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origin. The Pushto language, of which I have seen a dictionary, has a manifest resemblance to the Chaldaic; and a considerable district under their dominion is called Hazareh or Hazaret, which might easily have been changed into the word used by Esdras. I strongly recommend an inquiry into the literature and history of the Afghans."
From this interesting note of that great linguist we learn four very curious particulars, relative to the Afghans : 1. that they have a tradition among themselves, that they are of Jewish origin, although not very forward to acknowledge their descent; 2. that this is not a mere vague tradition, known only to themselves and ridiculed by their neighbours, but that the best Persian historians, with whose empire they have always been connected *, assert the very same ; 3. that a considerable district under their dominion is to this day called Hazaret, a word nearly resembling Arsareth, which (according to the apocryphal Esdras, whoever he might be, and at whatever period he might live t) was the name of the country into which the ten tribes retired; 4. and that their language has a manifest resemblance to the Chaldaic.
Though I would not implicitly depend upon popular tradition, yet neither would I entirely reject it. In the present case however it is so remarkably supported, that we can scarcely refrain from giving it some degree of credit. The best Persian historians sanction the popular be. lief of the Afghans : and, what has always been allowed to be one of the strongest proofs of national descent and relationship, their language manifestly resembles the Chaldaic.
In mentioning Arsareth as the country to which the ten tribes retired, the apocryphal Esdras probably alluded to a tradition respecting the fate of their brethren at that time familiar to the Jews : and we find, that a large part of the country of the Afghans, who believe themselves to be of Hebrew origin, and whose belief is at once corroborated by the best historians of Persia and by the cir.
"the Afghans ; a tribe, at different times subject to and always connected with the kingdoms of Persia and Hindustan.”
+ The reader will find the different opinions respecting the author of the second book of Esdras detailed in Dr. Gray's Key to the Old Testament.
Mr. Vansittart's leta
ter to Sir William Jones.
cumstance of their languagebeing a branch of the Chaldaic, is even to this day called Hazaret. The reader has now the evidence before him, and must judge for himself, whether the claim of the Afghans is to be allowed or rejected. But, whatever be its fate, the prophecies respecting the distinct restoration of Israel remain unaffected, and will surely be accomplished.
Before I entirely quit this part of my subject, I shall notice a-coincidence, which is at least curious, if it deserve no better epithet. St. John tells us, that the sixth vial of God's wrath will be poured upon the river Euphrates, the waters of which will in consequence of it be dried
up, in order that a way may be prepared for the kings who are from the rising of the sun. Mr. Mede supposes, and (arguing from the analogy of language used in the Apocalypse) I think, incontrovertibly, that the exhaustion of the Euphrates means the subversion of the Ottoman empire : and he farther conjectures, that the kings, for whom this event is to prepare a way, are the Jews. Had he said the Israelites *, he would perhaps have expressed himself with greater accuracy : for, if the passage do at all allude to the restoration of the house of Jacob, it relates more probably to that of the ten tribes, than to that of Judah. But why should either the Israelites or the Jews be styled kings ? Such a title accords very ill with the present condition of the Jews, and still worse with that of the Israelites, if they be so entirely lost and swallowed up, as some have imagined. Mr. Mede does not attempt to solve this difficulty. If however it should eventually prove that the Afghans are really the remains of the ten tribes, and if St. John speak of the restoration of those ten tribes under the name of kings from the east, we shall immediately perceive the singularly exact propriety with which he styles them kings. The whole race of the Afghans, as we have seen from the preceding account of them, denominate themselves even to the
pre* Mr. Mede does at first indeed say Israelites, but he ever after speaks only of Jews (See Comment. Apoc. in loc.). I expressed myself with equal inaccuracy, when treating of the same subject in the first edition of my Dissert. on the 1260 years. The fact was, I had at that time indolently acquiesced in the commonly received opinion, as stated by Bp. Newton, that the ten tribes would only be restored conjointly with and included in the tribe of Judah.
sent day, in their Chaldaic dialect, Melic, or with the plural termination Melchim, in English, kings. They consider themselves as a royal nation ; and, according to their own tradition, claim their title of Melic from a grant of Mohammed whose religion they profess. If then they be of Hebrew extraction, the drying up of the mystic Euphrates, or the subversion of the Ottoman empire, would undoubtedly prepare a way for them both naturally and morally. A power would be removed, whose dominions now stretch between Persia and Palestine ; and one great branch of that false religion, by which the Afghans are at present deluded, would be broken off. According to Mr. Vansittart, the sects of the Afghans are very numerous; and they appear to be a nation formidable at once for its population, and for its bravery.
“ Their character may be collected from history. They have distinguished themselves by their courage, both singly and unitedly, as principals and auxiliaries. They have conquered for their own princes and for foreigners, and have always been considered the main strength of the army in which they have served *."
I have stated, that the restoration of Judah will commence at the close of the 1260 years, and have intimated it to be probable that it will not be completely effected till a period of 30 additional years shall likewise have exThe pro
* Besides these Mohammedan Israelites, if indeed the Afghans be Israel. ites, it appears, that there are in the East many of the same ancient stock of Jacob. * There is reason to believe,” says Mr. Buchanan, “that scriptural records, older than the apostolical, exist on the coast of Malabar. At Cochin there is a colony of Jews, who retain the tradition that they arrived in India soon after the Babylonian captivity. There are in that province two classes of Jews, the white and the black Jews. The black Jews are those, who are supposed to have arrived at that early period. The white Jews emigrated from Europe in later ages. What seems to countenance the tradition of the black Jews is, that they have copies of those books of the Old Testament which were written previously to the captivity, but none of those whose dates are subsequent to that event-The latest information respecting them is contained in a letter lately received from a learned missionary in the south of the peninsula, who had resided for some time in the vicinity of Cochin. He states, that he had constantly been informed that the Jews at Cochin had those books only of the Old Testament which were written before the Babylonian captivity ; and that thence it is generally believed by the Christians of the Decan, that they had come to India soon after that event. He adds, that the M.S. was on a material resembling paper, in the form of a roll ; and that the character had a strong resemblance to Hebrew, if not Hebrew.” (Memoir of an eccles. establishment for British India, p. 117, 118.) Are we to esteem these people Jews, or a remnant of the ten tribes ?
pired. This conjecture is founded upon a remarkable chronological passage in the book of Daniel. phet teaches us, that 75 years will intervene between the expiration of the 1260 years and the commencement of the millennium: and these 75 years he divides, without specifying any reason for such a division, into 30 years and
What particular event will happen at the era of the division, we undoubtedly cannot determine with any degree of certainty ; because Daniel has left it wholly undetermined: but we must conclude, that the point of the division will be marked by some signal event; otherwise how can we rationally account for such a division having been made ? Now, when we find, by comparing prophecy with prophecy, that the restoration of Judah will precede the restoration of Israel, and that the restoration of Israel will not even so much as commence till the restoration of at least the main body of Judah * is completed, and till the power of Antichrist is broken: it is at least highly probable, that the 30 years will be occupied in the conversion and restoration of Judah, in the great earthquake or political convulsion that divides the Latin em. pire into three parts, in the wars of Antichrist with the kings of the north and the south, in his grand expedition against Palestine and Egypt, and in the contemporary naval expedition of the maritime power undertaken for the purpose of bringing back the converted Jews; that the 30
years will close with the complete overthrow of Antichrist in the valley of Megiddo, an event than which we cannot conceive one better calculated to mark a signal chronological epoch; and that the 45 years will be employed in the wanderings of those who, escaping from the rout of the Antichristian army, will carry every where the tidings of God's supernatural interference, and in the subsequent conversion and restoration of the whole house of Israel.
I wish this to be understood only as conjecture; for it would be folly to speak positively before the event.
* It appears from the mention of some countries, into which (according to Isaiah) the fugitives from the Antichristian army will wander, that several scattered Fews will be left behind in Europe both by the maritime power and by Antichrist. These be converted and hasten to join their brethren, both in consequence of the report of the fugitives, and of their beholding from afar the glory of the Lord manifested over Jerusalem in the awful sign of the Shechinah. See Isaiah lxvi. 18, 19.
When the 45 years shall have expired, when the whole family of Jacob shall have been converted and restored, and when the stick of Judah shall have united itself for ever with the stick of Joseph; then will commence the season of millennian blessedness *.
We have reason to suppose, that the ancient people of God, now converted to the faith of Christ, will be greatly instrumental in spreading the glad tidings of the Gospel among the heathen nations, already prepared to receive it by so many supernatural interpositions of Providence, and by beholding with their own eyes the glory of the Lord permanently manifested over Jerusalem. According to the united tes. timony of many of the prophets, Israel, after his restora
* What Mr. Mede has said upon the subject of these numbers is to me altogether unsatisfactory: He dates them from the profanation of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes, thus making the first number terminate about a. D. 1120, and the second about A. D. 1166 ; and he refers them altogether to the suspicions, which then began to be entertained by many, that the Pope was Antichrist (See Mede's Works, B. 111 P. 717—724.) But what great blessedness was there in living about the year 1166 ? Mr. Mede answers, that then the Waldenses began to be persecuted, and the promise to be fulfilled that “ blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” Such an answer, I must confess, appears to me little better than a quibble. In fact, it can only be by a very strained construction that we can make these numbers relate to the times when the wise first began to understand. According to the general context of the whole passage, they obviously extend beyond the 1260 years, and reach to the very end of the days, to the commencement of some period of great blessedness. Bp. Newton, much more judiciously than Mr Mede whom he scruples not to pronounce mistaken, connects these numbers with the 1260 years, making their overplus reach beyond them. At the close of the 1290 years, if I mistake not, he places the complete restoration of the Fews, and the destruction of Antichrist : at the close of the 1335 years, the full conversion of the Gentiles, and the beginning of the Millennium. See Dissert. xv11. to. wards the end. Mr. Wintle, like myself, inclines 10 prefer Bp. Newton's opinion to that of Mr. Mede. See Note on Dan xii. 11. See also Mr. Lowth in loc. Mr. Fleming's opinion, though it differs from that of Mr. Mede in computing the number 1290 from the final desolation of Jerusalem in the year 135, and the number 1335 from the end of the number 1290, appears to me to be equally objectionable ; or, I should rather say, much more objectionable, because it is founded upon an absolute error. By the accomplishing of the scattering of the holy people (Dan. xii. 7.) he understands the commencement of their complete scattering by Adrian in the year 135; whereas the expression means the very reverse, namely the termination of their scattering or the beginning of their restoration. In this sense accordingly it is understood both by Mede, Newton, Lowth, and Wintle. Our common English translation indeed em ploys two different words, accomplish and finish ; but the self-same word in the original is used in both places, and in both alike ought to have been rendered by finish :-" when he shall have finished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these wonders shall be finished.” Fleming's Apoc. Key,