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INTRODUCTORY AND CONCLUDING REMARKS ON EACH BOOK

nost plausible so blended with errors, that their sublimest sentiments on the sovereign good, or ultimate happiness of man, when compared with those of the Royal Preacher, not only appear cold and languid, but always leave the mind unsatisfied and restless. We are lost in a pompous flow of words; and dazzled, but not illuminated. One sect, by confining happiness to sensual pleasures, so greatly slackened the cord, as to render it wholly useless another, by their too austere and rigid maxims, stretched it so tight, that it snapped asunder; though the experience of all ages has evinced, that these

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latter imposed both on themselves and the world, when they taught that vir tue, however afflicted here, was its own reward, and sufficient of itself to render man completely happy. Even in the brazen bull of Perillus, truth will cry out from the rack, against such fallacious teachers, and prove them liars. The extravagant figments, therefore, of the stoical apathy, no less than those of the voluptuous Epicurean, both equally vanish at the splendour of the Divine truth delivered by Solomon. He alone decides the great question in such a manner, that the soul is instantly convinced: it need seek no further.

THE SONG OF SOLOMON.

INTRODUCTION.

The generality of Jewish expositors consider the allegory as relating to the God of Israel and the Jewish church, but the most eminent Christian divines (especially Protestants) refer it to the pure and spiritual love subsisting between Messiah and the Christian Church, which, in New Testament language, he purchased" with his blood.

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God is represented as the spouse of the church, and the church as the betrothed of God. Thus also the piety of the people, their impiety, their idolatry, and rejection, stand in the same relation to the sacred covenant as chastity, immodesty, adultery, and divorce, with respect to the marriage contract. And this notion is so familiar in Scripture, that the word adultery (or whoredom) is commonly used to denote idolatrous worship; and so appropriate does it appear to this metaphorical purpose, that it very seldom occurs m its proper and literal sense."

IN the First Book of Kings, (chap. iv. 32.) we find Solomon's Songs recorded|sion, be united with him in love; that so all things may be one, as they were one thousand and five," some of which are probably preserved in the from the beginning." Book of Psalms, and others included in the book now before us, which is called the Song of Songs," as the most esteemed and considerable, and probably including several of them. Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux, divided the poem into seven parts, answering to the seven days of the Jewish weddings; and Dr. Percy, (afterwards Bishop of Dromore.) who adopted the same notion, divides it into seven eclogues; but Dr. Mason Good into twelve distinct idyls. Not only is this poem attributed to Solomon in the title, and by general tradition; but there are several points in the imagery which direct us to the age and circumstances of this celebrated king. The towers of David and of Lebanon, the fishpools of Heshbon, the vineyards of Engedi, the chariot and horses of Pharaoh, &c. would hardly have been thus referred to in a much later age. Should it be asked, in what period of Solomon's life it was composed, the style and imagery employed, by no means agree with an advanced stage of life; the references to his marriage certainly incline us to attribute it, with Dr. Lightfoot, to a period not long after his accession to the throne, and it has generally been referred to the occasion of his marriage with Pharaoh's daughter-his only marriage particularly noticed in the Scriptures; and who is dis-tery, but even heresy, by which we mean some fundamental error, such as tinguished from the strange women that turned away his heart to idols. See 1 Kings xi. 1. Some passages have been indeed objected to, as inconsistent with this idea; notwithstanding all objections, however, we still think it the most probable hypothesis.

That this book belongs to the sacred canon, we cannot doubt: indeed the late Dr. Priestley (who was not ready to believe too much) says, "There can be no doubt but that the canon of the Old Testament was the saine in the time of our Saviour as it is now." It has been objected, that Josephus does not name this in his catalogue of the Sacred Books; but though he is not so express as might be wished, there is no reason to think he meant to exclude it. It is well known that the Jews reckoned their inspired books 22, (equal to the nuinber of letters in their alphabet,) and he divides them thus; five books of Moses, thirteen of the prophets, early and later, and "four more, containing hymns to God, and admonitions to men;" which, though he does not distinctly name them, are generally and reasonably reckoned to be, the Psalms, Proverbs. Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. In the Christian church, we find this book in the catalogue of Melito, about A. D. 170; in Origen, about 230; in Athanasius, about 326, and in every succeeding age. "The Song of Songs (for so it is entitled, either on account of the excellence of the subject, or of the composition) is an Epithalamium or nuptial dialogue; or rather, if we may be allowed to give it a title more agreeable to the genius of the Hebrew, a Song of Loves. It is expressive of the utmost fervour, as well as of the utmost delicacy of passion; it is instinet, with all the spirit and all the sweetness of affection. The principal characters are SoJomon himself and his bride, who are represented speaking both in dialogue, and in soliloquy, wiren accidentally separated. Virgins, also, the companions of the bride, are introduced, who seem to be constantly upon the stage, and bear a part in the dialogue; mention, too, is made of young men, friends of the bridegroom, but they are mute persons. This is exactly conformable to the manners of the Hebrews, who had always a number of companions to the bridegroom, thirty of whom were present in honour of Samson, at his nuptial feast.” Still it may be questioned, whether it is to be considered as a secular or a sacred poem. Michaelis, who considers it perfectly chaste in its language, ooks upon it as written in honour of marriage; but others consider it as a sa red allegory; and the very learned and elegant critic just quoted, says, "By several reasons, by the general authority and consent of both the Jewish and Christian churches; and still more by the nature and analogy of the parabolic style, I feel irresistibly inclined to that side of the question which considers this poem as an entire allegory. Those, indeed, who have considered it in a different light, and who have objected against the inconsistency and meanness of the imagery, seem to be but little acquainted with the genius of the parabolic diction." Sir Wm. Jones, Dr. Mason Good, and others, have shown that this also is according to the general style of Eastern poetry, and have given a great number of similar examples from the Persian poets, and even from the Greek and Roman classics: but it is of much more importance to us, that we have similar instances of sacred allegory in other parts of the Old Testament. See Isaiah v. 1. xxvii. 2.; liv. 5, 6.; Ixii. 4, 5. Ezek. xvi. 10-14., Hos. ii. 19, 20. The poem is a sacred allegory. In this light it was certainly considered by the ancient Rabbins: though, like Christian expositors, they differ in their modes of exposition. An old mystical writer says, that God was transformed into love before he made the world. And because God created all things in love, he embraces all things with the same love:" and the sum of all that he exacts of us is, "that, being knit together by mutual love, we may, in concluBOSSUET.

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As the God of Israel was considered as the Husband of the Jewish church, so is Jesus Christ represented in the same relation to the Christian. 2 Cor. xi. 2. Ephes. v. 23. And, consequently, not only is idolatry considered as adulturning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ :" (Jude 4.) and such heretics are threatened to be punished as spiritual adulterers. Rev. ii. 19-24.

But admitting the conjugal relation of Christ and the New Testament Church, it is proper to inquire who are intended mystically by the VIRGINS, the daughters of Jerusalem, and the Companions of the Bridegroom? Commentators seem divided on this subject: but we have a happy clue to our inquiry, from an infallible expositor. When the dispute was agitated between the disciples of John and those of Jesus, why the former fasted and not the others, Jesus calls his own disciples "children of the bride-chamber," which seems of the like import with Companions of the Bridegroom and even John the Baptist himself claims that character. (See Matt. ix. 15. John iii. 29.) Christ then is the Bridegroom, and the Christian Church the bride, the Lamb's wife. (Rev. xxi. 9.) Those who may not be formally members of this church, in any of its ecclesiastical divisions, but love the Bridegroom, and rejoice to hear his voice, may be properly considered as either the friends of the Bridegroom, or the virgin companions of the bride.

But who compose the Christian Church? Most certainly we are not authorized to confine this to the members of any national or congregational church; but we include in it the members of every Christian society who hold Christ "the head," and honour him as such. (Col. ii. 19.) This is the church universal, and we consider as bridal virgins and companions of the Bridegroom, all who desire to unite with her, or delight to hear his voice.

Farther, as that which is true of the whole Christian church must be gene. rally true of all its members, so we think ourselves authorized to apply to each and every one of them all the precepts and all the consolations of this sacred book, with due regard to their peculiar circumstances. And as the language of the Old Testament Church to Messiah was, "Make haste, my Beloved," as in the close of this book: so the Book of Revelation closes with a like de vout aspiration for his second coming-" Even so, come Lord Jesus !"-Says the excellent T. Scott in his introduction to this book: "In short, this Song is a divine allegory in the form of a pastoral, which represents the reciprocal love between Christ and his church, under figures taken from the relation and affection, which subsist between a bridegroom and his espoused bride; an emblem continually employed in Scripture. It has some reference to the state of the Jewish church, as waiting for the coming of the promised Messiah; but if likewise accords to the reciprocal love between Christ and true believers in every age, and the communion which arises from it. In order properly to understand it, we must consider the Redeemer as loving and beloved of his church. The marriage contract is already ratified, but the completion of this blessed union is reserved for the heavenly state. Here on earth the believer loves and rejoices in an unseen Saviour, and seeks his happiness from his spi ritual presence: Christ manifests himself to him as he doth not unto the world and these visits are earnests and foretastes of heavenly joy. But they are interrupted, suspended, or varied, on many accounts; they are often lost by negligence or sin, and can only be recovered by humble repentance and renewed diligence: yet the love on both sides remains unchanged, as to its principle, though varied in the expression of it. These things are represented in a sort of dialogue; in which the church speaks of Christ, or to him; and he answers, and addresses the church: and the daughters of Jerusalem, (who may represent such as are inquiring after this salvation,) are frequently addressed, and reply: thus the varying experiences and correspondent duties of the believer are delineated in a very animating and edifying manner. The following are the divisions of this poem, according to

JAHN.

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6. ch. IV. 8.-V. 1.

7. ch. V. 2.-VI. 10.

9. ch. VII. 1-9.

10. ch. VII. 10.-VIII. 4.

11. ch. VIII. 5-7. 12.

ch. VIII. 8-14.

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8. ch. VIII. 13, 14 CONCLUDING REMARKS.

To whatever species of composition this beautiful poem belongs, it is, beyond all controversy, the finest for elegance and variety of imagery, and the choicest colouring of language, that ever proceeded from the pen of man. Every part of the Canticles," says the learned and eloquent Bossuet, "abounds in poetical beauties: the objects which present themselves on every side, are the choicest plants, the most beautiful flowers, the most delicious fruits, the bloom and vigour of spring, the sweet verdure of the fields, flourish ing and well-watered gardens, pleasant streams and perennial fountains. The other senses are represented as regaled with the most precious odours, natural and artificial; with the sweet singing of birds, and the soft voice of the turtle; with milk and honey, and the choicest wine. To these enchantraents are added all that is beautiful and graceful in the human form, the endearments, the caresses, the delicacy of love: if any object be introduced which seems not to harmonize with this delightful scene, such as the awful prospect of tremendons precipices, the wildness of the mountains, or the hats of the lions, its effect is only to heighten by the contrast the beauty of the other objects, and o add the charms of variety to those of grace and elegance " But this sacred poeth was not merely designed to regale the senses, or to please the imaginauon, but to interest the heart, and to excite, regulate, and direct the chuste af

fections of the mind towards the Creator and Redeemer of the world. Nor was this allegorical mode of describing the sacred union of mankind and the greas Creator peculiar to the Hebrew nation, but it obtained among all the Eastern poets, from the earliest period down to the present time. Sir W. JONES assures us, that, according to the zealous admirers of HAFIZ, wine means devotion; sleep, meditation; perfume, hope of the divine favour; kisses and em braces, the raptures of piety; beauty, the perfection of the Supreme Being tresses, the expansion of his glory, &c. &c. The loves of Mejnoun and Leileh also have been celebrated in the Arabic, Persian, and Turkish languages, with all the charms of poetic rapture; whilst the impassioned lovers themselves are regarded in the same allegorical light as the bride and bridegroom in this sacred poem. A similar emblematic mysticism is equally conspicuous in the bards of India; and the Vedantis or Hindoo commentators have in like manner attributel a double, that is, a literal and spiritual, meaning to their compositions. This is particularly the case with the pastoral drama called the Gitagovinda, or songs of Jayadeva, the subject of which is the loves of Chrisna and Radha, or the reciprocal attraction between the divine goodness and the human soul the style and imagery of which, like those of the Royal Hebrew bard are in the highest degree flowery and amatory.

OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS.

INTRODUCTION TO THE PROPHETS.

THE early Prophets committed nothing to writing; their predictions being enly, or chiefly of a temporal nature, are inserted in the historical books, together with their fulfilment. Such appears to have been the case with Elijah, Elisha, Micaiah, and others; but those who were gifted with the spirit of pro phery in its most exalted sense, and were commissioned to utter predictions, the accomplishment of which was as yet far distant, were directed to write them, or cause them to be written in a book. (Compare Isa. viii. 1.; xxx. 8 Jer. XXX 2: XXXVI. 2, 28. Ezek. xli. 11. Hab. ii. 2, &c.) The predictions thus committed to writing were carefully preserved, under a conviction that they contained important truths, thereafter to be more fully revealed, which were to receive their accomplishment at the appointed periods. It was also the office of the Prophets to commit to writing the history of the Jews; and it is on this sergant that, in the Jewish classification of the books of the Old Testament, we find several historical writings arranged among the Prophets. Throughout thear prophetic and historical books, the utmost plainness and sincerity prevail. They record the idolatries of the nation, and foretel the judgments of God, which were to befall the Jews, in consequence of their forsaking his worship and service; and they have transmitted a relation of the crimes and misconduct of their best princes, David, Solomon, and others (who were types of the Missiah, and from whose race they expected that he would descend: regaming the glones of their several reigns, as presages of his)--who are deserbed, not only without flattery, but also without any reserve or extenuation. They write like men who had no regard to any thing but truth and the glory of God. The manner in which the Prophets announced their predictions varied according to circumstances. Sometimes they uttered them aloud in a public place: and it is in allusion to this practice that Isaiah is commanded to aload, spare not, lift up his voice like a trumpet, and show the people of God their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.' (Isa. lviii. 1.) Sometimes their predictions were affixed to the gates of the temple, where they might be generally read; (Jer. vii. 2,;) but upon important occasions, when it was necessary to rouse the fears of a disobedient people, and to recall them to repentance, the Prophets, as ubjects of universal attention, appear to have wilked about publicly in sackcloth, and with every external mark of humiliation and sorrow. They then adopted extraordinary modes of expressing their convictions of impending wrath, and endeavoured to awaken the apprehensons of their countrymen, by the most striking illustrations of threatened punishment. Thus Jeremiah made bonds and yokes, and put them on his neck, (Jer. xxvi.) strongly to intimate the subjection that God would bring on the nations whom Nebuchadnezzar should subdue. Isaiah likewise walked naked; that is, without the rough garment of the prophet; and barefoot, (Isa. Xx 2) as a sign of the distress that awaited the Egyptians. So Jeremiah broke the potter's vessel; (xix. 10.;) and Ezekiel publicly removed his household goods from the city, more forcibly to represent, by these actions, some correspondent calamities ready to fall on nations obnoxious to God's wrath; tais mode of expressing important circumstances by action being customary and familiar among all Eastern nations.

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Sometimes the prophets were commanded to seal and shut up their prophries, that the originals might be preserved until they were accomplished, and then compared with the event, (Isa. viii. 16. Jer. xxxii. 14. Dan. viii. 26. ; and 4) For, when the prophecies were not to be fulfilled till after many years, and in some cases, not till after several ages, it was requisite that the original writings should be kept with the utmost care; but when the time was so gear at hand, that the prophecies must be fresh in every person's recollection, or that the originals could not be suspected or supposed to be lost, the same care was not required, (Rev. xxii. 10.) It seems to have been customary for the Prophets to deposit their writings in the tabernacle, or lay them up before the Lord. (1 Sam. x. 25.) And there is a tradition, that all the canonical books, as well as the law, were put into the side of the ark."-Horne's IntroCastion. We here subjoin the following passages from other writers of eminence, on two important points connected with this subject :

ON PROPHETIC ACTION.

"There is a circumstance running through the Old and New Testament, which has puzzled many serious inquirers, owing to their unacquaintance with former manners: I speak of the mode of information by action. In the first ages, when words were few, men made up the deficiency of speech by action, as savages are observed to do at this day so that conveying ideas by action was as usual az conveying them by speech. This practice, from its significancy and strong tendency to imprint vivid pictures on the imagination, endad long after the reasons for its origination ceased. It appears to have been esficed to no particular country. The Scythians sent Darius a mouse, a frog, and a bird, which action spoke as plainly as words could do, and much mum energetically, that he should fly with all speed to inaccessible fastnesses. When the son of Tarquinius Superbus had counterfeited desertion to Gabii, and had secured the confidence of the citizens, he sent a trusty messenger to has father to know how he should conduct himself. Tarquin led him into a ganin, struck off the heads of the highest poppies in his presence; which being related to Sextus, he knew that he should take off the heads of the principal inhabitants. Conformable to this usage, when Jacob feared the wrath of Essa, an angel wrestled with him thereby signifying that his apprehensions were groundless, and that, as he had prevailed with a divine Being, so he should be powerful over man. Conformable to this, Ezekiel puts on a yoke to resent the bondage of his countrymen, and walks without his upper garmeat, to represent their nakedness in captivity. Conformable to this, Jesus

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Christ curses the fig tree, to prefigure the fate of a people unfruitful in good works. Agabus binds himself with Paul's girdle, to prefigure the imprisonment of the latter; and a mighty angel, in the Revelation, cast a huge stone into the sea, saying, Thus shall Babylon be cast down, and found no more at all for ever.-At other times this information was conveyed in visions, and not literally transacted; as when Ezekiel is said to lie many days on one side; to carry a wine-cup to the neighbouring kings; and to bury a book in the Euphrates. The reader must own now that in this mode of instruction there was nothing fanatic; for fanaticism consists in a fondness for unusual actions, or modes of speech: whereas these were general, and accommodated to the ruling taste. If God spoke in the language of eternity, who could understand him? He, like the prophet, shrinks himself into the proportion of the child, which he means to revive."--(Murray's evidences of the Jewish and Christian Revelations.) THE SUBJECTS OF PROPHECY.

The subjects of prophecy are various and extensive, indeed so much so, as has been shown by Bishop Newton, that they form a chain of predictions from the beginning to the end of the Bible, and the world; but the grand subject of prophecy is the coming and kingdom of the Messiah, who was promised as the seed of the woman and of Abraham, the son of David and of God. This is indeed the prominent topic of most of the Prophets now before us, and especially of Isaiah. Many of his predictions will be found to refer to him alone; and others, though they may have a partial accomplishment in nearer events and interior circumstances, have in him their final and complete accomplishment

The argument from prophecy, (says the learned Bishop Hurd) is not to be formed from the consideration of single prophecies, but from all the prophecies taken together, and considered as making one system; in which, from the mutual dependance and connexion of its parts, preceding prophecies prepare and illustrate those which follow; and these again reflect light on the foregoing; just as, in any philosophical system, that which shows the solidity of it, is the harmony and correspondence of the whole; not the application of it in particular instances. "Hence, though the evidence be but small, from the completion of any one prophecy taken separately, yet, that evidence being always something, the amount of the whole evidence resulting from a great number of prophecies, all relative to the same design, may be considerable; like many scattered rays, which, though each be weak in itself, yet, concentred into one point, shall form a strong light, and strike the sense very powerfully. Still more: this evidence is not simply a growing evidence, but is indeed multiplied upon us, from the number of reflected lights which the several component parts of such a systein reciprocally throw upon each; till, at length, the conviction rises unto a high degree of moral certainty." (Hurd's Sermons on Prophecy.) It is certain that the writings of the ancient Prophets were carefully preserved during the captivity, and they are frequently referred to and cited by the later Prophets. Thus the prophecy of Micah is quoted in Jer. xxvi. 18, a short time before the captivity, and, under it the prophecy of Jeremiah is cited in Dan. ix. 2, and the Prophets generally in ix. 6. Zechariah not only quotes the former Prophets, (i. 4.) but supposes their writings to be well known to the people, (vii, 7.) It is evident that Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Zechariah, and the other Prophets, who flourished during the captivity, carefully preserved the writings of their inspired predecessors; for they very frequently cited and appealed to them, and expected deliverance from their captivity by the accomplishment of their predictions.

Although some parts of the writings of the Prophets are clearly in prose, of which instances occur in the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jonah. and Daniel, yet by far the larger portion of the prophetic writings are classed by Bishop Lowth among the poetical productions of the Jews, and (with the exception of certain passages in Isaiah, Habakkuk, and Ezekiel, which appear to constitute complete poems of different kinds, odes as well as elegies) form a particular species of poesy, which he distinguishes by the appellation of prophetic. The prophetic poesy," says the same learned Prelate, is more onamented, more splendid, and more florid, than any other. It abounds more in imagery, at least that species of imagery which, in the parabolic style, is of common and established acceptation; and which, by means of a settled analogy, always preserved, is transferred from certain and definite objects, to express indefinite and general ideas. Of all the images peculiar to the parabolic style, it most frequently introduces those which are taken from natural objects and sacred history; it abounds in metaphors, allegories, comparisons, and even in copious and diffuse descriptions; it excels in the brightness of imagination, and in clearness and energy of diction, and consequently rises to an uncommon pitch of sublimity."

As it is well known the Prophets did not live nor write in the order in which their books are inserted in our Bible, we shall here introduce a Chronological Table of their respective dates, from Horne. The four greater prophets (as they are called) we shall distinguish by putting their names in capitals. These Prophets, Horne remarks, may be arranged under three periods:1. Before the Babylonian captivity-Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Joel, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah: For the history of this period, see the second book of the Kings and Chronicles.

2. During the captivity, in part or in whole-Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Daniel, Obadiah, and Ezekiel.

3. After the return-Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Ezra and Nehemiah as to this period.

TABLE OF THE PROPHETS.

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INTRODUCTORY AND CONCLUDING REMARKS ON EACH BOOK

THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET ISAIAH.

INTRODUCTION.

ISAIAH, who is placed first in our sacred volume, prophesied at least during prophet; but Amoz, the son of Joash, and brother of Uzziah, king of Judah. four reigns, as stated chap. i. 1; he flourished between A. M. 3194 and 3306, His style of writing is so sublime and beautiful, that Bishop Loweth calls him, o B. C. 810 and 698; and, as some think, also, during part of the reign of Ma- "the prince of all the prophets." He has been also called the Evangelical Pronasseh, whom the Jews charge with being his murderer, by sawing him asun-phet, from the many discoveries he exhibits of the work and character of the der at a very advanced age. He calls himself the son of Amoz-not Amos the Messiah.

CONCLUDING REMARKS.

vation and majesty; in his imagery, the utmost propriety, elegance, dignity,
and diversity; in his language, uncommon beauty and energy; and notwit
standing the obscurity of his subjects, a surprising degree of clearness and
simplicity. To these we may add, there is such sweetness in the poetical
composition of his sentences, whether it proceed from art or genius, that it
the Hebrew poetry at present is possessed of any remains of its native grace
and harmony, we shall chiefly find them in the writings of Isaiah; so that the
saying of Ezekiel may justly be applied to this prophet:
Thou art the confirmed exemplar of measures,

The predictions of Isaiah are so explicit and determinate, as well as so nu-ness, and dignity with variety. In his sentiments, there is extraordinary elemerous, that he seems to speak rather of things past than of events yet future; and he may be rather called an evangelist than a prophet. Though later critics have expended much labour and learning in order to rob the prophet of his title; yet no one, whose mind is unprejudiced, can be at a loss in applying select portions of these prophecies to the mission and character of Jesus Christ, and to the events in his history which they are cited to illustrate by the sacred writers of the New Testament. In fact, his prophecies concerning the Messiah seem almost to anticipate the Gospel history; so clearly do they predict his divine character, (Comp. ch. vii. 14. with Mat. i. 18-23. and Luke i. 27-35. ch. vi. ix. 6. xxxv. 4. xl. 5, 9, 19. xlii. 6-8. Ixi. 1. with Lu. iv. 18. ch. lxii. 11. lxiii. 1—4.); his miracles, (ch. xxxv. 5, 6.); his peculiar character and virtues, (ch. xi. 2, 3. xl. 11. xliii. 1-3.); his rejection, (Comp. ch. vi. 9—12. with Mar. xiii. 14. ch. vii. 14, 15. liii. 3.); his sufferings for our sins, (ch. 1. 6. l. 4-11.); his death and burial, (ch. liii. 8, 9.); his victory over death, (ch. XXV. 8. liii. 10, 12.); his final glory, (ch. xlix. 7, 22, 33. lii. 13-15. lui. 4, 5.); and the establishment, increase, and perfection of his kingdom, (ch. ii. 2-4. ix. 2, 7. xi. 4-10. xvi. 5. xxix. 18-24. xxxii. 1. xl. 4, 5. xlii. 4. xlvi. 13. xlix. 9-13. li. 3-6. lii. 6-10. lv. 1-3. lix. 16-21. lx. lxi. 1–5. lxv. 25.); each specifically pointed out, and portrayed with the most striking and discriminating charac ters. It is impossible, indeed, to reflect on these, and on the whole chain of his illustrious prophecies, and not be sensible that they furnish the most incontestable evidences in support of Christianity. The style of Isaiah has been universally ad mired as the most perfect model of elegance and sublimity; and as distinguishutters his enraptured strains with an elevation and majesty that unhallowed ed for all the magnificence, and for all the sweetness, of the Hebrew language. "Isaiah," says Bishop Lowth," the first of the prophets, both in order and dignity, abounds in such transcendent excellencies, that he may be properly said to afford the most perfect model of the prophetic poetry. He is at once elegant and sublime, forcible and ornamental'; he unites energy with copious-salvation of man.

Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty-Ez. chap. xxviii. 12 Isaiah also greatly excels in all the graces of method, order, connexion, and arrangement; though, in asserting this, we must not forget the nature of the prophetic impulse, which bears away the mind with irresistible violence, and frequently in rapid transitions from near to remote objects, from human to divine: we must likewise be careful in remarking the limits of particular predictions, since, as they are now extant, they are often improperly connected, without any marks of discrimination, which injudicious arrangement, or some occasions, creates almost insuperable difficulties." But, though the variety of his images, and the warmth of his expressions, characterize him as unequalled in elequence: and, though the marks of a cultivated mind are stamped in every page of his book, yet these are almost eclipsed by the splendour of his inspired knowledge. In the delivery of his prophecies and instructions, be lips could never attain; and from the grand exordium in the first chapter to the concluding description of the Gospel, to "be brought forth" in wonders, and to terminate in the dispensation of eternity, there is one continued display of inspired wisdom, revealing its oracles and precepts for the instruction and

THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAH.

INTRODUCTION.

JEREMIAH was a Priest, who resided at Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin, | in his Lamentations; but he sometime emulates the sublimity of Isaiah. The and was called to the prophetic office when very young, in the 13th year of king Josiah, and about 70 years after the death of Isaiah, A. M. 3375. B. C. 629. He exercised his ministry about 42 years, with great faithfulness and zeal, and in very unfavourable circumstances; till after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans; and is generally supposed to have died about two years afterwards in Egypt. At the commencement of his labours, the sins of Judah were come to their full measure, after a reformation had in vain been attempted by good Josiah, who was called to Heaven at an early age, as a punishment for their transgressions. His two sons, who successively filled the throne after him, were as remarkable for vice, as their father was for virtue. Their history we have already seen, 2 Kings, xxiii. to xxv. compared with 2 Chron. xxxv. and xxxvi. Jeremiah was a man of sincere piety, unblemished integrity, and warm patriotism; so much so, that rather than seek a separate asylum, which he might have undoubtedly enjoyed under the king of Babylon, he chose to flee with his brethren into Egypt, though in that step they acted contrary to his advice. There is a tradition that the Jews of Tahapanes stoned him for the fidelity of his remonstrances against their idolatry and other vices. If so, a few years after wards they were properly rewarded by the armies of the king of Babylon, according to his own prediction, chap. xliv. 27, 28.

chapters merely narrative are in prose, but the prophetic parts, which form the bulk of the book, are in the usual poetical style. Horne divides the book into four parts; the first comprising the introduction, and all the prophecies supposed to be delivered under the reign of king Josiah 2. The prophecies under the reign of Jehoiakim.-3. Those in the reign of Zedekiah: and. 4. An account of the affairs of Judah, from the capture of Jerusalem to their flight into Egypt. The chapters in our present copies are evidently not arranged according to the time in which they were delivered, and perhaps cannot now be so arranged with certainty: we shall, however, give the order adopted by Dr. Blayney, though we cannot from the nature of our work, adopt it. This order is exactly adopted by Dr. Boothroyd. Dr. J. G. Dahler, Professor of Theology in the Protestant seminary of Strasburg, in an elaborate and very judicious transla tion of this Prophet, has divided the whole into sections, each of which is introduced with excellent observations relative to time, place, circumstances, and matter contained in that section. The discourses, or prophecies, delivered under a particular reign, are all produced in their chronological order. Tiensend, however, comparing and examining the systems of other commentators, has given a table of chronological arrangement, differing in several particulars which we should be glad to copy; but, for want of room, we can only refer to it. Arrangement of the Prophecies of Jeremiah, according to Dr. Blayney. Chap. XLV.

The style of Jeremiah was tender and pathetic to a high degree, especially

Chap. I.-XX.

Chao, XXI.

XXXIV.

Chap. XXXIX. 1–14.

XXII.

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XXIV.

XXIX.

XXX.

XXXI.

XXVII.

XXVIII

According to Dr. Dahler.

Chap. XXIII. 9-40.

XXXV. 1-19.
XXV. 1-38.
XXXVI 1-32.

XLV. 1-5.

XII. 14-17.

X. 17-25.

Under Jechoniah.

Chap. XIII. 1-27.

Under Zedekiah.

Chap. XXII. 1.--XXIII. 8.

XI. 1-17.

XI. 18-XII. 13.
XXIV. 1-10.
XXIX. 1-32.

XXXVII.

XXXII.

XXXIII.

XXXVIII.
XXXIX. 15-19.

Chap. XXVII. 1.-XXVIII. 17.
XLIX. 34-39.
II. 59-64.
XXI. 1-14.
XXXIV. 1-7.
XXXVII 1-10.
XXXIV. 9- 22.
XXXVII. 11-21
XXXVIII. 1-28.
ΧΧΧΙΧ. 15-18.
ΧΧΧΙ. 1-44.
XXXIII 1-10.

XXXIX. 1-10.

After the destruction of Jeru-
salem.

Chap. XXXIX. 11–14.
XL. 1.-XLI. 18.

CONCLUDING REMARKS.

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JEREMIAH, as a prophet and patriot, must ever occupy the highest rank. He | standing their injurious treatment of him, that he chose rather to abide with discharged the duties of the prophetic office, for upwards of forty years, with them, and share their hardships, than separately to enjoy ease and affluence at the most unremitting diligence and fidelity; though, in the course of his mi- the court of Babylon! His prophecies, the circumstantial accomplishment of nistry, he met with great difficulties and opposition from his countrymen of all which is often specified in the Sacred Writings, are of a very distinguished, deranks, whose persecution and ill usage sometimes wrought so far on his mind, terminate, and illustrious character. He foretold the fate of Zedekiah, and the as to draw from him, in the bitterness of his soul, expressions which many calamities which impended over his country; representing in the most de have thought hard to reconcile with his religious principles: but which, when scriptive terms, and under the most expressive images, the destruction which duly weighed, may be found to demand pity rather than censure. He was a the invading army should produce; and bewailing, in pathetic expostulation, man of the most unblemished piety and conscientious integrity loved his the spiritual adulteries which had provoked JEHOVAH, after long forbearance, country, for the welfare of which he watched, prayed, and lived, with all the to threaten Jndah with condign punishment, at a time when the false proardour of enthusiasm, and deplored her miseries with the most pathetic elo- phets deluded the nation with promises of "assured peace," and when the peoquence; and so affectionately attached was he to his countrymen, notwith-ple, in impious contempt of "the word of the LORD," defied its accomplisiunent.

OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS.

He also predicted the Babylonish captivity, and the precise period of its dura- | tion; the destruction of Babylon, and the downfall of many nations; the gradual and successive completion of which predictions kept up the confidence of the Jews, for the accomplishment of those prophecies which he delivered relaLive to the Messiah and his period :—his miraculous conception; his divinity and mediatonal kingdom; and particularly the new and everlasting covenant which was to be established with the true Israel of God upon the sacrifice of the Messiah. The character of Jeremiah, as a writer, is thus ably drawn by Bp. Lowth: "Jeremiah is by no means wanting either in elegance or sublimity, afthough generally speaking, inferior to Isaiah in both ST. JEROME has ob jected to him a certain rusticity in his diction; of which, I must confess, I do not discover the smallest trace. His thoughts, indeed, are somewhat less clevated, and he is commonly more copious and diffuse in his sentences: but the reason of this may be, that he is mostly taken up with the gentler passions of grief and pity, for the expressing of which he has a peculiar talent. This is most evident in the Lamentations, where those passions altogether predominate; but is often visible also in his Prophecies; in the former part of the book more especially, which is principally poetical. The middle parts are, for the most

part, historical: but the last part, consisting of six chapters, is entirely poettcal; and contains several oracles distinctly marked, in which this Prophet falls very little short of the loftiest style of Isaiah." His images are, in general, perhaps less lofty, and his expressions less dignified, than those of some others of the sacred writers; but the character of his work, which breathes a tenderness of sorrow calculated to awaken and interest the milder affections, led him to reject the majestic and declamatory tone in which the prophetic censures and denunciations were sometimes conveyed. The holy zeal of the prophet is, however, often excited to a very vigorous and overwhelining eloquence, in inveighing agamst the audacity with which the Jews gloried in their abominations; and his descriptions, especially the last six chapters, have all the vivid colouring that might be expected from a painter of contemporary scenes. historical part, which chiefly relates to his own conduct, and the completion of those predictions which he had delivered, is characterized by much simplicity of style; and possesses some marks of antiquity that ascertain the date of its composition. Thus the months are reckoned by numbers; a mode which did not obtain after the captivity, when they were dytinguished by Chaldaic

namcs.

THE LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH.

INTRODUCTION.

THIS Book is denominated in Hebrew, Aichah, "How," from its first word and sometimes Kinoth, “Lamentations," from its subject; whence it is termed in the Septuagint Threnoi tou Jeremoiu, "the Lamentations of Jeremah" which is followed by the Syriac and Arabic, and also by the Vulgate, from the Lamentationes of which is derived its name in our language. That Jeremiah was the author of this Book is evident, not only from the current opinon of both ancient and modern times, but also from the exact correspondence of the style with that of his prophecies; and, though some eminent writers, as JOSEPHUS, JEROME, JUNIUS, and Abp. USHER, have thought that it was com posed on the death of Josiah, (2 Chronicles xxxv. 25,) yet the whole tenor of it, as well as its phraseology, plainly shows that it was composed on the oc casion of the destruction of Jerusaleni, and the various desolations connected The inimitable poem is very properly divided into five chapters, each of them containing a distinct elegy, consisting of twenty-two stanzas, according to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet; although it is in the four first chapters only that the several stanzas begin, after the inanner of an acrostic, with the tierent letters following each other in alphabetical order. In the first two chapters, each verse, or stanza, forns a triplet, except the seventh verse of the first and the nineteenth of the second, which have each a supernumerary line. In the third chapter, each stanza consists of three verses, which have all the same intial letter, so that the whole alphabet is thrice repeated. The fourth chapter resembles the three former in metre, but the stanzas are only couplets; CONCLUDING

with it.

The

and in the fifth chapter, which is not arranged according to the initial letter, the stanzas are also couplets, but of a considerably shorter measure. The prophet begins with lamenting the sad reverse of fortune which had befallen his coun try, confessing at the same time that her calamities were the just consequence of her sins; in the midst of which Jerusalem herself is introduced to continue the sad complaint, and to solicit the Divine mercy; he then shows the dire effects of the Divine anger, in the calamities brought upon his country; the unparalleled calamities of which he charges, in a great measure, upon the false prophets; and in this desperate condition, the astonishment and by-word of all who see her, he directs Jerusalem to seek for mercy and pardon; he next, by enumerating his own severe trials, and showing his trust in God, encourages the people to the same resignation and trust in the Divine mercy; vindicates the goodness of God in all his dispensations, and shows the unreasonableness of murmuring under them; recommends self-examination and repentance; and from past deliverances, encourages them to expect pardon of their sins, and retribution on their enemies; he then contrasts the deplorable state of the nation with its ancient prosperity; ascribes the unhappy change, in a great degree, to the profligacy of the priests and prophets; deeply and tenderly laments the national calamities; predicts the ruin of the insulting Edomites; and promises deliverance from captivity; and in conclusion, he introduces the nation groaning under their calamities, and humbly supplicating the Divine favour, to commiserate their wretchedness, and to restore them to their ancient prosperity.

REMARKS.

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THE Lamentations of Jeremiah, as Bishop Lowth observes, consist of a rumber of plaintive effusions, composed upon the plan of the funeral dirges, all upon the same subject, and uttered without connexion 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. In the charactor of a mourner, he celebrates in plaintive strains the obsequies of his ruined Catry: whatever presented itself to his mind in the midst of desolation and asry, whatever struck him as particularly wretched and calamitous, whatever the instant sentiment of sorrow dictated, he pours forth in a kind of spontaneous effusion. The prophet has so copiously, so tenderly, and poeti rally bewailed the misfortunes of his country, that he seems completely to have filled the office and duty of a mourner. It may be doubted, if there be Extant any poem, which displays such a happy and splendid selection of imaEty in so comeentrated a state. Never was there a more rich and elegant variety of beautiful images and adjuncts arranged together within so small a compass, por more happily chosen and applied; and though there is no artified in various combinations, and in various points of view. Misery has no cial or methodical arrangement in these incomparable elegies, yet they are totally free from wild incoherency, or abrupt transition. What can be more ekzist and poetical than the description of that once flourishing city, lately chef among the nations, sitting in the character of a female, solitary, afflict est, in a state of welowhood, deserted by her friends, betrayed by her dearest connexions, imploring relief, and seeking consolation in vain! What a beauof personification is that of " the ways of Ziot mourning because none are come to her solemn feasts!" How tender and pathetic is the following complaint: Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by, behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord

hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger!" But to detail its beauties would be to transcribe the entire poem. "Nor can we too much admire," says Dr. Blayney, the full and grateful flow of that pathetic eloquence, in which the author pours forth the effusions of a patriotic heart, and piously weeps over the ruins of his venerable country... But the prophet's peculiar talent lay in working up, and expressing the passions of grief and pity; and, unhappily for him, as a man and a citizen, he met with a subject but too well calculated to give his genius its full display." "One would think," says Dr. South, that every letter was written with a tear-every word the noise of a broken heart that the author was a man compacted of sorrows, disciplined to grief from his infancy; one who never breathed but in sighs, nor spoke but in a groan. "David," observes Dr. A. Clarke, has forcibly depicted the sorrows of a heart oppressed with penitential sorrow; but where, in a composition of such length, have bodily misery and mental agony been more successfully painted? All the expressions and images of sorrow are here exhibitexpression that the author of the Lamentations has not employed. Patriots! you who tell us yon burn for your country's welfare, look at the prophecies and history of this extraordinary man ;-look at his Lamentations ;-take him through his life to his death, and learn from him what true patriotism means! The man who watched, prayed, and lived, for the welfare of his country: who chose to share her adversities, her sorrows, her wants, her afflictions, and disgrace, when he might have been a companion of princes, and have sat at the table of kings!-who only ceased to live for his country when he ceased to breathe-that was a patriot, in comparison with whom almost all others are obscured, minished, and brought low; or are totally annihilated !"

THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET EZEKIEL.

INTRODUCTION.

ments impending over that country, with the complete destruction of Jerusa lem, both city and temple; and inveighs against those heinous sins which were the cause of such calamities.

As to the style of the prophet Ezekiel, Bishop Lowth, the most unquestionable judge of Hebrew composition, thus describes it:-"Ezekiel is much inferior to Jeremiah in elegance; in sublimity, he is not even excelled by Isaiah but his 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," &c. He is generally charged with being obscure; but his obscurity is that necessary to the sublime: and the great critic just quoted remarks, "His diction is sufficiently perspicuous; all his obscurity consists in the nature of the subject."

"WE have now come to the prophecies of Ezekiel, which were addressed
to the captives at Babylon, before and after the captivity of Zedekiah, and
the destruction of the temple. They must therefore be delivered at the same
tare, and against the same crimes, against which Jeremiah was denouncing
the judgments of God at Jerusalem. Both prophets predicted the same
events, promised to the faithful the same consolations, and threatened the dis-
obedert and idolatrous among their countrymen with the same punishments.
Both prophets united in denunciation against the false prophets, and in antici-
rations of the ultimate restoration of the Jews from the Babylonish cap-
Livity."
Ezekiel, as himself tells us, (chap. i. 3.) was the son of Buzi, and a priest,
Bs well as Jeremish, though of a different family. He was, according to the
PRET DO EPIPHANIES, born at a place called Saresa. He was carried cap-
ve from Jerusalem at the same time with Jehoiachin, and stationed on the
bonds of the river Chbar, where he continued statedly to reside.
In the fifth year of this captivity, the era from which he dates his prophe-
e. Ezekiel began his office, which he exercised about 25 years. The com-
mencement of this period falls on the year before Christ 595, and 34 years after
Jeremiah had began his office: so that the last eight years of Jeremiah coin-
de with the first eight of Ezekiel. The design of this prophet seems to be,
chy to convince his fellow captives in Babylon, that they were mistaken
sung that their brethren, who still remained in Judea, were in happier
dreamstances than themselves: for this end, he describes the awful judg-surrection of dry bones."

In our introduction to Isaiah we have remarked, that the propheta frequently made use of actions as well as words, in the delivery of their predictions; and this was particularly the case with Ezekiel," who delineates the siege of Jerusalem on a tile-weighs the hair of his beard in balances-carries out his household stuff-and joins together the two sticks of Judah and Israel. By these actions, the prophets instructed the people in the will of God, and conversed with them in signs: but where God teaches the prophet, and in compliance with the custom of that time, condescends to the same mode of instruction, then the signification is generally changed into a vision, either na tural or extraordinary, as (in the prophet Ezekiel) the ideal scene of the re

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INTRODUCTORY AND CONCLUDING REMARKS ON EACH BOOK

CONCLUDING REMARKS.

THE character of Ezekiel, as a writer and a poet, is thus admirably drawn Ezekiel is much inferior to Jeremiah in by the masterly hand of Bp. Lowth: elegance; in sublimity, he is not even excelled by Isaiah; but his 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, animated, full of fire and indignation; his imagery is crowded, magnificent, terrific, and sometimes bordering on indelicacy; his language is grand, solemn, austere, rough, and at times unpolished; he abounds in repetitions not for the sake of grace or elegance, but from vehemence and indignation. Whatever subject he treats of, that he sedulously pursues; from that be rarely departs, but cleaves, as it were, to it; whence the connexion is in general evident and well preserved. In other respects, he may perhaps be exceeded by the other prophets; but, for that species of composition to which he seems adapted by nature, the forcible, impetuous, grave, and grand, not one of the sacred writers is superior to him. His diction is sufficiently perspicuous; all his obscurity arises from the nature of his subjects. Visions (as for instance, among others, those of Hosea, Amos, and Zechariah,) are necessarily dark and confused. The greater part of Ezekiel, particularly towards the middle of the book, is poetical, whether we regard the matter or the language. But some passages are so rude and unpolished, that we are frequently at a loss to what species of writing we ought to refer them." Michaelis, however, so far from esteeming him as equal to Isaiah in sublimity, is inclined to think, that he displays more art and luxuriance in amplifying and decorating his subject than are consistent with the poetical fervour, or indeed with true sublimity; and pronounces him to be in general an imitator, who has the art of giving an air of novelty and ingenuity, but not of grandeur and sublimity, to all his compositions; and that, as he lived at a period when the Hebrew language was visibly on the decline, so if we compare him with the Latin poets who succeeded the Augustan age, we may find some resemblance in the style, something that indicates the old age of poetry. But, as Abp. Newcome judiciously observes, the prophet is not to be considered merely as a poet, or as a framer of those august and as

tonishing visions, and of those admirable poetical representations, which ha committed to writing; but as an instrument in the hands of God, who vouch safed to reveal himself, through a long succession of ages, not only in divers parts constituting a magnificent and uniform whole, but also in different man ners, as by voice, by dreams, by inspiration, and by plain or enigmatical vision. Ezekiel is a great poet, full of originality; and, in my opinion, whoever cen sures him as if he were only an imitator of the old prophets, can never have felt his power. He must not, in general, be compared with Isaiah, and the rest of the old prophets. Those are great, Ezekiel is also great; those in their manner of poetry, Ezekiel in his; which he had invented for himself, if we may foun our judgment from the Hebrew monuments still extant." To justify thas character, the learned prelate descends to particulars, and gives apposite examples, not only of the clear, flowing, and nervous, but also of the sublime; and concludes his observations on his style, by stating it to be his deliberate opinion. that if his style is the old age of the Hebrew language and composition, it is a firm and vigorous one, and should induce us to trace its youth and manhood with the most assiduous attention." As a prophet, Ezekiel must ever be al lowed to occupy a very high rank; and few of the prophets have left a more valu able treasure to the church of God than he has. It is true, he is in several places obscure; but this resulted either from the nature of his subjects, or the events predicted being still unfulfilled: and, when time has rolled away the mist of futurity, successive generations will then perceive with what heavenly wisdom this much neglected prophet has spoken. There is, however, a great proportion of his work which is free from every obscurity, and highly edifying. He has sọ accurately and minutely foretold the fate and condition of various nations and cities, that nothing can be more interesting than to trace the exact accomplishment of these prophecies in the accounts furnished by historians and travellers ↑ while, under the elegant type of a new temple to be erected, a new worship to be introduced, and a new Jerusalem to be built, with new land to be allotted to the twelve tribea, may be discovered the vast extent and glory of the New Tes tament Church.

THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET DANIEL.

INTRODUCTION.

DANIEL is the last of those usually called the four greater Prophets, not for their superior excellence or authority, but for their contents: the book of Daniel is, however, much shorter than either of the other three. Indeed, some of the minor Prophets, as Hosea and Zechariah, contain more chapters than Daniel, though not more matter. Daniel was of noble descent, and probably, as the Jews assert, related to the royal family of Judah. He was carried captive to Babylon at an early age, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, A. M. 3398, and in the 606th year before the Christian era. Having been initiated into the mysterious learning of the Chaldeans, he was found qualified for the highest offices in the courts of Babylon and Persia; he did not defile himself with their idolatries, but became eminent for his piety as well as his wisdom. In consequence of his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he was established governor of the province of Babylon, and chief of the wise men; and he seems to have continued in an exalted station, and in offices of great trust and power, through all the subsequent period of the Chaldean monarchy, and afterwards under Darius the Mede, and Cyrus the Persian. He was contemporary with Ezekiel, who mentions his extraordinary piety and wisdom, (ch. xiv. 14, 20,) the latter of which, even at that time, seenis to have become proverbial, (ch. xxviii. 3.) He lived throughout the seventy years' captivity, but it does not appear that he returned to his own country; and as the last of his visions, of which we have any account, took place in the third year of Cyrus, about B. C. 534, when he was about ninety-four years of age, and resided at Susa, or Shouster, it is not improbable that he died and was buried there, as some Asiatic authors affirm, where his tomb is still shown!

|

Theodosius's Greek version, which are admitted into the Catholic Canon of the Old Testament by the Council of Trent. These are, The History of Susan na," which, in its title, is said to be "set apart from the beginning of Daniel," and the History for rather fable as Erasmus calls it) of Bel and the Dragon," cut off from the end of it; also the Song of the Three Children" in the fiery furnace, all which are rejected from the Canon by the learned and judicious Lardner, and by all consistent Protestants, as never having existed in the Hebrew or Chaldee languages.

We should not omit to add, that the beginning and latter parts of this book in the original are Hebrew, but the middle part, from chap. L. 4, to the end of chap. vii., is in Chaldaic, the language of the country in which the prophet lived. Commentators generally divide the whole book into two parts; the former, comprising the first six chapters, containing the history of Daniel, and the three worthies cast into the fiery furnace; also of the kings Nebuchadnez zar, Belshazzar, and Darius. The second part, including the last six chapters, contains a series of important prophetic visions, which we shall endeavour, with the assistance above mentioned, to explain. Sir Is. Newton considered these prophecies of such importance, that he says, to reject them, is to reject the Christian Religion. For this religion is founded on his (Daniel's) prophecy concerning the Messiah.

Though we cannot pretend to settle the difficult chronology of this book, we may remark, that it embraces the whole seventy years of the Babylonish captivity, and indeed, commenced considerably before; for Daniel, being carried away with the first Jewish captives, is thought to have interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's first dream of the mysterious image of gold, &c., several years prior to that calamity. The other historical events here contained, are supposed to suechildren cast into the fiery furnace, for refusing to worship it, B. C. 580, His derangement, which lasted seven years, began about 569 B. C. Belshazzar's alarm at the hand-writing on the wall; his death, and the conquest of Babylon, 538. Daniel cast into the lion's den, and wonderful deliverance, 537; after which he was promoted by Darius to the highest honours of his realm, and lived to the third year of Cyrus, King of Persia, (chapter x. 1.) when he is calculated to have been 94 years of age; the true reason probably that he returned not to Judea.

Though Daniel's name is not prefixed to this book, he speaks so often in the first person as to leave no reason to doubt the fact; it has been almost univer-ceed in the following order :-His idolatrous image set up, and the three Hebrew sally admitted both by Jews and Christians. The evidence arising from his predictions in favour of Christianity, have led some Jews to speak degradingly of his authority; Josephus, however, speaks of him as one of the greatest of the Prophets; but to us Christians "the testimony of Jesus," who calls him "the Prophet Daniel," (Matt. xxiv. 15.) is paramount to all others. Neither this book, nor that of Jonah, is considered as poetical, though some passages are remarkably sublime. Some additions to this book are, indeed, found in the Vulgate Latin, and in

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CONCLUDING REMARKS.

DANIEL, as a writer, is simple, yet pure and correct, whether he writes Hebrew or Chaldee; and is so conscientious, that he relates the very words of the persons whom he introduces as speaking. Though his style is not so lofty and figurative as that of the other prophets, it is more suitable to his subject, being clear and concise; his narratives and descriptions are simple and natural; and, in short, he writes more like a historian than a prophet. His predictions are the most extraordinary and comprehensive of all that are found in the prophetical writings, for they include the general history of the world, as well as that of the church of God under the Jewish and Christian dispensations, from the period in which he lived to the final consummation of all things; and he alone, of all the prophets, foretold the exact time when the Messiah should appear and finish the great work of human redemption. At the same time his prophecies are so minute and circumstantial, especially concerning the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria, from the death of Alexander to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes,

that, as Bp. Newton remarks," there is not so complete and regular a series of their kings, there is not so concise and comprehensive an account of their affairs, to be found in any author of those times. The prophecy is really more perfect than any history. No one historian hath related so many circumstances, and in such exact order of time, as the prophet hath foretold them: so that it was necessary to have recourse to several authors, Greek and Roman, Jewish and Christian, to collect here something from one, and to collect there something from another, for the better explaining the great variety of particulars contained in this prophecy. It was the circumstantial fulfilment of these predictions which induced Porphyry to maintain that they were written in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, after the events to which they refer had occurred; though the book of Daniel had been translated into Greek one hundred years before Antiochus; was particularly commended by Josephus; and is frequently cited and appealed to in the Targums and Talmuds, and other Jewish writings.

THE BOOK OF HOSEA.
INTRODUCTION.

Or Hosea the prophet, we have no certain information, except what he himself furnishes us with that he was the son of Beeri, and prophesied in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and of Jeroboam II. king of Israel, probably from about A. M. 3219. B C. 785. to A. M. 3279. B. C. 725, being a period of 60 years. It is probable that he was an Israelite, and lived in the kingdom of Samaria or the ten tribes. Epipha nius says, that he was a native of Belemoth in the tribe of Issachar; and the Rabbins say, that Bura, who is mentioned in the Chronicles, was his father, and was prince of the tribe of Reuben when Tiglath pileser carried some of the tribes of Israel captive: if so. Hosea must have been of the tribe of Reuben; and probably a native of Baalmeon, cast of Jordan. Jerome and others believe him to be the oldest prophet whose writing are in our possession; and that he witnessed not only the first captivity by Tiglath-pileser, but also the extinction of the kingdom of Israel by Shalmaneser. "His prophecies are chiefly (but by no means exclusively) directed to the ten tribes, before their captivity, reproving them for their sins, exhorting them to repentance, and threatening them with destruction, in case of impenitence; but comforting the pious with the promise of the Messiah, and of the happy state of the church in the latter days. His style is so abrupt, sententions, and concise, that it borders sometimes on obscurity. And how should it not, when the

subjects of 60 years' prophecy are condensed into a few pages? But it is, in many places, moving and pathetic, and, not seldom, beautiful and sublime. Hosea is a bold reprover, not only of the vices of the people, but also of their kings, princes, and priests. Like most other of the Hebrew prophets, however, he tempers his denunciations of vengeance with promises of mercy; and the transitions from the one to the other, are often sudden and unexpect ed."~ Dr. John Smith. This book is poetically rendered by all the modern translators, and the poetry is of the most ancient cast: "pointed, energetic, and concise," says Bishop Loigth. We may here briefly consider a question which will necessarily meet us in the very entrance of the book: "Was Hosen directed to, and did he really, marry a wife of whoredom? or is this only to be considered as a vision, as some think, or a parable, as others?" Archbishop Nercome seems to consider it as a fact, and Bishop Horsley is most decidedly of that opinion. We confess that we are not fond of resolving all the prophetic actions into mere visionary transactions, nor do we see any ne cessity for so doing in the present instance. The Prophet is not ordered to commit either adultery or fornication, but to marry; nor does it appear that the woman persevered in her criminality. The fact seems to us, that she had been previously married, during which connexion she had been criminal with another man; and actually had, at this time, children living with her, who

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