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the fecundity of his genius; especially as Daniel's prophecies have received so circumstantial an accomplishment, that an ancient opposer of Christianity had no way of escaping conviction, but by asserting, contrary to all proof, that they were written after the events predicted in them! But Mr. P., perhaps afraid lest his reader's attention should flag, has prepared a new fund of amusement, by imagining these books to contain a political cypher or secret alphabet, under the pretence of dreams and visions, and that they relate to plans about recovering Jerusalem. Hence he infers that we have nothing to do with them :' and, provided that be the inference, numbers will excuse the want of proof and probability.

It is, however, very wonderful, that the political devices should contain such animated exhortations and fervent prayers; and above all so many prophecies which have been ever since fulfilling! Egypt is become "a base kingdom," and has been subject to a foreign yoke almost from the time when Ezekiel wrote. Tyre, that prosperous commercial city, is now a place for fishermen "to dry "their nets." And the four great monarchies, Alexander's conquests, and the affairs of his successors ;3 the cutting off of the Messiah, and the desolation of Jerusalem after seventy weeks; with the state of that city and of the Jews, after more than seventeen hundred succeeding years; have

'Ezek. xxix. 14, 15.

Dan. ii. 31-45. vii. viii. xi.

2 Ezek. xxvi. 14.


'Dan, ix. 24-27.

exactly accomplished Daniel's predictions. Surely then Mr. P. had a mind to make trial of the credulity of mankind, in this whimsical absurdity!

Ezekiel is supposed to have been carried captive eleven years before the desolations of Jerusalem, and Daniel about eighteen; and not 'both to'gether, nine years before,' as Mr. P. erroneously states it. Daniel was employed at court, and Ezekiel lived at a distance, and we do not read of any intercourse between them. The first six chapters of Daniel are historical, and relate to miraculous interpositions of God in behalf of his people; and not the most remote intimation of a project for recovering Jerusalem is found in the whole book. Many of Ezekiel's visions, and all Daniel's, are dated after the desolation of Jerusalem; when the poor dispersed captives could have no hope of recovering or rebuilding that city by any stratagem: nay, some of Daniel's visions are dated after the return of the Jews from Babylon, in pursuance of the decree of Cyrus.

Mr. P. has no right to find fault with romantic interpretations of scripture, after having given the most ridiculous exposition of Ezekiel's vision, that the world has yet seen. His own words may justly be retorted on him: Such applications of 'scripture shew the fraud or extreme folly, to which 'the credulity of modern infidelity can go!'

Mr. P. asserts that Ezekiel's prediction concerning the forty years desolation of Egypt never came to pass but it requires a complete knowledge of all that happened in those ages to prove this.

'Ezek. i. 2. Dan. i.


It is certain that Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt, and carried multitudes of its inhabitants captives; forty years from that time bring us to the reign of Cyrus; when it is probable that the Egyptians, as well as the Jews, were allowed to return home, and inhabit their wasted country. And is it not more rational to elucidate the obscurity of history by this prophecy, than to make the obscurity of history an argument against a prophecy, of which every other part, as contained in four chapters, has most certainly been accomplished? especially when the next verse is fulfilling at this present day: Egypt shall be the basest of the kingdoms, "neither shall it exalt itself any more among the "nations."



Mr. P., having greatly diverted himself and his readers with the story of Jonah and his whale, seriously undertakes to prove that the whole book was a gentile fable, intended to ridicule and satirize the Jews and their prophets ! 3

Jonah's conduct in various particulars admits of no excuse: yet it is much easier to condemn him than it would have been to act properly in his circumstances. The mariners deserve commendation for their desire to preserve his life: but his narrative, and his manner of speaking concerning the Lord, must have impressed them with awe lest they should provoke the God of Israel by putting his servant to death.

'Ezek. xxix. 11-14.

2 P. i. p. 59.

'P. ii. p. 60-63.

The mariners at first "called every man upon "his god;" but after they had heard the words of Jonah, they "feared the Lord exceedingly, and "offered a sacrifice to Jehovah, and made vows." They had been idolaters; but probably they were converted to the true religion by what they saw and heard on this occasion.


The Almighty God was certainly able to prepare a great fish" to swallow Jonah, and could preserve him alive to the third day in its belly; however profane scoffers may ridicule the narrative. The fables of Hercules swallowed by a sea-monster, and shipwrecked Amphion carried to shore by a dolphin, seem to have been derived from the vague report of this transaction.


Jonah's conduct and disposition at Nineveh too' much resembled that malevolent spirit, that 'blackness of character, which men ascribe to the 'devil; that is, depraved nature lamentably shewed itself. Yet he should not be blamed for delivering his message faithfully. His conduct is unparalleled in scripture; no one, there mentioned with approbation, shewed so proud, angry, impatient, selfseeking, and presumptuous a disposition, as he did. Jeremiah appealed to the Lord," that he had not "desired the woful day" which he predicted: he declared that, if the people "would not hear, he "would weep in secret places for their pride ;" and his lamentations evince his sincerity. Moses preferred death to the destruction of his ungrateful countrymen, even with the greatest advantage to himself and his family. "Rivers of water ran "down David's eyes, because men kept not God's "law" and Paul had "continual heaviness and

66 sorrow of heart" on account of his unbelieving countrymen. So that prophesying evil does not incline men to wish for it: because all do not prefer their own credit to the glory of God and the happiness of multitudes, as Jonah did most wickedly on one occasion.

The Creator's 'partiality,' if Mr. P. will use that word, appears as much in other histories as in that of the Bible. The Lord does certainly afford advantages to some nations and individuals, which he withholds from others: but the scriptures never represent him, as conniving at the sins of his favoured nation, or as punishing the guiltless because they did not belong to it. On the contrary, he says, "You only have I known of all the fa"milies of the earth; therefore I will punish you " for all your iniquities.”1


Learned men agree that "three days and three nights," in the Hebrew idiom, denote any portion of time ending on the third day: and, as neither ancient nor modern Jews have objected, on this ground, to the application of the history of Jonah to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ; it is in vain for others to attempt it. Our Lord's express testimony confirms the whole account, so that it stands on all the evidence of the New Testament: and the history is replete with most important instruction.

As to the other 'Minor Prophets,' Mr. P. leaves them to sleep undisturbed in the laps of their nurses the priests:' I suppose because he could

1 Amos iii. 2.

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