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themselves tell us, of impressing the reader with the assurance that the thing predicted shall come to pass. All prophecy, therefore, must be enounced, either presenting the thing predicted as going on, or as completed. What then, I ask, is a prophet to do in order to avoid the objection of Mr. Rosenmüller ? If he predict at all, he must do it in one or other of the tenses just mentioned; for his language will supply him with no other. I will answer the question myself. Mr. Rosenmüller and his school dislike prophetic declarations in every case; and, therefore, for the want of better argument, objections of the most frivolous and absurd nature are advanced ; and then we are told, that all these are drawn forth from the treasuries of advanced science, enlightened times, &c. &c. ejusdem furfuris !
But further, Mr. Rosenmüller thinks that the passage above cited is sufficient to prove, among other things, that it could not have been written by the person who wrote the first thirty-nine chapters of this book. If this be true, we cannot, of necessity, find its parallel in any of those chapters. We have, however, one like it even in the very first chapter, which must have escaped his notice, (v.7): “Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; your land, strangers devour it in your presence,” &c. Now, according to the above reasoning, this must have been going on even while the country was in peace and quietness, and quite secure from any fear of a captivity !-But, we have another most philosophical objection: Denunciations of wrath, it is said, must have been obscure to a people living in peace and quietness; and to console them under such circumstances would have been absurd. I answer: Denunciations of wrath are not necessarily obscure or unintelligible under any circumstances; and, when the nation was sunk in vice, they could not but have been both intelligible and seasonable: nor would consolations be out of place, when addressed to those who followed the good and right way, but who must nevertheless suffer in the common fate of the country. Perhaps I may be allowed to ask: If threatenings are not to be denounced before the calamity falls, when are they? When the chastisement has been given, they will come too late, and therefore be useless; and the same may be said of the consolations offered. The intention of prophecy, in cases like this, must have been to bring about reform, and thus to avert the threatened scourge; just as we are told was the case in the mission and preaching of Jonah to the Ninevites. And what, I ask, could be so seasonable, so well directed, and so merciful? It was surely the voice of a friend warning the prodigal that, unless he left the paths of vice, misery would be his inevitable portion. For my own part, I can see no force whatever in these objections ; and perhaps I may be excused, if I say, that had such been offered on any question relating to science, they would have never been permitted to see the light.
Mr. Rosenmüller seems to be aware, that some objections may be made to this doctrine; because, as he truly observes, this prophet, whoever he was, does actually speak of some of these events as future: and the question now will be : How are these discrepancies to be reconciled ? Nothing on earth is more easy. The writer must have assumed the person of some older prophet; and whose could he have found so well suited to his purpose as that of Isaiah, who wrote the first thirty-nine chapters of this book, and who in the last had foretold the captivity? Here, then, the difficulty is solved in a moment. No proof is given, and none is wanted: the soundness of the conclusion is such as to preclude the possibility of further inquiry or doubt! On this view of the case, then, there can be no consolations, no intimations of prosperous times, predicted in the first thirty-nine chapters of this prophet : he only foretold the captivity. It was the pseudoIsaiah, living near the end of it, who prophesied of the more glorious times of the return. If this be the fact, how are we to account for the declarations found in the first five verses of the second chapter ? in the last five verses of the fourth ? in the first seven verses of the ninth? in the whole of the eleventh, twelfth, and fourteenth chapters, where we have matter as glowing and as specific as any to be found in the last twenty-six ?
But Mr. Rosenmüller will tell us that, after all, these are most vague declarations; and such as were never realised by the Jews, as far as we learn from their later writers. This is a remark, I am sorry to say, often made by some among ourselves. It is, nevertheless, founded either on gross ignorance or wilful misrepresentation. The predictions relating to the captivity, we know, like that made by Jonah to the Ninevites, were conditional. If they would return and repent, we are expressly told, they should eat the good of the land ; if not, the sword should devour them. Of the same character were the declarations made by Moses; namely, that as long as they would obey the statutes of their God, their land should produce all manner of plenty, while their enemies should be removed far away ; but, on the contrary, should they betake themselves to idolatry and rebellion, not only should the earth under them become as iron, but the heavens should be closed, and their enemies should persecute them on every side. All this, their history abundantly assures us, took place. This, then, must also be kept in view, when we speak of times subsequent to the captivity. So long as the Jews were obedient, extraordinary mercies were extended to them, in the favours conferred by the kings of Persia ; but when they betook themselves to evil, they found enemies in abundance, and such as were quite powerful enough to put an entire end to their national
prosperity. In this case, then, the Scriptures describe the system which they propose, rather than the mere characters of the persons concerned ; and in this they are right. What, I would ask, should we think of a book which instructed us to look for our notions of religion from the characters only of those who professed it? Where, in such a case, could we expect to find any thing stable? The Bible, however, takes other and better ground; it describes the prosperity, confidence, and peace which passeth understanding, of those, and of those only, who obey its saving declarations : and history assures us that these have always been realised. People are apt to imagine that, where these times of prosperity, &c., have not been experienced, either the prophecy is unmeaning, or that it is yet to be fulfilled.* As well might the six hundred thousand men who fell in the wilderness have complained, that the promise had not been fulfilled to them ; or that it was vague, because they were not allowed to enter the land of Canaan. The non-fulfilment of prophecy of this sort need not, therefore, alarm any one. The very nature of it implies a condition; and, when this is the case, the infidelity of the nominal believer is the evil to be complained of, and not the character of the Revelation. In such predictions as those which foretell the coming of Christ and the end of the theocracy, the case is widely different: these have no sort of connection with either the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of men; they depend entirely on the gracious disposition of the Deity alone; and, as they involve the very means of grace, they are necessarily independent of all human endeavour. But on this subject more will be said hereafter.
* The most extraordinary instance of this sort of prophetical interpretation known in modern times is to be found in a sermon, entitled “The Times of the Gentiles,” by the Rev. Hugh M`Neile, published by Hatchard and Son. London, 1828. In this we are taught that, because the world has never yet witnessed generally any thing like the glowing character of Christianity as given by the prophets, Christianity cannot be the dispensation they meant; and, therefore, that we must look for another! I think I may say, that if the ministers of Christ generally take up this view (and I know of no controlling power to be expected from above to prevent them), the result will be, that, whatever other dispensation we may expect, certain it is, that Christianity will, as far as its ministers are concerned, be preached down'.
CONTAINING AN EXAMINATION OF THE CRITICISMS OF DR. GESENIUS ON
CERTAIN PARTS OF ISAIAH'S PROPHECY.
The next grand objection of Mr. Rosenmüller, and which has been reiterated by Dr. Gesenius, involves the consideration of certain words and phrases, which are said to occur only in this last portion of Isaiah's prophecy, and which are therefore put down as being peculiar to him. Rosenmüller * has pointed out the passages; but Dr. Gesenius of has given us the words and phrases meant. We shall, therefore, now proceed to consider a few of them. Israel then is styled 717 77, Jehovah's servant, chap. xli. 8, 9, &c. and
, rally, xlii. 4, 10, &c. 773 Tsédek, for whole, sound, help, deliverance, victory, &c. : so likewise vw Yéshah, npad Yéshúah, xli. 2, 10, &c. ? ON Aphsé Erets, p?NT niz? Kětsóth Hāárets, xl. 28; xli. 5, &c. bay Húl, for child, xlxix. 15, &c. &c. We have repetitions as Om non Hinneh
-is put for countries gene אִיים .18
.xlii ,מַלְאָךְ its synonyme
* Scholia in Vetus Testamentum, Pars Tertia, Proæmium, p. 3. + Commentar über den Iesaia, Zweyter Theil, Einleitung, p. 16.
Hinneh, behold, behold, xli. 27. 338 339 ănākā ănõkī, I, I. xliii. 11, &c. Năni ăni, I, I. xlviii. 15. ons 002 Nākhămū Nākhămū, comfort ye, comfort ye, &c. &c. We also have, it is added, many parenthetical constructions, such, for example, as : “Thus saith God the Lord (he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein); I the Lord have called thee,” &c. (xlii. 5, &c.) xliv. 2, 6, 24; xlv. 11, 18, 19, &c. In these instances, the name of Jehovah precedes, and Israel follows. In others, as xli. 8, 9, 10, Israel precedes, &c.-In chap. Ixiii. 3, we have Nan for vont, which is a Chaldee, not a Hebrew, form. And the general conclusion is, that these six and twenty chapters could not have been written by Isaiah ; but must have had their origin some time near the end of the captivity, and after the things mentioned in them had come to pass.
We shall now consider, in the first place, the principles on which these objections are generally advanced. It is objected, then, that the matter, the phraseology, and many of the words, of these last twenty-six chapters, differ very considerably from those of the first thirty-nine found in this book; and, therefore, it is affirmed they could not have come from the same author. My answer is : This objection can be allowed only under certain limitations ; because, if we confine any author to one sort of matter only, or to the use of only certain words and phrases, we shall do that which experience will shew us is contrary to the best usage. There is, it is true, a style peculiar to most good authors: that of Cicero, for example, every where maintains its fulness, perspicuity, harmony, order, and accurate selection of words. The same may be said of Demosthenes, and of many other eminent writers. Still, we must not affirm that, because the character of the Orations against Catiline differs greatly from that of the Book of Offices, the same man could not possibly have been the author of both. Nor will any one allow, that, because the Æneid of Virgil manifests differences very remarkable and striking from the strains of the Bucolics and Georgics, Virgil never could, therefore,