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tion of these eminences in respect of the surrounding country, especially as the prophet seemed to approach in the direction of Babylon.
He saw what appeared like the structure of a city lying to the south of him. It was “ like the structure of a city,” not a real city, as will appear hereafter; but this most holy temple, the site of which occupied the whole area of the mountain. Who can forbear to call to recollection the prophecy in the opening of the second chapter of Isaiah, repeated also in Micah, and to conclude from a comparison of the passage before us, that this prophecy is not to be without its literal fulfilment?
And it shall come to pass in the last day,
say; “ Come, and let us go to the hill of Jehovah, To the house of the Elohim of Jacob,” &c.
The prophet, when he is brought to this “ mountain of the Lord's house," * seems in the vision to be met by a man prepared to show him the buildings; and to measure with a reed, or rod, with which he is purposely provided, all the different parts of the extensive structure, and to point out their respective uses. This he accordingly does very circumstantially, and the prophet gives an account of it in a very detailed manner, as may be read in this and the following chapters. The particular manner in which the prophet is called upon to “behold with his eyes, and to hear with his ears, and to set his heart upon all that shall be shown him ; " the exactness of the measure pro
vided, and the minuteness of the circumstances pointed out in the structure and proportions of the buildings, may well persuade us that the true model of the future temple was before the prophet – a model, the description of which, for aught we know, may, in the hands of future instruments of Jehovah, serve as a pattern for its erection. The examination, therefore, of every part of this wonderful structure, is well worth our attention: there can be no doubt, that it is one day meant to be clearly understood in all its details; for our present purpose, however, it will be sufficient to attend to the general survey. It appears that the temple, * including all its courts and buildings, is in the form of a square, each side of which measures very nearly an English mile in length. 1
It has been a very general opinion, that this is no description of any literal temple; but must be understood figuratively and mystically. It is, however, very difficult to say of what this mystical temple can be a figure; or why, in a merely symbolical temple, the exact measures and proportions of every part should be given with so much care and minuteness? — certainly a very unusual treatment of mere figures and symbols! And it might well be asked, Of what possible use, either to Jew or Christian, could this part of the divine oracles ever have been upon the supposition of a mystical interpretation; and especially of its being to be applied, as has often been attempted, to the erection and regulation of the New Testament church? On this supposition, contrary
* Chap. xlii. 16, &c.
Or, perhaps, something more, according as the measure of the ancient cubit be deterinined.
to all other prophecies, 'even the fulfilment has thrown no light upon its mysterious language. We must at any rate, therefore, I conceive, admit that the whole must be applied to “ things that appear not as yet."
Still, however, it has been argued, that it cannot be a literal temple, because the hill on which the temple of Solomon was built could not contain it: nor, indeed, the whole area of the city itself, including Mount Moriah, on which the temple stood, Mount Zion, with the city of David, and the lower city: the whole of these forming together an irregular oblong, not more than three miles in circuit!
But we are prepared to meet this objection. It appears from the opening of the vision, that the face of the country had been altered by Him who created it. An “ exceeding high mountain" was seen to occupy the former site of the hills of Jerusalem. What forbids that the space on the summit of this mountain may exactly agree with the area required for the temple ? And that this will actually be the case, will appear from two very remarkable passages; one of which we have already quoted, and the other we may be permitted to anticipate, for the clearer illustration of the passage before us.
The first of these passages is taken from Jeremiah ;* where, after having predicted the return of the Israelites, and their establishment in the land, he is inspired to say:
Behold, the day is come, saith Jehovah, that the city shall be built for Jehovah."
Or, as we may read," the city of Jehovah shall be built.”
* Chap. xxxi. 33.
Had we no guide in the passage before us to the meaning of the expression, “ the city for," or, “ of Jehovah,” we might have concluded it meant no more than the city where the restored inhabitants of Jerusalem were to dwell, where the Elohim would manifest his presence among them. But it now appears, that “ city of Jehovah” is used in the same sense as “ the city of David," which appellation distinguished a particular part of the Jewish metropolis, occupied by the palaces of the king, and the residences of his immediate servants and attendants of his court. So “ the city of Jehovah” means, in this passage, the consecrated residence of Jehovah ; his holy temple, with all its precincts. This Ezekiel saw on the holy mountain,“ like the structure of a city.” “ This city of Jehovah," continues the prophecy in Jeremiah “ Shall be built from the tower of Hananeel, unto the corner gate; and the line of the measure shall proceed on straight forward over the hill Gareb, and shall encompass Goatha; and the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes; and all the fields unto the brook Kidron, as far as the angle of the horse-gate eastward. Sacred to Jehovah, it shall not be plucked up, neither shall it be thrown down any more for ever.'
Now, the reader will hear with admiration, that this space agrees with great exactness with the area required for the city-like, most holy temple of Ezekiel.
The area required, as we have seen, is a square of about an English mile; and this will appear to be the space and figure marked out in Jeremiah for the city of Jehovah. Jeremiah begins his survey at the Tower of Hananeel; that is, as appears from the plan of ancient Jerusalem, a tower situated at the north-east angle of the city. “The city of Jehovah," he says, " shall be built from the tower of Hananeel to the corner gate.” The