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heroes, the glory of the actions of those who lived long before." Ovid has transmitted to us the account of a feast observed by the ancient Romans in April, the time of the Jewish harvest; in which they let loose foxes with torches fastened to their tails.t Can we doubt that this certainly originated in the history of Sampson? and that it was brought into Italy by the Phenicians? May we not also conclude, that from the treachery discovered in Delilah's treatment of Sampson, arose the history of Nisus, and of his unnatural daughter, who cut off those fatal hairs from the head of her father, upon which his victory and his security depended?: The labors of Hercules appear to be but an imperfect copy of the prodigious strength and valor of Sampson: or at least, the facts related of the one, probably suggested the exploits fabled of the other. Also in the succeeding histories of Israel and Judah, some of the more extraordinary facts are confirmed by foreign testimonies. The victory of David over the Syrians of Zoba, on the banks of the Euphrates, is preserved by NichoLAUS DAMAscenus. There are monuments extant, which, certisy the part that Hiram, king of Tyre, took in building the temple of Solomon.
* AEl Varize Historize, lib. v. cap. S. f Curigitur missa: vinctis ardentia taedis Terga ferant vulpes, caussa docenda mihi. Ovid. Fast. lib. iv. l. 681, &c. # – Alcathoe, quam Nisus habet; cui splendidus ostro Inter honoratos medio de vertice canos Clinis inhaerebat, magni fiducia regni. --——Thalamos taciourna paternos Intrati et (heu facinus!) fatali nata parentem Grine suum spoliat. 37 Ovid Metam. li. viii, l. 8–10, et 84-85. 4
Heñodotus records the taking of Jerusalem by the king of Egvpt, as stated in the history of Rehoboam's reign. In the same writer may be traced the tradition of the destruction of Senacherib's army, because of his blasphemies against God: which circumstance the Egyptians disguised, as was common with them, to appropriate it to themselves." May we not also suppose that the story of Phaeton originated in some imperfect tradition of the translation of Elijah, in a chariot of fire? It is probable that imagination supplied the want of evidence, in the verses of the poets, and by their alterations and addi. tions, it is easy to account for the remoteness of their fables from this fact, to which, nevertheless, they possibly bear a first relation. But it is difficult to imagine from what other source the tale could arise, and what other event would afford materials for so singular a story.f The history of Jonah, and the account that he was miraculously preserved three days and three nights in the bowels of the fish, has often excited the ridicule, and employed the wit, of infidelity: yet it is not without its support from heathen testimonies. This singular event is related by LY coPHRON, and by AENEAs GAzeus, with this variation from the inspired writings, that they call the prophet, Hercules. Neither are we to be surprised at this deviation from the historic veracity of the Bible: for Hercules was the great hero of the ancients; and Tacitus himself acknowledges, that to advance the fame of this distinguished favorite, they do not hesitate to ascribe to him, whatever is extraordinary or noble in history, to whomsoever the real praise is justly due. They plunder every other celebrated character of all his merit, to adorn their fabled hero with the spoils stolen from truth, and honestly belonging to others. Æneas Gazeus, in Theophrastus, uses these words—“Hercules was saved by a whale swallowing him, when the ship in which he sailed was wrecked.” How well these circumstances, in their general features, accord with the punishment of Jonah for his disobedience, and with the fearful tempest which preceded it! • MENANDER the historian confirms, in his acts of Ithobal, king of Tyre, the dearth in the days of Ahab, king of Israel, in which Elijah was miraculously preserved by the ravens, and by the widow of Zarephath, and says that by supplication to God it was followed by rain, and by much thunder.f CYPRIAN, Juli AN, and others, mention the fire which descended from heaven to consume the sacrifice of Elijah.; It is unnecessary farther to enlarge upon these subjects: enough has already been produced, to prove to every unprejudiced mind, that the most trivial circumstances of the sacred narrative, even those parts of it which might not be supposed, intimately and materially, to affect the truth and the influence of christianity, are capable of demonstration from the traditions of the heathen world, and from the testimony of their earliest writers. * marig zal Hg-axs: ağtal, Jiaozyuzi: to: vow: * * *rm, uro arrackwra rowai was Jizza,373au. - AEneas Gazaeus Theophrasto. f Jos. Antiq. Jud. Tom. I. lib. viii, cap. xiii, p. 578. Hudsoni edit.
* Herod. lib. ii. cap. 141.
f See, on these confirmations of scriptural truth, Bishop Watson's . Theological Tracts, vol. i. p. 355, 356.
+ Grot. de Verit. Rel. Christ. lib. i., sect. xvi, in not. 1U6. See also note 3 of this i.ecture, at the end of the volume.
Brethren, we have led back your attention to the splendor and magnificence of former times. Upon us “the ends of the earth” are come. The fathers are: assembled in the world of spirits, and “they without us cannot be made perfect.” We have not seen “Solomon in all his glory:” but “a greater than Solomon is here!” In all things Jesus has the pre-emimence. Was Solomon wise? Grace was poured upon the Savior's lips, and he was fairer than the sons of men! Was Solomon mighty? “All power” is given unto Jesus “in heaven and in earth!” Was the dominion of Solomon extensive, and his reign peaceful and prosperous? “The dominion” also of Jesus “is from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth;” “and of his kingdom, and of his peace, there is no end!” Is the renown of Solomon immortal? Of Jesus it is written, “His name shall endure forever; his name shall be continued so long as the sun, and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed!” We have never beheld the magnificence of the temple of Solomon: but in the kingdom of our spiritual Solomon, is a temple not made with hands, where the armies of the redeemed are already congregated, and wait our arrival. Solomon was a servant, but Jesus is a son—“and let the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and amen.”
THE CAPTIVITIES OF ISRAEL AND of JUDAH. The first of these events is recorded in
2 KINGs xvii, 1–6. In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, began Hoshea the son Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel mine years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him. Against him came up Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents. And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done gear by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison. Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah, and in Iłabor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes,
- - The second is preserved in
2 CHRON. xxxvi, 14–21. Moreover, all the chief of the priests, and the people transgressed very much, after all the abominations of the heathen, and polluted the house of the LoRo