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indelicate, which, in the original, are altogether the reverse; employment as beneath the dignity of the highest characters. while others (as the learned Dr. Gill for instance) have so Least of all, could it be supposed to be inconsistent with the confounded the literal and allegorical senses as to give character of Solomon, whose father was raised from the neither, distinctly or completely; at the same time, they sheepfold to the throne of Israel. The pastoral life is not have applied the figures to such a variety of objects, as to only most delightful in itself, but from the particular circumleave the reader still to seek the right, and, by their minute stances and manners of the Hebrews, is possessed of a kind dissection of the allegory, they have not only destroyed its of dignity. In this poem it is adorned with all the choicest consistency and beauty, but have also exposed the poem to colouring of language, with all the elegance and variety of the unmerited ridicule of profane minds. Much, unques- the most select imagery. Every part of the Canticles,' tionably, has been done, by later writers, towards elucidating says the learned and eloquent Bossuet, abounds in poetical the language and allusions of the Song of Songs by the aid beauties; the objects, which present themselves on every of Oriental literature and manners : but, after all the labours side, are the choicest plants, the most beautiful flowers, the of learned men, there will perhaps be found many expres- most delicious fruits, the bloom and vigour of spring, the sions which are very difficult to us, both as to the literal sweet verdure of the fields, flourishing and well-watered meaning, and the spiritual instruction intended to be convey- gardens, pleasant streams, and perennial fountains. The other ed by them; and some descriptions must not be judged by senses are represented as regaled with the most precious modern notions of delicacy. But the grand outlines, soberly odours natural and artificial: with the sweet singing of birds, interpreted, in the obvious meaning of the allegory, so ac- and the soft voice of the turtle; with milk and honey, and cord with the affections and experience of the sincere Chris- the choicest of wine. To these enchantments are added all tian, “that he will hardly ever read and meditate upon them, that is beautiful and graceful in the human form, the endearin a spirit of humble devotion, without feeling a conviction ments, the caresses, the delicacy of love; if any object be that no other poem of the same kind, extant in the world, introduced which seems not to harmonize with this delightful could, without most manifest violence, be so explained as to scene, such as the awful prospect of tremendous precipices, describe the state of his heart at different times, and to ex- the wildness of the mountains, or the haunts of lions, its cite admiring, adoring, grateful love to God our Saviour, as effect is only to heighten by the contrast the beauty of the this does."2
other objects, and to add the charms of variety to those of With regard to the style, says Bishop Lowth, this poem grace and elegance."'3 is of the pastoral kind, since the two principal personages The Chaldee paraphrase of this book is a long and tireare represented in the character of shepherds. The circum- some application of it throughout to the circumstances of the stance is by no means incongruous to the manners of the history of the Jews. The Greek version of it is tolerably Hebrews, whose principal occupation consisted in the care exact, and Bos, in the Frankfort edition of the Septuagint of cattle (Gen. xlvi. 32–34.); nor did they consider this (1709), ascribes it to Symmachus.
I. The prophetical Books, why so called.-II. Different kinds of Prophets mentioned in the Scriptures.—III. Situation of the
Prophets, and their Manner of Living.-IV. Mosaic Statutes concerning Prophets.-Evidences of a Divine Mission.V. Qualifications of the Prophets.-VI. Nature of the prophetic Inspiration.–VII Antiquity and Succession of the Prophets.
– VIII. Collection of their Writings, and Mode of announcing their Predictions.-IX. Number and Order of the Prophetic Books. I. We now enter on the fourth or prophetical part of the who were raised up among the Israelites to be the ministers Old Testament, according to the division which is generally of God's dispensations. Jehovah, at sundry times and in adopted, but which forms the second division, according to divers manners, spake unto the fathers by, the prophets :, for the Jewish classification of the sacred volume.' This portion prophecy came not of old time by the will of man, but holy of the Scriptures is termed PROPHETICAL, because it chiefly men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. consists of predictions of future events; though many histo- (Heb. i. 1. 2 Pet. i. 21.) rical passages are interspersed through the writings of the II. To these messengers of heaven frequent reference is prophets, as there are also many predictions of future events made in various parts of the Sacred Writings. The term scattered through those books which are more strictly histo- Prophet, indeed, is of general signification. It was applied rical. But these books also contain very many passages by the heathens to all persons who were supposed to be conwhich relate to other subjects, such as the nature and attri- versant with divine things;
and, in conformity to this notion, butes of God; the religious and moral duties of man; reproofs St. Paul, in his Epistle to Titus (i. 12.), when citing a pasof idolatry and other sins; exhortations to the practice of sage from a profane poet, calls him a prophet, because the true religion and virtue; together with advices and warnings heathens supposed their poets to be inspired. In the historirespecting the political state of the country, and the adminis- cal books of the Old Testament we meet with frequent notice tration of affairs, which in the theocratical form of govern- of the school of the prophets, that is, of seminaries, where rement were sent to the kings and princes of the Hebrews by ligious truths, or the divine laws, were particularly taught :* the prophets as ambassadors of their supreme monarch, for the pupils in these schools were not, strictly speaking, Jehovah. The authors of these books are, by way of emi- all of them prophets; though God bestowed upon some of nence, termed Prophets, that is, divinely inspired persons, them the spirit of prophecy, or of predicting future events. • The chief error of all the translators of this book, Dr. Good observes are spoken of, as “ holy men of God," as
(2 Kings ii. 3.) Further, in the Old Testament, the prophets
seers," with great truth, "results from their having given verbal renderings of the Hebrew terms and idioms, which ought merely to have been translated
prophets,” in the most exalted sense of the term. The first equivalently; a method, by which any language in the world, when inter: denomination seems to have been sometimes applied to men preted into another, may not only occasionally
convey a meaning altogether of exemplary piety, who assiduously studied the divine law, different from what the author intended, but convert a term or phrase of perfect purity and delicacy, in its original import, into one altogether indeli
as communicated by their legislator Moses; who firmly becate and unchaste." Song of Songs, p. xxvi.' Dr. Good illustrates this lieved in the predictions of good and evil that should attend remark by some well.chosen exatnples, which want of room compels us the Israelites according to the tenor of their conduct; who to omit; but the result of its application, we may be permitted to observe, was his very elegant and delicate version, in which, though he adheres : Bossuet, Præf. in Canticum Canticorum, Oeuvres, tom. I. p. 467. 4to. bolely to the literal sense, yet he decidedly expresses himself (p. xviii.) in favour of the mystical meaning of the poem.
• See an account of these schools in Part IV. Chap. VII. Sect. III. $ 1. > Scott, Pres. to Sol. Songs.
of this volume.
were observant of the character of the times in which they But, however they might be respected by pious monarchs, lived; and who might be able to discern the natural and the prophets were frequently exposed to cruel treatment from inevitable consequences of particular actions, without the wicked princes, whose impiety they reprehended, and to innecessity of immediate inspiration. These men of God, sults and jeers from the people, whose immoral practices however, received peculiar communications upon certain they censured and condemned; and many of them were even emergencies. They were divinely appointed to execute some put to violent deaths. (Heb. xi. 35–38.) Yet, amid all important commissions, and to predict events which were these persecutions and this injurious treatment, they despised not in the ordinary course of things, but far beyond the reach dangers, torments, and death, and with wonderful intrepidity of human penetration. It was this which sometimes gave attacked whatever was contrary to the law and worship of them the title of seers. The higher class of prophets were Jehovah, contemning secular honours, riches, and favours those who foretold important events that were to take place with astonishing disinterestedness.3 at distant periods; which no human sagacity could foresee, IV. “ Prophecy being necessary in the early ages for the and which were most opposite to the natural conceptions or preservation of the knowledge of God, in the Hebrew comgeneral expectations of mankind : as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Eze- monwealth prophets were not merely tolerated, as some have kiel, and the minor prophets.'
supposed, but they were also promised, lest the Hebrews III. The prophets, according to Augustine, were the phi- should have recourse to soothsayers who were idolaters, and losophers, divines, instructors, and guides of the Hebrews would seduce them into idolatry. (Deut. xviii. 9–22.) But, in piety and virtue. These holy men were the bulwarks of that advantage might not be taken of this institution by false religion against the impiety of princes, the wickedness of prophets, Moses decreed, that impostors should suffer capital individuals, and every kind of immorality. Their lives, per- punishment; and furnished the judges with two distinguishsons, and discourses were alike instructive and prophetical. ing marks, by which a false prophet might be known. Raised up by God to be witnesses of his presence, and living "1. The prophet, who should endeavour to introduce the monuments of his will, the events that frequently happened worship of other gods beside Jehovah, was to be considered to them were predictions of what was about to befall the as an impostor; and, as a rebel against their king, to be Hebrew nation. Although the prophets possessed great capitally punished. (Deut. xiii. 2–6.). authority in Israel, and were highly esteemed by pious sove- * 2. Whoever should predict any thing which was not reigns, who undertook no important affairs without consult- accomplished by the event, although he should do it in the ing them, yet their way of life was exceedingly laborious, name of Jehovah, was to be condemined to death, as an and they were very poor, and greatly exposed to persecution impostor who had presumed to counterfeit the seal of their and ill treatment. They generally lived retired in some king. (Deut. xviii. 20—22.) Hence it is plain that the country place, and in colleges or communities, where they prophets were not sagacious men, whose perspicacity enabled and their disciples were employed in prayer, in manual la- ihein to foresee future events; for an error committed by bour, and in study. Their labour, however, was not such such, and unaccompanied by guilt, would never have receivas required intense application, or was inconsistent with that ed from Moses so severe a punishment.” freedom from secular cares which their office required. Thus, In consequence of these laws, “ a prophet ran a great risk Elisha quitted his plough, when Elijah called him to the in undertaking a divine mission, unless he knew, hy infallible prophetic office (1 Kings xix. 19, 20.); and Amos (vii. 14.) proofs, that he had really received the commands of the tells us that he was no prophet, neither a prophet's son, but a Deity, and was not deluded by his own imagination. Of herdsman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit. The pupils or the nature of these proofs we are not informed, although sons of the prophets, who lived under the direction of Elijah some circumstances are recorded, which show that the and Elisha, erected their own dwellings, for which they cut prophets were certainly possessed of them. For instance, down the timber that was requisite. (2 Kings vi. 1–4.) it is mentioned (1 Sam. iii. 7.), that, at first, Samuel did not
The apparel of the prophets was in unison with the sim- know the voice of God; and Jeremiah (xxxii. 6—9.) conplicity of their private life. Elijah was clothed with skins, fesses, that it was the correspondence of the event, which and wore a leather girdle round his loins. (2 Kings i. 8.) assured him that the direction to buy the field of his relative Isaiah wore sackcloth (xx. 2.), which was the ordinary habit had come to him from God. (Compare also Jer. xxviii. 9.) of the prophets. Zechariah, speaking of the false prophets The proofs, by which Moses was satisfied respecting his who imitated externally the true prophets of the Lord, says divine commission, are recorded at length in Exod. iii. 1.that they should not wear a rough garment (Heb. a garment iv. 17. That the prophets had other means of distinguishing of hair) to deceive. (Zech. xiii. 4.) Their poverty was con- divine revelations from their own thoughts, appears from spicuous in their whole life. The presents they received 1 Sam. xvi. 6, 7. 2 Sam. vii. 1–17. 1 Chron. xvii. 1-16. were only bread, fruits, and honey; and the first-fruits of the Isa. xxxviii. 1–8. 2 kings xx. 1–11. Occasionally, the earth were given them, as being persons who possessed impression made by the revelation was so strong, that it was nothing themselves. (2 Kings iv. 42.) The woman of Shu- impossible to doubt of its origin; so that they confess themnem, who entertained Elisha, put into the prophet's chamber selves unable to refrain from speaking, as in Jer. xx. 7–10. only what was plain and absolutely necessary. (2 Kings iv. The means, indeed, by which they distinguished their own 10.) The same prophet refused the costly presents of Naaman thoughts from divine revelations, they could not express (2 Kings v. 16.), and pronounced a severe sentence upon his in words; just as it is impossible to explain to one unacservant Gehazi, who had clandestinely obtained a part of them, quainted with the subject, how we know the painter of a (20—27.) Their frugality appears throughout their history; picture, or the author of a composition, solely by his style. —for instance, the wild gourds, which one of the prophets To the hearers and first readers of the prophets their divine ordered to be prepared for his disciples. (2 Kings iv. 38—41.) mission was proved either by miracles predicted, and accordThe angel gave Elijah only bread and water for a long jour- ingly performed; or, if such were not granted, by the event ney (1 Kings xix. 6–8.); and Obadiah, the pious governor corresponding with the prophecies: for the prophecies were of Ahab's household, gave the same food to the prophets of a twofold description, some relating to proximate, others whose lives he saved in a cave. (1 Kings xviii. 4. 13.) to remote events. Those of the former kind, which were Their recluse, abstemious mode of living, and mean apparel, clear, and contained various circumstances of the predicted sometimes exposed them to contempt among the gay and events, which must necessarily be beyond the reach of courtly; it was probably, the singular dress and appearance human foresight, afforded by their completion a proof to the of Elisha which occasioned the impious scoffs of the young contemporaries of the prophet that he was a messenger of men of Bethel. (2 Kings ii. 23.) But, in general, the pro- God, and that his predictions concerning remote events, phets were regarded with high esteem and veneration by the coming from the same source with those which they had wise and good, and even by persons of the first rank in the seen fulfilled, were worthy of equal credit. The accomstate. (1 Kings xviii. 7.) It does not appear that the prophets plishment of these would afford to posterity the proof of his were bound by any vow of celibacy; for Samuel had chil- divine mission. This consequence was so evident, that not dren, and the Scriptures mention the wives of Isaiah (viii. 3.) a few even of the heathens, among whom Cyrus may be and Hosea. (i. 2.) But the prophets maintained a very mentioned as a most remarkable instance, were convinced guarded intercourse with the female sex, as is evident in the by it, and acknowledged that the author of these prophecies conduct of Elisha towards his benevolent hostess. (2 Kings
3 Calmet, Preface Générale sur les Prophètes, Art. 3. sur la Manière de
Vie des Prophètes, &c. Dissert. tom. ii. pp. 308-311. 1 Dr. Cogan's Theological Disquisition, p. 275. et seq. Dr. Gregory * Compare 1 Sam. jii. 19–21., where the general knowledge of the fact, Sharpe's Second Argument in Defence of Christianity from Prophecy, that Samuel was a divinely commissioned prophet, is stated as a conse
quence of God's letting none of his words fall to the ground; that is, of the De Civitate Dei lib. xviii. c. 41.
regular fulfilment of his predictions.
must be the one true God. It was pecessary, therefore, of Elisha; who being requested by the three kings of Judah, that the prophets should secure the credence of their contem- Israel, and Edom, to inquire of God for them in their dis poraries in that portion of their prophecies which related to tress for water during a military expedition, was transported remote events by some predictions respecting events of with pious indignation against the wicked king of Israel : speedy occurrence. This accounts for the fact, that the but being willing to oblige the good king of Judah, called prophets sometimes predicted proximate events of little mo- for a minstrel or musician, for the apparent purpose of calmment with as much care as others of far more importance. ing his passion, and thus preparing him for the spirit of inCompare 2 Sam. xii. 14. xxiv. 11–14. 1 kings xi. 31–39. spiration, Accordingly, while the minstrel played, we are xiii. 1–5. xiv. 6. 12. Isa. vii. 4—16. xxxviii. 4—8. Jer. told, the hand of the Lord came upon him. This intimates xxviii. 16, 17. xxxvii. 1. xxxviii. 28."4
one important reason why the prophets and their pupils cul V. In considering the circumstances relative to the Hebrew tivated sacred music; and also why those who composed prophets, the QUALIFICATIONS which were requisite for the and sung divine hymns are sometimes styled prophets; viz. prophetic office claim distinctly to be considered: they were because in many cases this heavenly art was not only assisttwo in number, viz.
ed by, but wonderfully fitted persons for, celestial communi1. The first and leading qualification was, A HOLY CHARAC- cations."6
3. Though prophecy was a perfectly gratuitous gift of “ As this is the uniform sentiment of Jewish writers, so God, and independent on human industry, yet it did not exit is confirmed by the history and lives of the ancient pro- clude APPLICATION AND STUDY, for the purpose of ascertainphets, and by the express testimony of St. Peter, that holy ing the meaning of a particular prophecy. men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Thus, Daniel prayed and fasted in order that he might (2 Pet. i. 21.) Though we meet with some instances of know the mystery of the seventy weeks which had been wicked men, to whom God, on special occasions, imparted predicted by Jeremiah. (Dan. ix. 2.) Zechariah applied his secret counsels, such as the covetous Balaam, and the himself seriously to the study of prophecy (2 Chron. xxvi. idolatrous kings, Pharaoh, Abimelech, and Nebuchadnezzar;: 5.) ; and St. Peter states, that this was the employment of yet we may presume, that none but good men were statedly the ancient prophets. (1 Pet. i. 10, 11.) honoured with these divine communications; and especially VI. Great diversity of opinion has prevailed respecting that none but such were employed as penmen of the Sacred the nature, extent, permanency, and different degrees of inWritings. The declaration, therefore, of Peter, will, doubt- spiration which the prophets possessed. Not to enter into a less, apply to all the prophetic writers of the Old Testament. useless discussion of conflicting sentiments, we may remark, They were all men of real and exemplary holiness. The that the communication between God and man is by prayer, importance of personal piety and virtue in the extraordinary by the word of God, and by his works : in old times it was ministers of Jehovah will account for his withdrawing the also by the prophets, and before them by the angel of the spirit of prophecy from the Hebrew nation in the latter Lord, and the proper symbols of the divine presence. Manstages of their polity, that is, from Malachi to Christ; kind, at first, consulted God by prayers and sacrifices at his because during this period their religious and moral state altars. After the promulgation of the law from Mount Sinai, was universally corrupt.”
and the establishment of the priesthood, we find three modes 2. The mind of the prophet must be in a SERENE AND COM- of communicating the divine will mentioned in the Old TesPOSED FRAME, in order to receive the spirit of inspiration. tament :-1. The Shechinah:-2. The Urim and Thum
“ The Jewish doctors tell us, that a mind' loaded with mim; and,—3. Revelation by Dreams, Visims, by Inspirafresh guilt, oppressed with sorrow, or disturbed with passion, tion, or by immediate Conversation with the Deity. When could not duly receive and exercise this heavenly giit. Ac- these kinds of prophecy ceased under the second temple, accordingly, when David, in his penitential psalm, after the cording to the Talmudists, they were succeeded, 4. 'By the affair of Uriah, prays that the holy spirit might be restored to Bath kol, or voice from heaven. him, that God would give him joy and gludness and a free 1. The SuechINAH was the sitting or dwelling of God spirit; the Hebrew commentators understand by these ex- between the cherubim on the mercy-seat, or cover of the ark pressions, that prophetic spirit, which his guilt and distress (Psal. lxxx. 1. and xcix. 1.); whence he delivered his anof mind had banished, and that peaceful and cheerful frame, swers in an articulate voice. (Exod. xxv. 22. xxix. 42. which would invite its return. To prove that passion unfit- Num. vii. 89.) ted the mind for the prophetic impulse, they plead the story 2. The URIM AND THUMMIM, which was on the high
· The prophets themselves occasionally refer to this evidence of their priest's breastplate (Exod. xxviii. 30.), was another standdivine mission, and draw plainly the distinction between the proximate ing oracle, to be consulted on all great occasions (Num. events, by predicting which they obtain credence for their other prophe. xxvii. 21. 1 Sam. xxviii. 6. xxiii. 9. xxx. 7. Ezra ii. 63.); cies, and those more remote which it was their principal object to foretell
, and the answers were returned by a visible signification of of prophecies of proximate events, and their accomplishment, see Allix's the divine will. This oracle was not only venerable among Reflections upon the Books of the Old Testament, ch. 3. in Bishop Wat the Jews, but was also celebrated among the Greeks, as son's Tracts, vol. i.
• The subject of the evidence of the divine mission of the prophets is Josephus informs us,7 for its infallible answers. copiously discussed by Witsius in his Miscellanea Sacra, lib. i. c. 15. de 3. Another mode of revealing the divine will was by nous veræ prophetiæ et veri prophetiæ, pp. 132-159.
Dreams and Visions, by Inspirulion, or a Conversation with * See an illustration of this prediction of a proximale event and its fulfil.
The Deity. ment, supra, Vol. I. p. 121.
• Professor Turner's and Mr. Whittingham's translation of Jahn's Intro. (1.) Dreams, or (to adopt the elegant expressions of the duction, pp. 313. 315.
Temanite) Thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep • The transient vouchsafement of this spirit to bad men, while it an. swered some special purpose of divine wisdom, admirably displayed the sleep falleth on man (Job iv. 16.), are frequently mentioned in Sovereignty of God in using the most unlikely and wicked instruuients to the Scriptures as channels by which the divine will was serve his own design, in constraining even his enemies to utter those communicated to mankind. Abimelech was reproved and truths and predictions, which promoted his honour and interest admonished in a dream concerning Sarah (Gen. xx. 3.); and, holiness, and power in compelling the most un hallowed lips to pronounce to Abraham, by a prophetic dream, were announced the his pure messages without the least adulteration, yea, with astonishing bondage of his posterity in Egypt, and their deliverance, tial distinction between splendid and even miraculous gifts, and sanctify: accompanied with the promise of long life to himself before ing grace; between the occasional effusions of a prophetic spirit, and he should be gathered to his fathers. (Gen. xv. 12–16.) the genuine workings of human depravity: These lessons are forcibly The dreams of Joseph, and of Pharaoh and his servants, taught by the history of Balaam. This noted magician had been allured by Balak, king of Moab, to come to him, with a view to curse Israel, who
were divine (Gen. xxxvii. 5. xl. 5. xli. 1.); as also was that then lay'encamped on his borders. The heathen nations believed that of Nebuchadnezzar concerning the fate of many kingdoms priphets or diviners could, by ous charms or ceremonies, decoy frow (Dan. ii. 1.) All these were worthy of the divine interpothero, and thus ensure their destruction. Thus Homer represents the sition, and carried the evidence of their divine original by capture of Troy as depending on the removal from that city of the sacred the revelations they made, and the strong impressions they image of Minerva. The pagans, previously to a military engagement, usu: left upon the mind.8 ally employed a priest to pronounce, at ihe head of the ariny, a solenn imprecation against the adverse power. But though Balaam was invited
(2.) Visions were revelations made in a trance or ecstacy, and fully inclined to perform this office against Israel, infinite goodness, during which ideas and symbolic representations were prepower, and wisdom turned the curse into a blessing, by forcing this malig sented to the imagination of the prophet, when awake, or bant enemy of his people to announce, in the most lofty strains, their present and future glory, ibe triumphs of their divine Leader and future Mes. siah, and the signal destruction of his and their adversaries. We see, in 6 Tappan's Lectures on Jewish Antiquities, pp. 191–193. this and similar instances, the singular beauty of the divine conduct; which, by thus inspiring and controlling the minds of sinful men, turned
Sharpe's Second Argument in Defence of Christianity from Prophecy, their counsels into foolishness, and made their wrath and wickedness sub pp. 20–28. Jahn, Introductio ad Vet. Fæd. $ 86. III. servient to his praise.
Sacra, lib. i. c. 5.
7 Ant. Jud. lib. iji. c. 8. (al. 9.) $ 9.
the future was exhibited as it were in distant prospect. troubled and fainted; but Moses was not so. To him the Thus, Isaiah beheld the Lord sitting upon a lofty throne, his Lord spake, face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend train filling the temple, above which stood seraphim, who (Exod. xxxiii. 11.), that is, freely and familiarly, without alternately proclaimed his praises. (Isa. vi. 2, 3.). While fear and trembling.–4. Not one of the other prophets could Ezekiel was among the captives by the river Chebar, the utter predictions at their pleasure; but Moses, on whom the heavens were opened, and he beheld the visions of God, spirit of prophecy rested at all times, was free to prophesy, which he has described. (ch. i.) To this class of divine and might have recourse at any time to the sacred oracle in manifestations is supposed to belong the revelation made to the tabernacle, which spake from between the cherubim.5 Jeremiah, concerning the girdle which he was commanded “ In all the cases here described, the prophets could not, to conceal near the river Euphrates, and to resume it after it without doubting the clearest and most palpable evidence, had become decayed. (Jer. xiii. 1-9.) Indeed, it is not distrust the truth of the revelations which they received credible, that the prophet should have been sent twice upon and, with respect to us, we have ample reason, from a cola journey of such considerable length and difficulty (for the lective consideration of their writings, to be convinced that Euphrates is computed to have been eighteen or twenty days their inspiration was accompanied with sufficient characters distant from Jerusalem), to a very great loss of his time, to distinguish it from the dreams of enthusiasm, or the viwhen every purpose would have been answered altogether sions of fancy.”; Though their bodily strength was someas well, if the transaction had been represented in vision. times overpowered by the magnitude of their revelations, and The same supposition of a vision must be admitted in other their eyes were dazzled with the splendour of the visionary cases also, particularly in Jer. xxv. 15—29.; for it would be light, as in the instances of Daniel (x. 5—9.) and the apostle absurd to believe that Jeremiah actually went round with a John (Rev. i. 17.), yet they retained full possession of their cup in his hand to all the kings and nations enumerated in understanding, and the free exercise of their reason. The that chapter, and made them drink of its contents. Micaiah, prophetical spirit, seating itself in the rational powers, as in vision, beheld the Lord sitting upon his throne, surround-well as in the imagination, never alienated the mind, but in ed by the celestial host, and all Israel scattered upon the formed and enlightened it; and those who were actuated by hills. (1 Kings xxii. 17-19.) Other instances of revela- it always maintained a clearness and consistency of reason, tions by visions may be seen in Num. xxiv. 15. Ezek. iii. with strength and solidity of judgment. For God did not 1. iv. 5. 12. 15. viii. 1. et seq. Dan. vii. Acts x. 9, 10. 2 employ idiots or fools for the purpose of revealing his will, Cor. xii. 1-3. Many of the scenes represented in the Apo- but those whose intellects were entire and perfect, and he calypse were in vision. In Job iv. 13—16. there is a de- imprinted so clear a copy of his truth upon them, that it bescription of a vision by Eliphaz the Temanite, which, for came their own sense, being digested fully into their undersublimity, is unrivalled by any production of ancient or of standings, so that they were able to represent it to others as modern poetry. “ Midnight, solitude, the deep sleep. of all truly as any person can express his own thoughts. And around, the dreadful chill and erection of the hair over the if at any time they did not clearly understand the prophetic whole body,—the shivering not of the muscles only, but of revelation communicated to them, they asked for an explathe bones themselves,-the gliding approach of the spec- nation: such was the conduct of Daniel (Dan. ix. 18–23. tre,—the abruptness of his pause,—his undefined and inde- x. 1. et seq.), and of Zechariah. (i. 9. iv. 4. vi. 4, 5.) scribable form, are all powerful and original characters, When the various kinds of prophecy above enumerated which have never been given with equal effect by any other ceased under the second temple, they were succeeded, acwriter."2
cording to the Talmudist, by (3.) INSPIRATION was a third mode by which the divine 4. The Bath Kol, voice from heaven, or the aerial regions, designs were manifested to the prophets ; by which term we daughter-voice, or daughter of a voice ; because, on the cessaare to understand " a suggestion of ideas to the understanding, tion of the divine oracle, this came in its place as its daughwithout such representations to the fancy as the former me. ter or successor. Some expositors have imagined, that this thods imply. Maimonides, one of the most rational and voice is alluded to in John xii. 28., but there appears to be no learned of the Jewish doctors, explains this inspiration to be foundation for such a conjecture. Dr. Prideaux, however, a divine impulse, enabling and urging the subject of it to has shown, that the Bath Kol was no such celestial voice as utter psalms and hymns, or useful moral precepts, or matters the Talmudists pretend, but only a fantastical way of divicivil, sacred, and divine; and that, while he is awake, and nation of their own invention, like the Sortes Virgiliana has the ordinary use and vigour of his senses. Such was among the heathens : for as, with them, the words of the the inspiration of Zacharias and Elizabeth, who on a very poet, upon which they first dipped, were the oracle whereby interesting occasion are said to have been filled with the Holy they prognosticated those future events, concerning which Ghost,' and to have uttered the most sublime acknowledg- they were desirous of information; so, among the Jews, ments or predictions. (Luke i. 41, 42. 67–79.) Such, too, when they appealed to Bath Kol, the next words which they was the inspiration of the ancient prophets in general, who heard from any one were regarded as the desired divine 6 spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.' This sacred oracle. impulse was of a calm and gentle nature, and thus was Some of the adversaries of the Bible have represented the clearly distinguished from the fanatical inspiration of heathen Hebrew prophets as public incendiaries, who perpetually diviners. But the prophets of the true God were only denounced, and frequently brought, calamities upon their * moved,' that is, calmly influenced by his inspiring spirit. country, merely on account of religious opinions. "For such This influence, far from suspending, added vigour and ele-charge there is no other ground but this, víz. that the prophets vation to their own reason and prudence."4
constantly testified against idolatry, equally among rulers (4.) But the most eminent of all the modes of communi- and people. It will be recollected, that idolatry in the Hecating the divine will to man was, a direct Conversation brew nation was high-treason against their own constitution, with God. It is especially recorded of Moses, that there and Jehovah their king. Idolatry directly forfeited their arose no prophet subsequently, like unto him, whom the Lord territory and privileges : it was an inlet to every abomination; knew face to face. (Deut. xxxiv. 10.), This has been termed it defeated the great end for which that people was selected ; the Mosaical Inspiration : it was the highest degree, and was and in their fundamental laws the most destructive calamities characterized by the following circumstances, which distin- were denounced against it. Consequently, the prophets, in guished it from the revelations made to the rest of the pro- boldly arresting this evil, even at the hazard of their own phets :-1. Moses was made partaker of these divine reve- lives, showed themselves to be, not the malignant disturbers, lations, while he was awake (Num. xii. 6—8.), whereas but the truest and most disinterested friends of their country: God manifested himself to all the other prophets in a dream especially as by this conduct they executed the benevolent or vision.—2. Moses prophesied without the mediation of commission with which Jehovah had intrusted them;-a any angelic power, by an influence derived immediately from commission intended not to destroy, but, if possible, to save God, while in all other prophecies some angel appeared to the prophet.-3. All the other prophets were afraid, and
Smith's Select Discourses on Prophecy, ch. xi. Witsij Miscell. Sacr. 1 Witsii Miscellanea Sacra, lib. I. c. 3. $ ix. pp. 19, 20. Dr. Blayney, on 6 Bp. Gray's Key, p. 325.
7 Sunith's Seleci Discourses, pp. 190. et seq: 2 Dr. Good's Translation of Job, p. 51.
8 Prideaux's Connection, part ii. book 5. sub anno 107. vol. ii. pp. 328, 329. a Virgil in his sixth Eneid represents the sibyl, when the prophetic spirit The Christians, after Christianity began to be corrupted, learnt froin the seized her, as perfectly frantic, as struggling in vain to shake off the deity heathen the saine mode of divination, and used the Bible in the saine that inspired her, and as irresistibly forced to utter his dictates. (En. ví. manner as the heathen had employed the poems of Virgil. In pp. 329, 47. et seq. 77. et seq.) Lucan describes the Pythian prophetess in the same 3:30. Dr. Prideaux has given some remarkable instances of this absurd
mode of penetrating into futurity. See also Smith's Select Discourses : on • Tappan's Lectures on Jewish Antiquities, p. 199.
Propliecy, ch. 10.
lib. i. c. 7.
Jer. xiij. 4.
manner (Lib. v. v. 142-218.)
that people, by checking those crimes which were pregnant, nature, are inserted in the historical books, together with with ruin.1
their fulfilment. Such appears to have been the case with VII. ANTIQUITY AND SUCCESSION OF THE PROPHETS.
Elijah, Elisha, Micaiah, and others; but those who were Prophecy is one of the most striking proofs of the true gifted with the spirit of prophecy in its most exalted sense, and religion ; and as religion has existed in every age, prophecy were commissioned to utter predictions, the accomplishment equally subsisted from the commencement of the world. of which was as yet far distant, were directed to write them, or
The Jewsreckon forty-eight prophets, and seven prophet-cause them to be written, in a book. (Compare Isa. viii. 1. esses; Clement of Alexandria enumerates thirty-five prophets xxx. 8. Jer. xxx. 2. xxxvi. 2. 28. Ezek. xliii. 11. Hab. ii. who flourished subs uently to Moses; and Epiphanius, 2, &c.) The predictions, thus committed to writing, were sixty-three prophets and twelve prophetesses. Witsius, and carefully preserved, under a conviction that they contained some other modern critics, divide the series of prophets into important truths, thereafter to be more fully revealed, which three periods, during which God at sundry times and in divers were to receive their accomplishment at the appointed manners spake unto the fathers of the Jewish nation (Heb. i. periods. It was also the office of the prophets to commit to 1.); viz. 1. Prophets who flourished before the giving of writing the history of the Jews;; and it is on this account the Law of Moses ;—2. Prophets who flourished under the that, in the Jewish classification of the books of the Old Law;-and, 3. Prophets who flourished under the period Testament, we find several historical writings arranged comprised in the New Testament.
among the prophets. Throughout their prophetic and hisI. Prophets who fourished before the giving of the Law of torical books, the utmost plainness and sincerity prevail
. Moses were, Adam, Enoch, Lamech (Gen. v. 29.), Noah, They record the idolatries of the nation, and foretell the Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, and his friends, and judgments of God which were to befall the Jews in conseBalaam. The prophetesses in this period were Sarah, quence of their forsaking his worship and service; and they Hagar, and Rebecca.
have transmitted a relation of the crimes and misconduct of 1. Prophets who flourished under the Law, of whom there are their best princes. David, Solomon, and others,—who were four series.
types of the Messiah, and who expected that he would 1. Prophets in the Desert :-Moses, Aaron, the prophetess descend from their race, regarding the glories of their seve
Miriam, the seventy elders. (Num. xi. 16, 17. 24 ral reigns as presages of His,-are described not only with30.)
out flattery, but also without any reserve or extenuation. 2. Prophets in the land of Canaan :-Joshua; an anony- They write like men who had no regard to any thing but
mous prophet (Judg. vi. 8–10.), another anonymous truth and the glory of God. prophet who denounced the divine judgments to Eli (1 The manner in which the prophets announced their preSam. ii. 27–36.); the prophetesses Deborah and Han- dictions varied according to círcumstances. Sometimes they nah ; Samuel, Nathan, Gad, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, uttered them aloud in a public place; and it is in allusion to David, Solomon, Ahijah the Shilonite (1 Kings xi. 29. this practice that Isaiah'is commanded to “ cry aloud, spare xiv.), Shemaiah (2 Chron. xi. 2. xii. 5. 16.), Iddo (2 not, lift up his voice like a trumpei, and show the people of Chron. xii. 15. xlii. 22.), the man of God who went God their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins." from Judah and prophesied against the altar erected by (Isa. Iviii. 1.) Sometimes their predictions were affixed to Jeroboam at Bethel, and the old prophet who dwelt at the gates of the temple, where they might be generally read Bethel (2 Kings xiii. 19.), Azariah the son of Oded (2 (Jer. vii. 2.); but, upon important occasions, * when it was Chron. xv. 1.), Oded (2 Chron. xv. 8.), who, perhaps, necessary to rouse the fears of a disobedient people, and to is the same with Iddo above mentioned, Hananiah the recall them to repentance, the prophets, as objects of universeer (2 Chron. xvi. 7.), Jehu the son of Hananiah (2 sal attention, appear to have walked about publicly in sackKings xvi. 1. 2 Chron. xix. 1.), Elijah, Micaiah the son cloth, and with every external mark of humiliation and of Imlah (2 Kings xxii. 25.), an anonymous prophet sorrow. They then adopted extraordinary modes of expresswho rebuked Ahab for suffering Benhadad king of Sy- ing their convictions of impending wrath, and endeavoured ria to escape (1 Kings xx. 35–13.), Jahaziel the son of to awaken the apprehensions of their countrymen, by the Zachariah (2 Chron. xx. 14.), Eliezer the son of Doda- most striking illustrations of threatened punishment. Thus vah (2 Chron. xx. 37.), Elisha, Zachariah the son of Je- Jeremiah made bonds and yokes, and put them on his neck hoiada (2 Chron. xxiv. 20, 21.), an anonymous prophet (Jer. xxvii.), strongly to intimate the subjection that God who dissuaded Amaziah the son of Joash from under- would bring on the nations whom Nebuchadnezzar should taking an expedition against the Edomites, with an auxi- subdue. Isaiah likewise walked naked, that is, without the liary army of Israelites (2 Chron. xxv. 7.), Obed (2 rough garment of the prophet, and barefoot (Isa. xx.), as a Chron. xxviii. 9.), Urijah the son of Shemaiah, of Kir- sign of the distress that awaited the Egyptians. So, Jerejath-Jearim (Jer. xxvi. 20.), Jonah, Hosea, Amos, Joel, miah broke the potter's vessel (xix.); and" Eze'iel publicly Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Obadiah, Zepha- removed his household goods from the city, more forcibly to niah, Jeremiah, and the prophetess Huldah. (2 Kings represent, by these actions, some correspondent calamities xxii. 14.)
ready to fall on nations obnoxious to God's wrath ;6 this 3. Prophets during the Babylonish Captivity :-Ezekiel and mode of expressing important circumstances by action being Daniel.
customary and familiar among all eastern nations."; 4. Prophets after the return of the Jews from the Captivity: Sometimes the prophets were commanded to seal and shut
-Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, who was the last of up their prophecies, that the originals might be preserved the prophets as it respects the prophetic office, but not until they were accomplished, and then compared with the as respects the gift of prophecy, if we may credit what event. (Isa. viii. 16. Jer. xxxii. 14. Dan. viii. 26. and xii. Josephus relates of the high-priest Jaddus or Jaddua, 4.) For, when the prophecies were not to be fulfilled till and the relation of the author of the second book of after many years, and in some cases not till after several Maccabees concerning Judas Maccabæus. (2 Macc. xv. ages, it was requisite that the original writings should be 12.)
kept with the utmost care; but when the time was so near III. Prophets who flourished under the Period comprised in the at hand, that the prophecies must be fresh in every person's New Testament :-Zacharias, Simeon, and John the Bap- recollection, or that the originals could not be suspected or tist, until Christ; and after his ascension, Agabus (Acts supposed to be lost, the same care was not required. (Rev. xi. 28. xxi. 11.), the apostles Paul, and John the author xxii. 10.) It seems to have been customary for the prophets of the Apocalypse, besides other prophets who are to deposit their writings in the tabernacle, or lay them up mentioned in 1 Cor. xii. 28. xiv. 29–32. Eph. ii. 20. iii. before the Lord. (1 Sam. x. 25.) And there is a tradition, 5. and iv. 11., of whom it is not necessary to treat in this that all the canonical books, as well as the law, were put part of the present volume, which is appropriated to the into the side of the ark. consideration of the writings of those prophets who flou- 5 I Chron. xxix. 29. 2 Chron. xii. 15. xiji. 22. xx. 34. xxvi. 22. xxxii. 32. In rished under the Old Testament dispensation, which have addition to the information thus communicated in the sacred volume, we been transmitted to us.
are informed by Josephus, that, from the death of Moses until the reign of VIII. The early prophets committed nothing to writing : to writing the transactions or their own times. Josephus cont. Apion.
Artaxerxes king of Persia, the prophets who were after Moses committed their predictions being only, or chiefly, of a temporary lib. i. c. 8.
6 Ezek. xii. 7. compared with 2 Kings xxv. 4. 5., where the accomplish.
ment of this typical prophecy is related. Vide also Ezek. xxxvii. 16-20. 1 Tappan's Lectures, p. 205.
9 Megillah, c. 1.
Bp. Gray's Key, pp. 333-335. * Stromnata, lib. i. (Op. tom. i. pp. 384–388. edit. Potter.)
• Josephus confirms the statement of the sacred historian. Ant. Jud. • Calmet, Preface Generale sur les Prophetes, Dissertations, tom. ii. pp. 305-307. Witsii Miscell. Sacr. lib. i. cc. 16–21. pp. 161–323. Carpzovii . Epiphanius, de Ponderibus et Mensuris, c. 4. Damascenus de Fido Introd. ad Libros Biblicos Vet Test. pars ül. pp. 68 69.
Orthodoxà, lib. iv. e. 17. Vol. II.
lib. iv. c. 4. $ 6.