and the end thereof shall be with a flood,' that is, with the overwhelming violence and rapidity of one, as the same metaphor has been observed to fignify in these prophecies already :-- and unto the end of the war desolations are determined,'— for which see the eleventh chapter, and the commentary upon it, in various places. And he shall confirm the covenant with many,' or make a firm covenant with many, in the one, or laft, or remainder week, in which there may possibly be a reference to kis ftipulations and intrigues with the apoftates who were mena tioned formerly ;- see chap. xi. 30, and the note upon ver. 22, ss and in the midst of the week he shali cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease, and by the overspreading of the abominations, for which alfo see the same eleventh chapter, and the facts which are there mentioned upon ver. 31,- he shall make desolate, even until the confummation, or finishing, and that that is determined be poured out upon the defolate:'-or in other words, until that that is determined fhall be done'; as the same idea was expreffed formerly *.

With respe&t to the times, which are mentioned in this prophecy, Mr. Amner observes firft, that from the going forth of the commandment or word of the Lord concerning Jerusalem to Jeremiah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and firit of Nebuchadnezzart, to the appearance of Cyrus in a public character, and as the leader and general of the united forces of the Medes and Persians against Babylon, was precisely the first of the three periods which the text mentions"; that is, a period of forty-nine years, or of seven weeks of years. See Prideaux's tables, or any other annalist's.

And that if again we reckon from the same æra, --ixty and two weeks of years more, or so many times seven years, will bring us to much about the time of the murder of Onias before-mentioned.-Granting this,' it may be observed in the third place, that from the time of the murder of this good high prieft to that of the restoration of the Jewish affairs, and cleanling of their temple by Maccabæus, was about one week more of these years, -as may be seen by again consulting the • Chap xi 36

fame

?

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »