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swallowed up and retained for this period by a great fish. His warnings produced the desired effect. The Ninevites turned to the Lord with weeping, fasting, and mourning, and the judgment was averted.
Amos, the next, was a herdsman. He was not of the schools of the prophets. He predicted the captivity and destruction of Israel; the restoration of the kingdom of David, and the blessed reign of the Prince of Peace. His images are drawn from the scenes of nature.
Hosea resided chiefly in Samaria. Ile prophesied sixtysix years. His book is a continued strain of invective against the sins of Israel. He foretold their captivity and distress; the reception of the Gentiles into the Church; the present state of the Jews; their future restoration; the coming of the Saviour, and the final judgment. He also denounced some judgments against the Gentile nations. His style is beautiful and his writings are powerful.
Isaiah was of the seed royal. Tradition reports that he was sawn asunder in the reign of Manasseh. He was the brightest luminary of the Jewish Church. So clearly does he describe the Messiah and his kingdom, that he is often emphatically styled the evangelical Prophet. In early life he was blessed with a remarkable vision of Jehovah sitting in glory, and worshipped by the Seraphim. It was, we are told by John,* a vision of Christ, and is an incontrovertible proof of his real divinity. The view caused the prophet to lie low in the dust and bewail his own sinfulness; but a seraph touched his lips with a live coal from the altar, and intimated that his sin was purged. Immediately he received a commission to declare the judgments of the Lord. He prophesied about sixty years, commencing at the close of the reign of Uzziah, and was an eminent counsellor of some of the kings. The first part of his book consists chiefly of declarations of sins and threatenings of judgments; then follows predictions of judgments on various nations ; some plain history, and the most precious promises to the Church -promises of the redemption and glorious kingdom of the Messiah, of the double restoration of the Jews, and the blessed millennium. His style is a perfect model of the sublime. He stands to this day, unrivalled in eloquence.
Micah was cotemporary with Isaiah, and has much of his style and spirit. He exclaims against the wickedness of the
ten tribes; foretells the Assyrian invasion, and the destruction of Jerusalem; the return of the Jews from captivity; the birth of Christ at Bethlehem Ephratah, and the peace and prosperity of the Christian Church..
Nahum appears to have prophesied just as Sennacherib was returning from Egypt, with the intention of destroying Jerusalem; and with great fire and spirit, he utters an illustrious prophecy against Nineveh, which was fulfilled in little more than a century after its delivery.
Zepheniah was of royal extract, and lived in the time of king Josiah. In terms wonderfully descriptive, he denounces vengeance against the wicked Jews; the Philistines; the Moabites; Amonites; Ethiopians and Assyrians; and promises a restoration of the captive people of God.
Joel takes no notice of the ten tribes, but confines himself to Judah, and may therefore be supposed to have lived after the first captivity. He predicts a fearful famine, and directs to repentance, fasting, and prayer, as the means of deliverance. His most remarkable prophecy is of the general out-pouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
Jeremiah was devoted to the prophetic office before his birth. When first commissioned, he prayed to be excused because of his youth. But God bade him go forward and fear nothing, for he would be with him and make him as a brazen wall against his enemies. He began to prophecy, in the thirteenth year of Josiah, and prophesied forty years. For his boldness in reproving vice and predicting judgments he suffered the most cruel persecutions, and is said, by Jerome, to have been stoned to death. His prophecies are of a very distinguished and illustrious character. They relate chiefly to the captivity, the precise time of its duration, and the downfall of the neighboring nations. Some of them extend through remote ages. His style is less lofty than that of Isaiah, but breathes a tenderness of spirit which deeply interests the affections of the reader.
Besides his prophecies, he wrote the book of Lamentations, in which he bewails the desolations of Jerusalem, with wonderful tenderness. “Every letter seems written with a tear, every word is the sound of a breaking heart.” But whether it is a prophecy of future events, or a description of scenes then present, is not easily determined.
About the same period, Obadiah predicted the destruc
tion of the enemies of Judah, and the restoration of the Jews. His work is short, but has much beauty.
Habakkuk was the last who began to prophecy before the captivity. His style is poetical and beautiful. His description of God's descent from Teman, far surpasses in subliinity any description ever given of any heathen god. He predicts the downfal of the enemies of the Church, and pleads with God for her deliverance.
These and other prophets who succeeded them, were instructed in future events by dreams and visions, by audible words, and immediate inspiration. The holiness of their doctrines, their miracles, and the accomplishment of their predictions, afforded indisputable proof that they were taught of God.
They published their predictions, by uttering them loud in public places; by posting them on the gates of the temple, where they might be read; and sometimes by highly expressive actions: Isaiah walked naked* and barefoot ; Jeremiah broke the potter's vessel ; and Ezekiel publicly removed his household goods from the city, to express correspondent calamities which were about to descend upon the enemies of Jehovah. Sometimes also, they taught by revealing transactions seen in visions, which could not have well been submitted to in reality ; thus conveying instruction with great force.
Many of their predictions had a double meaning. They related first to some event which would shortly occur, but chiefly to one of which that was only the type, and which was far distant. Different predictions, therefore, such as those of the first and second dispersion, of the first and second restoration, of the first and second coming of Christ, were mingled in one; a vast period was often embraced in one prophecy, and what a cursory reader would suppose to belong to a particular people in a particular age, often embraced great portions of the human family, through many successive generations.
Their style was highly figurative, bold and magnificent. They drew their imagery from the luminaries of heaven, from the ocean, the mountain, the storm, from their native scenery, from their temple worship and the idolatrous rites of the heathen; and if sometimes it partook of an indeli
* He laid aside his royal and priestly vestments, to show that the go. vernment and priesthood would be overthrown. This gives no warrant to those who appear in a state of perfect nudity as a sign,
cate cast, it was because of the taste of the age, or because they would more indignantly express the divine abhorrence of the sins of the people.
Their predictions were necessarily obscure, that they might not control human freedom, and appear to produce their own accomplishment. But so numerous and express were they respecting the advent of Christ, as to occasion, about the time of his birth, both among Jews and Gentiles, a very general expectation of the appearance of some illustrious personage.
“The testimony of Jesus, is the spirit of prophecy; and he who can contemplate that spirit operating through four thousand years, and be an infidel, would not be persuaded though one rose from the dead."
TABLE of the Prophels who prophesied before the Captivity.
BEFORE CHRIST. KINGS OF JUDAH. KINGS OF IS.
RAEL. Elijah, From 912 to 896 Jehosaphat. | Ahab. Elisha, 906 to 839 Jehoram, Jehoash. Jehoram.
I Jehu. Jonah, 856 to 784 Jehoash. Jehu and Je
hoahaz. Amos, 810 to 785
Jeroboam 2d Hosea,
810 to 725 Azariah. Jeroboam 2d
Uzziah, Jotham, Pekah, HoIsaiah, 760 to 698 Ahaz, Hezekiah shea.
and Manasseh. Micah, 750 to 710 Jotham, Ahaz and Hoshea.
Hezekiah. Nahum, 720 to 700 Hezekiah. Zephaniah 650 to 610 Josiah. Joel,
640 to 610 J osiah. Jeremiah, 629 to 588 Josiah, Jehoiakim Obadiah, 607 to 580 Jehoiakim Habakkuk! 612 to 595) Zedekiah
Babylonish captivity. Ezekiel. Triumphs of faith. Prophecies of Daniel. Proy
idence of God relating to Cyrus. Restoration of the Jews. Temple rebuilt. Preservation of the Church through Esther. Favorable decrees of Artaxerxes to Ezra and Nehemiah. Their labors and success at Jerusalem. The last of the Prophets. Closing of the sacred canon. Zoroaster.
In the year 588 B. C. the destruction of Jerusalem, of the Temple, and the nation was rendered complete. The remnant of this once happy and flourishing people, was carried captive to Babylon, and scattered throughout the east. Their sufferings were without a parallel. Every curse and wo which had been denounced upon them by God through his prophets, if they forsook him, were strictly and literally fulfilled. But amid the treachery of friends, and persecution of enemies, the Church lived. “ The bush burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed.” God had a seed to serve him; men of prayer, who sat down by the rivers of Babylon and wept when they remembered Zion—who, in recollection of their beloved homes, their Temple worship, and the God of their fathers, said, “If I forget thee, () Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."
Among the children of the captivity was the prophet Ezekiel. He was a descendant of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi; and was carried captive with Jebojachin and placed on the banks of the river Chebar. He began to prophecy six years before the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and continued to prophecy sixteen years after. In the fifth year of his captivity, and thirtieth of his age, the Lord appeared to him on a throne, supported by cherubims and wheels, signifying angels and changing providences; and directed him to go and declare his mind and will to the captive Jews. They had made themselves miserable from supposing that the remnant at Jerusalem were in happy cir. cumstances. He corrected their error, by showing them the melancholy state of Jerusalem, and the still greater ca. lamities which awaited it, because of the total apostacy of the Jews. He occasionally adverted to the certain destruction of their enemies; predicted the advent of the Messiah, and the final restoration of the Jews. His style is bold