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THE DESTINY OF ISAAC'S POSTERITY-NORTHWARD.
xxv. 2, 5, 6.-" She bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah."— And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, (while he yet lived), eastward, unto the east country." Proceeding eastward, it is supposed some of the children of Abraham by Keturah, reached India,—where, say they, their descendants are still called Brahmins, from the name of their father Abraham. Certain it is, that these are a people having a moral and intellectual constitution much superior to that of Hindoos generally; and they manifest that extreme firmness of purpose, and, at the same time, uncommon mildness, which we may suppose to have characterized Abraham in his declining years, after all his trials and exercises of faith; just as, in Ishmael, we see more reflected the roving and vigorous character of his earlier years. As Ishmael seems to have mainly been given the south, or Africa, the dwelling of the children of Ham; so in the east the children of Keturah have spread among the descendants of Shem. In ancient times, the Brahmins are said to have occupied a position worthy of their high origin. In the east, learning and science have been by them chiefly possessed; and throughout the various changes of rule in India, they have generally, there, kept a powerful hold on the public mind. True, their religion has become greatly corrupted: but such, also, has been the case with regard to Christianity; the types and parables of which have, in most cases, been as little understood as are those of the Brahmins—derived originally, we may suppose, from a good source, but now mixed up with human fables and idle fancies, or worse. The time, however, let us hope, is near, when the rubbish will be removed, and the pure gold of sacred truth appear in all its native brightness.
With regard to these children of
Abraham in the east;—Ishmael has been dwelling in the sight of his brethren: Arabia, the eastern dwelling of Ishmael, being over against India, where the Brahmins have spread. It may thus be observed, that two of the families of Noah have come into the most intimate connection with two of the families of Abraham: Ishmael with Ham, and the children of Keturah with Shem. It remains that the other son of Abraham (Isaac, the child of promise), be given his portion: for him there remains the north—and especially the north-west, in the sight of which Ishmael has been dwelling—as being spread along the south border of the Mediterranean Sea, over against Europe. Here, among the isles anciently possessed by the children of Japhet, do we find a Semetic people,—eminently favoured by nature and Providence, and pre-eminently by Divine grace; correspondent to the many great and precious promises which were so surely made to the seed of Abraham, in the line of Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Ephraim.
But, that we may be still more sure as to the place in which the lost sheep of Israel are to be found, let us again look into the prophetic word, and see if we can discern its leading in this respect. The prophetic word plainly points northward, no less than the mysterious needle, whereby the people of the north have been, in safety and with certainty, guided in all directions over the wide waste of waters. Thus, when a message is sent after captive Israel, it goes forth to the north country. See Jeremiah iii. 12—19. Thence shall both Treacherous Judah and Backsliding Israel return, v. 18.
See also, for the return of Israel from the north, ch. xvi. xxiii. xxxi., as is more fully illustrated in the Book of Inheritance.
The Lord, as if relenting over backsliding Israel, gives command to the prophet, saying, "Go and proclaim these words toward the And say, Return thou back-sliding Israel,
saith the Lord,
THE PROPHETIC WORD POINTS NORTHWARD.
I will not cause mine anger to fall upon
you; Fur I am merciful, saith the Lord, And I will not keep anger for ever." "Turn, О backsliding children,
saith the Lord, For I am married unto you; And I will take you, one of a city,
And two of a family, And 1 will bring you to Zion. "At that time they shall call Jerusalem
The throne of the Lord; And all the nations shall be gathered unto it;
To the name of the Lord,
To Jerusalem. “ Neither shall they walk any more after
the imagination of their evil heart. In those days, the house of Judah shall
walk with the house of Israel, And they shall come together out of the
land of the north, To the land that I have given for an inhe
ritance to your fathers."
From this it is clear, that not only was Israel (as distinguished from Judah) in the north, at the time when the prophet spoke, hut even after Judah also would have wandered into the north, Israel would he still found there; and out of it they are to be brought together, at the time that the Lord will make Jerusalem his throne, and will gather unto it all nations,—when the heads of the people, from all the cities and families of Israel, would be gathered together. The same return from the north country is again and again intimated throughout Jeremiah's prophecies, as in ch. xxiii. 548.
Thus it is plainly stated, that when Israel shall be given to enjoy the blessedness of Messiah's reign, it is as having been brought up from the north country, where they had been wonderfully sustained and delivered.
The same thing is stated in Jer. xxxi. 8, where again it is declared,
"Behold I will bring them
From the coasts of the earth :" —And, that we may be at no loss to ascertain the truth, as to what people are here spoken of, it is added, ver. 9,
“ For I am a father to Israel,
And Ephraim is my first-born." Israel, it is thus plainly declared, was taken into the north country; and thence are they to be brought at the time of their great Return.
Those empires which are, in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, represented as the several parts of one great image,
,-are so distinguished in prophecy, because of their connection with the cause and people of God. The whole image is frequently called after the head,—Babylon: at the destruction of which, God will grant deliverance to Israel. He will then have accomplished" to scatter the power of the holy people." By looking along this line of empires, and seeing to what countries, and to what people, they lead, we may expect to have some light reflected, even from this darkness, upon our path, as being in search of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. How, then, does this line lead us ? Babylon, the head of gold, lay north-eastward of the land of Israel. The breast and arms of silver,—the Medo-Persian empire, arose still more northward, and extended itself westward, as far as the utmost extremity of Asia Minor.It also indeed spread far eastward. The Greek empire, represented by the brass, arose still farther north and westward, in Europe. The legs of iron,—the Roman empire,—arose still farther north-west; and, lastly, there are the feet, partly iron and partly
“Behold the days come, saith the Lord, That I will raise unto David a righteous
Branch, And a King shall reign and prosper, And shall execute judgment and justice in
the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, And Israel shall dwell safely : And this is His name whereby He shall be
called, The LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Therefore, behold the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall say no more, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
But, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel OUT OF THE NORTH COUNTRY, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.”
THE PROPHETIC EMPIRES POINT NORTH-WESTWARD.
Dragon,"—the dreadful beast the devourer—the breaker in pieces,-he “ gave him his seat, and power, and great authority.” Messiah's destruction of this wicked one, with the rod of his mouth, at his glorious appearing, is much the subject of prophecy, in both the Old Testament Scriptures and the New; as, for example, in Isaiah xi. 145:
" And there shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots, and 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. An
le shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ear3 ; 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 his reins."
clay,—the Roman empire in its Germanic form, in which the children of God would he mingling themselves with the seed of men; but would not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with miry clay. This is the part of the image that the stone is to strike, when the "manifestation of the sons of God" takes place; when strangers shall no more serve themselves of Israel, hut they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, “ whom I (saith Jehovah), will raise up unto them." He is that Stone: both the Foundation Stone upon which the Jews fell and were broken; and also the Chief Corner Stone, that cometh down in glory and in power: with regard to which coming, the warning hath gone forth,
Upon whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
The same empires are, in Dan. vii., represented as great beasts. They are the wild beasts that have been ravening upon the mountains of Israel. Babylon is here represented as a lion; the Medo-Persian as a bear, with three ribs of the torn carcase of Israel between its teeth. Then there is the Greek empire,
presented by a leopard with four heads, in allusion to the four kingdoms into which that of Alexander was parted. And then we have the fourth beast, with great iron teeth, the devourer--the breaker in pieces—the Roman empire. And lastly, the Anti-Christian dominion is described; and which synchronizes with the feet of iron and clay—the Germanic empire. This fifth power is represented in Rev. xii. as a beast, having on his heads names of blasphemy. And he has the characteristics of all the great empires that have preceded him; and these are mentioned in the order in which they lie from the north-west. Thus, this beast is "like a leopard," by which Greece had been represented; "and his feet were as those of a bear," the Medo-Persian empire; "and his mouth as the mouth of a lion," as boastful, Babylon. With regard to the fourth empire, it is expressly said, “the
And what then results with regard to the kingdoms of this world ? Even that which had been described in Daniel vii., where it is said, “ Their dominion is taken away, but their lives are prolonged for a season and a time." The wild beasts that liad been ravening upon the mountains of Israel, are deprived of their evil power; and are made to associate quietly with the children of peace. Here they are each of them mentioned, and that again in the same order as they lie from our dwelling in the north-west. The fourth beast hath its terribleness removed, and is simply spoken of as the wolf, whereby Rome was ordinarily represented. After which, we have the leopard—bear--and lion,their evil nature taken away by the knowledge of the Lord.—Is. xi. 6—10.
"The Wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, 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 suck
The prophet had been speaking of the glorious appearing of Messiah, to exercise his beneficent reign; when the poor in spirit shall have the promised kingdom of heaven, and when the meek shall inherit the earth. Preparatory to this, "He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he slay THE WICKED.”—This same Wicked is also spoken of in Psalm l. 16—23; which compare with 1 These, ii. 8. Look also at Daniel vii. 8—12, and compare with what is here said, Isaiah xi. 9. All these passages speak of the same grand consummation of tyranny,—that concentration of ini. quity,—that personification of wickedness,—in which the great empires that have lorded it over the land and people of Israel terminate. The bond of wickedness is then broken; and those that had been as wild beasts preying upon the mountains of Israel,—the Roman wolf,—the Grecian leopard, the Median bear,—and the Babylonian lion,—are separated from each other ; and associated with those whose influence is holiness and peace. The knowledge of the Lord destroys their evil influence. They no longer seek to ravage the holy mountain, but flow up thereunto for lessons of love, and to become more largely possessed of the true riches. This destruction of Antichrist takes place in the northwest, from which the prophetic line of empires stretches back eastward along the north border of the land.
Thus, back and forward along this north-western line, are we constantly led by the prophetic word, down from the very time of the Assyrian captivity, when Isaiah prophesied; and that as pointing forward to the time when
Upon more minute examination, it will be found that they consist each of about fourteen lines, and may thus be viewed as regular sonnets. They refer to that house of Israel which, at the time the words were spoken, was being taken away captive by the Assyrians. They describe, in a very animated manner, the several degrees of the punishment of Ephraim; and seem to give very clear indications of the place of Israel's sojourn. The first of these sonnets, 8—12, describes the punishment of Israel, immediately before being removed out of the land. The second, 13—17, describes their being cut off entirely from the land, and also to the view of the world, by the Assyrian captivity. The third, 18—21, describes them when out of the land, as being at war, one portion with another; and as being all of them against Judah; which supposes them to be grown into a number of hostile nations, and in the same countries with the Jews. The fourth, ch. x. 1—4, seems to describe a dreadful course of trial, which would precede their great deliverance; and for which they would, probably, be unprepared. The first points the words expressly at Israel or Ephraim (ver. 8—12):
“ The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel. And all the people shall know—Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, that say, in the pride and stoutness of heart, The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones; the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars. Therefore the Lord shall set up the foes of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together. The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind, and they shall devour Israel with open mouth.
For all this his anger is not turned away, But bis hand is stretched out still."
Thus was Ephraim in the land, to be so surrounded with thorns and briers, as that a removal out of the land, would, by many of them, be rather accepted as a boon. Others of them, however, would be loath to leave the land of then- fathers, at the same time that they would not leave their sins; and, for such, a more severe judgment was prepared,—the casting of the whole body of the people forth of the land; the entire extinction of their glory as a nation: and so the second of these sonnets proceeds (ver. 13—17):
Roman Empire. The slaughter and rapine which resulted were prodigious; during which the different nations of Europe were dreadfully racked by wars with each other. But however opposed among themselves, they all united in persecuting the Jews:—their power of doing which is here plainly intimated.
The next, and last sonnet, carries us forward to a more settled state of things, to outward appearance; when wrong would be perpetrated, not so much by open violence, as by force of law, and unjust legislation, to the injury of the rights of the poor and needy;—the depriving the poor of bread, or preventing their free enjoyment of the word of life. Glory, and triumph, are spoken of; but that in language full of warning; and, upon which we have no pleasure in dilating.—It may be that this (ch. x. 1-4) synchronizes with the third woe, which cometh quickly,-referred to in Rev. xi. 14.
“For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of Hosts. Therefore the Lord will cut off from Israel, head and tail, branch and rush, in one day.
The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail; for the leaders of the people cause them to err, and they thun ry, and he shem are deat oyed.
Therefore the Lord thall hall no joy in their young men, neithey shall eat vercy on their fatherless and widows; for every one is an hypocrite and an evil doer, and every mouth speaketh folly ;
For all this his anger is not turned away,
“Woe unto them that decree uprighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed ; to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? To whom will ye fiee for help? and where will ye leave your glory? Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain.
For all this his anger is not turned away, But his hand is stretched out still."
The entire removal of Israel having thus taken place; and they having been brought out into the northern wilderness, we are next presented with a view of their condition there, as still undergoing punishment (ver. 18— 21):
“For wickedness burneth as the fire ; it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the mounting up of smoke. Through the wrath of the Lord of Hosts is the land darkened ; and the people shall be as the fuel of fire ; no man shall spare his brother. And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry, and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied; and they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm; Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh ; and they, together, shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, But his hand is stretched out still."
Thus are we, by this very interesting line of prophecy, led directly to our own part of the world, as to the place of Israel's sojourn. Let it be again remarked, that the prophecy cannot apply to Israel, as being in some corner of the earth, shut out entirely from other people; and where they could have no opportunity of manifesting their hatred of their brethren, the Jews. Nor can the words be fulfilled in them as being under some mighty empire; such, for example, as that of China, where they would be without
This strikingly describes the condition of the northern nations, at the time of their being driven in upon the