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will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.”
The prophets, Ezekiel, Joel, and Amos, denounced Divine judgments upon the Tyrians, for their wickedness in general, and in particular for their cruelty to the children of Israel, and for buying and selling them like cattle in the market. The city was to be taken and destroyed by the Chaldeans, who at the time of the delivery of the prophecy, were an inconsiderable people. The Assyrians were at that time the great monarchs of the east. The Chaldeans were their slaves and subjects; and therefore it was the more extraordinary, that the prophets should, so many years before hand, foresee the successes and the conquest of the Chaldeans.
But of all the nations which distressed the kingdom of Judah, the Babylonians were the most conspicuous. It is remarkable that the celebrated kingdoms of Egypt, Tyre, and Jerusalem, all fell under the power of Nebuchadnezzar within three years. Babylon then became the emporium of commerce and wealth, in splendour surpassing all other nations.
The vast plains of Babylon, under a clear and delightful sky, were particularly favourable to astronomical observations. According to Diodo. rus, the Chaldeans were not sufficiently expert to calculate eclipses, but they knew the motions of the planets; they divided each sign of the Zodiac into thirty degrees, and every degree into thirty minutes; they made the year to consist of 365 days, to which they added the surplus five hours and some minutes. Their observatory was a high tower in the middle of the temple of Belus. They called the sun Belus, or Baal, which signifies Lord; and the moon Nebo; and these were their chief deities. Not content with observing the stars, and the works of the creation, they endeavoured to examine the origin of all things, which could only be known by Divine revelation. Their Cosmogony, which signifies the birth of the world, was a series of various extravagancies.
Judicial astrology, or the pretended art of foretelling future events from the aspects, positions, and influences of the beavenly bodies, owes its origin to the practice of knavery upon the credulity of mankind. It is said to have been invented in Chaldea, and thence transmitted to the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans; and from the Arabs to us. The Brahmins, who introduced and practised this art among the Indians, have thereby made themselves the arbiters of good and evil hours, which gives them
great authority. They are consulted as oracles, and they have taken care never to sell their answers but at high rates.
And if we form an opinion from an almanack, purporting to be the voice of the stars, of which it is calculated 420.000 copies are annually printed, we shall conclude that this kind of superstition has not wholly subsided in Britain.
We cannot doubt but the figure of the mystical Babylon in the Apocalypse, was taken from a description of the magnificence and splendour of the real city: “The merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her, for no man buyeth her merchandise any more : The mer. chandise of gold and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner of vessels of ivory, and all manner of vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble; and cinnamon, and odours, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.” Babylon was so much opposed to Jerusalem, that these two cities became types of the true and false Church, throughout succeeding ages.
The total destruction of the adversaries of Judah, was requisite to her becoming the figure
of the church of God; the enemies of which will assuredly be finally overthrown, that the kingdoms of this world may become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.
It may be asked : Where now are the famous monarchies, which in their turns oppressed and captivated the Lord's people ? Are not they vanished as a dream, so that not a vestige remains, by which the scite, either of Nineveh, or of Babylon, can be ascertained ?
RECAPITULATION-AND REFLECTIONS ON
SALUTARY as was the captivity of the Jews for their correction and reformation, this object embraces not the whole of the design of Omnipotence, in suffering them to be carried away to Egypt and Chaldea ; we shall see in this chapter that other glorious purposes were to be effected, by their removal into these countries, wherever they were dispersed.
'Into the eastern countries, they would bring with them the knowledge of the true God, now seriously impressed upon their hearts. But Divine Providence, by such signal circumstances of his interposition as were published and known all over the vast extent of the heathen empires, raised some of the captive Jews to the highest posts of dignity and power in the courts of Chaldea and Persia ; as was the case of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, whom Nebuchadnezzar found “ ten times better than all the ma