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in battle. But thou shalt die in peace." He did die in peace, he neither expired on the rack, nor on the scaffold; was neither strangled nor poisoned, no unusual fate of captive kings; he died peaceably in his bed, though that bed was in a prison." And with the burnings of thy fathers shall they burn odours before thee.' I cannot prove from the history, that this part of the prophecy was accomplished, nor can you prove that it was not. The probability is, that it was accomplished; and I have two reasons on which I ground this probability.-Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, to say nothing of other Jews, were men of great authority in the court of the king of Babylon, before and after the commencement of the imprisonment of Zedekiah; and Daniel continued in power till the subversion of the kingdom of Babylon by Cyrus. Now it seems to me to be very probable, that Daniel and the other great men of the Jews, would both have inclination to request, and influence enough with the king of Babylon to obtain permission to bury their deceased prince, Zedekiah, after the manner of his fathers.-But if there had been no Jews at Babylon of consequence enough to make such a request, still it is probable that the king of Babylon would have ordered the Jews to bury and lament their departed prince, after the manner of their country. Monarchs, like other men, are conscious of the instability of human condition; and when the pomp of war has ceased, when the insolence of conquest is abated, and the fury of resentment is subsided, they seldom fail to revere royalty even in its ruins, and grant without reluctance proper obsequies to the remains of captive kings."

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Ezekiel is assaulted in the same manner. "You quote," says the same writer, "a passage from Ezekiel, in the 29th chapter, where, speaking of Egypt, it is said- No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years:' this, you say, never came to pass, and consequently it is false, as all the books I have already reviewed are.' Now that the invasion predicted did come to pass, we have, as Bishop Newton observes, the testimonies of Megasthenes and Berosus, two heathen historians, who lived about 300 years before Christ; one of whom affirms, expressly, that Nebuchadnezzar conquered the greater part of Africa; and the other affirms it, in effect, in saying, that when Nebuchadnezzar heard of the death of his father, having settled his affairs in Egypt, and committed the captives whom he took in Egypt to the care of some of his friends to bring them after him, he hasted directly to Babylon.' And if we had been possessed of no testimony in support of the pro

phecy, it would have been an hasty conclusion, that the prophecy never came to pass; the history of Egypt, at so remote a period, being nowhere accurately and circumstantially related. I admit that no period can be pointed out from the age of Ezekiel to the present, in which there was no foot of man or beast to be seen for forty years in all Egypt; but some think that only a part of Egypt is here spoken of ; (3) and surely you do not expect a literal accomplishment of an hyperbolical expression, denoting great desolation; importing that the trade of Egypt, which was carried on then, as at present, by caravans, by the foot of man and beast, should be annihilated."

To this we may add, that the passage respecting the depopulation of Egypt stands in the midst of an extended prophecy, which has received the most marked fulfilment, and illustrates perhaps as strikingly as any thing which can be adduced the cavilling spirit of infidelity, and proves that truth could never be the object of discussions thus conducted. Here is a passage which has some obscurity hanging over it. No one however can prove that it was not accomplished, even so fully that the expressions might be used without violent hyperbole; for the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar was of the same sweeping and devastating character as his invasion and conquest of Judea; and we know, that the greater part of the inhabitants of that country were destroyed, or led captive, and that the land generally remained untilled for seventy years, though not absolutely left without inhabitant. In the common language of men, Judea might be said not to be inhabited, so prodigious was the excision of its people; and in such circumstances, from the total cessation of all former intercourse, commercial and otherwise, between the different parts of the kingdom, it might also, without exaggeration, be said, that the foot of man and beast did not " pass THROUGH it; their going from one part to another on business, or for worship at Jerusalem, being wholly suspended. Now, as we have no reason to suppose the Babylonian monarch to have been more merciful to Egypt than to Judea, the same expressions in a popular sense might be used in respect of that country. Here however infidelity thought a cavil might be raised, and totally—

(3) The opinion of the Bishop, that not the whole of what is now called Egypt was intended in the prophecy, seems to derive confirmation from the following passages in Richardson's Travels in Egypt in 1817:-" The Delta, according to the tradition of the Jonians, is the only part that is, strictly speaking, entitled to be called Egypt, which is hieroglyphically represented by the figure of a heart, no unapt similitude."-" The principal places mentioned in our sacred writings, Zoan, Noph, and Taphanes, are all referable to the Delta. Probably little of them remains."

may we not say wilfully?-overlooked a prediction immediately following, which no human sagacity could conjecture, and against which it is in vain to urge, that it was written after the event: for the accomplishment of the prophecy runs on to the present day, and is as palpable and obvious as the past history and the present political state of that country-" Egypt shall be the basest of the kingdoms, neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations-there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt." (4) It is more than two thousand years since the prophecy was delivered, and Egypt has never recovered its liberties, but is to this day under the yoke of foreigners. It was conquered by the Babylonians; then by the Persians; and in succession passed under the dominions of the Macedonians, Romans, Saracens, Mamelucs, and Turks. No native prince of Egypt has ever restored his country to independence, and ascended the throne of his ancestors; and the descendants of the ancient Egyptians are to this hour in the basest and most oppressed condition. Yet in Egypt the human mind had made some of its earliest and most auspicious efforts. The stupendous monuments of art and power, the ruins of which lie piled upon banks of the Nile, or still defy the wastes of time, attest the vastness of the designs and the extent of the power of its princes. Egypt too was possessed of great natural advantages. Its situation was singularly calculated to protect it against foreign invasion; whilst its great fertility promised to secure the country it enriched from poverty, baseness, and subjection. Yet after a long course of grandeur, and in contradiction to its natural advantages, Ezekiel pronounced that the kingdom should be "the basest of all kingdoms," and that there should be "no more a prince of the land of Egypt." So the event has been, and so it remains; and that this wonderful prophecy should be passed over by infidels in silence, whilst they select from it a passage which promised to give some colour to objection, is deeply characteristic of the state of their minds. It is not from deficiency of evidence that the word of God is rejected by them. The evil is not the want of light; but the love of darkness.

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Much ridicule has been cast upon the prophets for those significant actions by which they illustrated their predictions; as when Jeremiah hides his linen girdle in a hole of the rock, and breaks a potter's vessel in the sight of the people; when Ezekiel weighs the hair of his head and beard in balances, with many other instances familiar to those who read the scriptures. But this

(4) Vide Ezek. xxix and xxx.

ridicule can only proceed from ignorance. In the early ages of the world, the deficiency of language was often supplied by signs; and when language was improved, "the practice remained," says Bishop Warburton, "after the necessity was over; especially among the Easterns, whose natural temperament inclined them to this mode of conversation. The charges then of absurdity and fanaticism brought against the prophets, vanish of themselves. The absurdity of an action consists in its being extravagant and insignative; but use and a fixed application made the actions in question both sober and pertinent. The fanaticism of an action consists in fondness for such actions as are unusual, and for foreign modes of speech; but those of the prophets were idiomatic and familiar." We may add, that several of these actions were performed in vision; and that considering the genius of the people who were addressed, they were calculated strongly to excite their attention, the end for which they were adopted.

Such are the principal objections which have been made to Scripture prophecy, as the proof of Scripture Truth. That they are so few and 'so feeble, when enemies so prying and capable have employed themselves with so much misplaced zeal to discover any vulnerable part, is the triumph of truth. Their futility has been pointed out; and the whole weight of the preceding evidence in favour of the truth of the Old and New Testaments remains unmoved. We have indeed but glanced at a few of these extraordinary revelations of the future, for the sake, not of exhibiting the evidence of prophecy, which would require a distinct volume, but of explaining its nature and pointing out its force. To the prophecies of the Old Testament, the attentive enquirer will add those of our Lord and his Apostles, which will appear not less extraordinary in themselves, nor less illustrious in their fulfilment, so far as they have received their accomplishment. Many prophecies both of the Old and New Testament evidently point to future times, and this kind of evidence will consequently accumulate with the lapse of ages, and may be among the means by which Jews, Mahometans, and Pagans shall be turned to the Christian faith. At all events, prophecy even unfulfilled now answers an important end. It opens our prospect into the future; and if the detail is obscure, yet, notwithstanding the mighty contest which is still going on between opposing powers and principles, we see how the struggle will terminate, and know, to use a prophetic phrase, that “at eventime it shall be light."

CHAPTER XIX.

Internal Evidence of the Truth of Scripture-Collateral Evidence.

THE Internal Evidence of a revelation from God has been stated to be that which arises from the apparent excellence and beneficial tendency of the doctrine. (5) This at least is its chief characteristic, though other particulars may also be included in this species of proof, and shall be adduced.

The reader will recollect the distinction made in the chapter just referred to, between rational and authenticating evidence. It has been observed, that there are some truths made known to us through the medium of a revelation from God, which, though in their nature undiscoverable by the unassisted faculties of man, yet when once revealed carry to our reason, so far as they are of a nature to be comprehended by it, the demonstration which accompanies truth of any other kind. (6) But it is only within the limit just mentioned that this position holds good; for such truths only must be understood as are accompanied with reasons or rational proofs in the revelation itself, or which, when once suggested to the mind, direct its thoughts and observation to surrounding facts and circumstances, or to established truths to which they are capable of being compared, and by which they are confirmed. The Internal Evidence of the Holy Scriptures, therefore, as far as doctrine is concerned, is restrained to truths. of this class. Of other truths revealed to us in the Bible, and those in many instances fundamental to the system of Christianity, we have no proof of this kind; but they stand on the firm basis of Divine attestation, and suffer no diminution of their authority because the reasons of them are either hidden from us for purposes of moral discipline, or because they transcend our faculties. If we had the reasons of them before us, they would not be more authentic, though to the understanding they would be more obvious. Such are the doctrines of a Trinity of persons in the Unity of the Godhead; of the hypostatic union of the two natures in Christ; of his Divine and Eternal Sonship, &c. Such are many facts in the Divine government-as the permission of evil, and the long apparent abandonment of heathen nations-the

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