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INUNDATED BY BARBARIANS FROM THE EAST.
greatly conduced to the flight of the Goths, was the horrific appearance of the Huns. This made the beautiful Goths flee from them as they would have fled from the face of a serpent. They wanted not courage to meet a foe of their own kind; but they appear to have doubted the propriety of having much intercourse with such monsters in human shape, whose polluting habits, also, they may have been glad to shun. They begged to be allowed a shelter within the bounds of the Roman Empire. The Roman emperor, with seeming generosity, granted their request.
The Goths were required to deliver up their arms. It was also stipulated that their children should he given to the Romans, and dispersed through the provinces of Asia. These terms were hard to a brave people, and a people so affectionate to their offspring as the Goths. Ere they could submit to them, they must have been reduced to the utmost extremity. They seem, , however, to have been faithfully observed, until perfidy appeared on the part of the Romans. The children of the nobility were separated without delay from the multitude, and conducted to the distant places assigned for their residences.
The emigrants spread themselves over the uncultivated plains between the ridges of Mount Hæmus and the Danube, in the same country from which they had been driven by the Macedonian in his early conquests. Here, in the land of their fathers, they seem to have been offered little but a grave, into which it was threatened they would fall by one of the most fearful of deaths, — that of hunger. When they accepted of the hard conditions already alluded to, they were promised provisions for their immediate supply; but these came far short of the demand. They had to expend all to purchase food ; and at length, many of them had to sell themselves as slaves, in order to preserve a miserable existence. Was such a state of things to be endured, if it could be at all mended? At length, insult was
added to injury—they became exasperated—and in their desperation began to concert desperate measures.These, the Visigoths, at length procured assistance from the Ostrogoths, who had not been admitted within the Roman Empire ; and who, of course, still retained their arms. War was resolved on. They fought and overcame.
In the mean time, the Gothic youth, dispersed over the Asiatic provinces, were, by order of the Roman Government, all, in the most atrocious manner, slaughtered. We are accustomed to talk of the barbarism of the Goths, and of the ruthless hands they laid upon the Roman empire. But was not vengeance to be looked for in return for so much cowardly cruelty, with which these strangers were treated in the land of their fathers, by the masters of the world ? And accordingly, Alaric, King of the Visigoths, was raised up for the correction of the Romans. To this office he reckoned himself specially called, calling himself the Fire of God, and the Scourge of Rome, which he abundantly was, weakening it in various parts; and especially ravaging Greece, and thus punishing in their children the ancient dispossessors of his fathers, when Alexander led his conquering arms into Mœsia. At length Alaric marched upon Rome itself, and, after twice sparing it, and repeatedly meeting with treachery and insult, he at length sacked and plundered the city, carrying away an immensity of treasure. The Goths themselves, behaved, it is said, with much mildness and humanity; but the barbarians, whom Alaric had joined to his army, ran into great excesses, the blame of which the Goths have in a great measure borne.
In the mean time the barbarians, who had caused the emigration of the Gothic nations, rolled many of them over the empire, sweeping away many mingled people. Some passed over to Africa, which they conquered, or rather ravaged ; whence returning, under Genseric their prince, Rome again, and still more severely, suffered. Even the capitol is now uncovered, for the
ISRAEL TAKE ROOT IN THE NORTH-WEST.
sake of its gilded brass; and the sacred vessels, belonging to the temple at Jerusalem,—the spoils that Titus brought to Rome, and that Alaric, because of their holiness, refused to touch,--these are among his trophies; but a storm deposits them in the bottom of the Great Sea. And at length this barbarous power, that threatened to erect an empire, embracing both sides of the Mediterranean, and which would have made, perhaps, Africa the seat of empire, is melted away, and can no more be found. Such has been the fate of all the nations that so came, like a sweeping storm,—a furious whirlwind, to drive Israel into endless ruin. They have passed away like a night vision. All their mighty conquests are now
a troublous dream. Even the Roman eagle, which, under her wide-spreading wings, proffered a refuge to Israel, in such mockery of hospitality and truth, is now as nothing ; whilst the poor and needy hath, indeed, taken root, and spread and flourished, as was promised. Would that their fruit were such as becomes the children of so many mercies!
Spain, as well as a considerable portion of Italy, came into the possession of the Goths. Gaul was laid hold upon by the Franks, another branch of the same great family, and from them, has been called France. Britain came into the possession of the Anglo-Saxons, at least as to the largest and most valuable part of it; and from them has been called England. The Gothic nations were, in the course of the revolutions we have briefly sketched, driven in chiefly towards the north, where they erected free commonwealths, in what was anciently called Cimbria and Scandinavia, which they civilized, and rendered comparatively fruitful; but from which many of them rebounded back, by sea, upon the more fertile countries of Europe,—making not only great depredations, but in some cases, as in that of Normandy, large conquests. By one means or another, and mostly as if from necessity, Europe has fallen almost entirely, into their possession; and from thence have they
spread themselves over great part of the other quarters of the globe. The great supplanting has been ever going forward. This people have, indeed, been Jacob from the beginning, but particularly since then- settlement within the bounds of the Roman empire. It is especially north of that, however, that they have displayed the most mental power. This mental power has, as we have seen, been in training from the earliest period, in order that they might be prepared for acting under the other name of Jacob, —that of Israel, or Prince of God. They are to be made princes in all the earth, according to the order of the kingdom of heaven; according to which, the greatest of all is to be as the servant of all; even like the Prince of the kings of the earth," who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.' God is already proceeding to lay liberally to their hand,—not for self glorification, or luxurious ease,—but that they may enjoy the high dignity of being the dispensers of the Lord's bounty
to mankind. May they soon fulfil their destiny, and be given to rule in judgment, under the King of righteousness,—justifying the prediction, “ The people which shall be created, shall praise the Lord ! ”
Only look for a moment at the important position which this people now occupy,—whose name but lately was a name for barbarism. They possess the most improved portion of our globe,—the greater part of which was but a wilderness when they took possession of it. There is scarcely any place of much importance, in any part of the world, that they do not now occupy,—except, indeed, their own land of Israel, and those laid hold upon by their great rival, in the Northeast portion of the world; and who, as grasping at the whole, is yet to acu. so important a part at the close of the present dispensation. Israel have colonized, or are colonizing all the new world; and great part of Asia is in their possession: whilst Africa is in a manner surrounded by
FOOTSTEPS OF THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL.
them. Either directly, by power,or indirectly, by diplomatic agency, they can control almost all the nations of the earth. All the facilities of good appear to be rapidly providing. It is true there is a deadness, unworthy of this position. There is, as it were, the silent waiting for the powerful word of the living life-giving God: “ Come from the four winds, О breath, and breathe upon these slain that they may live." Now may Mohammedan delusion depart, and Ishmael associate with Isaac, in his efforts to raise unto the full dignity of man, the longoppressed children of Africa. Now may the Brahmins, the younger children of Abraham, in the east, behold the truth of their perverted allegories, and become efficient missionaries to all the families of Shem, so densely crowded into that part of the world. Now may the Jews spread everywhere, knowing all countries, all languages, all customs, and all engagements of mankind, turn their penetrating minds unto the truth, as it is in Jesus, and labour to bestow upon all, the true riches, as they have laboured to acquire for themselves the mammon of unrighteousness. Now may Judah walk with Israel,—and may they come together out of the north country, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem; and thence go forth, as lightning, to the utmost corners of the earth, as vessels of honour fit for the Master's use,—to carry out blessings unto the ends of the earth; to preach the gospel of the kingdom in all the world for a witness unto all nations, before the end come. But to return :
It may be objected that if these things are so, there will surely be some traditional remains among this people, tending to prove their Israelitish origin. With regard to the Scriptures, which it is most desirable we should find them possessed of; we have the parallel case of Judah. It would seem that, even in that portion of God's peculiar people, the word of God was so scarce, that when a copy of it was found, in the reign of Josiah, it
was as if some remarkable discovery had been made. (See 2 Kings, xxii. 8—20.) Upon their return from Babylon, also, it plainly appears that they had, up to that time, been remarkably wanting as to Scriptural knowledge. See Ezra ix. If this was the case with regard to the Jews who retained Jerusalem,—the place of rule, and the place of worship,—who had the best opportunities of being instructed in what God had done for his people in the days of old, and what he had appointed them to observe as the symbols of allegiance to himself, the Lord of Hosts,—the great Governor among the nations; less forgetfulness could scarcely be expected of the other—the fugitive house of Israel; who were ever in a state of change; and who had become so separated from the wors ip of God, previous to their removal out of the Land. Although they, however, are not known to have had the books of the Scriptures actually in their possession, — yet it might be expected they should have traditions of another kind. This might be the more expected, as Elijah and Elisha chiefly prophesied in Israel,not in Judah: and their prophecies would more naturally regard the people among whom they ministered; rather than the other house—that of Judah, to which they did not minister, -and who have no record of their prophecies.
However adulterated by heathenish admixture, something might be expected to remain among these northern nations, of the traditions of their fathers, to attest the truth we have been advocating, -and accordingly this is remarkably the case. The oldest poem these people are known to possess, appears to have been produced with the special design of collecting the traditions of their fathers. It is called Voluspa; that is the spae or prophecy of Vola. The Edda is a comparatively modern commentary upon Voluspa, containing, perhaps, nearly as many fables superadded, as the correspondent works of the Jews and the Romanists, who have, by their
vain traditions, so made void the word
Having been brought out into the north country, into the vast plains northward of the Caucasian mountains, and been given there an apparently peaceable settlement,--there then the rushing of many waters of the fierce barbarians from the east, that inundate these plains, and sweep the people to which the prophecy applies, in towards the north; and thus, accordingly, the poem proceeds:“ A river flows from the east, Over poisoned vales, Carrying mud and turf; It is called Slidur." [Promise of a refuge in the north.— There stands towards the north, In Nidafiollum, A golden palace, named Sindra; But another exists in Okolni, The ale-cellar of the Jotun, Which is called, Brimir." [Disappointed as to the obtaining the pro
mised refuge in the north.—] "She saw a palace stand far
In Nastrondum ;
serpents, Poisoned torrents Flow through its windows." [Dreadful state of society, as mingled
among the northern barbarians :—whilst the Roman Wolf was busy in his work of
destruction.-) “ There she saw, amid the dreadful streams, The perjured and the murderers, And those that pull the ears Of another's wife. There Nidhoggur Tore the flesh from the corpses. The fierce Wolf devoured the men. Know you more? It is this." After much more to the same purpose, the poem then goes on to describe the fulfilment of the words of Isaiah, ix. 18—21; to which allusion was made in last lecture. "Brethren will fight and slay each other; Kindred will spurn their consanguinity; Hard will be the world ; Many the adulteries. A bearded age, an age of swords: Shields will be cloven. An age of winds, an age of wolves, Till the world shall perish, There will not be one that will spare another."
Farther on, we have an account of those dreadful convulsions of the material creation, which shall precede the full establishment of peace, and bestowment of blessing. There is still a mingling of heathen fable with the truth of prophecy; but, through that, this may all the while be discerned. "The sun darkens; The earth is immerged in the sea ; Theserene stars are withdrawn from heaven: Fire rages
in the ancient world : The lofty colour reaches to heaven itself. Garmur barks from the cave of Gnipa: The chains are broken, Freco rushes out. She sees at last, emerging from the ocean, An earth, in every part flourishing. The cataracts flow down; The eagle fies aloft ; And hunt the fishes in the mountains."
Then there is an evolving of the mysteries of Providence as to the past;
om the sun,
THE DESOLATE WOMAN COMFORTED.
and an easy divining of the future, as in the days of old:“ The Asae met in Ida Valle, And talked of the world's great calamities; And of the ancient runœ of Fimbultyr. These things done, the wonderful dice, Are found gilt in the grass, Which those of former days possessed."
Then the earth yields her increase; and want and woe are felt no more:“There were fields without sowing, All adverse things became prosperous;"
The Asae will dwell without evils, Do you yet understand?"
Then the two brothers, Judah and Joseph, are made one; and choose for them one head, and are given the promised headship over the heathen:“Then Heinir shares the
of choosing Vidar, And the sons of the two brothers Inhabit the vast mansion of the winds. Do you know more?
Then there is the promised glory in Jerusalem: Israel and Judah have walked together out of the north country, to Mount Zion, the glory from which shall cover the earth :“A Hall stands, brighter than the sun, Covered with gold in Gimle. There virtuous people will dwell, And for ages enjoy every good."
Then,—the millennial ages having
run their course,—there is the loosing of the serpent, (see Rev. xx. 7—10) and so the poem concludes :“Then will come the obscene dragon, flying, The serpent
from Nidar fiolli, He carries the corpses in his wings, He flies over the ground;
—The infernal serpent, Nidhoggur; Now the earth gapes for him."
So clearly, indeed, have the traditions of these nations been related to the contents of our Bible, that it was at one time supposed the northern nations had become acquainted with them through the medium of Christianity. Such a supposition is however now abandoned; and thus do these traditions remain incontestable evidence of the truth of the Israelitish origin of the people that possess them.
Well may this outcast house of Israel, who had seemed to be no more dear to her husband, but to be given a bill of divorcement, and for ever sent away—well may she be addressed as in Isaiah, liv. 1—8. The address is evidently made to the people who had previously been in the Lord's favour: and yet, not to the Jews; (see Gal. iv. 27.) The words are thus confined to Israel, as cast out among the Gentiles, preparatory to her Husband's mania festing himself more fully as her Redeemer, and, at the same time, as the God of the whole earth:
Sing, О barren,
Thou—didst not bear,
Saith the Lord.
And shalt not remember the reproach
Saith thy God.
Saith the Lord, thy Redeemer.”