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were denominated ravens *. The prophet then, assuming the title of Jonah or the dove, calls upon Nineveh, the city of the dove, to repent of her iniquities; and, instead of consulting the false oracle of her favourite dove, to attend to the true oracle sent by the living God f.
But I have said enough to shew the propriety with which Nineveh is styled the city of the dove; a title, which the decorum of the type required to be conferred upon her, although all that is said in the third chapter relates, not to the literal, but to the mystical Nineveh. It remains to be shewn, how exactly the description answers to the corrupt communion of the church of Rome.
1. The Nineveh then, which according to Zephaniah will be destroyed at the era of the restora. tion of Judah, is, like her type, an exulting city. She dwells in confident security; and boasts, that there is none beside herself. Such is the church
# Hence Herodotus, when speaking of two priestesses who caine from Thebes in Egypt and settled in Dodona, styles them dures. Herod. Hist. L. ii. c. 54.
I am indebted to Mr. Bryant for these remarks on the Assyrian dove. See his Anal. Vol. ii. p. 283--320.:
+ Mr. Bryant, in a later publication, seems to think that Jonah was so called from his being a semi-idolater, partly wor, shipping God, and partly the Jonal or dove: but, in his Analysis, he conceives, and perhaps more justly, that this title was bestowed upon him as being an oracular messenger of the Deity to the Ninevites. Compare his Observ. on passages of Scripture, p. 232, with his Anal. Vol. ii. p. 294.
of Rome. She fancies, that she is the only true church, and esteems all without the pale of her communion to be heretics. Hence she styles herself the catholic church; and applies to her own ecclesiastical polity the promise made to the true universal church, that the gates of hell shall never prevail against it-2. Nineveh swells witli pride, and yet is polluted. The church of Rome does the same-3. Nineveh obeyeth not the voice, she receiveth not correction. The infatuated church of Rome hardens herself against all the judgments of the Lord. Unawed by the downfall of the eastern empire, she repents not of the work of her hands, that she should not worship demons, and idols of gold and silver and brass and stone and wood, which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk; neither does she repent of her murders, nor of her sorceries, nor of her spiritual fornication, nor of her thefts *-4. The princes of Nineveh are roaring lions, her judges are evening wolves. The princes of the Romish communion have been notorious for persecuting the faithful. The load of innocent blood presses alike upon the houses of Austria, Bourbon, and Savoy. They have all, in all their branches, in all their different dominions, been guilty of shedding the blood of the saints and martyrs; they have all been as roaring lions in the sheep of Christ's flock; they have all sold themselves to be tools to
Rev. ix. 20, 21.
the harlot church ; none of them have repented of the evil of their ways. And what have been the ecclesiastical judges of Rome? Do the merciless and iniquitous wretches, that preside in the diabolical court of the Inquisition, deserve a better name than evening wolves, wolves that cease not to devour their prey until the morning ?-5. The prophets of Nineveh are licentiously extravagant, gross hypocrites : her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the Law. It is plain, that this description can only relate to the mystical Nineveh ; and with her how accurately does it accord !--6. The just Lord however is in the midst of Nineveh. So is he in the midst of papal Rome by his word and ordinances : but no one attendeth to his judgments; the unjust knoweth no shame 7. He will not however destroy Nineveh, till enough has been done to rouse her to a sense of her condition. Exactly so has it been, and still is, with papal Rome. By the instrumentality of a tremendous monster of impiety, the great Antichrist of the last days, the nations in the communion of Rome have been cut off; their towers have been made desolate; their streets have been made waste; their inhabitants have been slain. Yet do we behold any reformation ? The Lord might well say, Surely thou wilt fear me, surely thou wilt receive instruction, so that thy dwelling place should not be utterly cut off. But what has been the
event? They rose up early, and corrupted all their doings. To complete her sins, Rome became the tool of Antichrist, and lent herself to sanction the ambitious tyranny of a vile usurper *.
* In objection to this interpretation it may perhaps be urged, Why may not the city, described in Zephan. iii. 1.--5, be Jeru. salem immediately before its destruction by the Romans; and why inay not the 6th and 7th verses relate to the dispersion of the Jews ? To this I answer ; that the event, predicted in the 8th verse, is clearly the gathering together of the Antichristian faction to Jerusalem at the era of the restoration of the Jews ; and this gathering together is represented as being the consequence, although the judgment of God has been long delayed, of the hardened iniquity of the city, which the prophet had immediately before described. But the gathering together of the Antichristian faction to their destruction is the consequence of the sins of the Roman Babylon (see Rev. xvi. 1, 2, 6, 10, 14, 16, 19, And xix. 19, 20, 21.), certainly not of ancient Jerusalem: there fore the city must be the Roman Babylon, and not Jerusalem. It may further be remarked, that the natione, mentioned plurally in the 6th verse, can scarcely mean the single nation of the Jews: on the contrary, they seem evidently to be the same as the nations that are to be gathered together in the 8th verse, After having been cut off and made desolate by the merciless tyranny of Antichrist, they will at length be gathered together by his agency and compelled to cmbark in his final mad crusade. Mr. Lowth thinks that Jerusalem is spoken of in the beginning of the third chapter, yet he supposes that the nations, mentioned in ver. 6. mean Nineveh and her allies. Such being the case, the context seems to me plainly to require that by the city we should understand Nineveh, not Jerusalem. Though, like myself, he refers the prophecy primarily to the literai Nineveh, yet he thinks very justly that the assembling of the nations, mentioned in the 8th verse, is the same as the gathering together of the nations to the valley of Jehoshaphut, predicted in Joel nii. 2, 12.
We have read the character of the Roman Nineveh ; we must now attend to the prophetic account of her joint destruction with her Antichristian colleague, a destruction which Zephaniah represents as being contemporary with the restoration of the Jews, a destruction therefore which plainly shews that we are not here to understand the literal Nineveh. The saints may vell be supposed to be weary at beholding the lengthened tyranny of the harlot church, and to be struck with horror at viewing the dreadful impieties and extensive ravages of Antichrist. God therefore calls upon them to wait patiently for hiin, until the day that he rises up to the prey. Sooner or later that awful day will surely come. Then will the Lord gather together the nations, and assemble the kingdoms : then will he collect, to the tremendous vintage of his wrath, the Roman beast under his last head, his tool the false prophet, and the vassal kings that constitute the federal members of his empire. He will bring them together into the land of Palestine, to the valley of Megiddo: and there will he pour upon them the fierceness of his indignation, and devour them with the fire of his jealousy.
Yet this period of unexampled trouble shall at length introduce the happiness of the Millennium. After the destruction of his enemies God will turn unto the nations a pure religious confession, and cause them all to serve him with one consent.