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PROPHECIES OF ISAIAH.
TE now enter upon the Second Part of these
Prophecies, in which surprising, variegated, and instructive scenes are presented to view.
The future fortunes of the neighbouring nations to Canaan, which were closely connected with the affairs of the people of God, are here faithfully delineated. The subject chiefly treated in the discourse before us, is truly affecting. It exhibits a moving representation of the awful judgments which the Almighty, in the course of divine providence, would certainly execute upon the implacable adversaries of his church. These predicted calamities, the result of his wife counfels
, were to display before the world his consummate righteousness, and to promote the good of his people, by delivering them from the oppression of their wicked and malevolent enemies. Whilst the contemplation of these terrible judgments which are here described, calls forth pity and commiseration toward those against whom they were denounced, it lays a sure foundation for the confidence, confolation, and joy of those who have the Lord for their God, A
and who demean themselves as the dutiful subjects of his Son's kingdom.
The long discourse, which is comprehended in this and the following chapters, on to the twentythird inclusive, may be divided into eight different fections. The first relates to the destruction of Babylon, chap. xiii.ver. 28. of chap. xiv.-The second predi&ts the overthrow of the Philistines, chap. xiv. ver. 28.-32. The third treats of the defolate condition to which Moab was to be reduced, chap. xv. and xvi.-The fourth represents the calamitous state of the Syrians, the Ephraimites, the Assyrians, and the Egyptians, chap. xvii. and xviii. The fifth describes the desolation of Egypt, and its return to the Lord, with the calamities which were to be inflicted upon Ethiopia and the Arabians, chap. xix. and xx.The sixth foretels the coinplete overthrow of the Babylonian empire, with which are connected the miseries which were to befal the Idumeans and Arabians, chap. xxi. The seventh exhibits the distresses which were to be sent upon Judah and Jerusalem, by means of Sennacherib, chap. xxii.The eighth delineates the destruction of Tyre, chap. xxiii.
These predictions seem to be principally intended to convey the following important instructions, which we ought to learn from them : I. That the most powerful enemies of the people of God, who oppose their interests, and oppress their persons, shall not escape the righteous judgments of Heaven, but shall certainly perish in their hostilc attempts againit the church of God, and sooner or later shall feel the weight of divine vengeance.-2. That the God of all comfort will never fail to administer confolation to his oppreffed, dejected servants, when they are in dangerous circumstances, and most apt to be overwhelmed with dread of their formidable enemies, and the imminent dangers to which they are exposed. And, 3. That in the destruction of Babylon, and the
other powers that were adverse to Israel of old, men might behold a striking representation of the unavoidable overthrow of all the nations on the earth, who perlift in virulent opposition to the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ.
The prophecy which comes first under considerațion, comprehended in this and the next chapter, on to ver. 28. foretels the destruction of Babylon by the Medes and Persians. This great event was to be the mean of delivering the Jews from the captivity in which they had been long detained ; and having been predicted probably about two hundred years before its accomplishment, the prospect it afforded would revive the dejected minds of the men of Judah with the hope of release. --The prophecy opens with the command of God, to gather together the forces which he had appointed to this service, ver. 2. and 3. Upon which the prophet immediately hears the tumultuous noise of the different nations crowding together to his standard; he sees them advancing, prepared to execute the divine vengeance, ver. 4. and 5.-He then proceeds to describe the dreadful consequences with which this visitation was to be accompanied, ver, 6.-11. -Under a variety of the most striking images, the dreadful destruction of Babylon is next fet forth, ver, 12.-16.-The chapter concludes with a description of the everlasting desolation 10 which that great city is doomed, ver. 17. to the end.
The city of Babylon, famous for its antiquity and grandeur, stood in a large plain, remarkable for its rich and fertile foil, which lay along the banks of the
river Euphrates. It was surrounded with walls, which were eighty-seven feet in thickness, three hundred and fitty feet in height, and fixty miles in length. These immense walls were built of large bricks, cemented by a sort of glutinous pitch found in that country. On the outside of the walls a great ditch was formed, which was lined with bricks, and filled with water. The walls were built in the form of a square, each fide of which was fifteen miles in length, and had twenty-five gates, that were made of solid brass. At each of the four corners was a tower, and betwen every two gates were three towers, raised about ten feet higher than the walls. Opposite to the twenty-five gates were twenty-five streets, about one hundred and fifty feet wide, which went in straight lines to the gates on the other side; so that there were fifty streets in the city, fifteen miles long, crossing each other at right angles. Besides, there were four streets next to the walls, about two hundred feet broad. In this manner the city was divided into fix hundred and seventy-fix squares, each of which was two miles and one quarter in circumference; on the sides of which stood the houses, of three and four stories high, richly ornamented. `In the midst of the small squares were gardens and pleasure-grounds.
A branch of the great river Euphrates ran through the city, from north to south. On each side of the river a wall was built, of the same thickness with those which encompasied the city; in which, over against every street that led to the river, were gates of brass; from which a descent, formed by steps, went down to the water, for the convenience of the inhabitants. Over the river was built a bridge, a furlong in length, and thirty feet wide, executed with wonderfu? art; the arches of which were made of large ftones, fastened together with chains of iron and melted lead. To prevent the injuries to which the city and country adjacent were exposed, froin the in