Page images

tion, will be sown among the Gentiles; and will thus be made, in a wonderful manner, from first to last, the seed of the Church. This preaching of the Gospel by the converted Israelites, unlike the preaching of it by that first handful only of seed, the Hebrew Apostles of our Lord, will, I apprehend, be totally unattended by persecution or opposition: for all trials of that nature would be incompatible with the predicted peace and blessedness of the millennian church. God will incline the hearts of the Gentiles to receive the word gladly. Great shall be the day of Jezrael. For, if the fall of the Jews be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? Nay, instead of opposing or slighting the truth, so eager shall the heathens be to receive it, that out of all the languages of the nations ten men shall lay hold of the skirt of only one Jew, declaring, with a holy vehemence, their full determination to go with him, inasmuch as they have heard that God is with him of a truth. In short, the whole world shall press eagerly to Jerusalem to behold the glory of the Lord, and to receive instruction from the lips of his servants. All nations shall flow like a mighty torrent to his holy mountain, assured that he will teach them of his ways, and cause them to walk in his paths; that the law shall go forth out of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Wars and tumults shall be no more; and the whole earth will form, as it were, only one great family of faithful worshippers.

It is not impossible, that some may feel a curiosity to know what nation is intended by the great maritime power destined to take so conspicuous a part in the restoration of Judah. On this point their curiosity cannot be gratified; at least, not with any degree of precision. Bp. Horsley has studiously, as it were, enlarged the circle, within which the power in question is to be sought for. situation," says he, "is not otherwise described in the prophecy which peculiarly sets forth its office and actions*, than by this circumstance; that it is beyond the rivers of Cush. That is, far to the west of Judea, if these rivers of

Isaiah xviii:



Cush are to be understood, as they have been generally understood, of the Nile and other Ethiopian rivers; far to the east, if of the Tigris and Euphrates. The one, or the other, they must denote; but which, is uncertain :-insomuch that we know not, in what quarter of the world to look for the country intended, whether in the East Indies, or in the western parts of Africa or Europe, or in America*." What his Lordship says on the subject is perfectly just and, were there no other prophecies that treated of the restoration of Judah except that which ticularly describes the maritime power, we undoubtedly could not even approximate to any certainty respecting its precise situation. But there are other parallel predictions, which, although they do not authorize us to say that this state or that state is the maritime power intended by Isaiah, seem nevertheless to give us some warrant very considerably to contract at least the circle within which it is to be sought. The isles of the Gentiles, and the ships of Tarshish, are represented as bringing the sons of Judah from afar unto the name of the Lord their God † and the returning Jews themselves are exhorted, while they cry aloud from the sea or (as the original word may with equal propriety be translated) the west, to glorify God in the isles of the sea, that is, the isles of the west. Now it is well known, that the Jews were accustomed to call the whole maritime region of Europe by the general name of the isles of the Gentiles or the isles of the sea; because the Phenicians were unable to reach any part of that region, except by the means of shipping. And it is further known, that perhaps the greatest part of the Jews, properly so called, is scattered through the different nations of Europe. These isles of the Gentiles then are destined to the office of bringing back the Jews: but some one nation among them, described as the Tyre of the day, and whose ships are mystically styled the ships of Tarsh ish, is plainly to take the lead in bringing back at least the converted Jews. Thus is the circle at once narrowed, from the east and the west in general, to a particular part

Bishop Horsley's Letter on Isaiah xviii. p. 90, 91. See also P. 37-41. Isaiah Ix. 8-11. + Isaiah xxiv. 14, 15.

See Mede's Works, B. 1, P. 272, 273.

only of the west; namely, the maritime region of Europe, and some mighty naval power which will then occupy the same place in the modern world that Tyre did in the ancient world. But the isles of the Gentiles, and the ships of Tarshish, are clearly described by Isaiah as restoring the Jews in a converted state, and as undertaking that office upon religious motives: and he represents, with equal plainness, both the great maritime power, and the Jews under its protection, as being faithful and acceptable worshippers of the Lord in purity and truth. Yet we know, that at this very period, the mighty confederacy of Antichrist, which (we have reason to believe both from prophecy and from the passing events of the day) will at least comprehend the whole of the papal Roman empire, will commence its expedition against Palestine, in direct opposition, though perhaps not avowed opposition, to the purposes of the Most High. Here then, at the epoch of the restoration of Judah, we have the isles of the Gentiles divided into two parts: the one papal, and subject to the tyrannical domination of Antichrist; the other protestant, and under the influence of the maritime power described as the ships of Tarshish. Those isles of the Gentiles therefore, and the ships of Tarshish, which restore the Jews in a converted state, and in order to glorify the name of the Lord their God, certainly cannot be that part of Europe which is subjugated by Antichrist: because their views and principles are directly opposite to the views and principles of Antichrist. Hence it will follow, that the maritime power must not only be sought for generally in the isles of the Gentiles or in Europe, but particu larly in the believing isles of the Gentiles or in protestant Europe. Further than this we have no authority to advance, and therefore I shall not advance further: but I shall content myself with resting in the conclusion, that the maritime power will be that state of protestant Europe which shall possess a decided naval superiority at the time when the 1260 years shall expire. This mighty maritime power, and other smaller maritime protestant powers its allies, described by the prophet under the general name of the isles of the Gentiles, will undoubtedly be the agents in converting and restoring those Jews who are not under the influence of Antichrist.

Such is all the positive knowledge, that we can now attain to, respecting the great naval power, which will act so conspicuous a part at the time of the end. Every person, who attends to the subject, will doubtless have his own private conjectures: but he is not, I think, warranted in making his conjectures public; because he cannot have those clear grounds to go upon, which almost indisputably attach to France the character of Daniel's infidel kingdom, and more recently the additional character of the Carlovingian head of the Roman beast, that is to contrive and direct the Antichristian expedition against Palestine at the time of the end. We are at present very manifestly living in the last days of blasphemous atheism and infidelity; and there is every reason to think, that we cannot be very far distant from the close of the 1260 years, from whatever precise period they ought to be dated. Now we learn from concurring prophecies, that, at the close of those years or at the time of the end, four mighty powers will be the principal actors in the great drama of nations: the Roman beast under his last or Carlovingian head, a head which we can now scarcely avoid considering as identified with the infidel kingdom, although the governor of that kingdom has not yet formally assumed the title of Roman emperor; some great protestant maritime and commercial state; a king of the north; and a king of the south. If then, what can scarcely be doubted, we be now rapidly approaching to that time of the end, when all these four powers will be in action; we may naturally expect to behold some at least of the powers already in existence. Accordingly, upon turning from prophecy to the present state of things in Europe, we see a kingdom, which exactly and in all points answers to the character of Daniel's infidel kingdom, transferring from Germany to itself the ancient imperial honours of the Carlovingian head, and rapidly establishing a sort of federal empire, which no less exactly answers to the character of the apocalyptic confederacy of the Roman beast under his last head, the false prophet, and the kings of the Latin earth*. We

See Rev. xvi. 13.--16. and xix. 17--21. The confederacy will not begin to be gathered to the battle of the great day of God Almighty, till after the overthrow of the Ottoman empire; but it will plainly be either formed or form

[ocr errors]

moreover see a mighty protestant maritime power, arriving with rapid strides at the most complete naval superiority that ever was possessed by any modern nation; and, having singularly availed itself of the suggestion of one whose whole life has been spent upon land*, no longer as formerly either fighting its enemies on equal terms or gaining over them indecisive victories, but annihilating whole fleets at a blow, esteeming what would once have been deemed a victory as worthy only of censure†, and triumphing over all its opponents in all quarters of the globe. We further see a vast northern sovereignty, the chief of which may well be called by way of eminence the king of the north, extending itself on every side, and rising in the inconceivably short space of little more than a century from barbarous insignificance to immense power and influence. As yet we behold indeed no state, which, consistently with the general tenor of prophecy, we can even guess to be the kingdom of the south of this however we may rest assured, that at the close of the 1260 years, some kingdom of the south will unite its arms with the kingdom of the north in opposing the progress of Antichrist; and that they will both fail in their attempt. Yet, although they will fail, no intimation is given that they will be totally destroyed by that tyrant: whence we may perhaps venture to conclude, that they will be rather baffled than subjugated ‡

[ocr errors]

ing, about or before that event takes place. The three demons are not represented as gathering or forming the confederacy itself; but only as gathering it, when formed, to the battle of the Lord.

* John Clark, Esq. This gentleman, who, so far from being bred to the sea, had not even performed a single voyage, first suggested the present system of naval tactics, the prominent feature of which is to break the enemy's line of battle. A long series of indecisive actions excited the attention of the inquisitive mind of Mr. Clark. He became the inventor of an entirely new system, which was first acted upon by Lord Rodney. Since that time no engagement has proved indecisive: but each cceeding victory has surpassed its predecessor in completeness and in importance. Does not such a man deserve public honours from his country?

† On the 22d of July 1805, Sir Robert Calder, with 15 sail of the line and two frigates, fought the combined squadrons of France and Spain, consisting of 20 sail of the line, three ships of 50 guns, and five frigates. Without losing a single ship of his own fleet, he took from the enemy two sail of the line. He returned home; was tried by a court martial; and was severely repri manded for having done nothing more.

So far indeed from the northern kingdom being subjugated, we have some reason from prophecy to believe, that it will be a tremendous instrument in

« PreviousContinue »