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tinction of which the wife partook, than the power of prediction, It was, no doubt, borrowed from the epithet and distinctions bestowed on the priests and priestesses in the temples of the Heathen Gods. And the manner of dedicating boys and girls to the service of the temple and the Lord, as we read in Jewish writings, was exactly similar to the vestal virgins and the attendants in the Heathen temples. The similarity of the whole of the Jewish and Christian mythology, is too plain and glaring to be mistaken, when candidly compared with other mythologies practised in Egypt, in Greece, and in Rome.
In the ninth chapter we have another supposed prophecy on the same head, it is as follows:- For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of ' Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon bis kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Host will perform this.'
This evidently implies a promise of some great benefit to be bestowed on the Jews by a Chief, or Messiah, but the queslion recurs, when was it written? During the captivity of them when they caught at straws for relief, and filled their minds with the most fanatical hope. Let it be borne in mind that this was the book presented to Cyrus, and which book induced him to grant the restoration of the Jews, and I ain of opinion that the above quotation was a flattering allusion to Cyrus, although, it might have been subsequently perverted to another object. It stands quite unconnected with other subjects in the same chapter, for they are of the most gloomy kind, portending nothing but woe to the Israelites.
It is somewhat singular that the Christians should attempt to found their religion on the writings of the Jews, whilst the Jews bave ever disclaimed the connection, and disregarded the pretensions of the Christians as false. This is a perfect anomaly, which they must reconcile among themselves, I view them both alike: the common dupes of fraud and fanaticism.
In the tenth and eleventh chapters, we have supposed prophecies about the expected final restoration of the Jews, which are as valid as the former. The following is an extract from the tenth chapter:
“ Aud it shall come to pass in that day, that the renmant of Israel,
and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them ; but shall stay upou the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth, The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God."
The following extract, on the same subject, is from the eleventh chapter:-,
" And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots: aud the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of liis reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the laib, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed. Their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox, And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the 'asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrices' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountains ; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters covers the sea. And in that day there shall he a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of ihe people; to it shall tlie Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass. in teat day, that the Lord shall set his hand again ihe second time to recover the rempant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Sbinar, and from Hamath, and from the is. lands of the sea.
And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. Tlie envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off. Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philis:ines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together; they shall lay their hand-upon Edom and Muab, and the children of Animon shall obey them. And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyplian sea; and with his miglity wind shall he shake his band over tlic river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over chy-shod. And there shall be an highway for the reincan't of his people which shall be lett, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel, in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
I should think that the Jews themselves must have lost all hopes of this restoration, as two thousand years and upwards have elapsed since the above article was written, and they are evidently as far off, or farther off, any apparent restoration now, than at any former period. It is said that the Jews must all turn Christians first, but this idea defeats itself, for as soon as they turn Christians, they will immediately cease to be distinct and visible as Jews, and thus the restoration would be defeated: Whilst they remain as Jews they will find no support from the Christians, who are more disposed to persecute than to assist any other sect of idolaters. Thus stands the case, fairly and clearly stated. If religious liberty, or liberty of conscience becomes more extended, the Jews then will cease to be conspicuous as at present, as opposition and persecution only tends to irradiate the oppressed and persecuted part But the above paragraphs quoted from the book of Isaiah defeat themselves as prophecy. The first part of it .promises, what the Jews call, a Messiah ; then an harmony between all animals is to take place; nature is to submit to a thorough change in this point. It is also said, that the Jews when restored, shall spoil the Philistines, the Edomites, the Moabites, and the Ammonites ; but these nations have been extinct for two thousand years past. Another circumstance is worthy of notice, the Nile is to be dried up, and the tongue of the Egyptian sea to be destroyed, that the Israelites might pass it dry shod. The Nile continues its majestic course, and derides the prophecy of the Jew or the menace of his idol, Jehovah. So much for so far.
The thirteenth chapter of this book is entitled “ The Burden of Babylon,” and it goes on to declare that Babylon shall become extinct as a city; and that its destruction shall be effected by the Medes. It is recorded in history, that the Medes and Persians, united, did conquer Babylon, but not in such a manner as is described in this chapter. They conquered and possessed it, and still retained it a wealthy and prosperous city. This pretended prophecy says:
“ Every one that is found shall be thrust through ; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes ; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished, Behold, I will stir tip Ilie Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold they shall not delight in it. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.”
This was ly no means the case. And the decline of Babylon cannot be dated until its conquest by the Macedonian hero. It is not known by what army, or at what time, it was finally rased to the ground; but this has been the common fate of all cities that existed in Asia 2,000 years ago; or those on the borders of Africa, contiguous to Asia, which, I believe, was the situation of Babylon. Asia has from time to time poured forth a torrent of Tartar tribes, who, when they have been headed by a celebrated chief, have carried fire and destruction with them every where. Jerusalem, Antioch, Damascus, Palermo, and hundreds of other cities have shared the same fate as Babylon, but the former have been in some measure rebuilt, and the site of the latter has been lost. It may be now inhabited under some other name for what we know at present. To me, this “ Burden of Babylon,' seems a proof, that it was wrillen at Babylon, or after the return of the Jews from that place, as it is not to be disputed, that the Bible is filled with interpolations : and the book of Isaiah can be compared to nothing but a piece of patchwork.
We have next the Burden of Moab, the Burden of Damascus, the Burden of Egypt, the Burden of the Desert of the Sea, the Burden of Dumah, the Burdens upon Arabia, the Burdens of the Valley of Vision, and the Burden of Tyre, if any man can tell what all those burdens signify. After all those burdens, there follows a string of woes, just as gloomy and lamentable. To shew the inconceivable character of the foregoing burdens, I will insert a part of the burden of Tyre :
“ And it came to pass after the end of seventy years, that the Lord will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to lier bire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth. And ber merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall 'be for then that dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing,"
It is such nonsense as this, in which the Bible abounds, that puzzles and stupifies the minds of those who attempt to dive into an understanding of it; they pore over it hour alter hour, and at last come to some conclusion, according to their own distorted minds, which is as unintelligible as the text. . The text is the raving of a lunatic, and all commentary upon it must be of the same kind. There are some passages, which in their original form and language might have been intelligible and applicable when they were first spoken and written,
but now they are mere trash and nonsense, on which it is madness to waste ink and paper.
Another rare specimen of this idle rant is in the twentysixth chapter, as follows:
“In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword slali punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall s.ay the dragou that is in the sea.”
The priests no doubt would tell us, now-a-day, that this means the devil, but we must bear in mind, that the Jews had no idea of a devil in this character until they borrowed the notion of the evil spirit from the Persians. I consider this idea to be borrowed from the figure of some supposed monster that the writer had seen in statue. The word leviathan, in other parts of the Bible, is made to signify the whale ; but the idea of a whale and a serpent forms a contrast.
If we wanted any further proof of lunacy in the writer, I · would copy it from the thirtieth chapter; it is thus :
6. And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high bill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, with the towers fall. Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth, the stroke of their wound.”
Well might this be called an astonishing book! It exceeds romance!
As a specimen of the Jewish idea of the universe, I would insert the following verse from the thirty-fourth chapter :
“ And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from a fig. tree.”
How ridiculous does this read in the present day when we have a better knowledge of the planetary systems ! It was thought of old, that the firmament, as they called ihe wide expanse of space, was a chrystal substance that was studded with brilliant ornaments, and yet we are forbid to decry such notions under pains and penalties!!!
The thirty-sixth and three following chapters form a repetition of the history of Hezekiah, King of Judea, with some few additions to that in the books of Kings and Chronicles. The first addition is of the invasion of Juda by Sennacherib, in which we find the following filthy menace on the part of Sennacherib's caplain.