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walls three hundred and fifty feet in height, and of hanging gardens, and of palaces a mile in circuit, and of majestic temples, are now with difficulty determined. Truly has that wicked city been swept with the besom of destruction, as Isaiah predicted.
The prophet then predicts the desolation of Moab on account of its pride, which seems to have been its peculiar offence. It is to be noted that the sin of pride has ever called forth a severe judgment. “It goeth before destruction.” Pride was one of the peculiarities of both Nineveh and Babylon. But that which is exalted shall be brought low. A bitter humiliation, at least, has ever been visited upon those who have arrogated a lofty superiority. It presupposes an independence utterly inconsistent with the real condition of men in the eyes of the Omnipotent; in the eyes of men, even, it is offensive in the extreme, and ends in isolation. We can tolerate certain great defects and weaknesses, but no one ever got reconciled to pride. It led to the ruin of Napoleon, as well as of Cæsar; it creates innumerable enemies, even in the most retired village ; it separates and alienates families; and when the punishment for it comes, everybody rejoices. People say contemptuously, “ Is this the man that made the earth to tremble ?” There is seldom pity for a fallen greatness that rejoiced in its strength, and despised the weakness of the unfortunate. If anything is foreign to the spirit of Christianity it is boastful pride, and yet it is one of those things which it is difficult for conscience to reach, as it is generally baptized with the name of selfrespect.
The next woe which Isaiah denounced was on Egypt, which had played so great a part in the history of ancient nations. The judgments sent on this civilized country were severe, but were not so appalling as those to be visited upon Babylon. With Egypt was included Ethiopia. Civil war should desolate both nations, and it should rage so fiercely that “every one should fight against his brother, and every one against his neighbor, city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.” Moreover, the famed wisdom of Egypt should fail ; the people in their distress should seek to gain direction from wizards and charmers and soothsayers. It always was a country of magicians, from the time that Aaron's rod swallowed up the rods of those boastful enchanters who sought to repeat his miracles; it was a country of soothsayers and sorcerers when finally conquered by the Romans; it was the fruitful land of religious superstitions in every age. It was governed in the earliest times by pagan priests; the early kings were priests, -- even Moses and Joseph were initiated into the occult arts of the priests. It was not wholly given to idolatry, since it is supposed that there was an esoteric wisdom among the higher priests which held to the One Supreme God and the immortality of the soul, as well as to future rewards and punishments. Nevertheless, the disgusting ceremonies connected with the worship of animals were far below the level of true religion, and the sorceries and magical incantations and superstitious rites which kept the people in ignorance, bondage, and degradation called loudly for rebuke. By reason of these things the nation was to be still farther subjected to the grinding rule of tyrants. It was a fertile and fruitful land, in which all the arts known to antiquity flourished; but the rains of Ethiopia were to be withheld, and such should be the unusual and abnormal drouth that the Nile should be dried up, and the reeds upon its banks should wither and decay. The river was stocked with fish, but the fishermen should cast their hooks and arrange their nets in vain. Even the workers in flax (one great source of Egyptian wealth and luxury) should be confounded. The princes were to become fools; there was to be general confusion, and no work was to be done in manufactures. Even Judah should become a terror to Egypt, and fear should overspread the land. To these calamities there was to be some palliation. Five cities should speak the language of Canaan, and swear by the Lord of Hosts ; and an altar should be erected in the middle of the land which should be a witness unto the Lord
of Hosts, to whom the people should cry amid their oppressions and miseries; and Jehovah should be known in Egypt. “He shall smite it, but he also shall heal it.” And when we remember what a refuge the Jews found in Alexandria and other cities in the no very distant future, keeping alive there the worship of the true God, and what a hold Christianity itself took in the second and third centuries in that old country of priests and sorcerers, producing a Clement, a Cyprian, a Tertullian, an Athanasius, and an Augustine; yea, that when conquered by the Mohammedans, the worship of the one true God was everywhere maintained from that time to the present, — we feel that the mercy of God followed close upon his justice. Isaiah predicted even the divine blessing on the land, which it should share with Palestine: “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Israel mine inheritance.”
It is not to be supposed that Tyre would escape from the calamities which were to be sent on the various heathen nations. Tyre was the great commercial centre of the world at that time, as Babylon was the centre of imperial power. Babylon ruled over the land, and Tyre over the sea; the one was the capital of a vast empire, the other was a maritime power, whose ships were to be seen in every part of the Mediterranean. Tyre, by its wealth and commerce, gained the supremacy in Phænicia, although Sidon was an
older city, five miles distant. But Tyre was defiled by the worship of Baal and Astarte; it was a city of exceeding dissoluteness. It was not only proud and luxurious, but abonninably licentious; it was a city of harlots. And what was to be its fate? It was to be destroyed, and its merchandise was to be scattered. “Howl, ye ships of Tarshish! for your strength is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in. ... The Lord of Hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of glory, and bring to contempt all the honorable of the earth.” The inhabitants of the city who sought escape from death were compelled to take refuge in the colonies at Cyprus, Carthage, and Tartessus in Spain. The destruction of Tyre has been complete. There are no remains of its former grandeur; its palaces are indistinguishable ruins. Its traffic was transferred to Carthage. Yet how strong must have been a city which took Nebuchadnezzar thirteen years to subdue ! It arose from its ashes, but was reduced again by Alexander.
Isaiah condenses his judgment in reference to the other wicked nations of his time in a few rapid, vigorous, and comprehensive clauses. “Behold, Jehovah emptieth the earth, and layeth it waste, and scattereth its inhabitants. And it happeneth, as to the people, so to the priest ; as to the servant, so to the master; as to the maid, so to her mistress; as to the buyer, so to