THE LAW OF RETRIBUTION.

THE LAW OF RETRIBUTION; OR, A SERIOUS WARNING TO GREAT BRITAIN AND HER COLONIES, Founded on unquestionable EXAMPLES of GOD's TEMPORAL VENGEANCE AGAINST Tyrants, Slave-holders, and Oppressors.

The Examples are selected from Predictions in the Old Testament, of NATIONAL JUDGEMENTS, which (being compared with their actual Accomplishment) demonstrate "the sure Word of Prophecy," as well as the immediate Interposition of DIVINE PROVIDENCE, to recompence impenitent NATIONS according to their Works.

By GRANVILLE SHARP.

‘The People of the Land have used Oppression, and exercised Robbery, and have vexed the Poor and Needy: yea, they have OPPRESS­ED THE STRANGER WRONGFULLY,’ &c. ‘There­fore have I poured out mine Indignation upon them,’ &c. ‘Their OWN WAY have I recompensed upon their Heads, saith the Lord God.’ Ezek. xxii. 29—31.

LONDON: Printed by W. RICHARDSON, For B. WHITE, at Horace's Head, in Fleet Street; and E. and C. DILLY, in the Poultry.

MDCCLXXVI.

‘If thou seest the Oppression of the Poor, and violent perverting of Judgement and Justice in a Province, marvel not at the matter (or will) FOR HE THAT IS HIGHER THAN THE HIGHEST REGARDETH,’ &c. Eccles. v. 8.— The Lord SAW (it) and it dis­pleased him that there was NO JUDGEMENT, and he SAW that there was NO MAN, and wondered that (there was) NO INTERCESSOR:’ &c.—‘And he put on the Garments of VENGEANCE for cloth­ing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. ACCORD­ING TO THEIR DEEDS, ACCORDINGLY HE WILL REPAY, fury to his Adversaries, RECOMPENCE (or Retribution) TO HIS ENEMIES, TO THE ISLAND'S HE WILL REPAY RECOMPENCE,’ &c. Isa. lix.— ‘How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the Persons of the Wicked? Defend the Poor and Fatherless: do Justice to the Afflicted and Needy. DELIVER THE POOR AND NEEDY: RID THEM OUT OF THE HAND OF THE WICKED.’ Ps. lxxxii. 2—4.— ‘Remove Violence and Spoil, and execute Judgement and Justice, TAKE AWAY YOUR EX­ACTIONS FROM MY PEOPLE, SAITH THE LORD GOD!’ Ezek. xlv. 9.

THE LAW OF RETRIBUTION.

THE AFRICAN SLAVE-TRADE has been publicly supported and encouraged by the Legislature of this King­dom for near a century last past; so that the monstrous destruction of the Human Species, which is annually occasioned thereby, may certainly be esteemed a National Crime of the most aggravating kind, which (according to the usual course of God's Providence in the World) will probably draw down some exemplary vengeance upon the unre­penting Inhabitants of this Island! And, with respect to the British Colonies, the [Page 2]uncharitable practice of Slave-holding, especially in the West-India Islands and the more Southern Colonies, is grown up into a more enormous and destructive Oppression (whether we view the prodi­gious multitudes of the Oppressed, or the unconscionable severity of the Oppressors) than perhaps ever disgraced any other Nation at any one period of time!

The several attempts that have lately been made to justify these two branches of abominable National Iniquity by the Holy Scriptures, and especially by the permission therein granted to the Israelites to purchase and retain Slaves among them, have induced me to collect, from the History of the Jews in the several Books of Holy Scripture, some plain examples of God's Vengeance upon that particular Nation, expressly for this kind of Op­pression; which, I hope, will sufficiently prove that Slavery was ever detestable in [Page 3]the sight of God, and consequently that a speedy Reformation is absolutely ne­cessary (as well with respect to the African Slave-trade, encouraged in this Kingdom, as the Toleration of Slavery in the British American Dominions) if we mean to entertain the least hope of escaping a severe National Retribution, which (if we may judge by our present Civil Dissentions and horrid mutual Slaughters of National Brethren) seem ready to burst upon us!

I am well aware, indeed, how very unfashionable it is, now-a-days, to quote Scripture, when matters of Law, Politics, or Trade are called in question; yet I flat­ter myself that the following examples, drawn from thence, are perfectly suitable to my present point, and consequently must have weight to convince all persons, who sincerely acknowledge the Truth of the Scriptures, that we have the greatest [Page 4]reason to apprehend the infliction of some heavy Judgement from Almighty God upon these Kingdoms, on account of the monstrous load of Guilt which the British Subjects, on each side of the Atlan­tic, have incurred by the Oppressions above-mentioned.

In some former Tracts I have already shewn that the Servitude which the Jews, by the Mosaic Law, were permitted to exact of their Brethren (even when the latter were sold to them) was very much limited; that they were not to be treated as Bond Servants (1) but as Hired Ser­vants; that the Servitude could not law­fully be extended beyond seven years (2) [Page 5]unless the Servant loved his Master and Condition, and voluntarily demanded(3) of him to continued in his Service; and that, in every other case, it was [Page 6]absolutely unlawful to hold a Brother Hebrew in Slavery.

I have likewise shewn, that, under the glorious Dispensation of the Gospel, we are absolutely bound to consider our­selves as Citizens of the World; that every Man whatever, without any partial dis­tinction of Nation, Distance, or Com­plexion, must necessarily be esteemed our Neighbour, and our Brother; and that we are absolutely bound in Christian Duty to entertain a Disposition towards all Mankind as charitable and benevo­lent, at least, as that which was required of the Jews, under the Law, towards their national Brethren; and, conse­quently, that it is absolutely unlawful for those, who call themselves Christians, to exact of their Brethren (I mean their Brethren of the Universe) a more burthen­some Service than that to which the Jews were limited with respect to their [Page 7] Brethren of the House of Israel; and the Slavery, or involuntary Bondage, of a Brother Israelite was absolutely forbid.

These premises naturally lead us to consider the severe NATIONAL JUDGE­MENTS which the Jews brought upon themselves principally by exceeding these very limitations which I have here speci­fied: and the inevitable conclusion to be drawn from these examples is, that we are absolutely in danger of THE LIKE JUDGEMENTS, if we do not immediately put a stop to all similar Oppression by Na­tional Authority: because an uncharitable extension of the said limits, by those who call themselves Christians, will certainly be, at least, as heinous in the sight of God as the OPPRESSION OF BRETHREN under the Law; and probably much more so, if we consider the purity and benevo­lence which is required of all Men under the Gospel Dispensation: and I have [Page 8]clearly proved (I trust) that the permis­sion to the Israelites, to keep Bondmen of the Heathen (or more properly the Na­tions, [...]) that were round about them, and of ‘the Children of the Strangers that dwelt among them,’ cannot be extended to any other People whatever except the Israelites themselves; and that even to them it was only temporary, during the Dispensation of the Mosaic Law, whilst they possessed the Land of Canaan, the former Inhabitants of which (viz. the seven abominable Nations of Palestine, expressly mentioned by name in the seventh Chapter of Deuteronomy, where the same Heb. Noun [...], ren­dered Heathen in the former Text, is properly expressed by the English word Nations) the Israelites were expressly directed to drive out, kill, and destroy, without pity (4), and to make no Covenant [Page 9]with them(5): and I hope I have also proved that the remainder of these parti­cular wicked Nations, thus expressly doomed to destruction, were undoubtedly "the Heathen" (or Nations) that dwelt round about the Israelites, and the Children of the Strangers, whom (and whom alone) it was lawful to hold in perpetual Bondage; for otherwise that permission cannot be reconciled to God's positive Commands, given in the same Law, to love the Stranger. ‘The Lord your God is God of Gods, and Lord of Lords, a great God, a mighty and a terrible, which regardeth not Persons (so that this was apparently a general Law, or Rule of Conduct, towards all Persons, except the People of those parti­cular Nations which were expressly, by name, condemned to destruction by the hands of the Israelites, in other parts of [Page 10]the Law, for their abominable wicked­ness) ‘nor taketh Reward: he doth ex­ecute the Judgement of the Father­less and Widow, and loveth the Stran­ger, in giving him food and raiment. LOVE YE THEREFORE the Stranger (and the Almighty incul­cates a sympathetic concern for the wel­fare and happiness of Strangers, by re­minding the Israelites of their own un­happy situation formerly in a strange country) "for ye" (says the Text) ‘were Strangers in the Land of Egypt.’ Deut. x. 17 to 19. See also Levit. xix. 33, 34. "Thou shalt love him" (that is, the Stranger) as thyself; for ye were Strangers in the Land of Egypt.’

National Wickedness, from the be­ginning of the World, has generally been visited with National Punishments: and surely no National Wickedness can be more heinous in the sight of God, [Page 11]than a public toleration of Slavery and Oppression! for Tyranny (in whatsoever shape it appears) must necessarily be esteemed a presumptuous breach of that Divine Command, in which all Law is fulfilled (Gal. v. 14.) viz. ‘Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thyself.’ Levit. xix. 18.

The Histories of all Nations, indeed, afford tremendous examples of God's Vengeance against Tyrants; but no His­tory is so proper to illustrate this sub­ject (which now so nearly concerns us) as that of the Jews: for as the Know­ledge of the Divine Law was revealed in a more particular manner to that People, and to others only through them, so the effect even of their Disobedience was an exemplary demonstration, from time to time, of God's Vengeance, as well as of his Mercy, for the instruction of all other Nations, amongst whom they [Page 12]are now dispersed, as living monuments of the same to this very day: and we have the authority of an Apostle(6) to assert, that ‘all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written’ (says he) ‘for our ad­monition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.’

One of the first and most signal in­stances of Mercy which the Almighty was pleased to shew that People, after they became a Nation, was, the restoring them to their Natural Freedom from the deplorable Slavery in which they were detained by a tyrannical Egyptian Monarch(7): and the tremendous [Page 13]Judgements whereby this deliverance was effected (viz. the Plagues of Egypt) are so many signal examples of God's severe Vengeance against Slave-holders, which ought to be had in everlasting remembrance, to warn all Nations of the World against the unnatural and baneful practice of keeping Slaves.

This deliverance from Bondage was frequently mentioned, even in the words of God himself, by his Prophets, from time to time (as I have before remarked) —"Thus saith the Lord" (i. e. Jeho­vah) ‘God of Israel: I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the House of Bondage; ( [...], more literally ‘from the House [Page 14] of Slaves") and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, &c. Judges vi. 8. — ‘I re­moved his Shoulder from the Burden; his Hands were delivered from the Pats (8): thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee.’ Psal. lxxxi. 6, 7.

The Israelites themselves were also particularly directed to remember this signal exertion of Divine Mercy and Power in the cause of Popular Freedom: "Remember that thou wast a Servant" (viz. a Slave) ‘in the Land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand, and by a stretched-out arm,’ &c. Deut. v. 15.

[Page 15]It was surely for the moral purpose of stirring up in the Israelites a sympa­thetic concern for the Sufferings of the Oppressed, and more particularly of Op­pressed Strangers, that they were so fre­quently reminded of their own former deplorable condition in Slavery, and of their miraculous Deliverance from thence; being expressly referred to their own Feelings and Remembrance of the cruel foreign Tyranny, which they themselves had so lately experienced in Egypt: — ‘thou shalt not oppress a Stranger: for ye KNOW THE HEART’ ( [...], properly THE SOUL) ‘OF A STRANGER, seeing ye were Stran­gers in the Land of Egypt.’ Exod. xxiii. 9.

God also gave the Israelites due warn­ing of the Danger of Oppression, by de­claring that he would SURELY re­venge the Cause of the injured Stranger: [Page 16] ‘Thou shalt neither vex a Stranger, nor oppress him; for ye were Strangers in the Land of Egypt. Ye shall not afflict any Widow or fatherless Child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will SURELY hear their cry (mark this, ye African Traders of this Island, and ye West-India and British American Slave-holders! for ye are all guilty of the like abominable Oppressions, and God will SURELY avenge the Cause of the Oppressed) ‘and my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword, and your Wives shall be Widows, and your Children fatherless.’ Exod. xxii. 21 to 24.

And have not the careless Inhabitants of Great Britain and her Colonies too much reason also to apprehend that the same God (who professes to hear the cry of oppressed Strangers, if they cry at [Page 17]all unto him) will, sooner or later, visit these Kingdoms with some signal mark of his Displeasure, for the notorious Oppression of an almost innumerable mul­titude of poor African Strangers, that are harrassed, and continually wearing out, with a most shameful involuntary Servitude in the British Colonies! nay, and that by a public Toleration, under the sanction of Laws to which the Mo­narchs of England, from time to time, by the advice of their Privy Counsellors, have given the Royal Assent, and thereby rendered themselves Parties in the Op­pression, and (it is to be feared) Par­takers of the Guilt!

Let us not forget, before it is too late, that the Almighty has not only declared, himself ready to "HEAR THE CRY" of the oppressed Stranger, but hath deigned to add to his glorious Name, Jehovah, a brief Remembrance of his merciful inter­position [Page 18]in behalf of an enslaved Nation: "I am the Lord your God" (or Jehovah your God, said the Almighty to the Israelites) ‘which brought thee out of the Land of Egypt, out of the House of Bondage, Exod. xx. 1. Thus the Almighty Deliverer from Slavery vouch­safed to set his own Divine Example before the eyes of his redeemed People, to excite Benevolence and Thankful­ness; and the like Remembrance of that glorious Redemption from Sla­very was very frequently repeated from time to time; which the Scriptures sufficiently testify: but alas! the Isra­elites profited so little by these whole­some lessons, that it became necessary, no less frequently, to remind them of the dreadful Vengeance which would in­evitably overtake them for their noto­rious Oppressions of the Poor; for their unjust Exactions of involuntary and un­rewarded Service; and for exceeding the [Page 19] limitations of Bondage (already recited) which the Law expressly enjoined!

‘For the Oppression of the Poor, for the Sighing of the Needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord; and will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him,’ or ‘that would ensnare him.’ Psal. xii. 5.

The Princely Prophet Isaiah plainly declared to them, that their public Fasts and outward Humiliations were not only vain, but even offensive to God, while such notorious Oppressions continued among them. "Behold" (said he) ‘in the day of your Fast, you find Pleasure, and exact all your Labours. (9) lviii. 3. [Page 20]And again, — ‘Is it such a Fast that I have chosen? a day for a Man to af­flict his Soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush?’ &c. ‘Is not this the Fast that I have chosen?— to loose the Bands of Wickedness, to undo the heavy Burthens (or rather the Bundles of the Yoke, [...] plainly referring to the severe and unjust Bondage of the Poor) ‘and TO LET THE OPPRESSED GO FREE, and that YE BREAK EVERY YOKE?’‘Is it not to deal thy Bread to the Hungry, and to bring the Poor that are cast out (or rather to bring the Poor that are reduced, or depressed, viz. as it were by Tyrants; for so the word [...] seems more properly to signify in this place) "to thy House?" &c. Compare this [Page 21]with Deut. xxiii. 15, 16.(9) And he warned them of the Divine Justice that would pursue them for their Oppression and tyrannical Treatment of the Poor.

‘The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the People! The Lord will enter into Judge­ment with the Ancients (or Senators) of his People, and the Princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the Vineyard; the Spoil of the Poor is in your Houses! What mean ye that ye beat my People to pieces, and grind the Faces of the Poor?’ saith the Lord of Hosts! Isa. iii. 13 to 15.

The wicked practices whereby the Israelites reduced their poor Brethren to [Page 22] Slavery are described by the Prophet Amos: ‘Hear this, O ye that swallow up the Needy, even to make the Poor of the Land to fail, saying, When will the New Moon be gone, that we may sell Corn? and the Sabbath, that we may set forth Wheat, making the Ephah small, and the Shekel great, and falsifying the Ballances by Deceit? That we may buy the Poor for Silver (10) and the Needy for a Pair of Shoes (that is, comparatively speak­ing, at a most contemptible price! whereby we may presume that Slave-markets were not so notoriously estab­lished at that time as at present; and that the Bidders were few, though the Oppressed were many) ‘yea, and sell the Refuse of the Wheat? The Lord hath sworn by the Excellency of Ja­cob, [Page 23] surely I will never forget any of these works. Shall not the Land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? &c. Amos viii. 4 to 8.

Here is a solemn Appeal from God to the Human Understanding: ‘Shall not the Land tremble for this! that is, for this same abominable Oppression of the Poor (the buying them for Slaves) in which Great Britain and her Co­lonies are infinitely more guilty than the People to whom this appeal was made! and "shall not the Land" (therefore) even our Land, tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? &c. Surely God will never forget any of these Works, my Countrymen!

The Prophet Jeremiah manifestly alluded to the like deceitful practices [Page 24]of the Jews (whereby they reduced the Poor to Slavery) when he made a so­lemn protest against them in the Name of God:—"Your sins" (said he) ‘have withholden good things from you. For among my People are found wicked (men): they lay wait as he that setteth Snares; THEY SET A TRAP, THEY CATCH MEN. As a Cage (or Coup) is full of Birds, so are their Houses full of Deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the Wicked; they judge not the cause, the cause of the Father­less, yet they prosper; and the right of the Needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord! Shall not my Soul be avenged on such a Nation as this? &c. Jer. v. 26 to 29. Here again the Al­mighty plainly appeals to the Human. [Page 25]Understanding concerning the Propri­ety, or rather the Necessity, of exert­ing the Divine Vengeance against such an Oppressive Nation!

And yet how inconsiderable was the crime of the Jewish Nation in this re­spect, if compared with the numerous Bondage and with the unbounded Op­pression of the poor Negroes in the Bri­tish Colonies? Have we not therefore just reason to fear that God will visit for these things? Does not the Word of God, which cannot change, appeal to us, my Countrymen, as well as to the Jews?—"Shall not my Soul" (saith the Lord!) be avenged on such a Na­tion as this?

The same Prophet, in the next chap­ter, declares the Divine Vengeance to be at hand: — ‘For thus hath the Lord of Hosts said,—Hew ye down Trees, [Page 26]and cast a Mount against Jerusalem. This (is) the City to be visited! she is wholly Oppression in the midst of her. As a Fountain casteth out her Waters, so she casteth out her Wick­edness: Violence and Spoil is heard in her; before me continually is Grief and Wounds! Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem! lest my Soul depart from thee: lest I make thee desolate, a Land not inhabited!’ Jer. vi. 6 to 8.

But in vain were the Warnings of the Prophet, till the Judgements them­selves began to appear in all the horrors of a hopeless War, which began in the ninth year(11) of King Zedekiah's [Page 27]reign, notwithstanding that the Mo­narch had previously rendered himself secure (as he thought) by his military preparations (in sending for Horses and Men from Egypt, to complete his stand­ing Army) and had also made Pharaoh (another presumptuous military Tyrant) his Ally, which encouraged him to break his Oath and Covenant with the King of Babylon.

But ‘when Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, and all his Army, and all the Kingdoms of the Earth, of his Do­minion, and all the People, fought against Jerusalem, and against all the Cities thereof —then God ordered his Prophet to remind Zedekiah of that dreadful Vengeance, Defeat and Cap­tivity, [Page 28]which had so often before been denounced as the necessary consequences of Oppression and Injustice!‘Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel’ (viz. to Jeremiah): ‘Go, and speak to Zedekiah King of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord; behold, I will give this City into the hand of the King of Babylon; and he shall burn it with fire. And thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shalt surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the King of Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth, and thou shalt go to Babylon,’ &c. Jer. xxxiv. 1 to 3.

The impending Vengeance being then become visible, and consequently more tremendous, by the near approach of the Babylonian Army, that irresisti­ble instrument in the hand of God, by [Page 29]which the Jews had so often been sub­dued, the King's stubborn heart began to relent, and his military confidence to forsake him, which had before encou­raged his Injustice; his firmness in Worldly Politics was shaken, and yielded to a sense of Guilt! It was upon this return of Conscience and right Reason that Zedekiah sent two Messengers, Passur and Zephaniah, to Jeremiah, saying, ‘Enquire, I pray thee, of the Lord for us; for Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon maketh war against us; if so be the Lord will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us,’ &c. See chap. xxi. ver. 1 and 2. But a very unwelcome answer was given to the Messengers, to be returned to their Mo­narch; for the Prophet confirmed all the heavy Judgements(12) which had [Page 30]before been denounced, as well against the King, expressly by name, as against the City and its iniquitous Inhabitants, whose notorious Oppressions were now to be RECOMPENSED upon their own heads, MEASURE FOR MEASURE: — ‘Now is the end come upon thee, and I will send mine anger upon thee, and will judge [Page 31]thee according to thy ways, and will RECOMPENSE upon thee all thine abo­minations, &c. Ezek. vii. 3. See also the 4th, 8th, and 9th verses, to the same effect. And afterwards, in the 11th verse, one of the principal causes of GOD's Vengeance is mentioned:—"Vio­lence" (said the Prophet) ‘is risen up into a Rod of Wickedness: none of them shall remain, nor of their mul­titude, nor of any of their's; neither shall there be wailing for them. The time is come, the day draweth near.’ &c.—And again, in the 23d verse:— "Make a Chain" (said the Prophet); ‘for the Land is full of bloody Crimes, and the City is full of Violence. Wherefore I will bring the worst of the Heathen, and they shall possess their houses,’ &c.‘Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none. Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumour [Page 32]shall be upon rumour,’ &c.‘The King shall mourn, and the Prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the Hands of the People of the Land shall be troubled: I will do unto them after their (own) way, and according to their deserts’ (or rather their own judgements) ‘will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the Lord.’ —Again, in the 12th chapter, the same reason is clearly assigned for the pouring out of God's Vengeance:— ‘Say unto the People of the Land, Thus saith the Lord God of the Inhabitants of Jerusalem and of the Land of Israel; They shall eat their Bread with Care­fulness; and drink their Water with Astonishment, that her Land may be desolate from all that is therein, be­cause of THE VIOLENCE of them that dwell therein. Ezek. xii. 19. The nature of this baneful Violence, which oc­casioned their destruction, is more parti­cularly [Page 33]described by the same Prophet, in chap. xxii. ver. 7.— in the midst of thee (still speaking of Jerusalem) ‘have they dealt by Oppression with the Stranger (mark this, ye British Slave-dealers and Slave-holders); ‘in thee have they vexed the Fatherless and the Widow. Thou hast de­spised mine holy things, and hast pro­faned my Sabbaths. In thee are men that carry tales to shed Blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness,’ &c.‘One hath com­mitted abomination with his Neigh­bour's Wife: and another hath lewdly defiled his Daughter-in-law,’ &c.‘In thee have they taken gifts to shed Blood: thou hast taken Usury and Increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy Neighbours by Extor­tion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord God. Behold, therefore, I have [Page 34]smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy Blood which hath been in the midst of thee,’ &c. Ezek. xxii. 7, &c.

Oh that the Subjects of the British Empire would seriously compare these crimes with their own practices! they would then, surely, be sensible of their danger; and that they have reason to expect the like, or rather much heavier, Judgements, than those denounced against the Jews! For, besides the no­torious Adulteries, and other acts of Lewdness, which many amongst us (from the frequency of such crimes) commit, even without shame or re­morse, we have far exceeded the guilt of the Jews, I fear, in many of the other points also which provoked the Vengeance of the Almighty against them! What "Violence" amongst the Jews, before their Captivity, was ever [Page 35] "risen up into" so destructive a Rod of Wickedness—as the AFRICAN SLAVE-TRADE, now carried on chiefly by our Liverpool and Bristol Mer­chants? What "bloody crime" among the Jews was more notorious, and more wickedly premeditated, than the late In­vasion and Conquest of the poor innocent CARRIBEES at ST. VINCENT's? And what Nation hath dealt by Oppres­sion with the Stranger so generally, so inhumanly, and in so great a degree, as our BRITISH AMERICAN SLAVE-HOLDERS!—Have we not ample rea­son to expect that the same tremendous decree will, in God's Justice, be ful­filled upon these Kingdoms?— De­struction cometh: and they shall seek Peace, and there shall be none. Mis­chief shall come upon mischief, and rumour upon rumour,’ &c. &c. &c.‘I will do unto them after their (own) way, and according to their [Page 36](own) Judgements will I judge them!’ &c.

Nevertheless, God was pleased to offer the Jews a Choice in their Fate,—either to forsake their wicked King (who had forfeited all right to govern, by his neg­lect of Justice and Natural Right) and to fall away to the King's Enemies, the Chaldeans; or else to perish miserably in the City, and partake of it's Destruc­tion!—"And unto this People" (said God to the Prophet Jeremiah) ‘thou shalt say, Thus saith the Lord; Be­hold, I set before you the way of Life, and the way of Death. He that abideth in this City shall die by the Sword, and by the Famine, and by the Pestilence: but he that goeth out, and falleth to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his Life shall be unto him for a Prey, &c. Jer. xxi. 8, 9.

[Page 37]The Prophet, however, was directed to add to his message a word of advice to the King and Court, which shews that a seasonable repentance might, even then, have saved the State, and turned away the impending Vengeance.

It was such advice, too, as every other Monarch, who tolerates any unnatural Bondage or Oppression in his Dominions, ought seriously to consider, because the event proved it to be the best means of averting God's Anger, if the King had but persevered in it.— ‘And touching the House of the King of Judah (con­tinued the Prophet) ‘say,—Hear ye the Word of the Lord, O House of David—thus saith the Lord; Exe­cute Judgement in the morning, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the Oppressor, lest my Fury go out like Fire, and burn that none can quench (it), because of the evil [Page 38]of your doings.’ Jer. xxi. 12. This is a manifest declaration that the Neglect of JUSTICE and RIGHT, and the Tolera­tion of OPPRESSION, were the principal causes of God's heavy Vengeance against that Royal House!

The same advice was, by God's Com­mand, repeated by the Prophet to the King himself IN HIS PALACE (see the next chapter):— ‘Thus saith the Lord; Go down to THE HOUSE of the King of Judah, and speak THERE this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, O King of Judah, that fittest upon the Throne of David, thou, and thy Ser­vants, and thy People that enter in by these Gates" (that is, all Persons what­ever that enter in by the Palace-gates, plainly including the whole Court, be­fore whom the Prophet was to deliver his message): ‘Thus saith the Lord; Execute ye JUDGEMENT and RIGH­TEOUSNESS, [Page 39]and deliver the Spoiled out of the hand of THE OPPRES­SOR; and do no wrong, DO NO VIOLENCE TO THE STRAN­GER (13), &c.‘For if ye do this thing indeed’ (that is, if ye will execute Judgement and Righteousness, deli­ver the Oppressed, &c.) ‘then shall there enter in by the Gates of this House Kings sitting upon the Throne of David’ (or rather "that sit," i. e. reign, "for David upon his Throne") ‘riding in Chariots and on Horses, he and his Servants, and his People’ (that is, the Court should continue and prosper). ‘But if ye will not hear THESE WORDS, I swear by my­self, saith the Lord (i. e. Jehovah) [Page 40]"that THIS HOUSE" (i. e. the Palace) "shall become a desolation." Jer. xxii. 1 to 5. So that the whole Court were as much interested to promote a speedy Reformation, as the King himself. Thus it is plain that the King and Court had also a Choice given them of Life and Death, as well as the People; and, con­sequently, that the Judgements de­nounced were only conditional, in case the warning was neglected; for it is manifest that God mercifully tendered to them (even at the eve of their destruc­tion) a continuance of the Monarchy (viz. ‘Kings sitting upon the Throne of David’) if they would but resolve to execute JUDGEMENT and RIGHTE­OUSNESS;’ to deliver the Spoiled out of the hand of the OPPRESSOR;’ and to do no Wrong, NO VIOLENCE, to THE STRANGER,’ &c. But the Prophet also added much more advice to the King and his Court, though he was [Page 41]not "made of the King's Council (14);" for he boldly warned the Monarch by the tremendous examples of God's Judgements upon three of his imme­diate Predecessors in the Kingdom; two of whom were his own Brothers, the [Page 42]Sons of King Josiah; and the third his own Nephew, whom he immediately succeeded. They were all particularly mentioned by him in the proper order of their respective reigns, as we find by the copy of his Message or Remon­strance, preserved in the Collection of his Prophecies; and, throughout the said Remonstrance, frequent allusions are made to the principal causes of the failure and destruction of each of them, which afford a most striking and inte­resting Lesson to Kings and Governors in general; but it must have been more particularly affecting to Zedekiah, if we consider his critical situation at the [Page 43]time the Message was delivered to him, and that the Examples of Vengeance, to which the Prophet referred him, were actually accomplished in the Persons of his nearest Relations and Predecessors, who were successively deprived of their Royal Dignity, and carried away IN CHAINS into a slavish Captivity; the very fate which, the Prophet assured him, was to be his own!

But before I recite the remainder of God's Message to the Court of Zedekiah, it will be necessary for me to give some general account of that Monarch and of his immediate Predecessors, in order that the Remonstrance, in which they are all distinctly mentioned, may be more easily understood by the generality of Readers. It will likewise be ne­cessary for me to prove, that the whole 22d Chapter of Jeremiah is included in that Message, or Remonstrance, which [Page 44]the Prophet was then to deliver in the presence of the whole Court of Zede­kiah. And I propose to insert also some remarks, as they occur, concerning the Prophet himself, and the order of time, in which he delivered the several tre­mendous predictions of GOD's Vengeance against these wicked Princes.

Zedekiah was the Son of that excel­lent Prince Josiah King of Judah, on whose account, expressly, the dreadful Vengeance, due to that wicked Nation, was postponed for several years, viz. till after his death.

The Scriptures mention four Sons of King Josiah, viz. ‘the first-born, Jo­hanan (or John); the second, Je­hoiakim; the third, Zedekiah; and the fourth, Shallum.’ 1 Chron. iii. 15.—What became of the eldest Son [Page 45]Johanan, or John, is not recorded(15), but all the others ascended the Throne of David; and first of all, the youngest Son Shallum, whom, on the death of King Josiah, the People of the Land took, and’ (as it seems, without) re­gard [Page 46]to seniority) ‘made him King in his Father's stead in Jerusalem.’ 2 Chron. xxxvi. 1.(16).

[Page 47]The reign of Shallum (alias Jehoa­haz (17) was only three months; for he regarded not the eternal Laws of God, and thereby drew down the Di­vine Vengeance upon himself, by the hand of Pharaoh-Neco, who deposed [Page 48]him at Jerusalem (18) (2 Chron. xxxvi. 3.) and afterwards ‘PUT HIM IN BANDS at Riblah (19) in the Land of Hamath, [Page 49]that he might not reign in Jerusalem (2 Kings xxiii. 33)(20) there being, pro­bably, some reason to apprehend, that he would attempt to supplant his elder brother Eliakim, whom the Egyptian Conqueror had thought proper to set up in his stead upon the Throne of Da­vid; and therefore, to secure the [Page 50]new-established Monarch, he not only put Shallum IN BANDS, but also carried him away with him into Captivity in Egypt, where he died (21).

Thus Eliakim (through the Mercy of God to "the House of David") was raised to the Throne and Kingdom of his Ancestors, even by a foreign Enemy! who also changed his Name (that the Providence of God might be more ap­parent in the Revolution) from Eliakim ( [...], signifying God will establish) to Je-hoiakim, signifying (as I have be­fore remarked) "Jehovah will establish;" whereby it is manifest that even a Hea­then Monarch took pains to remind the new King of Judah of his dependence on Jehovah the God of Israel, whose Laws [Page 51]and Religion of course, we may presume, were likewise re-established in Judea by the same foreign Authority; for it would have been absurd in the Egyptian Mo­narch to have changed the Name of his Royal Vassal to another Name more par­ticularly testifying a Belief in Jehovah, the true God of Israel, if he did not mean thereby to keep the Jewish King in con­stant remembrance of the National Pro­fession of Law and Religion by the sacred Name of the great Author of them!

The same remarkable change in the Name of a future King of Judah was made also by another foreign and Hea­then Conqueror afterwards, in honour of the eternal JEHOVAH; so that it was manifestly the Providence of God which inclined these two great Enemies of the Jewish State, though they were also mortal Enemies to each other, (I mean Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar) to pur­sue [Page 52]exactly the same method in restoring "the Sceptre of Judah" to the House of David, and in declaring the Estab­lishment of the National Law and Re­ligion, by putting a respectful memorial of the sacred Name of Jehovah upon the new-raised Monarchs!

In the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign, though Judea and all Syria were then under the Egyptian Empire, the Pro­phet Jeremiah, in his 27th chapter(22) [Page 53]foretold the universal Empire of ‘Nebu­chadnezzar King of Babylon,’ even [Page 54]before that great Warrior was King of Babylon(23) his Father Nabopollasar [Page 55](who was also called Nebuchodonosor (24) being still alive. The Prophet was di­rected [Page 56]to make Bonds and Yokes, and put them upon his own neck, and to send [Page 57]them afterwards to the Kings of several neighbouring Nations, with a most aw­ful message from God concerning the rising power of the Babylonian Monarch: —"And now" (said the Prophet, in the Name of the Lord, or Jehovah, of Hosts, the God of Israel, see ver. 4.) ‘have I given all these Lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the King of Ba­bylon, my Servant; &c.‘and all Nations’ (many of whom are ex­pressly mentioned in the third verse) ‘shall serve HIM, and his SON, and his SON'S SON, until the very time of his Land come’ (for the Empire continued for three lives or successions, until the Babylonian measure of iniquity and oppression was fulfilled in the reign of Belthazar(25), when the Medes and [Page 58] Persians were to RETALIATE upon them THE HARD SLAVERY of Israel); ‘and then’ (continues the Prophet) ‘many Nations and great Kings shall SERVE themselves OF HIM,’ &c. Jer. xxvii. 6, 7. that is, they shall ENSLAVE his People, in the same manner that he and his two Successors enslaved and op­pressed other Nations: rendering Slavery for Slavery!

[Page 59]In the same chapter ZEDEKIAH is also mentioned by name as King of Ju­dah (26) several years before he received the name of ZEDEKIAH; so that nei­ther he himself (whose proper name was Mattaniah) nor any other person could possibly know, in the beginning of Je­hoiakim's reign, what particular person was then signified by the name of Ze­dekiah; for even Nebuchadnezzar him­self, who afterwards gave him that [Page 60]name, was not King of Babylon when the Prophecy was delivered, as I have already remarked. But after this foreign Conqueror had really appointed a King of Judah, and given him the name of ZEDEKIAH (the very name foretold by the Prophet), such an extraordinary circum­stance would add unquestionable autho­rity to the truth of Jeremiah's mission, and would render Zedekiah and his Cour­tiers inexcusable (as they really were) for rejecting the earnest and repeated Re­monstrances of that Prophet(27).

This timely Prediction, therefore, in the reign of Jehoiakim, with the inter­nal Proofs which it contained, concern­ing the necessity of Zedekiah's Submission [Page 61]to the Babylonian Yoke, seems to have been absolutely necessary to enable the Prophet to confute the many false Pro­phets, Diviners, Dreamers, &c. (see 9th verse) who were (afterward, in Zede­kiah's reign) publickly employed to ex­cite the People to shake off the Babylo­nian Yoke.

The Prophet was also forewarned in the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign (as the same chapter testifies) that the Kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Zidon would send Messengers to a Ze­dekiah King of Judah;’ all which Kings (as Grotius remarks)(28) were subdued by Nebuchadnezzar; and there­fore it is not improbable that the said Messengers or Ambassadors were sent to Zedekiah for the purpose of forming [Page 62]a league against the Babylonian(29) Power: the public declarations of the false Prophets above-mentioned, and the actual REBELLION soon afterwards of Zedekiah himself, renders the said sup­position about the business of the Mes­sengers very probable; so that, if this singular state of affairs be considered, the sending, at such a seasonable time, to the several neighbouring Kings, by the return of their Ambassadors, the Yokes which had been worn by Jeremiah, to­gether with GOD's awful Message (that he would punish that Nation which will not serve Nebuchadnezzar, and put their [Page 63]Neck under his Yoke, see ver. 8.(30), must needs strike these Heathen Mo­narchs (if they were not entirely aban­doned in their principles) with Fear and Reverence; especially as their Am­bassadors would hear at Jerusalem, that the Divine Message concerning the Yokes, then sent, had been revealed to the Prophet long before (thirteen or fourteen years) in the beginning of Je­hoiakim's reign, in token of which the Prophet had worn Yokes upon his own neck (see chap. xxviii. ver. 10, 12, 13); and that no less than three circum­stances of that extraordinary Revelation were now already fulfilled: the Pro­phet [Page 64]having not only foretold the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, and the reign of Zedekiah (a name not applicable to Ze­dekiah himself till the Babylonian Con­queror thought proper to give it him, so that no worldly prudence could fore­see such an event), but had also foretold the very circumstance in which they themselves were concerned, viz. that Messengers should be sent to this Zedekiah by such and such Kings!

In what year these Messengers or Ambassadors really arrived at Jerusalem, or returned from thence, does not ap­pear; but as the Yokes were, first of all, to be put upon the Prophet's own neck, be­fore he was to send them to the Kings (compare the 2d and 3d verses), and as it appears that he really wore such a wooden Yoke, as a sign against them, in the Temple, so late as the 4th year of Zedekiah, when a false Prophet took it [Page 65]from his neck, and broke it, and there­by occasioned a further command re­specting those Kings, viz. that the Prophet should ‘make for them Yokes of Iron (31),’ it seems most probable that the wooden Yokes first ordered had not then been sent to them; and, con­sequently, that the Messengers of those Kings had not as yet arrived at Jerusa­lem (for, undoubtedly, the Prophet would obey the Divine Command as soon as he had the proper opportunity of doing so); and as Zedekiah went to Ba­bylon in the same year (see Jer. li. 59.) it is likely the Messengers did not ar­rive, nor he rebel, till the year follow­ing. Nevertheless, in that year (the fourth of Zedekiah) the Prophet de­clared the Message to Zedekiah him­self, which he had before been charged [Page 66]to send to the other Kings:— ‘I spake also’ (says he in ch. xxvii. ver. 12.) ‘to Zedekiah King of Judah according to all these words’ (that is, ‘accord­ing to all these words’ which precede in the same chapter respecting the Yokes, and which had been revealed in the reign of Jehoiakim) ‘saying, Bring your necks under THE YOKE of the King of Babylon, and serve him, and his people, and LIVE. Why will ye die, thou, and thy people, by the Sword, by the Famine, and by the Pestilence, as the Lord hath spoken against the NATION that will not SERVE the King of Babylon? &c. See ver. 12 and 13. The Almighty had laid upon all the other Nations of Pa­lestine and Syria THE SAME FATAL NECESSITY, either to submit to a foreign Yoke, or DIE! So that we have here a very remarkable example of GOD's VENGEANCE AND RETRIBUTION upon [Page 67]several wicked and corrupt Nations which regarded not the eternal Laws of God! —They must either serve the King of Babylon, or be destroyed; — there was no alternative! — BE DESTROYED by the Sword, by the Famine, and by the Pestilence, as the Lord hath spoken’ (compare the 13th verse with the 8th) until I have consumed them BY HIS HAND,’ that is, by the hand of the Babylonian Conqueror, the appointed Instrument of God's temporal Ven­geance: — and the GOD OF ARMIES [...] hath in all ages raised up some powerful Scourges of this kind to punish wicked and ungrateful Nations with Fire and Sword, and to reduce them to an unnatural Bondage, on ac­count of National Iniquities! — Even the present state of Mankind affords some melancholy proofs of this. How many Nations, now subsisting in the world, have forfeited their natural Liberty, and [Page 68]are now sitting under the IRON YOKES of unnatural, arbitrary Governments, sub­jected to the WILL AND PLEASURE of their respective Sovereigns, instead of LAW! And if the particular History of any, or perhaps all, of these Nations be carefully examined, it will not, I be­lieve, be found that any of them were ever reduced to such a deplorable state of national Misery, till by national Wick­edness, and public Contempt of GOD's eternal Laws, they had rendered a na­tional RETRIBUTION strictly necessary, according to the unerring Rules of eter­nal Justice! All hopes, therefore, of REDRESS to these enslaved Nations must be vain, without a sincere reformation of manners in each Nation respectively, and without public and most earnest na­tional or general endeavours to obtain Reconciliation and Forgiveness from THE KING OF KINGS; as nothing but a strict Obedience to HIS LAWS can render [Page 69]any Nation truly FREE. Jeremiah made the same declaration also to the Priests and People that he had made to the King:—"Also I spake" (says he) ‘to the Priests, and to all the People, say­ing, Thus saith the LORD: Hearken not to the words of your Prophets that prophesy unto you, saying, Be­hold, the Vessels of the Lord's House shall now shortly be brought again from Babylon; for they prophesy a Lye (32) unto you. Hearken not unto them: serve the King of Baby­lon, and live. Wherefore should this City be laid waste?’ Jer. xxvii. 16, 17.

[Page 70]The wicked Prophets, who thus mis­led the People with Lyes, presumed nevertheless to use the sacred Name of JEHOVAH(33), as if they had really de­clared the Will of GOD; so that the true Prophet had need (not only of all those unquestionable Proofs of his Di­vine Mission, which I have already men­tioned, but even) of other Proofs also, to enable him to oppose the lying Prophets, who pretended to speak in the Name of JEHOVAH, as well as himself; for in the same year (that is, in the fourth of Zedekiah) one of these wicked Pro­phets, Hananiah, the Son of Azur the Prophet, which was of Gibeon, (34) [Page 71]‘took the Yoke from off the Prophet Jeremiah's neck, and brake it. And Hananiah spake’ (in the Temple) ‘in the presence of all the People, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Even so will I break the Yoke of Nebuchad­nezzar King of Babylon from the neck of all Nations within the space of two full years.’ Jer. xxviii. 1, 10, 11. Upon which, it seems, the Prophet Jeremiah was directed by God to reprove Hana­niah with a severe sentence; for he not only declared that "Yokes of Iron" should be substituted instead of the Yokes of Wood (35),’ which Hananiah had [Page 72]broken, as I before remarked, but he also pointed out the lying Prophet him­self to the public observation, as a no­table and undeniable token, that the Prophecies of Jeremiah were of Divine Authority!—"Hear now, Hananiah," (said the true Prophet): "the Lord" (i. e. Jehovah) ‘hath not sent thee; but thou makest this People to trust in a Lye. Therefore thus saith the Lord;—Behold, I will cast thee forth from the face of the earth: This Year thou shalt DIE, because thou hast taught Rebellion against the Lord. So Hananiah the Prophet DIED the same year, in the seventh month. Jer. xxviii. 15—17. That is, he died ex­actly two months after the Prediction, which was made in the fifth month of [Page 73]the fourth year of Zedekiah. Such Evidence, added to the former clear Tokens of Authenticity which this Pro­phecy of the Yokes carried with it, must render Zedekiah and his Courtiers to­tally inexcusable for neglecting the Di­vine Warning, and relying upon false Prophets.

Thus the propriety of considering the former part of the 27th chapter as a Re­velation in the time of Jehoiakim (agree­able to the testimony of the Hebrew Text) is rendered apparent by the par­ticular advantages which such a prior Revelation would afterwards give to the true Prophet, when he had to oppose the pretended Prophecies delivered in the fourth year of Zedekiah: and the remaining part of the 27th chapter, from the 12th verse, wherein the Pro­phet mentions his personal Address to Zedekiah, must necessarily be attributed [Page 74]to a future time (36), which in the fol­lowing chapter (the 28th) is expressly declared to have been in the fourth year of Zedekiah (37).

In the beginning also of Jehoiakim's reign the Prophet Jeremiah was seized by the Priests and the People in the Temple, for denouncing God's Vengeance against the Nation, the Temple also (on account of the national Wickedness), and the City (38), and was arraigned [Page 75]and tryed for it, as for a CAPITAL OF­FENCE, before the Princes and all the [Page 76]Congregation.—Upon the Trial the Prophet persisted in his former declara­tion; but at the same time assured them of Mercy and Reconciliation, in case they would but repent and reform: so that it was absolutely in their own power (through the Mercy of God) to have averted the impending Vengeance. "Therefore NOW" (said the Prophet) amend your ways and your doings, and obey the Voice of the LORD your GOD;’ (and then he adds the condi­tional Assurance of Peace) ‘and the LORD’ (said the Prophet) will re­pent him of THE EVIL that he hath [Page 77]pronounced against you. To this the Prophet added a short Remonstrance respecting his own case: — ‘As for me’ (says he) ‘I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you. But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon your­selves, and upon this City, and upon the Inhabitants thereof; for of a truth the Lord hath sent me unto you, to speak all these words in your ears.’ Jer. xxvi. 8—15. Whereupon he was acquitted and dismissed; for some of the Elders cited clear precedents, from the history of former times, concerning the legality of declaring God's Vengeance against National Wickedness: but though this prudent judgement of the Court of Justice saved Jeremiah for that time, yet it did not prevent the wicked Monarch Jehoiakim from murdering the Prophet's Colleague, Urijah, who likewise pro­phesied [Page 78] against the City, and against the Land, according to all the words of Jeremiah (39):’ but his blood was severely avenged, some years afterwards, in the fatal catastrophe of the Tyrant!

Thus it appears that Jehoiakim was as little mindful of the Laws and Reli­gion of JEHOVAH (notwithstanding the memorial of that sacred Name which Pharaoh had placed upon him) as his Predecessor Shallum; for we read also in the 2d book of Chronicles (xxxvi. 5, 6.) that ‘he did that which was evil in the [Page 79]sight of the Lord (i. e. Jehovah) his God. (And the account of God's Vengeance immediately follows the de­claration of the Monarch's Ingratitude! for) — "Against him" (continues the Text) ‘came up Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, and bound him in fetters to carry him to Babylon.’

In the book of Daniel we find that the siege of Jerusalem began in the third year of Jehoiakim (40); but, it seems, the Babylonians did not immediately succeed in their enterprize; for we read, in the book of Jeremiah, an account of several transactions in the fourth year of Jehoi­akim (41); and, among the rest, that [Page 80]the Prophet Jeremiah, in that very year, denounced the Judgement of God upon Jerusalem and Judea, by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar; which proves, that the City was not, as yet, taken by him; for in the fourth year of Jehoiakim he acquainted all the Inhabitants of Jerusa­lem, that — ‘from the thirteenth year of Josiah the Son of Amon, King of Judah, even to this day (said the Prophet), ‘that is, the three and twen­tieth year, the Word of the Lord hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened,’ &c.[Page 81] ‘Therefore thus saith the Lord of Hosts’ (Jehovah of Hosts); ‘Be­cause ye have not heard my words, behold, I will send and take all the Families of the North, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon my Servant, and will bring them against this Land, and against the Inhabitants thereof, and against all these Nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an Astonishment, and an Hissing, and perpetual(42) De­solations.’ [Page 82]Jer. xxv. 1—9. And as the Denunciations of GOD's Vengeance were generally accompanied with Promises of future Reconciliation and Comfort, in case of Amendment, so the Servitude to Babylon was here expressly limited to the term of serventy years (43); and as a further sign of God's Providence and Care of his People, the Prophet, at the same time, denounced a heavy RETRI­BUTION OF VENGEANCE against the King of Babylon, and that Nation, the [Page 83]Instruments of God's Vengeance(44); as also against many neighbouring Na­tions, who were made to drink of the Wine-cup of this Fury (i.e. the Sword and Captivity); which remarkable cir­cumstance, as here foretold, should teach ALL NATIONS, to the end of the World, the Necessity which God has laid on them to take warning by the several Examples of his Vengeance and Retribu­tion upon the Jewish NATION; because the Prophet was directed to assure the other Nations, that if God spared not his own [Page 84]peculiar People, he surely would not spare them(45)!

The 36th chapter of Jeremiah, from the beginning to the 8th verse, is next in order of date, because it relates to transactions of the same year (viz. the fourth year of Jehoiakim, which must be during the Siege of Jerusalem by Ne­buchadnezzar, who came up in the third year of Jehoiakim). The Prophet was then directed to write in the Roll of a Book all his former Prophecies, from [Page 85]"the days of Josiah" to that time(46). See Jer. xxxvi. 1. The Book was wrote, however, by Baruch the Scribe, from the mouth of Jeremiah, who was then in prison (Jer. xxxvi. 5.(47); and Je­remiah [Page 86]directed Baruch to read the Book to the People in the Temple upon a public Fast-day. See ver. 5—8.

The 45th chapter of Jeremiah seems to be the next in order of time, and contains the Prophet's Rebuke(48) of Baruch, for expressing his fears for him­self, ‘when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of JEHOIAKIM,’ &c. [Page 87](see ver. 1.); which plainly refers us to the time and circumstances mentioned in the 36th chapter. Archbishop Usher informs us, that perhaps the 30th and 31st chapters of Jeremiah, containing comfortable Promises of future Restau­ration, are to be referred to the time of delivering the 45th chapter(49): but [Page 88]he afterwards assigns them another date with more certainty. And to the same year (the fourth of Jehoiakim) that learned Prelate also places the 35th chap­ter, concerning the Rechabites (50); for, with good reason, he supposes that the circumstances therein related (con­cerning their refusal to drink the Wine which the Prophet had set before them by God's command) were transacted during the time of the Siege by Nebu­chadnezzar, for fear of whom the Recha­bites had taken shelter in the City.

In the ninth month(51) of the same year (two months after Baruch had read [Page 89]the Roll of Prophecy in the Temple, which was in the seventh month) Jeru­salem was taken(52) by Nebuchadnez­zar, [Page 90]who bound Jehoiakim in setters, to carry him to Babylon (53) (as I [Page 91]before remarked): but he did not then carry him away(54); for it appears that he was afterwards continued upon the Throne of David as a tributary Mo­narch, and served the King of Babylon three years(55) for the Babylonian Monarch contented himself with taking away the most promising Children of the Royal Family, and of the Nobility (from whence the first commencement of the seventy years Captivity is to be dated), and also some of the Instruments of the Temple; God having withheld him [Page 92]from taking more(56) or rather, per­haps, inclined him to leave the rest, that the Service of the Temple might be still continued, which it certainly was, as well as the National Laws and Customs, and also a National Prince of the House of David "upon the Throne of David," notwithstanding that the Government was then held under the authority of a foreign Heathen Monarch; which was the fifth (if not the sixth) time(56) that the like extraordinary circumstances were fulfilled since the promise was made to King David that his House and [Page 93] Kingdom should be established. See 2 Sam. vii. 11—29.

In the fifth year of Jehoiakim (tho' the first year of his Vassalage to Baby­lon), in the ninth month, a Fast was proclaimed, in remembrance of God's Judgements in the preceding year(57) [Page 94]upon the Jewish Nation; and on the Fast-day Baruch read the Words of Je­remiah "in the ears of all the People" who were assembled, on this solemn occasion, in the Temple: and the Roll, which contained the Prophecies, being afterwards read also in the presence of King Jehoiakim, was, by his order, cut to pieces and burnt; after which ‘all the former words that were in the first Roll were again wrote by Baruch in another Roll, with several tremen­dous additions against the Nation (58), as well as, personally, against the King himself (59). The particulars of these [Page 95]circumstances in the fifth of Jehoiakim are related in the 36th chapter of Jere­miah, from the 9th verse to the end.

After Jehoiakim had served Nebu­chadnezzar three years, then he turned and rebelled against him (2 Kings xxiv. 1.); which must have been in the seventh year of his reign: and from that time to the end of his reign the Jewish Nation was miserably harassed by Bands of Foreign Troops from seve­ral [Page 96]different Nations(60), then subject to the Dominion of Nebuchadnezzar, which, under the Providence of God, were to execute the Divine Vengeance upon the Jewish Nation (agreeable to the express terms of God's Covenant) for having neglected the Divine Law (the People being at that time notori­ously corrupt and wicked), but more particularly for having neglected those parts of the Law which are eternal, viz. the eternal Laws of JUDGEMENT (or Justice) and RIGHTEOUSNESS, of which the Prophets were continually remind­ing [Page 97]them!—We have no further infor­mation from the sacred Text concerning the four remaining years of Jehoiakim's reign(61); only that he slept with his Fathers (62), and that JEHOIA­CHIN [Page 98] his Son reigned in his stead. 2 Kings xxiv. 6. But Josephus(63) re­lates [Page 99]that Jehoiakim RECEIVED the King of the Babylonians, who fought against him: for, being terrified by the predic­tions of the Prophet, he neither shut him out, nor fought against him: so that the Babylonian Conqueror, entering the City, slew all the flower of the Youth of Jerusalem, together with King Je­hoiakim, whom he commanded to be cast unburied without the walls ( [...]); and that he also appointed Jehoachim his Son (i. e. the Son of Jehoiakim) King of the Country and of the City.

This is certainly the most probable account of Jehoiakim's death; for Dean Prideaux's account, that ‘they took [Page 100]him prisoner in some sally(64) (be­sides that it is a mere supposition), does not afford so literal an accomplishment of Jeremiah's Prophecy as the account of Josephus, because the words drawn and cast forth beyond the Gates of Jeru­salem seem to imply that Jehoiakim's death should be in Jerusalem (as Jose­phus has represented it); otherwise it could not well be said that he was drawn and cast forth BEYOND THE GATES,’ if he did not die WITHIN THE GATES.

This second conquest of Jehoiakim by Nebuchadnezzar was the sixth (if not the seventh) time that Jerusalem was taken by foreign Enemies since the conditional promise was made to David concerning the Establishment of his Throne; and the Exaltation of Jehoiachin, by the [Page 101]Authority of the Babylonian Conqueror, was the seventh Restoration of the House of David to the "Throne of David," after being as often delivered into the hands of their Enemies for neglecting God's Laws; whereby the immediate interposition of DIVINE PROVIDENCE in the direction of Human Affairs is unquestionably demonstrated. But not­withstanding these examples both of God's Vengeance and of his Mercy to­wards "the House of David," the young King Jehoiachin (65) (alias Jeconiah, or [Page 102] Coniah) very soon afterwards fell into all the wickedness of his Fathers, and, consequently, was rejected by the GOD of Israel; for the Monarch was speedily informed by the Prophet Jeremiah, that God had determined to deliver him up into the hands of his Enemies, and into the hands of Bebuchadnezzar, whose face he feared (66), though, it seems, he [Page 103]feared not GOD! for the Text informs us that he did EVIL in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his Father had done. (2 Kings xxiv. 9.) And then immediately follows the account of God's Vengeance against him!— ‘At that time’ (says the Text) ‘the Servants of Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the City was besieged,(67).’ 2 Kings xxiv. 10.

[Page 104]This Vengeance must have followed very close upon the footsteps of this King's Iniquity; for, it seems, he reigned in Jerusalem (only) ‘three months’"and ten days." Compare 2 Kings xxiv. 8. with 2 Chron. xxxvi. 9.

‘And when the year was expired King Nebuchadnezzar sent and brought him to Babylon.’ 2 Chron. xxxvi. 10. That is, Nebuchadnezzar, first of all, sent his Servants (viz. his Army) against Jerusalem, who besieged [Page 105]the City (as I have already related from the second book of Kings)(68): but he [Page 106]did not bring Jehoiachin to Babylon until he himself went also "against the City" (see 2 Kings xxiv. 11.); and then, the Text informs us, ‘Jehoiachin the King of Judah went out to the King of Babylon, he, and his Mother, and his Servants, and his Princes, and his Officers: and the King of Baby­lon took him in the eighth year of his reign(69). And he carried out thence all the Treasures of the House of the Lord, and the Treasures of the King's House, and cut in pieces all the Vessels of Gold which Solomon [Page 107]King of Israel had made in the Tem­ple of the Lord, as the Lord had said. And he carried away all Jerasalem, and all the Princes, and all the mighty Men of Valour, even ten thousand Captives, and all the Craftsmen and Smiths: none remained save the poorest sort of the People of the Land:’ &c. 2 Kings xxiv. 12—14, &c. All these circum­stances sufficiently prove, that Nebu­chadnezzar was now a THIRD time Mas­ter of Jerusalem, this being the seventh (if not the eighth) time that the City of Jerusalem fell into the hands of foreign Enemies, since the conditional promise was made to King David of an established Throne: but as JEHOIACHIN forsook the ways of GOD, he was, of course, forsaken of GOD in his temporal Government; and was given up to his Enemies, with his Mother, his Wives, his Officers, and the Mighty of the Land, who were all carried away together ‘INTO CAPTI­VITY [Page 108] from Jerusalem to Babylon (70),’ and thereby afforded to all future Admi­nistrations of national Government an awful example of the Divine Vengeance against Kings and Rulers that neglect the eternal Laws of GOD! But though Nebuchad­nezzar thought it necessary to depose Jehoiachin, as well as his Father Jehoi­akim before him, yet he still persisted in maintaining "the House of David (71)" upon "the Throne of David," and accord­ingly ‘made Mattaniah his Father's Brother King in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah (72).’ This Monarch was the third of King Josiah's Sons(73) that succeeded him upon the [Page 109]Throne of David, notwithstanding that the Nation had been four times conquered by foreign Enemies since Josiah's death! But it is still more remarkable, that both these foreign Conquerors, Pha­raoh-Neco and Nebuchadnezzar, should not only persist in setting up the Princes of "the House of David" upon the Throne of David, but should also remind them of their indispensible ob­ligation to maintain the Laws and Reli­gion of the GOD of Israel by putting upon them, respectively, a Memorial of the Sacred Name of JEHOVAH; for I have already shewn, that Pharaoh-Neco gave the name of Jehoi-akim (signifying "JEHOVAH will establish") when he set up a Monarch over the peculiar People of JEHOVAH; and now again Nebu­chadnezzar not only obliged his new Vassal to "swear by GOD(74) that he [Page 110]would observe the Covenant which was then made between them, but he also put upon him a signal Memorial of the Name and peculiar Principle of the only true GOD, JEHOVAH, by giving him the Surname of Zedekiah (75) ( [...] Tsadok-Jehov) signifying the Righte­ousness of JEHOVAH,’ or JEHOVAH is "righteous;" whereby it is manifest (as I have before remarked) that the Laws and Religion of JEHOVAH were tolerated or continued among the Jews, even by the Authority and avowed Con­sent of the Heathen Conqueror himself, which surely denotes, that he was guided, in this matter, by a very particu­lar PROVIDENCE; for, at the same time that he afforded the Jews an opportunity of retrieving their past conduct by ob­serving more strictly the Laws of God, [Page 111]and the forms of their own National Re­ligion, he set before them (in the Sur­name of their new Monarch) the Sum, Essence, and ultimate Purpose of all true Religion, ‘THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF JEHOVAH!’ This was a Name, therefore, of such actual importance to the Jewish State (though, perhaps, a common name, even before that time, among the Jews) that it could not have occurred, by the mere light of Nature, to the Babylonian Stranger on the solemn occasion of confirming and establishing a King of Judah, to which it was most particularly adapted! for it was really the name (as shall be more particularly shewn hereafter) of that future "KING OF THE JEWS" in whom alone the Throne of David (76) could be truly [Page 112]and effectually "established for ever!" This, surely, was far above the know­ledge and comprehension of a Heathen Stranger, unacquainted with the revealed Laws of God!

It was also the name which, of all others, could best point out to the Jews the only certain method of establishing the Throne of David, then newly restored (and, indeed, of establishing every other Throne to the end of the World); I mean a strict conformity to the eternal Law of Righteousness,‘THE RIGH­TEOUSNESS OF JEHOVAH.’ There was no other method of averting the [Page 113]dreadful Retribution at that time fully due to the Jewish Nation! — that impend­ing Vengeance and Desolation, of which the Conqueror and present Restorer of the Kingdom was, himself, the appointed Executioner in case of Disobedience! See how the same means of averting God's Vengeance has been since set before us, even by THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD HIMSELF, as the first principle of sound policy:— Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of Gód and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, and all these things (temporal necessaries) "shall be added unto you." Mat. vi. 33. But Zedekiah paid so little regard to "the Righteousness of Jehovah," and proved so notoriously unworthy to bear that glorious name, that the Prophet Je­remiah, was very soon afterwards, com­manded to denounce God's Vengeance against him, even in the beginning, as it seems, of his reign, that is (as the Text informs us) after that NEBU­CHADREZZAR [Page 114] King of Babylon had carried away captive JECONIAH the Son of JEHOIAKIM King of Judah, and THE PRINCES of Judah, &c. The Revelation was made under the Type of a Basket of Evil Figs (see the 24th chapter): but as the Judgements, therein contained, are denounced not only against THE KING, but also against ‘HIS PRINCES and the Residue of Jeru­salem (chap. xxiv. 8.) we may pre­sume, that this 24th chapter was not revealed till Zedekiah had so far settled himself in the Kingdom as to have ap­pointed PRINCES(77) and other Officers [Page 115]under him; because "ALL THE PRINCES," and all Persons of any Distinction (78) in the former reign, were carried into Captivity with their King Jehoiachin (2 Kings xxiv. 14.): and therefore, though the severe sentence in the 24th chapter was denounced in the beginning of Zedekiah's reign, yet, undoubtedly, he had already given sufficient proofs that his trust was in Man, and not in GOD; so that his condemnation was just! About this time likewise the Prophecies contained in the 29th chap­ter of Jeremiah were sent in a letter from the Prophet to the Captives at Babylon, by the hands of the Ambassadors whom Zedekiah sent to the King of Babylon. In the 17th verse of this chapter the [Page 116]Prophet repeats a part of the 24th chap­ter, relating to the Type of Evil Figs; which (as well as the preamble of each) proves that these two chapters were de­livered about the same time. The two next chapters (viz. xxx. and xxxi.) seem also to follow very properly(79).

In the beginning(80) also of Zede­kiah's reign the Prophet Jeremiah de­nounced God's Vengeance against Elam (or Persia); but promised, at the same time, a future Restoration. See the 49th chapter of Jeremiah, from the [Page 117]34th verse(81). Whether the Judge­ments against Ammon, Edom, Damas­cus, &c. contained in the former part of this chapter were delivered also at the same time does not appear: it is ra­ther more probable that they were deli­vered about the same time with the 46th and 48th chapters, viz. in the fourth year of Jehoiakim; for which opinion I have already quoted the authority of the learned Lightfoot. Some of these Nations were doomed to temporal Ven­geance in the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign. The Prophecy of this Vengeance (contained in the 27th chapter of Jere­miah) was to be afterwards communi­cated to them, by their own Ambassa­dors, [Page 118]in the reign of Zedekiah, which could not be done till the latter end, at least, of his fourth year; though the learned Archbishop of Armagh places that Revelation in the beginning of Zedekiah's reign. See ad A. M. 3405, p. 126.(82)

The 50th and 51st chapters of Jere­miah seem to come next in order of time. They contain dreadful denunci­ations of God's Vengeance and Retribution against Babylon, the mighty Instrument of God's Vengeance (of which I shall have occasion to say more hereafter). [Page 119]In the 51st chapter (ver. 60.) we read, that ‘JEREMIAH wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon BABY­LON, even all these words that are written against Babylon; which, of course, must include both chapters: and we are enabled to ascertain the date of them by the preceding verse; which (together with the following verses) in­forms us, that the Prince Seraiah was directed to read the said Prophecies at Babylon, when he went there with ZE­DEKIAH in the fourth year of his reign, and was afterwards to cast the Book into the midst of the River Euphrates. Jer. li. 59—64.

There is no particular mention in Scripture of any transactions of Zedekiah between the fourth and ninth years of his reign; only that he rebelled against the King of Babylon in sending Ambas­sadors into Egypt, that they might give [Page 120]him Horses and much People; so that he seems to have entertained a foolish and wicked desire to render himself ab­solute and independent by means of a Standing Army of foreign Mercenaries; for he not only endeavoured to procure Horses from Egypt, but also much People (83).’ Ezek. xvii. 15. And as he vainly put his whole trust in a military Force, the solemn Oath, which he had so lately taken, was made to yield to his poli­tical views, though he had called GOD to witness! So that the perjured Monarch's WILL AND PLEASURE was preferred to that RIGHTEOUSNESS in the execution of Covenants and Laws which alone can establish the Thrones of Kings (84), and [Page 121]of which his new name (Zedekiah, or Righteousness of Jehovah) was certainly intended to remind him. This wicked policy was censured in the severest terms by the Prophet Ezekiel: — Shall he prosper? (said the Prophet) ‘shall he escape that doth such (things)? or shall he break the Covenant, and be delivered? As I live, saith the LORD GOD, surely in the place (where) the King (dwelleth) that made him King, whose Oath he despised, and whose Covenant he brake, (even) with him, in the midst of Babylon, he [Page 122]shall die. Neither shall Pharaoh(85), with (his) mighty Army and great Company, make for him in the War, by casting up Mounts, and building Forts, to cut off many persons. See­ing he despised THE OATH, by break­ing the Covenant (when lo, he had given his hand), and hath done all these (things), he shall not escape. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As I live, surely mine Oath that he hath despised, and my Covenant that he hath broken, even it I will recom­pense upon his own head. And I will spread my Net upon him, and he shall be taken in my Snare: and I [Page 123]will bring him to Babylon, and will plead with him there for his trespass that he hath trespassed against me. And all his Fugitives, with all his Bands (viz. his Regiments or Mili­tary Forces, in which he trusted), ‘shall fall by the Sword; and they that remain shall be scattered toward all winds: and ye shall know that I the Lord have spoken it. Ezek. xvii. 15—21. Thus Zedekiah's Fate was appointed to be one of the many proofs which God vouchsafed to the Jews, to demonstrate the Truth of his Revela­tion by the Prophets.

In the ninth year of Zedekiah the impending Vengeance became visible by the near approach of the Babylonian Army, as I have before remarked in page 28: for then began to be fulfilled what had been foretold not only in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, but, probably, [Page 124]also in the reign of Josiah. Compare Jer. i. 15. with xxv. 9. In the former, God declares,— I will call all the Fa­milies of the Kingdoms of the North, &c. and in the latter, ‘Behold, I will send and take all the Families of the North, saith the Lord’ (thereby marking his absolute direction of them), ‘and Nebuchadrezzar the King of Babylon MY SERVANT, and will bring them against this Land, &c.

And accordingly, after Nebuchad­nezzar had strengthened his Empire, by reducing to his obedience all the King­doms of the Assyrian as well as the Syrian Dominion (which latter lay to the North of Judaea, and extended quite up to Armenia, the Armenians themselves being no other than Syrians; for Aram is the proper name in Scripture for Syria), he compelled the conquered Nations to assist him in reducing others to a like [Page 125]servile subjection under his own arbitrary Will, without perceiving that he and they, collectively, were but a mere in­strument of Vengeance (86) in the hands of the Lord of Hosts, or God of Armies! for we read in the 34th chapter of Je­remiah, that Nebuchadnezzar literally fulfilled the former Prophecies by com­ing to fight against Jerusalem, with [Page 126] all his Army, and all the Kingdoms of the Earth of his Dominion, &c. I have already related the Message which Zedekiah sent to the Prophet Jeremiah on this occasion, with the Prophet's Answer, which is the subject of the 21st chapter; and that the Prophet was di­rected also to repeat the Subject of that Answer in the presence of Zedekiah and his whole Court; which leads me once more to the consideration of the 22d chapter, the difficulty of which had obliged me to go back, and investigate the Histories of the preceding Princes of Judah, and of the Times when the se­veral Prophecies against them by Jere­miah were revealed: and though this necessary digression has, I fear, been extended to a much greater length than is consistent with due order and method, yet, I trust, my candid Readers will excuse this defect in mere matter of form, if they should find any thing in [Page 127]my digression that may tend to illus­trate, and render more familiar to the generality of Readers, that excellent Book, the Collection of Jeremiah's Pro­phecies, in which all Mankind are ma­terially concerned and interested: for the Certainty of God's Vengeance upon wicked Nations is unquestionably demon­strated in the Prophecies of Jeremiah; so that the Tenour of that whole Book, indeed, relates, in some degree, to my present subject, though I had at first intended to confine myself, in this Tract, to the examination only of the 21st, 22d, and 34th chapters, as being more particularly levelled against Oppressors, Tyrants, and Slave-holders!

Commentators have generally con­ceived, that the Divine Message, re­corded in the 22d chapter (from the be­ginning to the 19th verse at least), was not delivered to Zedekiah, but to Jehoi­akim, [Page 128]because a Prophecy against the latter is recorded in the 18th verse, viz. "Therefore" (said the Prophet, refer­ring back to the Offences before-men­tioned) thus saith the Lord, CONCERN­ING JEHOIAKIM, the Son of Josiah, King of Judah; They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah, my Brother! &c. He shall be buried with the burial of an Ass, &c.

But if we carefully examine the whole chapter, with reference to the chapter which precedes, as well as that which follows, it will be found much more intelligible, coherent, and striking, when the whole is considered as one conti­nued Address to Zedekiah, reminding him of the Judgements denounced (and then, indeed, fulfilled) against his im­mediate Predecessors, exactly according to the order of their reigns, and ex­pressly for the same Offences (viz. OP­PRESSION, [Page 129]and the Neglect of JUSTICE and RIGHT) for which he himself, by name, is condemned in the 21st chap­ter. The only difficulty which attends this construction is occasioned by the English Translators having used the pre­sent tense, in the 11th, 18th, and 24th verses (where the praeter tense would certainly have been much more proper); viz. "Thus saith the Lord," instead of ‘Thus said the Lord to, or concern­ing, Jehoiakim, &c. which latter is the literal construction of the original, and is always so expressed in the inter­lineary Latin Version of the London Polyglot, viz. "Sic dixit Dominus:" for though in many other places it is indif­ferent to the sense, whether the present or praeter tense is used, yet in these above-mentioned it makes a very material dif­ference; because the Prophet is only re­minding Zedekiah of the Prophecies which he had before denounced (or, at [Page 130]least, to the same effect) against his dis­obedient Predecessors; as that, for in­stance, against Jehoiakim was first deli­vered by Baruch the Scribe (though not exactly in the same words, yet surely to the same purport) in the presence of Jehoiakim himself, after he had burnt the Roll of Jeremiah's Prophecies, viz. His dead Body shall be cast out in the Day to the Heat, and in the Night to the Frost; (Jer. xxxvi. 30.) which is the same thing, in effect, as to be buried with the burial of an Ass, drawn and cast forth (87),’ &c. according to [Page 131]the repetition of the Prophecy before Zedekiah, as related in chap. xxii. 18, 19.

The Prophet, in the beginning of the chapter, is directed to go down to the House of the King of Judah, and speak THERE this Word, and say, Hear the Word of the Lord, O King of Judah, THAT SITTEST UPON THE THRONE OF DAVID,’ &c. Now the question is, who was the Prince who then sat upon the Throne of David, to whom the Divine Message was directed? whether Shallum, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, or Ze­dekiah? It could not be Shallum (tho' he is the first mentioned therein), be­cause the Text describes him expressly as one ‘which went sorth out of this place, being already carried into cap­tivity [Page 132]by Pharaoh-Necho; and the Bur­then of the Prophecy against him was, that "he shall return no more," &c. See the endings of all the three verses where­in he is mentioned, viz. 10, 11, and 12, which all end with that Burthen. Again, it is not likely that Jehoiakim (who is mentioned next in order) was then the reigning Prince, because his Son and Successor Jehoiachin (alias Coniah, or Jeconiah) is mentioned in the conti­nuance of the fame Declaration, in a much more conspicuous light than Je­hoiakim himself, being addressed in the second person, as if present at the time of the Denunciation, viz. I will give THEE into the hand of them that seek THY Life, &c. And I will cast THEE out, &c.

And though Jehoiachin, probably, was the reigning Prince upon the Throne, when this severe Prophecy [Page 133]against him was first of all denounced; and also though he is expressly spoken of, in the 28th verse, as present, viz. "This Man CONIAH;" yet he was not the Prince that sat upon the Throne of David, when Jeremiah repeated (as I conceive) these several Prophecies, men­tioned in the 22d chapter; because the Prophet, after a most solemn and alarm­ing exclamation (‘O EARTH, EARTH, EARTH, hear the Word of the Lord!) concludes his Message with a dreadful Sentence against a Prince whom he also calls "this Man," as if present (viz. "Write ye THIS MAN childless"), which by no means agrees with the case either of Jehoiakim or Coniah. The former cer­tainly was not childless; for, besides his Son Jehoiachin, or Coniah, it is not im­probable but that Daniel and his fel­lows (or, at least, some of them) were also the Children of JEHOIAKIM; for they were ‘OF THE KING'S SEED, [Page 134]AND OF THE PRINCES’ (Dan. i. 3.) that were carried to Babylon in the third year (or rather the fourth year) of Jehoiakim, when that Monarch was twenty-eight or twenty-nine years of age. And it is as certain that Coniah, or Jehoiachin, was not childless, because express mention is made of his Seed (or Children) in the 28th verse of this 22d chapter, viz. that he and his SEED are cast into a Land that they know not; and no less than eight Sons of his are expressly mentioned in 1 Chron. iii. 17, 18.(88). Neither did Coniah LOSE his Children during the Captivity (as the learned Mr. Goadby, in hopes of re­moving the difficulty, has ventured to assert(89) for he was so far from [Page 135]LOSING his Children during his Capti­vity, that it is probable they were most of them born during the Captivity; for he was but ‘eighteen years of age when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem’ (ONLY) "three months" (2 Kings xxiv. 8.) "and ten days" (2 Chron. xxxvi. 9.): so that it is not easy to conceive, that he could have so many as eight Children before he was carried to Babylon. But the matter is put out of dispute by the Apostle MAT­THEW, who informs us expressly, that ‘AFTER they were brought to Babylon, JECHONIAS BEGAT Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; &c. Mat. i. 12. from whence a regular succession is continued for more than five hundred years, down to Joseph the Hushand of the Blessed Virgin. The Prophecy, therefore, of Jeremiah, Write ye this [Page 136]Man childless, could not relate to Coniah, nor to any other Prince of the House of David, cotemporary with Je­remiah, except ZEDEKIAH ALONE, and in him it was, indeed, literally fulfilled; for the King of Babylon slew the SONS of ZEDEKIAH in RIBLAH before his Eyes (Jer. xxxix. 6.): which clearly answers to the Prophecy, Write ye this Man CHILDLESS(90).’ Now, [Page 137]as it is manifest, that the last verse of the 22d chapter of Jeremiah was ad­dressed [Page 138]to Zedekiah, it is equally mani­fest that the beginning of it was also [Page 139]to him(91); for the first part of the Divine Message, in the 22d [Page 140]chapter, is nearly a Repetition of the Answer which the Prophet had before returned by Pashur and Zephaniah, the Messengers sent to him by King Zede­kiah, [Page 141]as mentioned in the preceding chapter, which will clearly appear by the following collation:

Part of the Answer of the Prophet Jeremiah, sent to King Zedekiah by Passur and Zephaniah, as recorded in the 21st chapter.

And touching THE HOUSE OF THE KING OF JUDAH, (say) HEAR YE THE WORD OF THE LORD; O HOUSE OF DA­VID’ (the Address to (the whole Gourt, inserted in the Remonstrance, is here omitted, because this was a Message only to the House of David), ‘thus saith the Lord; EXE­CUTE JUDGE­MENT in the Morning, and DELIVER (him that is) SPOILED OUT OF THE HAND OF THE OP­PRESSOR’ (this ge­neral term, the hand of [Page 142]the Oppressor, necessa­rily includes Violence to the Stranger, the Father­less, &c.) lest my Fury go out like Fire, and burn that none can quench (it), because of the evil of your doings.’ Jer. xxi. 11, 12.

The first part of the Pro­phet Jeremiah's perso­nal Address to King Zedekiah, recorded in the 22d chapter.

‘HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD, O KING OF JUDAH, THAT SITTEST UPON THE THRONE OF DAVID, thou, and thy Servants, and thy People that enter in by these gates; Thus saith the Lord; EX­ECUTE ye JUDGE­MENT and Righteous­ness, AND DELIVER THE SPOILED OUT OF THE HAND OF THE OPPRESSOR; and do no Wrong, do no Violence to the Stranger, [Page 142]the Fatherless, and the Widow, &c.But if ye will not hear these Words, I swear by myself, saith the LORD’ (Jeho­vah), "that this House" (the Palace) shall become a Desolation, &c. Jer. xxii. 1, 2, 3, 5.

The Prophet afterwards proceeds (in the 5th, 6th, and 7th verses of his Remonstrance to the King and Court) to declare the certainty of Desolation and Vengeance, if they would not hear his words; and in the 8th and 9th verses he assigns a general Reason(92) [Page 143]for the promised Desolation of Jeru­salem.

[Page 144]In the 10th verse the Prophet begins to recite several Predictions with which [Page 145]he had formerly been charged against [Page 146]Zedekiah's Brothers and Predecessors, [Page 147]who had been successively deprived of [Page 148]their Royal Dignity, and were carried [Page 149]away in chains before him into a slayish [Page 150]Captivity, as I have before remarked. [Page 151]But the hopeless SLAVERY of his [Page 152]Brother SHALLUM(93) in particular, as well as the principal cause of it, the Prophet represented to him in very striking terms: — Weep ye not for the Dead (says he, meaning JOSIAH), neither bemoan him (94): [Page 153](but) weep sore for him that GOETH AWAY; for HE SHALL RETURN NO MORE, NOR SEE HIS NATIVE COUN­TRY. For thus saith the Lord touch­ing SHALLUM the Son of JOSIAH King of Judah, which reigned instead of JOSIAH his Father, which went forth out of this place; HE SHALL NOT RETURN THITHER any more: but he shall DIE in the place whither they have LED HIM CAPTIVE,and shall see this Land no more! And then the Pro­phet immediately refers us to the prin­cipal Causes of God's Severity against the Royal House: "Wo unto him" [Page 154](says he) that buildeth his House by UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, and his Cham­bers by WRONG; (that) USETH HIS NEIGHBOUR'S SERVICE WITHOUT WAGES, AND GIVETH HIM NOT FOR HIS WORK’ (a clear description of the abominable wickedness of Slavery); that saith, I will build me a wide House and large Chambers, and cutteth him out Windows; and (it is) cieled with Ce­dar, and painted with Vermilion. For the Monarch [but whether SHALLUM or JEHOIAKIM is not clearly declared (95)] was more careful, it seems, to display [Page 155]all the Elegances and Ornaments of Architecture and the other polite Arts in sumptuous Buildings, &c. than he was to maintain the Laws of Equity and Natural Right! but the Prophet adds ‘—SHALT THOU REIGN, because thou closest (thyself) in Cedar? Did not thy Father eat and drink, and DO JUDGE­MENT and JUSTICE, (and) THEN (it was) well with him (96)? He judged the Cause of the Poor and Needy: then (it was) well (with him: was) [Page 156] not this to know me? saith the Lord, But thine Eyes and thine Heart are not [Page 157]but for Covetousness, and for to shed in­nocent Blood, and for OPPRESSION, and for VIOLENCE to do (it). There­fore (that is, for all these aggra­vating circumstances of Tyranny) thus SAID the LORD concerning Jehoiakim the Son of Josiah King of Judah (and not thus saith; for the present tense is not proper in this place); they shall NOT LAMENT for him, saying, Ah, my Brother? or Ah, Sister! they shall not lament for him, (saying,) Ah, Lord! or Ah, HIS Glory! (according to the general Lamentations that had been [Page 158]made for his Father JOSIAH; but, on the contrary,) he shall be buried with the burial of an Ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the Gates of Jerusa­lem (97),’ &c. Next in order (after a short personal Address to the Nation, concerning the Certainty of God's Ven­geance, and the Destruction of her Pas­tors and Lovers) the Prophet repeats the Judgement that had before been denounced against CONIAH the Son of JEHOIAKIM, and Nephew, as well as Predecessor, to ZEDEKIAH, the reign­ing Monarch, when this Remonstrance was made:—"As I live, SAID" (and not saith) the Lord, though CONIAH the Son of JEHOIAKIM King of Ju­dah were the Signet upon my Right Hand, yet would I pluck thee thence: and I will give thee into the hand of them that seck thy life, and into the [Page 159]hand (of them) whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of NEBUCHADREZ­ZAR King of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldaeans. And I will cast thee out, and thy Mother that bare thee, into another Country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die. But the Land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return. The Prophet then, probably, appealed to ZEDEKIAH, concerning the unhappy fate of the person whose Sentence of Condemnation he had just been repeat­ing: —"Is this Man CONIAH" (says he) a despised broken Idol? (Is he) a Vessel wherein (is) no Pleasure? WHEREFORE ARE THEY CAST OUT, HE and HIS SEED, and ARE CAST(98) into a [Page 160]Land which they know not? (for he plainly speaks of their being cast out as an event already past; ‘wherefore are they cast out?’ &c.) And if we con­sider the question as being put to ZEDE­KIAH, the then reigning Monarch, it contains great severity: for if ZEDE­KIAH had consideration enough left to reflect wherefore CONIAH and his Seed were cast out, he must necessarily be struck with the Justice of his own Condemnation, which the Prophet was about to pronounce, with a most awful and alarming introduction: — O Earth! Earth! Earth! Hear the Word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord; WRITE YE THIS MAN CHILD­LESS, a Man (that) shall not prosper in his days: for no Man of his Seed shall prosper, SITTING UPON THE THRONE OF DAVID, and ruling any more in JUDAH.’

[Page 161]Had Zedekiah been much more aban­doned than he really was, yet these dreadful Judgements, so solemnly pro­nounced in his own House, or Palace, and even before the whole Court, could not well have failed to affect him for the present. The following chapter seems likewise to have been delivered at the same time, in the presence of ZEDE­KIAH and his whole Court, and was, probably, a part of the Remonstrance (99): for after declaring "Wo" to the wicked "PASTORS(100)" (probably meaning [Page 162]the WRETCHED KINGS(101) before­mentioned [Page 163]of the House of David, who had neglected to EXECUTE JUDGEMENT AND RIGHTEOUSNESS, and to RELIEVE THE OPPRESSED) Jeremiah takes occa­sion prophetically to draw the character of the GOOD PASTOR(102), the true SHEPHERD OF ISRAEL(103), whom God would afterwards raise up, even from the same Stock (the House of Da­vid), to ‘EXECUTE JUDGEMENT AND RIGHTEOUSNESS in the Land (com­pare Jer. xxxiii. 15, 16. with ch. xxiii.): and this is expressed in such opposite terms to the character of the reigning Prince ZEDEKIAH, then doomed to de­struction, that a contrasted allusion [Page 164]seems very clearly to have been in­tended.

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD’ (JEHOVAH) that I will raise unto David A RIGHTEOUS BRANCH’ (whereas the Royal Branch, that had just been condemned in the preceding chapter, was most UNRIGHTEOUS); and a KING shall REIGN and PRO­SPER;’ (whereas the former wretched Kings were pulled down from their Thrones, and carried into Captivity, for the Neglect of Justice and Right; but the promised King) shall EXE­CUTE JUDGEMENT AND JUSTICE in the Earth (which was the constant Lesson(104), indeed, to ZEDEKIAH [Page 165]and his Brothers, &c. and was as con­stantly by them neglected). In his days" (continues the Prophet) Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely (whereas under Zedekiah their Desola­tion was compleated); ‘and this is his [Page 166]Name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness,’ i. e. [...] Jehovah Tsadek-nȣ, which is the Name of Zedekiah, or Tsadek-Jehov transposed, with the small addition of the Pronomi­nal Termination for OUR, viz. Jeho­vah-Tsadeknȣ, instead of Tsadek-Jehov; the latter signifying Jehovah is righ­teous; for this name was put upon Zedekiah by the Babylonian Conqueror, to remind him of the solemn Oath he had taken in the Name of God.

This manifest contrasted allusion to Zedekiah makes it seem very probable, that the Prophecies of this 23d chapter were also pronounced in the presence of ZEDEKIAH and his Court, at the same time that Jeremiah went down to the House of the King of Judah,’ to de­clare the solemn Message, or Remon­strance, contained in the 22d chap­ter [Page 167] (105). It was, probably, on the first approach of the Babylonian Army [Page 168](viz. in the ninth year of Zedekiah) that the Monarch sent Messengers to [Page 169]consult the Prophet, and thereby occa­sioned this public Remonstrance.

The War was immediately carried on with Vigour, it seems, in every part of the Kingdom (see the 34th chap­ter(106) and after some considerable progress had been made in it, ALL THE FENCED CITIES BEING TAKEN except THREE (see the 7th verse), the Prophet received a further Command from God relating to King ZEDEKIAH, ‘saying, Thus saith the LORD’ (i. e. JEHO­VAH) ‘THE GOD OF ISRAEL; Go, and speak to ZEDEKIAH King of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give this City into the [Page 170]hand of the KING OF BABYLON; and he shall burn it with fire: and thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shalt SURELY BE TAKEN and delivered into his hand; and THINE EYES SHALL BEHOLD THE EYES OF THE KING OF BABYLON, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth (that is, when the King of Babylon was to sit in Judge­ment upon him), and thou shalt go to Babylon, &c. (107)

[Page 171]These repeated Denunciations of Ven­geance, with the HORRORS of the grow­ing dangers from the successful Enemy before their eyes every way round Jeru­salem, at length so far shook the firm­ness of that stubborn Monarch, that he began to shew some signs of Remorse; and as I have already shewn, that THE OPPRESSION OF THE POOR was one of the principal causes (though there were many others also) assigned by the AL­MIGHTY for casting off his People, and sending them into CAPTIVITY (punish­ing TYRANNY with SLAVERY), so even this wicked Monarch ZEDEKIAH, who never thought of LAW or JUSTICE in his Prosperity, was now, it seems, be­come sensible, that a public act of JUS­TICE and MERCY towards the oppressed Poor, that were then detained, by his opulent Subjects, in a miserable INVO­LUNTARY SERVITUDE, would be the most grateful act of Reformation, and [Page 172]the most acceptable Sacrifice in the sight of a merciful God, and, consequently, the most effectual means to avert the NATIONAL DESTRUCTION, which was then advancing with dreadful strides! And accordingly we find, that he actu­ally prevailed(108) upon his Princes and People to PROCLAIM LIBERTY to [Page 173]their POOR BRETHREN IN BONDAGE; and this Proclamation of LIBERTY was a public Act of the State(109); for not only the King, but all the Princes, and all the People, bound themselves, in a most solemn covenant, to comply with the terms of the Proclamation(110), which was also agreeable to an ancient Ordinance of their Law(111). Now, to confirm all that I have hitherto as­serted concerning the principal causes of God's Anger against the Jews, my Readers are earnestly requested to re­mark, that this material Reformation was [Page 174]ACCEPTED BY THE ALMIGHTY, who even condescended to signify by his Prophet, that the People ‘HAD DONE RIGHT IN HIS SIGHT IN PROCLAIM­ING LIBERTY EVERY MAN TO HIS NEIGHBOUR’ (ver. 15.). And had the Jewish Government at that time persevered in this NECESSARY ACT OF JUSTICE AND BROTHERLY LOVE, they might probably (as Charity covers a multitude of Sins) have received Grace for a further Amendment, and might have obtained a mitigation, or at least a respite or postponing, of those dreadful Judgements which had long been de­nounced by the Prophets against that devoted Nation: but alas! the just Decrees were confirmed, on account of the want of sincerity and the deplorable impenitence on their part; for no sooner was the appearance of God's ap­proaching Vengeance withdrawn (by the sudden retreat of the Chaldaeans from [Page 175]the Siege on the approach of Pharaoh's Army(112), see chap. xxxvii.) than the wretched tyrannical Masters (who could not repent of their enormous Op­pressions, yet) speedily repented of their temporary Benevolence; and being them­selves entangled in a much more dan­gerous Bondage (through their abomi­nable Avarice) under that old Slave-holder and hard Task-master the Devil, they wickedly renewed their former iniquitous claims of private Property in the Persons of their poor Brethren, and caused the Servants and the Handmaids, whom they had LET GO FREE, to re­turn: [Page 176]and brought them INTO SUB­JECTION for Servants and for Hand­maids. Jer. xxxiv. 11. Perhaps they thought to excuse themselves, like our modern African Merchants and Ame­rican Planters, by pleading THE NECES­SITY of tolerating Slavery, and the ex­action of involuntary Service; viz. that the Profit arising therefrom was necessary for their support; and that Husbandry and other laborious business could not be performed at so cheap a rate by free hired Servants as by Slaves: but whe­ther such reasons as these, or others of greater weight, were then alledged, is not material; it is sufficient for the pre­sent argument to be certain, that, what­ever were their Pretences or Excuses for enslaving their Brethren, they did only deceive themselves, and hasten the Vengeance of Almighty God upon their own heads; for they were, very soon afterwards, delivered up into the hands [Page 177]of their Enemies, the Babylonian Ty­rants, under whom their Countrymen, that had been carried away in the for­mer Captivities, experienced, IN THEIR OWN PROPER PERSONS, the deplorable condition of SLAVES, being a most just punishment for that TYRANNY and un­reasonable VASSALAGE with which they so unlawfully oppressed their POOR BRE­THREN! Such was their Crime (I mean their principal Crime, or at least one of those Crimes which was most abominable in the sight of a merciful GOD; for they were, indeed, notoriously guilty of Idolatry, and many other detestable Crimes besides this) and such their reta­liated Punishment, which was inflicted expressly on that account.—"THERE­FORE" (says the Text; so that the reason of God's interposition is manifest) the Word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Thus saith the LORD (JEHOVAH), the GOD of Israel; [Page 178]I made a Covenant with your Fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the Land of Egypt, OUT OF THE HOUSE OF BONDMEN’ (a circum­stance which they were frequently commanded never to forget, as I have before remarked, but sympathetically to learn MERCY thereby(113), say­ing; At the end of seven years let ye go every man his Brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt LET HIM GO FREE from thee: but your Fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear. And ye were now turned, and had DONE RIGHT IN MY SIGHT, IN PROCLAIMING LI­BERTY EVERY MAN TO HIS NEIGH­BOUR [Page 179] (114); and ye had made a Co­venant before me in the House which is called by my Name: But ye turned and polluted my Name, and caused every man his Servant, and every man his Handmaid, whom he had SET AT LIBERTY AT THEIR PLEASURE’ (or to their mind or will), to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for Servants, and for Hand­maids. THEREFORE’ (now mark the Punishment, ye wretched Slave-holders and Advocates for private Pro­perty in the Persons of Men) thus saith the LORD’ (JEHOVAH); Ye have not hearkened unto me IN PROCLAIM­ING LIBERTY every one to his Brother, and every man to his Neighbour: be­hold, [Page 180]I PROCLAIM A LIBERTY for you, saith the LORD’ (significantly marking his detestation of Slave-holding by an ironical repetition of that opposite measure (the proclaiming of LIBERTY) which they had neglected; and there­fore God himself PROCLAIMED a dif­ferent kind of LIBERTY—LIBERTY) to the Sword, to the Pestilence, and to the Famine: (here is a PROCLAMA­TION OF LIBERTY with a vengeance! But alas! the hardened Jewish Slave-holders, like Englishmen now-a-days, were too wicked to take warning.) And I will make you (saith the Lord) to be removed into all the Kingdoms of the Earth (that is, to be led away into Captivity by their Enemies: SLA­VERY being a very just as well as com­mon punishment for TYRANTS). And I will give the men that have trans­gressed my Covenant, which have not performed the Words of the Covenant [Page 181]which they had made before me, when they cut the Calf in twain, and passed between the Parts thereof (115), the Princes of Judah, and the Prince of Jerusalem, the Eunuchs, and the Priests, [Page 182]and all the People of the Land, which passed between the parts of the Calf; I will even GIVE THEM INTO THE HAND OF THEIR ENEMIES, and into the hand of them that SEEK THEIR LIFE: and their dead Bodies shall be for Meat unto the Fowls of the Heaven, and to the Beasts of the Earth (116). And ZEDEKIAH KING OF JUDAH, and the PRINCES, will I give into the hand of their Enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their Life (117), and [Page 183]into the hand (continued the Pro­phet) of the King of Babylon's Army, which are gone up from you (for the withdrawing of the Babylonian Army was a very recent instance of God's Mercy, which rendered more notorious the in­gratitude of those who so immediately [Page 184]broke the solemn Covenant of PRO­CLAIMING LIBERTY; but GOD's VEN­GEANCE kept pace with the Oppression of the unrepenting Tyrants!). Be­hold, I WILL COMMAND, SAITH THE LORD, and CAUSE THEM TO RETURN TO THIS CITY’ (a remark­able instance of God's over-ruling Pro­vidence in the World! The haughty, self-willed, Babylonian Monarch and his Men of War perceived not that they were mere instruments in the hands of God!), and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I WILL MAKE the Cities of Judah a Desolation without an Inhabitant. Jer. xxxiv.

There is no order of time preserved in the Collection of Jeremiah's Prophe­cies, as I have already remarked; for the two next chapters (viz. the 35th and 36th) contain Prophecies which [Page 185]were delivered several years before, in the reign of Jehoiakim; but the 37th chapter relates to the same time exactly as the 34th chapter last quoted, viz. the times when ‘Pharaoh's Army was come forth out of Egypt’ (xxxvii. 5.), which occasioned the departure (for the present) of the Chaldeans. And it was, probably, in the interval between these two circumstances (viz. after Pharaoh was come forth from Egypt, and was advancing, but before the Chaldeans left the Siege on that account) that Zedekiah sent two Mes­sengers to the Prophet (who was then at liberty, as the 4th verse expressly de­clares) to desire his Prayers:— Pray now unto the Lord our God for us; but the Prophet's Answer on that occa­sion was not returned till the Chaldeans departed from Jerusalem, as mentioned in the 5th verse (and probably also not till after the Covenant about Liberty [Page 186]was broken):— Then came the Wor [...] of the Lord to Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, the GOD OF ISRAEL; Thus shall ye say to the King of Judah, that sent you unto me to enquire of me; Behold, PHARAOH's Army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own Land. And the CHALDEANS SHALL COME AGAIN, and fight against this City, and take it, and burn it with fire. Thus saith the Lord; DECEIVE NOT YOURSELVES, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely de­part from us; for they shall not depart. For though ye had smitten the whole Army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but WOUNDED MEN among them, (now mark how impossible it is for Slave-holders to stand before their Enemies!) "yet should they" (that is, the wounded men) rise up every Man in his Tent, and burn this City with Fire. Ch. xxxvii. to ver. 10.

[Page 187]It was also during this recess of the Babylonian Army, that the Prophet was put into prison by the Princes, for taking that opportunity to attempt his escape from Jerusalem. See ch. xxxvii. 11—16.

Afterwards(118) Zedekiah the King sent and took him out: and the King asked him secretly in his House, and said, Is there (any) Word from the Lord? And Jere­miah said, There is: for, said he, Thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the King of Babylon, &c. Ch. xxxvii. 17.

The Prophet also took this opportu­nity of remonstrating to the King con­cerning his own case:—"Moreover Je­remiah said unto King Zedekiah, WHAT ‘HAVE I OFFENDED AGAINST THEE, or against thy Servants, or against this [Page 188]People, that ye have put me in Pri­son(119)? Where (are) now your Pro­phets, which prophesied unto you, say­ing, The King of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this Land (120)? Therefore hear now, I pray thee, O my Lord the King: let my supplication, I pray thee, be ac­cepted before thee; that thou cause me not to return to the House of Jonathan the Scribe, lest I die there. And it appears that Zedekiah (notwithstanding his general wickedness) yet had no per­sonal pique against the Prophet, but was [Page 189]well inclined to grant his Petition, as also a daily allowance of Bread, as long as any could be procured(121).

And when the Princes advised Zede­kiah to put Jeremiah to death, because he publicly exhorted all the People to go over to the Enemy(122), it appears, [Page 190]that though the King thought he had not sufficient authority to oppose their Council, yet he would not concern himself against the Prophet to condemn him, but only left him in their hands(123); and no sooner was the King in­formed of the dangerous situation of Jeremiah from the malice and injustice of the Princes(124), than he gave ex­press orders to the generous and con­scientious Ethiopian (who had represent­ed the case) to take a Guard of thirty Men, and draw him up from the Dun­geon, and he was placed in the Court of the Prison(125). The King after­wards [Page 191]sent for the Prophet, and had a private conference with him; he also bound himself under a solemn Oath, that he would neither kill him nor give him up to his Enemies; and as he kept his promise, notwithstanding that Jere­miah still persevered in denouncing the most tremendous Judgements against him and the whole Kingdom, it is manifest, that the king had no personal resent­ment against the Prophet; being sensi­ble, probably by that time, of Jere­miah's sincerity and innocence, as well as of the truth of his Warnings, tho' he had not grace and humility enough to submit himself to the only alterna­tive from destruction, which God was now pleased to offer him, (perhaps in consideration of his favour to Jeremiah) and which the Prophet as affectionately pressed him to accept, but in vain.

[Page 192]These circumstances, and several others, will be found in the 38th chap­ter(126); but we must go back to the 32d chapter for the continuation of the History, which we there find advanced to the tenth year of Zedekiah's reign, the Siege being still carried on, and Jeremiah still shut up in the Court of [Page 193]the Prison. In the 3d, 4th, and 5th verses we find a repetition of some cir­cumstances of the dreadful Vengeance before denounced against Zedekiah; but they are not mentioned in that place as being then repeated by the Prophet, but only as having been the cause of his Con­finement. From the 6th to the 16th verse is related—the remarkable Pro­phecy concerning the Repossession of Houses, Fields, and Vineyards after the Captivity; in token of which the Pro­phet's Kinsman, Hanameel, was pro­videntially sent to tender to him the purchase of a Field in Anathoth, to which he was next Heir. From the 17th to the 25th verse of this chapter is contained—the Prophet's Prayer on that occasion, wherein he most solemnly de­scribes the Mercy, as well as the Ven­geance, of GOD, then dreadfully ap­proaching! — Ah Lord God! Behold, thou hast made the Heaven and the [Page 194]Earth by thy great Power and stretched­out Arm, (and) there is nothing too hard for thee: Thou shewest loving kindness unto thousands, and RECOMPENSEST THE INIQUITY of the Fathers into the bosom of their Children after them: THE GREAT, THE MIGHTY GOD! THE LORD (or Jehovah) OF HOSTS’ (is) ‘HIS NAME! GREAT IN COUN­CIL, and MIGHTY IN WORK? For thine Eyes (are) open upon all the ways of Men, to GIVE EVERY ONE ACCORDING TO HIS WAYS,’ (mark this, ye Slave-holders and African Mer­chants!) ‘AND ACCORDING TO THE FRUIT OF HIS DOINGS! Which hast set (127) Signs and Wonders in the Land of Egypt (even) "unto this day (128)" (amongst which the most remarkable [Page 195]were God's severe Judgements against the great Egyptian SLAVE-HOLDER and his Kingdom, who refused to ‘PRO­CLAIM LIBERTY’ to his Bond Ser­vants) "and in Israel (129), and among" (other) Men (130); and hast made thee a Name as at this day (viz. the day or time that GOD recompensed the Jews "according to their ways;" the dreadful Storm of GOD's VENGEANCE against [Page 196]Jerusalem being then begun, which was not to cease till the whole was laid desolate!), and hast brought thy People Israel out of the Land of Egypt with Signs and with Wonders, and with a strong Hand, and with a stretched-out Arm, and with great Terror (131) [Page 197] and hast given them this Land, which thou didst swear to their Fathers to give them, a Land flowing with Milk and Honey; and they came in and possessed it; but they obeyed not thy Voice, nei­ther WALKED IN THY LAW: they [Page 198]have done nothing of all that thou com­mandest them to do: therefore thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them. The Prophet then proceeds to describe the Terrors of the Siege, which were at that time present before his eyes:— "BEHOLD THE MOUNTS!" (said he) "They are come unto the City to take it," &c. And after reciting some other Causes of God's Anger against his Peo­ple (as Disobedience, Idolatry, &c.), and declaring the certainty of the Desolation that would follow, he once more promises a happy Return to their own Land; which is also again repeated in the fol­lowing chapter (xxxiii), with the additi­onal Promise of the BRANCH OF RIGH­TEOUSNESS to grow up unto David, that should execute JUDGEMENT and RIGH­TEOUSNESS’ —which Zedekiah had so notoriously neglected; for on these Terms alone could the Jews be permit­ted to remain in possession of their own [Page 199]Land!— If ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings: if ye thoroughly EXEOUTE JUDGEMENT between a MAN and his NEIGHBOUR;’ (if) ‘YE OPPRESS NOT THE STRANGER,’ (mark this ye transporters of the poor AFRICAN!) the fatherless and the wi­dow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk AFTER OTHER GODS’ (see note in pages 142 to 152) to your hurt; then will I CAUSE YOU TO DWELL IN THIS PLACE, in THE LAND THAT I GAVE TO YOUR FA­THERS, FOR EVER AND EVER.’ Jer. vii. 5, 1. A plain declaration this that they might for ever have enjoyed that National Establishment which God had given them! no foreign armaments could have had power to DEPRIVE them of God's Gift, had not their own iniquities deprived them of God's protection! It was the NEGLECT OF JUSTICE and NATURAL RIGHT, or (according to [Page 200]the scripture phrase) of JUDGEMENT and RIGHTEOUSNESS, which drew down GOD'S VENGEANCE upon them! This was apparently THE PRINCIPAL CAUSE (let Britain therefore tremble for her notorious national corruption and oppressions) OF THAT HORRID MISERY WHICH REIGNED IN JERUSALEM DURING THE BABYLONIAN SIEGE. ‘— They that did feed delicately are de­solate in the streets! they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills! Lam. iv. 5. and again, They that be slain with the sword are better than (they that be) ‘SLAIN WITH HUNGER; for these pine away STRICKEN THROUGH for (want of) the fruits of the field. The hands of the pitiful (or rather of the affectionate or tender hearted) wo­men have SODDEN’ (that is, BOILED, for want of other food) their own Chil­dren, THEY WERE THEIR MEAT in [Page 201]the Destruction of the Daughter of my People. Ibid. ver. 9, 10.

A more deplorable state of wretched­ness cannot be described! These mise­ries increased till the 11th year of Ze­dekiah, when (as we read in the 39th chapter) "the City was broken up (132); and then was the DREADFUL VEN­GEANCE, so repeatedly denounced by the Prophet against Zedekiah, ready to burst on the Head of that wicked Prince, [Page 202]who, in addition to all his other Crimes, had so lately violated the solemn Cove­nant of PROCLAIMING LIBERTY TO THE BOND SERVANTS, by neglecting to enforce the Laws of God, and of his Country, in behalf of the poor OP­PRESSED PEOPLE, that had been com­pelled by their petty Tyrants to return into BONDAGE!

This was so notorious a contempt of JUSTICE and RIGHTEOUSNESS (like the Toleration of SLAVERY in the BRI­TISH EMPIRE), that GOD'S VEN­GEANCE, before denounced, was inevi­tably confirmed, and the KING was, soon afterwards, delivered up, with ALL HIS NOBLES AND MEN OF WAR that remained, into the hands of their en­raged Enemies, agreeable to the just decree of GOD (before recited from the 34th chapter); his Sons were slain BE­FORE [Page 203]HIS EYES(133)! and HIS EYES beheld THE EYES of the stern Tyrant of Babylon, as the Prophet Jeremiah had very circumstantially foretold(134): but he never SAW more; for HIS EYES were PUT OUT by the order of the im­placable CONQUEROR(135), who there­by fulfilled another not less remarkable Prophecy of Ezekiel to the Captives at [Page 204]Babylon, telling them from God, I will BRING HIM TO BABYLON, the Land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he NOT SEE IT, though be shall die there! Ezek. xii. 13. Now to complete this tremendous Example of God's Judge­ment against the Toleration of Slavery, I must add, that the King of Babylon SLEW ALL THE NOBLES OF JUDAH, that is, ALL that were taken at that time; and having put out Zedekiah's Eyes, as before-mentioned, he bound him (Slave-like) with Chains, to carry him to Babylon, where he and the remainder of the Jewish Captives (the former SLAVE-HOLDERS, whose OP­PRESSION he had unjustly tolerated) became (according to the phrase of our modern Slave-holders) the PRIVATE PROPERTY of the Babylonian Tyrant and his Soldiers! They took the young Men to grind, and the Children fell [Page 205]under the Wood (136)—under the heavy burthens of their BABYLONIAN SLAVE-HOLDERS. But, what is still more remarkable, the Poor of the People (who were, probably, the Bondmen and Bondwomen, whose Cause God had avenged by these heavy Judgements) were left at home to possess the Lands and Vineyards of their former tyrannical Masters; for ‘NEBUZARADAN the [Page 206]Captain of the Guard lest of the POOR OF THE PEOPLE, WHICH HAD NO­THING in the Land of Judah, and gave them Vineyards and Fields AT THE SAME TIME.’ Jer. xxxix. 10.

Now if the African Traders, West India Merchants, and American Planters could make it appear, that their imagi­nary PROPERTY in Negro Slaves, for which they so strenuously contend, is as justly acquired, as the PROPERTY in Hebrew Captives, which the Babylo­nians acquired by their providential suc­cess in the Jewish War: yet this would not afford them any just excuse, or comfort, for their wounded Consciences, if they should ever have grace to feel remorse; because it appears, that this VERY BONDAGE of the JEWS (though apparently according to their deserts) brought upon the CHALDEANS, in their turn, the same deplorable slavish con­dition, [Page 207]which they (like our modern Slave-holders) thought they had an un­doubted right to impose on their imagi­nary Property, the Jewish Captives!

And yet Nebuehadnezzar did not burn and depopulate the Cities of Judaea merely for the sake of procuring Slaves, like the black Accomplices of the Royal African Company. His War was just and honourable: he came to punish a rebellious and wicked tributary Nation, which had, without any just reason (and contrary to the express Commands of GOD by the Prophets), attempted to shake off their Allegiance to the Babylonian Em­pire, to which they had long been subject; for the wicked Jewish King Manasseh, the Son of King Hezekiah, had, long before, been conquered, and carried into Captivity to Babylon(137), [Page 208]by the King of Assyria(138); and the Assyrian Power afterwards devolved to Nebuchadnezzar in the Commencement of the Babylonian Empire, who had also himself, thrice before this last [Page 209]War, conquered Judea; and Zedekiah, the last Monarch before the Captivity, reigned expressly by his APPOINTMENT, so that his wilful rebellion clearly justified the Babylonian Invasion; and add to this, that the Assyrians(139) and Ba­bylonians(140) were, in a very extra­ordinary manner, preordained and au­thorized by Almighty God to punish the crying wickedness of the Israelites and Jews; which surely may be alledg­ed as a further justification of the con­quest, [Page 210]and subsequent Right of Service, (if it may be esteemed a Right) which both Assyrians and Babylonians seemed to have acquired thereby.

But notwithstanding all these re­markable circumstances (which render­ed the claims of these Eastern Nations to the Jewish Captives, infinitely more equitable than any claims that our mo­dern slave-holders can produce in favour of their unnatural oppression of the poor wretched Captives of Africa) yet both Assyrians and Babylonians, as well as ALL the other neighbouring nations that were guilty of the like oppressions, drew down upon themselves a severe national RETRIBUTION of Vengeance for pre­sumptuously enslaving and oppressing each other; for, though they were in­struments in God's hand for the mutual punishment of each other, and acted expressly by his permission for that pur­pose, [Page 211]yet the Causes of Action, which they themselves were capable of perceiv­ing, and by which they were apparently moved, were very different:—Avarice, Pride, Lust of Power, the unjust Dictates of Wicked and Corrupt Hearts were the only personal Motives! but the Almighty can turn even these Evils to his own Glory, for the execution of his eternal Justice; and in due time will excute VENGEANCE even on the Instruments of his VEN­GEANCE; — Wherefore it shall come to pass, (says Isaiah in the 10th chapter) that when the Lord hath performed his whole Work upon Mount Zion, and on Je­rusalem, I will punish the Fruit of the stout heart of the KING OF ASSYRIA, and the Glory of his high looks. For he saith,—By the strength of MY HAND I have DONE (it), and by MY WISDOM; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their Treasures, and have PUT DOWN’ [Page 212](or enslaved) ‘THE INHABITANTS like a valiant (man). And my hand hath found as a nest the RICHES OF THE PEOPLE: and as one gathereth Eggs (that are) left, have I gathered all the Earth, and there was none that MOVED THE WING, or opened the mouth, or peeped.—Shall the Ax boast itself against him that heweth therewith? (or) shall the SAW magnify itself against him that shaketh it? (Thus God asserts the actual guidance of his Providence in human Transactions, by representing the haughty unbelieving Monarchs of Assyria as mere WORK TOOLS in his hands), as if the rod should shake (itself) against them that lift it up, (or) as if the staff should lift up (itself as if it were) no wood. Therefore shall the Lord, the LORD OF HOSTS’ (or ARMIES, Jehovah Tsabaouth) send among his sat ones leanness, and under his Glory [Page 213]he shall kindle a burning like the burn­ing of a fire, Chap. x. 12—16.

And after encouraging the remnant of Israel to stay upon the Lord, the Holy one of Israel, in truth, by a pro­mise ‘THAT THE CONSUMPTION DE­CREED (141) shall OVERFLOW with [Page 214]RIGHTEOUSNES;’ (for the promises of blessings and forgiveness are generally blended with the denunciations of God's Judgements, in order to encourage Re­pentance and Reliance on God) the Prophet comforts the Sufferers under the present Affliction with an assurance that it shall not be of long continuance. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Hosts, O my People, that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a Rod, and shall lift up his Staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt (that is, by holding them in A SEVERE BONDAGE, as the [Page 215]Egyptians had formerly done(142): "for yet a very little while" (said the Prophet) and THE INDIGNATION shall cease, and MINE ANGER IN THEIR DESTRUCTION. And the Lord of Hosts shall stir up A SCOURGE for him (viz. the Assyrian) accord­ing to the Slaughter of Midian at the Rock of Oreb (viz. by the Militia of Israel under Gideon): and (as) his Rod (was) upon the Sea, so shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt (143). And it shall come to pass in that day, (that) his BURDEN shall be taken away FROM OFF THY SHOULDER, and his YOKE from off thy Neck, and the YOKE shall be DESTROYED because of the an­ointing. &c. Again, in the 14th chapter, a similar Prophecy is delivered against Assyria: — I will break the [Page 216]Assyrian in my Land, and upon my Mountains tread him under foot. And then he immediately alludes to the cruel Bondage and Oppression which drew down the VENGEANCE OF GOD upon the As­syrian: — "Then," said the Prophet, shall his YOKE depart from off them, and his BURTHEN depart from off their Shoulders (144) This (is) the purpose [Page 217](that is) purposed upon the whole Earth; and this (is) the hand (that is) stretched out upon all the Nations. &c. Chap. xiv. 25, 26.

This seems to be a declaration, that GOD'S VENGEANCE against ASSYRIA for TYRANNY and OPPRESSION(145) should be a standing Example and Pre­cedent for the Judgement of all other Nations, but more especially of the Na­tions bordering on Judea, because there [Page 218]are several other Prophecies concerning the neighbouring Nations, which suffi­ciently correspond with this example of VENGEANCE against Assyria (both as to the mode, and principal, cause), suffi­ciently, I say, to prove, that a similar fate to that of Assyria was the ‘PUR­POSE that was PURPOSED UPON THE WHOLE EARTH.’"For behold" (says the Prophet Joel, chap. iii.) in those days and in that time when I shall bring again THE CAPTIVITY OF JU­DAH AND JERUSALEM, I will also gather ALL NATIONS, and will bring them down into the Valley of JEHOSHA­PHAT’ (signifying JEHOVAH IS JUDGE, or HATH JUDGED), and will plead with them there for MY PEOPLE, and (for) MY HERITAGE ISRAEL, whom they have SCATTERED AMONG THE NATIONS, and parted my Land. (And now the Prophet proceeds to mark the Scandal of Trading in Slaves in [Page 219]strong ironical terms) And they have CAST LOTS(146) (says he) for my People; and have given a BOY for a HARLOT, and sold a GIRL for WINE, that they might drink. Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O TYRE and ZIDON?’ (the Liverpool and Bristol (147) of Palestine, that were then become infamous by harbouring the most eminent Merchants in the SLAVE-TRADE of those days)—"Will ye render me a RECOMPENCE?" (mark this, ye opulent African Merchants—What [Page 220]RECOMPENCE can ye make for such an abominable affront to the Cre­ator of Mankind as your detestable Traffic in Slaves! Cannot you be con­tent with a lawful and fair Trade in Gold-dust, Ivory, Gums, Wax, &c. &c. which the African Coast will afford in abundance, but you must traffic in the BODIES of the poor wretched Inhabitants, to support your Luxuries, like those who gave a BOY for a HARLOT, and a GIRL for WINE! Are you a jot more righteous, who barter MEN, WOMEN, and CHILDREN, by hundreds together, for SUGAR and RUM! Is this your RE­COMPENCE to God for all his Mercies? Repent in time, lest God should return your RECOMPENCE upon your own heads; for he has declared in this same Text)—"If ye RECOMPENSE me" (that is, in such an unmerciful manner), swistly (and) speedily will I return YOUR RECOMPENCE UPON YOUR OWN [Page 221]HEAD;’ &c. And in the next verse but one, the Prophet marks the SLAVE­TRADE of Tyre and Zidon as one of the principal causes of his VENGEANCE:— The Children also of Judah and the Children of Jerusalem have YE SOLD unto the GRECIANS, that ye might re­move them FAR FROM THEIR BOR­DER:’ (but how much farther do the ENGLISH REMOVE THE POOR AFRICANS FROM THEIR BORDER!) Behold, I will raise them out of the place wither ye have SOLD THEM, and will RETURN YOUR RECOM­PENCE UPON YOUR OWN HEAD:’ (Observe how clearly THE LAW OF RETRIBUTION is here laid down), and I WILL SELL your SONS and your DAUGHTERS into the hands of the chil­dren of JUDAH, and they shall sell them (148) to the SABEANS, to a [Page 222]people FAR OFF;’ (an exact retaliation) for the Lord hath spoken (it). Proclaim [Page 223]ye this among the Gentiles: (or more properly, according to the strict sense of the original word [...], among the NATIONS, for the example ought in­deed to instruct ALL NATIONS) pre­pare WAR, wake up the mighty men, let ALL THE MEN OF WAR DRAW NEAR, let them come up. Beat your PLOW SHARES into SWORDS,’ (thus the blessings of the Gospel of peace are manifestly reversed to these nations which TRADE IN SLAVES; and indeed it has long been a proverb with the poor Africians, that wherever the Christian Faith is spread, there goes with it a SWORD and a GUN!) and your pruning hooks (continues the Prophet) into spears: let the WEAK say I am STRONG!’ (Here again is another [Page 224]mark of GOD'S VENGEAVANCE against oppressive Nations, viz. THE INFATU­ATION OF THEIR COUNCILS.) As­semble yourselves! (says the Prophet) and come all ye NATIONS(149) and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause THY MIGHTY ONES to come down, O Lord. Let the Na­tions be wakened, and come up to the valley of JEHOSHAPHAT,’ (i. e. the valley of JEHOVAH THE JUDGE) for there will I sit to JUDGE ALL THE NATIONS round about. Put ye in the sickle; for the Harvest is ripe: come, get ye down, for the press is full, the fats overflow; FOR THEIR WICKED­NESS IS GREAT! MULTITUDES, MULTITUDES IN THE VALLEY OF DECISION!’ &c. After which the Prophet denounces Judgement against [Page 225]two of these oppressive Nations expressly by name — ‘EGYPT shall be a desolation, and EDOM shall be a desolate wilder­ness; (and the principal reason of these judgments is also as expressly assigned) for their VIOLENCE150 [Page 226] against the Children of JUDAH, be­cause they have SHED INNOCENT BLOOD in their Land. But JUDAH shall dwell for ever, and JERUSALEM [Page 227] from generation to generation, for I will cleanse their Blood that I have not cleansed, for the Lord dwelleth in Zion. Joel iii. "The PURPOSE" (before-mentioned) that is PURPOSED upon the whole earth,—was manifest­ed also in the Judgements denounced against THE EDOMITES by the Prophet OBEDIAH,— Thy mighty men, O Te­man, shall be dismayed; to the end that every one of the mount of ESAU may be cut off by slaughter, (and then the Prophet assigns the usual causes of such VENGEANCE.) For (thy) VIOLENCE against thy Brother JACOB, shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the stran­gers CARRIED AWAY CAPTIVE his forces, and Foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, EVEN THOU (wast) AS ONE OF THEM:’ (that is one that assisted to ENSLAVE [Page 228]them.) But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy Brother, in the Day that he became a Stran­ger; (viz. in the day that their Brethren the Israelites were carried away Captives into a strange land; for it seems, that even to be neuter, or merely look on," like idle spectators, when the LIBERTY of their Brethren was at stake, would have been crimi­nal; but the EDOMITES added to this Crime, by REJOICING at the Calamity, and joining the triumphant Tyrants;) neither shouldest thou have REJOICED OVER the Children of JUDAH in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken PROUDLY in the day of distress. Thou shouldest not have en­tered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have LOOKED ON their AFFLIC­TION in the day of their calamity; nor have laid hands on their substance in the [Page 229]day of calamity. Neither shouldest thou have stood in the Cross-way, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have DELIVERED UP’ (or rather SHUT UP [...] or CONFINED as in Slavery or Foreign Captivity, which by the Restoration promised to the Cap­tives, in the 20th and 21st verses, seems to have been the case) those of his that DID REMAIN in the day of distress. For the Day of the LORD is near upon all the Heathen (that is ‘ALL THE NATIONS;’ and then follows ‘THE PURPOSE’ of RETRIBUTION that is PURPOSED upon the whole earth) ‘As THOU HAST DONE, it shall be DONE unto thee: thy REWARD shall return UPON THINE OWN HEAD,’ &c.

The like PURPOSE of RETRIBUTION was denounced against several Nations by the Prophet AMOS, and first against the SYRIANS— Thus saith THE LORD [Page 230] for three Transgressions of DAMASCUS and for four, I will not turn away (the punishment) thereof: (nevertheless their unmerciful Tyranny over the Inha­bitants of GILEAD, is the only Trans­gression mentioned,—"because" (said the Prophet) they have threshed GI­LEAD with Threshing Instruments of Iron. But I will send FIRE into the House of HAZAEL,’ (the King of Syria anointed by Elijah) which shall devour the Palaces of BENHADAD: I will break also the Bar of Damascus, &c. And then at last he denounces the ordinary punishment for Tyrants and Oppressors— And the people of SYRIA shall GO INTO CAPTIVITY unto KIR, saith the LORD.’ (Amos i. 1 to 5.) This Prophecy was punctually fulfilled when AHAZ King of Judah hired TIG­LATH-PILESER King of Assyria to help him against the SYRIANS, for we read [Page 231]in the 2 Kings xvi. 9.—That the King of Assyria hearkened unto him (viz. AHAZ): for the King of Assyria went up against DAMASCUS, and took it, and CARRIED’ (the people of) it CAPTIVE to KIR, and slew RE­ZIN.’ REZIN was that turbu­bulent and oppressive King of SYRIA, who, in another prophecy, is compared to "a sinoaking Firebrand." Isaiah vii. 4. The same "PURPOSE" of RETRI­BUTION was also declared by AMOS against the PHILISTINES— For three Transgressions of GAZA, and for four, I will not turn away (the punish­ment) "thereof:"—and yet only one of the four Transgressions is mentioned, which we may, therefore, reasonably conclude to be the principal Transgres­sion, viz.—"because" (says the Text) they CARRIED AWAY CAPTIVE THE WHOLE CAPTIVITY to diliver [Page 232](them) up to EDOM:’ (152) or rather (as the word [...] more properly [Page 233]signifies] to cause (them) to be shut up (that is, in Bondage) to Edom: in short, it appears from thence, that they carried on the SLAVE-TRADE with EDOM, as our Liverpool and Bristol Merchants, and some at London (but few in propor­tion to the size of the place), do at pre­sent with America! But they were al­lowed but a short space for the enjoy­ment [Page 234]of their unlawful gains! The de­nunciations of VENGEANCE follows closely upon the very mention of that UNNATURAL OPPRESSION! ‘But I will send a FIRE (said the AL­MIGHTY) on the Wall of GAZA(153), [Page 235] which shall devour the Palaces thereof; and I will cut off the Inhabitants from ASHDOD, and him that holdeth the Sceptre from ASHKELON; and I will turn mine hand against EKRON, and the Remnant of the PHILISTINES SHALL PERISH, saith the LORD GOD!’ Amos i. 6, 7, 8.

The Prophet then proceeds with a Denunciation of the like "PURPOSE" of GOD'S VENGEANCE against the opu­lent City of TYRE, and expressly for the same offence; for the Tyrians were, probably, Confederates with the Phi­listines of Gaza, and other Cities of the Phoenician Coast, when they assisted the Arabians to OPPRESS and ENSLAVE the Inhabitants of JUDEA. — Thus saith [Page 236]the LORD; for three Transgressions of TYRUS, and for four, I will not turn away (the punishment) thereof; (now be pleased to remark, that though the Tyrians were notorious Idolaters, and very wicked in many other respects, yet, here again, the OPPRESSION of EN­SLAVING THEIR BRETHREN (even of a different Nation) was the only Crime that God was pleased, more particularly, to impute and point out to them, as being most heinous in his sight) "be­cause" (said the Prophet) they deli­vered up the WHOLE CAPTIVITY TO EDOM’ (for TYRE was the Philistine LIVERPOOL, it seems, which supplied Edom with SLAVES), and remembered not the BROTHERLY COVENANT(154): but I will send a FIRE on the Wall of [Page 237]TYRUS, which shall devour the Palaces thereof. Amos i. 9, 10.(155) The like purpose of God's Vengeance is next denounced against Edom, on account of her notorious violations also of Brotherly Love; for the Almighty Father of Man­kind will not see his creature Man op­pressed and vilified without revenging the affront!— Thus saith the Lord; for [Page 238]three Transgressions of EDOM, and for four, I will not turn away (the pu­nishment) thereof; because he did pur­sue his Brother with the Sword, and did CAST OFF ALL PITY’ (as our modern American Slave-holders CAST OFF ALL PITY towards their poor RUN­AWAY SLAVES! for I have seen re­wards publicly offered for the Heads of those poor oppressed People(156) and [Page 239]the shooting of run-away Negroes has even been encouraged by some of the Plantation Laws! which is wilful pre­meditated Murder, such as God will never leave unpunished); and his Anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his Wrath for ever. But I (said Jeho­vah) ‘WILL SEND A FIRE UPON TE­MAN’ (the Carolina of those times), which shall devour the Palaces of Boz­rah. Amos, chap. i. II, 12.

The Prophet in the next verse de­nounces GOD'S VENGEANCE against the [Page 240]bloody-minded Ammonites, for their horrid barbarity in murdering the Wives and Children of their Enemies, MURDER being a crime still more heinous in the sight of GOD than SLAVERY; because the robbing a man of his Life is a higher Act of Oppression and unnatural Violence than Bondage, it being, indeed, the last degree of Oppression that a Tyrant has in his power!— Thus saith the Lord; for three Transgressions of the Children of AMMON, and for four, will I not turn away (the punishment) thereof; because they have RIPPED UP THE WOMEN WITH CHILD OF GILEAD,(157) that they might enlarge their bor­der [Page 241] (158): but I will kindle a Fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour the Palaces thereof, with shouting in the [Page 242]day of battle, with a Tempest in the day of the Whirlwind: and their King shall GO INTO CAPTIVITY,’ (mark the proper punishment of Tyrants) ‘HE AND HIS PRINCES TOGETHER, saith the LORD.’ Amos i. 13—15.

Next in order the Prophet declares God's Purpose of Vengeance against Moab (see the following chapter):— Thus saith the Lord: for three trans­gressions [Page 243]of MOAB, and for four, I will not turn away (the punishment) thereof; because he burned the bones of the King of EDOM into lime, (the Chaldee Interpreter adds, [...], and plastered them like Chalk (or lime) in the House. This seems to have been done in extreme contempt, to vi­lify the Edomites; and does not agree with the account of the particular hu­man Sacrifice made by the King of Moab upon the Wall, mentioned in 2 Kings iii. 27. to which the margin of our English Bibles commonly refers us; for that seems to have been a Sacrifice by the King of Moab of his own Son (159), rather than a burning of the bones of the King of Edom. We may, however, learn from this example, that [Page 244]God is offended with any contemptuous vilifying of the Human Body, even when dead; and how much more then will he be offended with those who vi­lify their living Brethren, by contemp­tously holding them in a despicable Bondage!)— But I will send a Fire upon Moab (160), and it shall devour the Palaces of Kirioth, and Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, (and) with the sound of the trumpet: and I will cut off THE JUDGE FROM THE MIDST THEREOF, and will slay ALL THE PRINCES THEREOF WITH HIM, saith the LORD.’ Amos ii. 1—3.

[Page 245]To these Judgements of the several Nations the Prophet now adds the Condemnation of Judah, left the Jews should imagine that GOD'S VENGEANCE was only to be denounced against the Heathen Nations.Thus saith the Lord; for three Transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away (the pu­nishment) thereof; because they have DESPISED THE LAW OF THE LORD,’ [now the Apostle Paul informs us, that all the Law is fulfilled in one word, (even) in this; Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thyself. Galat. v. 14. and, consequently, the OPPRESSION OF THE POOR (of which the Jews were notoriously guilty, as I have shewn) was (next to Idolatry) one of the most heinous Transgressions of the Law, which principally drew down God's Vengeance upon them, though it is not particularly mentioned in this place]— and have not kept his Commandments; [Page 246]and their lyes caused them to err, after the which their Fathers have walked. But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the Palaces of Jerusalem. Amos ii. 4, 5.

And last of all is declared the PUR­POSE of Retribution and Vengeance, that was PURPOSED upon the People of Israel, to whom the Prophet Amos was more particularly sent, to warn them of their approaching CAPTIVITY, on account of their notorious oppressions, and for the SLAVE-TRADE in particular.— Thus saith the Lord, for three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away (the punishment) thereof; be­cause they SOLD THE RIGHTEOUS FOR SILVER, and the POOR FOR A PAIR OF SHOES.’ Amos ii. 6. And in the next chapter the prophet is di­rected to call upon their old enemies the Philistines and Egyptians to bear [Page 247]witness to the cause of God's vengeance on his own people: Publish in the Palaces of ASHDOD, and in the Pa­laces of the Land of Egypt, and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of SAMARIA, and behold the great TUMULTS in the midst thereof, and the OPPRESSED IN THE MIDST THEREOF. For they KNOW NOT TO DO RIGHT(161) saith the Lord; [Page 248]who store up Violence and Robbery in their Palaces. Therefore thus saith [Page 249]the Lord God; and Adversary (there shall be) even round about the Land: [Page 250]and he shall bring down they Strength from thee, and thy Palaces shall be spoil­ed. &c. Amos iii. 9, 10, 11.

Thus it appears, that God was not less severe against his, own peculiar Peo­ple, when guilty of Oppression and In­justice, than he was against the neigh­bouring Nations for the like Offences! And I hope the many examples which I have given of God's Vengeance against these Crimes, and more especially against the Crime of enslaving and vilifying Man­kind, will awaken the attention of my Countrymen in general, that they may seriously consider whether we have not just reason to fear the effects of GOD'S VENGEANCE also upon GREAT BRI­TAIN and HER COLONIES for similar Offences!

Long before the present unhappy CIVIL WAR broke out between the Mo­ther [Page 251]Country and her Colonies, I thought it my duty to give fair warning to his Majesty's Ministers(162) that some heavy VENGEANCE, must inevitably overtake us (according to the usual course of GOD'S Providence) if the ini­quitous SLAVE-TRADE, and the Tole­ration of involuntary Bondage, were con­tinued; and that such monstrous OP­PRESSION [Page 252]and NATIONAL WICKED­NESS(163) cannot escape a NATIONAL PUNISHMENT, according to the usual course of GOD's PROVIDENCE in the World, unless a hearty Repentance and Amendment should avert the impending Vengeance.

[Page 253]This Doctrine is unquestionably de­monstrated (I trust) by the several Ex­tracts from the Holy Scriptures, which I have inserted in the preceding pages: and the proof of it (I thank God) af­fords me a double recompence for my labours in collecting them; for it not only vindicates my previous assertions to the Ministers of his present Majesty, but it confirms the similar assertions of my own Grandfather, declared, near a Century ago, to the great National Assembly of this Kingdom(164).

[Page 254]Can we claim a better RIGHT to the en­slaved Negroes in the British Colonies [Page 255]than the several antient Nations, above­mentioned, had to their Captive Ene­mies, [Page 256]whom God had delivered into their hands? And yet, we find, they were made mutual Instruments of De­struction to each other, on that very ac­count!

Israel (I mean the Kingdom of the Ten Tribes) was the Scourge of Judah, Judah of Israel: Syria was the Scourge of both; as also were Edom, Moab, and Ammon: and Assyria was the Scourge of them all. Egypt, again, was the Scourge of Assyria; and Assyria (under a Babylonish King) became afterwards the severe Scourge and Retaliator of Evils upon Egypt!

The opulent Tyre, with her princely Merchants, suffered among the rest for her iniquitous Traffic in Slaves(165); [Page 257]and the lesser Philistine States, Ashdod, Gath, Gaza, &c. did not partake of the uncharitable Crime, without an equal share of Retribution!

These examples clearly demonstrate the necessity of observing the Apostle's Advice:— If ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye are not con­sumed one of another (Gal. v. 15.): which is a striking representation of the EXTREME DANGER of Oppression [Page 258]and the Want of Brotherly Lover; for surely no Oppression can be more noto­rious and biting than that of enslaving others; nor can the DANGER of being "consumed one of another" (according to the Apostle's express words) be more apparent, than in the FREQUENT IN­SURRECTIONS which have ever been the unavoidable consequences of Slave­ry!(166) Can we reasonably expect, that the only exception to God's general rule of National Vengeance and Retribu­tion upon the Authors of Slavery and Oppression shall be in favour of GREAT BRITAIN, which hath so notoriously exceeded all other Nations in the mul­tiplicity and largeness of her dealings in the MAN-TRADE(167); that ini­quitous [Page 259]and oppressive business of pur­chasing our poor unhappy African Bro­thers, [Page 260]and Sisters (‘Men, Women, and Children’), and then forcibly trans­porting them "far from their border," even to the opposite side (almost) of this terrestrial Globe!

What is this, my Countrymen, but a notorious aggravation of that very crime for which the Vengeance and Re­tribution of the ALMIGHTY was poured on the heads of the ancient Tyrian Merchants, above-mentioned. They [Page 261]SOLD the Captive Jews to the Grecians, a neighbouring People; but YE HAVE SOLD the poor Africans (who never of­fended you) to the very distant Inhabitants of America and the West Indies, ‘THAT YE MIGHT REMOVE THEM FAR’ (far indeed!) "FROM THEIR BOR­DER." Have we not reason to expect the same awful Decree of the Divine Justice which immediately follows these words— "Behold, I will raise them" (i. e. the Slaves) out of the place WHI­THER YE HAVE SOLD THEM, and will return your Recompence upon your own head. AND I WILL SELL YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS,’ &c. Joel iii. 7, 8. Have we not ample reason to fear, that God will make of this Nation (in proportion to the mag­nitude of our guilt in Slave-dealing) a tremendous Example of RETRIBUTION, to deter other Nations from offending his Eternal JUSTICE, if a sincere and [Page 262]speedy national Repentance does not avert the Evil?—"THE LORD" (JE­HOVAH) ‘IS HIS NAME: that strength­ened the SPOILED against the STRONG: so that the SPOILED shall come against the FORTRESS.’ (Amos v. 8, 9.) That saith — They shall SPOIL those that SPOILED them. (Ezek. xxxix. 10.) This latter Sentence of RETRI­BUTION (as well as the first) was de­nounced, indeed, against the Oppressors of the ISRAELITES; but yet the Justice of it is equally applicable to the unpro­voked Oppressors of the poor Africans!—We know not how soon a just national Retribution may overtake us! how soon the Almighty may think fit to recom­pense the British Nation according to the work of their own hands! or how soon he may withdraw his light from us, and leave us involved in the same deplorable ignorance that the Afri­cans themselves unhappily fell into very [Page 263]soon, after they perverted (the Truth and Intention of the Gospel, which was once planted (and that very early) even in the internal parts of their vast Continent, as I have elsewhere shewn! (See my Tract on the just Limitation of Slavery, pages 21 to 26.) This la­mentable Fall of Africa (168) was the very example by which my own Grand­father, near a Century ago (wanting only [Page 264]three years), warned the House of Com­mons concerning our national Danger.

But there is still one more great ex­ample against Tyranny and Oppression, which must not be omitted: I mean the example of God's Vengeance against Babylon, that great and terrible Scourge of all the other ancient Nations, already mentioned in this Tract; for as her OPPRESSIONS were more general and extensive, so her Punishment is more frequently and more fully declared in Scripture.

The Prophet Jeremiah denounced the Law of Retribution against the Baby­lonians in the strongest terms, as well in return for the cruel Slaughters they [Page 265]were guilty of, as for the heavy Yoke of Bondage with which they oppressed the Captive Israelites. See chap. L.— De­clare ye among the Nations (said the Prophet), and publish, and set up a standard; publish, (and) conceal not: say, BABYLON is taken, BEL is con­founded, &c. For out of the North there cometh up a Nation against her, which shall MAKE HER LAND DESO­LATE;’ (manifestly in return for the cruel DESOLATION of Judea;) and none shall dwell therein (that is, in Babylon): they shall remove, they shall depart, both Man and Beast, (Jer. L. 2, 3.) And to mark the Indignation, as well as the Cause of it, in the strongest terms by the severity of Contrast, the Promise of a happy Restauration to the Captives, whom they oppressed, is blended with the Sentence of their own Condemnation:— In those days, and at that time, saith the Lord, the Children [Page 266]of Israel shall come, they and the Chil­dren of Judah, together, going and weeping: they shall go and seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, (saying,) Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual Covenant (that) shall not be forgotten. My Peo­ple have been lost Sheep: their Shep­herds (that is, their wicked Kings, see Jer. xxiii.) have caused them to go astray, &c. All that found them HAVE DEVOURED THEM: and their ADVERSARIES said, We offend not, because they have SINNED AGAINST THE LORD(169), the Habitation of [Page 267]Justice; even the Lord, the Hope of their Fathers. The Prophet then immediately refumes the Burthen of Babylon:— Remove out of the midst of Babylon, &c.Shout against her round about: she hath given her hand: her Foundations are fallen, her Walls are thrown down: for it (is) THE VENGEANCE OF THE LORD: take VENGEANCE upon her; AS SHE HATH DONE, DO UNTO HER.’ (Jer. L. 4—15.) Here the Law of Retribution is strongly marked! And again in the 17th verse: ‘—Israel (is) a scattered Sheep; the Lions have driven (him) away: first the KING OF ASSYRIA hath devoured him; and last this NEBUCHADREZZAR KING OF BABYLON hath broken his bones. Therefore thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the KING OF BABYLON and his Land, as I have punished the KING OF ASSYRIA.’ (See the ex­ample [Page 268]before quoted.) And I will BRING ISRAEL AGAIN TO HIS HA­BITATION,’ &c.Call together the Archers against BABYLON: all ye that bend the bow, camp against it round about; let none thereof escape: RECOMPENSE HER ACCORDING TO HER WORK; ACCORDING TO ALL THAT SHE HATH DONE, DO UNTO HER; for she hath been PROUD against the Lord, against the Holy One of Israel. Therefore shall her young men fall, in the streets. &c. And a little further the principal cause of God's (Anger is more particularly expressed: — Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; The Children of Israel and the Children of Judah (were) OPPRESSED TOGETHER: and all that TOOK THEM CAPTIVES HELD THEM FAST; they REFUSED TO LET THEM GO.’ But mark, ye Slave-holders, what immediately follows! — Their REDEEMER (is) STRONG; THE [Page 269]LORD OF HOSTS’ (Jehovah of Ar­mies) (is) his Name; he shall THO­ROUGHLY PLEAD THEIR CAUSE, that he may give rest to the Land, and disquiet THE INHABITANTS OF BA­BYLON — A SWORD IS UPON THE CHALDEANS,’ &c. See the whole 50th chapter.

The Law of Retribution is also strongly marked in the 30th chapter, where the Prophet promises that Jehovah will BRING AGAIN THE CAPTIVITY OF HIS PEOPLE ISRAEL AND JUDAH;’ (ver. 2.) and that JACOB shall be saved OUT OF HIS TROUBLE, (ver. 7.) and more especially from SLAVERY, de­claring, as the Word of the Lord of Hosts, I will break his YOKE FROM OFF THY NECK, AND WILL BURST THY BONDS; and STRANGERS shall no more SERVE THEMSELVES OF HIM. But they SHALL SERVE THE LORD [Page 270]THEIR GOD(170), and DAVID their King, whom I will raise up unto them (171).’ (See verses 8 and 9.) [Page 271]And he represents God as speaking to the whole Nation under the personal figure of their Ancestor, the Patriarch JACOB, saying, I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make A FULL END OF ALL NATIONS whi­ther I have scattered thee, yet will I not MAKE A FULL END OF THEE’ (shewing that Israel was still the pecu­liar People of God): but I will cor­rect thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished. (ver 11.) And also after some further expostula­tion concerning the grievous affliction of that peculiar People, and the cause of it, the Prophet proceeds, in the 16th verse, to declare the Divine Judgement of a severe RETRIBUTION against the Enemies of JACOB: — Therefore all they that DEVOUR THEE shall be DE­VOURED; and all thine Adversaries, every one of them, shall GO INTO CAPTIVITY; and they that SPOIL [Page 272]THEE shall be A SPOIL, and all that PREY UPON THEE will I give FOR A PREY: for I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee AN OUTCAST(172), (saying,) This (is) Zion, whom no man seeketh after. &c.

[Page 273]In the 25th chapter also a severe Re­tribution is denounced expressly against [Page 274] "the King of Babylon" and the Land of the Chaldeans, to confirm all. that had been foretold by Jeremiah:I will make it (viz. Babylon, or the Land of the Chaldeans) perpetual Desolations. And I will bring upon that Land all my Words which I have pronounced against it, (even) all (that is) written in this Book, which Jere­miah hath prophesied against all the Na­tions. For many Nations and great Kings shall serve themselves of them also (that is, by reducing them also to Slavery and Bondage): and I will recompense them (now mark God's Law of Retribution) according [Page 275]to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands. Jer. xxv. 12—14.

And even the Prophet Isaiah, who lived long before Jeremiah, also de­nounced a RETRIBUTION IN KIND against BABYLON, in as plain and intel­ligible a stile, as if he had been relating the history of things past, though the time of delivering the Prophecy was long before the CAPTIVITY of JUDAH, and, consequently, long before even the OFFENCE was committed, for which the RETRIBUTION was denounced. See chap. 14. "For the Lord" (said Isaiah) will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet CHOOSE ISRAEL, and set them in their own Land; (this, observe, was foretold long before they were re­moved from it;) and the Strangers shall be joined with them; (this was the case, particularly, of the Edomites, [Page 276]after the return from the Babylonish Captivity;) and they shall cleave to the House of JACOB.’ &c.And they shall take them CAPTIVES WHOSE CAPTIVES THEY WERE; and they shall rule over THEIR OPPRESSORS.’ (This is a manifest RETRIBUTION IN KIND.) And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee (Israel) rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the HARD BON­DAGE wherein thou wast made to SERVE, that thou shalt take up this proverb against the KING OF BABY­LON, and say, How hath THE OP­PRESSOR CEASED! The Lord hath broken the Staff of the Wicked, (and) the Sceptre of the Rulers. He who SMOTE THE PEOPLE in wrath with A CONTINUAL STROKE; he that RULED THE NATIONS IN ANGER, is persecuted, and none hindereth. &c. Isaiah xiv. 1—6. — They that see [Page 277]thee shall narrowly look upon thee, (and) consider thee, (saying, is) this the Man that made the Earth to trem­ble, that did shake Kingdoms? (that) made the World as a Wilderness, and destroyed the Cities thereof? (that) OPENED NOT THE HOUSE OF HIS PRISONERS?’ &c. Ver. 16, 17. Mark this, ye hardened Slave-holders, who are so tenacious of that usurped and pretended property which ye claim in the Persons of your Fellow Men! Will ye also refuse to OPEN THE HOUSE OF YOUR PRISONERS? Remember that the same God still reigns, and never changes. If he spared not the first and most glorious Monarchy upon Earth, he surely will not spare you, unless ye sincerely repent and reform! God's Vengeance against Babylon was exe­cuted expressly on account of the heavy Yoke of Bondage with which they op­pressed their Captives. The Judge­ment, [Page 278]and the Denunciation of it, was the more exemplary, as it was a JUDGEMENT IN KIND—a manifest RE­TRIBUTION OF SLAVERY? The Lan­guage is awful and majestic, as well as truly poetical; for the condemned Nation is figuratively represented under the similitude of a delicate young Woman, or Virgin, whereby the national Judge­ment is rendered (as it were) personal; and, consequently, much more striking and affecting than it could have been in any other way. "Come down" (said the Prophet Isaiah, chap. xlvii.), and sit in the dust, O VIRGIN DAUGHTER OF BABYLON! SIT ON THE GROUND:’ (that is, to denote her future abject state, when deprived of Royalty:) ‘(there is) no Throne, O DAUGHTER OF THE CHALDEANS: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate! The Prophet then proceeds to describe the deplorable state [Page 279]of the most ABJECT SLAVES, which was now to be transferred from the Sufferers to the Slave-holders themselves! He still addresses himself to the Imperial City under the simile of a Woman, and gives that "Lady of Kingdoms" (173) a humiliating information of her future employment and condition in SLAVERY: — Take the mill-stones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, PASS OVER THE RIVERS. Thy nakedness shall be un­covered; yea, thy shame shall be seen: I WILL TAKE VENGEANCE, I will not meet (thee as) a man. &c. The Prophet, after giving assurance to Israel, that Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, would be their REDEEMER (that is, a REDEEMER from SLAVERY, both tem­poral [Page 280]and spiritual), proceeds to declare the reason of God's severe Vengeance against BABYLON in the 6th verse:— I was wroth with my People, I have polluted mine Inheritance, and given them into THINE HAND: thou didst shew them NO MERCY: upon the Ancient hast thou VERY HEAVILY LAID THY YOKE. And thou saidst, I shall be a Lady for ever: (so) that thou didst not lay these (things) to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it. Therefore hear now this, thou (that art) given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, &c.These two things shall come to thee, IN A MOMENT, IN ONE DAY; the loss of Children and Widowhood; they shall come upon thee in their perfection, for the multitude of thy Sorceries, (and) for the great abun­dance of thine Enchantments. For thou hast trusted in thy Wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy Wisdom and [Page 281]thy Knowledge it hath perverted thee. (Mark this, ye little Philosophers and sophistical Deists, who even make it a question whether there be such a thing as Providence in the World.) And thou hast said in thine heart, I (am), and none else beside me. Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and DESOLATION shall come upon thee SUDDENLY(174), [Page 282](which) thou shalt not know. Stand now with thine Inchantments, and with the multitude of thy Sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied with the multitude of thy Councils. Let now the Astrologers, the Star-gazers (for Babylon was famous for her very ancient Royal Observatory), the monthly Prognosticators stand up, and save thee from (these things) that shall come upon thee. Behold, they shall be as stubble; the FIRE shall BURN [Page 283]THEM; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the FLAME:’ &c. Isaiah xlvii. 1—14.

The Babylonians were Worshippers of Fire; so that the above-mentioned Denunciation of Fiery Vengeance seems to be peculiarly applicable: and it is remarkable, that the King of Babylon had recourse to his Astrologers(175) (agreeable to this Prophecy) in the dreadful night when the Medes and Persians were to enter his Capital City; for these Nations were expressly called upon by name as the appointed Instru­ments of GOD'S VENGEANCE(176); [Page 284]and the horrors of that fatal night were plainly foretold: — The night of my [Page 285]pleasure (says the Prophet, mani­festly referring to the impious midnight [Page 286]carousal mentioned by Daniel, by He­rodotus, and Xenophon) hath he [Page 287]turned into FEAR unto me (the ex­cess of which is described in the former verses, quoted in the preceding Note). ‘PREPARE THE TABLE, watch in the WATCH-TOWER(177), EAT, DRINK. ARISE, YE PRINCES(178) and an­oint the shield, &c. Isaiah xxi. 4, 5.

[Page 288]The Prophet Jeremiah also alludes to the same fatal Babylonian supper, which seems to have been intended as a Festivity to the honour of their False Deities(179), in order to insure suc­cess against the Besiegers: — In their heat (or in their anger, that is, against their Enemies in the War) I will make their FEASTS, and I will make them DRUNKEN, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the Lord. I will bring [Page 289]them down LIKE LAMBS to the slaugh­ter (that is, without opposition or re­sistance on their part(180), like Rams with He-goats. How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole Earth surprized! (alluding to the unex­pected entry of the Enemy;) How is Babylon become an astonishment among the Nations! &c. Jer. li. to ver. 42. And the manner of bringing about this VENGE­ANCE, as well as the REASON of it, is further described in the same chapter: — For the Lord God of RECOM­PENCES’ (said the Prophet, ver. 56.) shall surely REQUITE. And I will [Page 290]MAKE DRUNK her PRINCES and her WISE MEN, her CAPTAINS and her RULERS, and her mighty men: and they shall SLEEP A PERPETUAL SLEEP, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of Hosts (viz. Jeho­vah of Armies). Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire, and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary. Jer. li. 56—58.

The Armies of God's Wrath upon Babylon were led by Cyrus, who was expressly called upon by name, and ap­pointed to this service ‘about two hun­dred years before he was born(181);’ and Deliverance also by his hand from Bondage was promised, at the same time, to the Jews, even many years before [Page 291]they were carried into Captivity:— Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou (art) my Servant: I have formed thee; thou (art) my Servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a cloud, thy sins; return unto me; for I have re­deemed thee (that is, from the Baby­lonish Slavery, as the remainder of the chapter will shew). Sing, O ye Hea­vens; for the Lord hath done (it): shout, ye lower parts of the Earth: break forth into singing, ye Mountains, O Forest, and every Tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob (182), [Page 292] and glorified himself in Israel. Thus saith the Lord THY REDEEMER, and he that formed thee from the Womb; I (am) the LORD’ (Jehovah), that maketh all (things); that stretcheth forth the Heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the Earth by myself: that frus­trateth the Tokens of the Lyars, and maketh Diviners mad; that turneth Wise (Men) backward, and maketh their Knowledge foolish; (referring, probably, to the unprofitable Sciences and vain Politics of the Chaldeans;) that confirmeth the Word of his Servant, and performeth the Counsel of his Mes­sengers; [Page 293]that saith to JERUSALEM, THOU SHALT BE INHABITED’ (that is, after the appointed Desolation), and to the Cities of JUDAH, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: that saith to the Deep (whereby, according to the Targum, BABEL is meant), Be DRY; and I will DRY UP thy Rivers: (most probably alluding to the success­ful stratagem of Cyrus to dry up the Rivers by altering their Course, where­by he gained an unsuspected passage into the City through the emptied Channels(183) that saith of CYRUS, [Page 294](he is) my SHEPHERD, and shall PER­FORM ALL MY PLEASURE; even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the Temple, Thy Foundation shall be laid. Isaiah xliv. 21—28. And in the 45th chapter the great Re­storer of temporal Liberty is further re­vealed: — Thus saith the Lord to his Anointed, to CYRUS, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue Nations before him; and I will loose the loins of Kings; (see the former account concerning the extreme fear of the King of Babylon and his Princes;) to OPEN before him THE TWO-LEAVED GATES; and THE GATES SHALL [Page 295]NOT BE SHUT.’ (Compare this with Zenophon's Account of the Palace Gates being OPENED on the first Alarm.) I will go before thee and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the Gates of Brass, and cut in sunder the Bars of Iron: and I will give thee the Treasures of Darkness, and hidden riches of Secret places, (al­luding probably to the immense quan­tities of Gold in the secret Chapels of the Babylonish Idols within the great ancient(184) Tower.) that thou mayest know that I the Lord, which call (thee) [Page 296]BY THY NAME, (am) the God of Is­rael. And in the next verse the Prophet assigns the reason why the Al­mighty thus called upon CYRUS, viz.— for Jacob my Servant's sake, and Is­rael mine elect, I have even called thee BY THY NAME: I have SURNAMED THEE, though thou hast not known me. I (am) the Lord, (or rather I (am) JEHOVAH) and (there is) none else, (there is) no God beside me: I girded thee, (or strengthened thee) though thou hast not known me, &c. and God's PURPOSE in raising up CYRUS is still more clearly declared in the 13th verse,— I have raised him up in RIGHTE­OUSNESS, and I will DIRECT ALL HIS WAYS: he shall BUILD MY CITY, and HE SHALL LET GO MY CAP­TIVES,’ (mark this ye wretched Slave-holders) ‘NOT FOR PRICE, NOR REWARD, saith the Lord of Hosts; and accordingly the Proclamation of Free­dom [Page 297]to the Jews and the Decree for re­building the Temple were made in the first year of Cyrus. See Ezra i. 1.

Now let my Readers seriously com­pare these accounts of God's peculiar favour to CYRUS, THE RESTORER OF LIBERTY, with the accounts (which I have already recited) of GOD'S oppo­site treatment of that man who ‘OPEN­ED NOT THE HOUSE OF HIS PRI­SONERS.’ Isaiah xiv. 17.

Cyrus by the Almighty was expressly called, in the 45th chapter of Isaiah, "HIS ANOINTED:"— Thus saith the Lord to HIS ANOINTED, to CYRUS;’ and [...], literally to his Messiah (185), to Cyrus, &c. for [Page 298]Cyrus, by freely restoring a great Na­tion to their natural liberty from a heavy Bondage under the Babylonian Tyrant, might justly be esteemed a Type of that future great Restorer to universal Liberty, foretold by the same Prophet, who was afterwards to enfranchise all Mankind from a much worse Bondage under the Empire of Satan (186)

[Page 299]This spiritual Freedom is, indeed, clearly tendered to all men: but how [Page 300]many are they who, for the sake of a little worldly profit, are again entan­gled in the snares and temptations of their spiritual Enemy, and submit them­selves to his Bondage! How can we suppose, that those men are FREE from THE MAMMON OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, who are led by the temptations of pri­vate [Page 301]interest to infringe the NATURAL RIGHTS OF MANKIND, by uncharita­bly retaining their Fellow Men in an involuntary SERVITUDE!

Can any injury, except that of taking away a man's LIFE, exceed that of taking away a man's LIBERTY, who has never offended us! Can any robbery or injustice whatsoever be more atrocious than that of wearing out our poor Bre­thren in a hard involuntary service, with­out WAGES or REWARD! thereby con­tinually robbing them of the Fruit of their Labours! Have I not shewn, by un­questionable examples from Scripture, that this is a crying sin, and that the Almighty hath denounced Wo(187) against all such Offenders? Do we not [Page 302]profess to serve THE SAME GOD who so severely punished the Jews for this very crime? And is there any just ground to hope, that GOD, who spared not his own peculiar People, will, ne­vertheless, excuse the Inhabitants of Great Britain and her Colonies, when they are wilfully guilty of the same of­fence!

The whole tenour of the Scriptures teaches us, that SLAVERY was ever de­testable in the sight of God, insomuch that it has generally been denounced (and, of course, inflicted) as the punish­ment of the most abandoned Sinners; of which I have already given a great variety of instances.

Let us therefore, before it is too late, take warning by these tremendous examples of GOD'S VENGEANCE against this kind of Oppression, which the Scrip­tures [Page 303]hold forth, not only to this Na­tion, but to all the World besides! The examples which I have quoted of God's Vengeance, denounced against the Israelites and Jews for TYRANNY, are not more striking than the examples of VENGEANCE denounced against the very Instruments of that VENGEANCE (the Assyrians and Babylonians) ex­pressly on the same account; for though the latter were mere Instruments in God's hand, to punish the Jews in kind, yet they were themselves subjected to the like RETRIBUTION!

Nay, THE VENGEANCE was de­nounced particularly against the Chal­deans (and the cause of it, also, was de­clared) long before they were guilty of the offence, as I have before remarked, even while the Jews, the Nation vindicated by this punishment, were exercising that Tyranny at home for which they [Page 304]were then doomed to the Babylonian Yoke, and thereby laid the foundation for the future retaliated CAPTIVITY of their haughty CONQUERORS the Chal­deans!

And have not we just reason to dread the severe VENGEANCE OF ALMIGHTY GOD, when it is notorious, that the Tyranny exercised in the British Colo­nies is infinitely more unmerciful than that which was formerly exercised by the Chaldeans, insomuch that the state of the Jews in their Captivity might be esteemed rather as Freedom than Bon­dage, when compared with the deplo­rable Servitude of the wretched NEGRO SLAVES, as well as of the white Ser­vants, in our Colonies?

What must be the consequence of such abominable wickedness?

[Page 305]By as much as we exceed the Assy­rians and Babylonians in religious know­ledge, by so much more severely may we expect the hand of God upon us for our monstrous abuse of such advan­tages!

The Inhabitants of Great Britain and the Inhabitants of the Colonies seem to be almost equally guilty of Oppression!

THE COLONIES protest against the Iniquity of the SLAVE-TRADE; but, nevertheless, continue to hold the poor wretched Slaves in a most detestable Bon­dage! GREAT BRITAIN, indeed, keeps no Slaves, but publicly encourages the Slave-trade, and contemptuously neg­lects or rejects every petition or attempt of the Colonists against that notorious wickedness!

[Page 306]The House of Burgesses in Virginia, transmitted a very sensible and respect­ful Petition to the King(188), dated the 1st of April, concerning the Iniquity, [Page 307]Inhumanity, and destructive Influence of the AFRICAN SLAVE-TRADE, to which [Page 308]not the least Answer hath yet been re­turned!

The Freeholders and Inhabitants of the County of Somerset, in New Jersey, also, through their regard to the civil and RELIGIOUS Interest of the Country, and the established Rights of Mankind, presented to the Governor, Council, and Representatives of that Province a very seasonable Testimony against that wicked Traffic which has Slavery for it's object, praying them to provide against the future Importation of Slaves into that Colony and to enable such persons as shall chuse it to manumit their SLAVES upon equitable Principles to the Owners and the Public, &c. (189). [Page 309]Another Petition upon the like benevo­lent principles was presented to the same Assembly by divers Inhabitants of the County of ESSEX in the said Province, wherein they also signified their dis­satisfaction concerning an Act of As­sembly in force for preventing the manu­mitting [Page 310]and setting free any Negro Slave, &c. whereby many ‘are obliged to keep their Fellow Men in a Slavery to them unlawful, and contrary to their Christian Principles,’ &c. And they exhort the Assembly ‘to obtain an alteration of his Majesty's Instruction to the Governor relating to the African Trade,’ &c. (190) A number also [Page 311]of the Inhabitants of the City and County of Philadelphia bore the like testimony [Page 312]against the African Trade in a pathetic and earnest Petition to their Provincial Assembly; wherein they take notice of the example set them by the Province of Virginia in petitioning the King, from a deep sensibility of the danger and pernicious consequences which will be attendant on a Continuation of this most iniquitous Traffic (191). But the As­sembly, [Page 313]being desirous first to know what reception the abovementioned neg­lected Virginian Petition had met with at Court, postponed their address to the Throne; and instead of it transmitted [Page 314]an Act of Assembly for the King's As­sent, whereby they laid a heavy duty on the head of every Slave that should be imported, amounting almost to a pro­hibition of the iniquitous Traffic; but this seasonable attempt to discourage the crying national sin, met with a very cold reception it seems on this side of the At­lantic, and the Bill was absolutely re­jected; so that the horrid Guilt of per­sisting in that monstrous Wickedness must rest on this side of the Atlantic! Is this—to execute Judgement and righteous­ness? Is this to deliver the SPOILED out of the hand of the OPPRESSOR?’ Is this to "do no wrong," to do no violence to the STRANGER?’

Does not the same God, who warned the impolitic Zedekiah by the mouth of his Prophet, also equally warn us by the written word which he hath given [Page 315]to us for doctrine, for reproof, for cor­rection, for instruction in righteousness? 2 Tim. iii. 16.

Does he not equally warn us by these everlasting Records of his tremendous Judgements and dreadful VENGEANCE even against his own peculiar people? FOR— all these Things happened unto them for ensamples: (as I have before observed) and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the Ends of the World are come. 1 Cor. x. 11.

And yet with all these spiritual ad­vantages, I fear we far exceed the Jews in the enormity and multitude of our National Oppressions: how then shall we escape the just Vengeance of God, if we persevere in these inhuman prac­tices? Is this the return we make to God for the Blessing of a Christian Edu­cation! [Page 316]Surely he hath expected better thing of us! Have we not just reason to fear that he will condemn this nation as he did the Jews of old? saying— he looked for JUDGEMENT, but behold OPPRESSION; for RIGHTEOUSNESS, but behold a CRY!’ Isaiah v. 7.

As God never changes, it is impossi­ble that this nation should escape his just retribution, and still persist in violat­ing the natural Rights of mankind!

Reflect, my Countrymen, for a mo­ment, upon the present state of those enor­mous national Transgressions, the Afri­can Slave Trade encouraged in GREAT BRITAIN, and the toleration of Slavery in THE BRITISH COLONIES, and you will readily perceive that we must stand condemned even if we judge ourselves! and how then shall we appear before [Page 317]that Righteous Judge, who is no re­specter of persons? How can we hope to escape the DIVINE VENGEANCE when we know that the Almighty hath even bound himself with a most solemn oath never to forget any such, acts of OP­PRESSION? The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, SURELY I will never forget any of their works, or rather "all their works," [...]; amongst which the SLAVE-TRADE, in particular, is expressly mentioned in the preceding verse, viz. buying the Poor for Silver, &c. And then he condescends to appeal, as I before re­marked, to human Judgement concern­ing the propriety, or rather the ne­cessity and certainty, of the Divine Vengeance for such National Wicked­ness! — Shall not the Land tremble for this? and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? Amos viii. 6—8. And in [Page 318]like manner by the Prophet Jermiah:— Shall I not visit for these things? Shall not my Soul be avenged on such a Nation as this? Chap. v. 9. These Judge­ments, indeed, were denounced against the Jews; but surely common sense must teach us that they are equally ap­plicable at home, that is, on such a Nation AS THIS,’ my Countrymen!

But there is still a way to escape, if my Countrymen have but grace to take warning! And therefore to the un­questionable Examples of GOD's Retri­bution and Vengeance which I have al­ready given, let me add, before I con­clude, on very remarkable Example of GOD's Vengeance for National Op­pression being actually averted by the seasonable interposition of a few indivi­duals, who procured the dismission and enfranchisement of a large body of poor [Page 319] enslaved people, and thereby appeased the denounced Wrath of our merciful God!

In the beginning of the 28th chapter of the second Book of Chronicles, an account is given of the abominable Ido­latry and Wickedness of Ahaz King of Judah, who (even) burned his Chil­dren in the Fire, and by that super­lative degree of Uncharitableness and In­humanity demonstrated a voluntary sub­mission to that heavy Yoke of Bondage under the Grand Spiritual Enemy of Man­kind, from which the Almighty Protector of the Creation had so gloriously deli­vered his Ancestors, after the abomi­nations (says the Text) of the Hea­then, whom the Lord had cast out be­fore the Children of Israel. He sacri­ficed also and burned incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every [Page 320]green tree. Wherefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the King of SYRIA; and they smote him, and CARRIED AWAY A GREAT MULTITUDE OF THEM CAPTIVES, and brought (them) to DAMASCUS. And he was also delivered into the hand of the King of ISRAEL, who smote him with a great slaughter: for PEKAH’ (the King of Israel) the Son of RE­MALIAH slew in Judah AN HUNDRED AND TWENTY THOUSAND IN ONE DAY, all valiant men; because THEY HAD FORSAKEN THE LORD GOD OF THEIR FATHERS. And ZICHRI, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew MAA­SEIAH THE KING'S SON, and AZ­RIKAM THE GOVERNOR OF THE HOUSE, and ELKANAH (that was) NEXT TO THE KING. And the Chil­dren of ISRAEL carried away captive of their Brethren TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND WOMEN, SONS AND [Page 321]DAUGHTERS, and took also away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria. But a Prophet of the Lord was there whose name (was) ODED: and he went out before the Host that came to Samaria, (tha tis, as they returned from the War to Samaria with their Captives and Booty,) and said unto them, "Behold, because the LORD GOD of your Fathers was wroth with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand, and ye have SLAIN THEM IN A RAGE (that) REACH­ETH UP UNTO HEAVEN. And now (said the Prophet) ye purpose to KEEP UNDER the Children of Judah and Je­rusalem for BOND-MEN and BOND-WOMEN unto you: (but are there) NOT WITH YOU, EVEN WITH YOU, SINS against the LORD your GOD? Now hear me therefore, and DELIVER THE CAPTIVES AGAIN, which ye have TAKEN CAPTIVE OF YOUR [Page 322]BRETHREN: FOR THE FIERCE WRATH OF THE LORD (is) UPON YOU.’ 2 Chron. xxviii. 9—11. And may it not be said in these latter days, with equal Truth, to the Inhabitants of GREAT BRITAIN and HER COLONIES, Are there not with you, even with you, Sins against the LORD your GOD?’ that is, are there not with you already a sufficient number of SINS (for which, unless you repent, you will certainly be accountable) but that you must pre­sumptuously add to your Sins and to your Trespass the horrid guilt of SLAVERY and OPPRESSION, to hasten GOD'S VENGEANCE upon you? but that you must suddenly heap up the measure of your iniquity by tolerating in your Colonies a much more grievous Slavery, a much more numerous Bondage, than the Israelites were ever guilty of? Yet in Israel, there were found four Chiefs or Noblemen— Heads of the Children [Page 323]of Ephraim, who were zealous to avert God's Wrath, and save their Country by a speedy restoration of the JEWISH CAPTIVES to their natural freedom. They valiantly ‘STOOD UP against them that came from the War,—(which were, probably, not only PEKAH, their King, and his Princes, but also the principal Warriours of their Country; see the 6th, 7th, and 14th verses)— and said unto them, Ye shall not bring in THE CAPTIVES hither.—These were peremptory Terms, which shewed, that they were ready to risk their Lives in so good a cause; and, at the same time, they assigned the reason of their opposition in a SOLEMN PRO­TEST—"for whereas" (said they) we have offended against the Lord (already), ye INTEND TO ADD (more) TO OUR SINS and to OUR TRESPASS:—for our Trespass is great, and (thereis) fierce wrath against Israel. Ver. 12, 13.

[Page 324]This reason, as well as the undaunt­ed Resolution of those who gave it, had the proper effect upon the Israelitish Soldiers, who, notwithstanding the ge­neral depravity of their countrymen, still deserved the name of MEN, by de­monstrating, that they were not insen­sible to REASON, and that they thought themselves entitled (though SOLDIERS) to that common Right of HUMAN NA­TURE, the Right of judging for them­selves in matters of conscience, without which no man can be truely honourable: for as soon as they heard the just remon­strance of the four Noblemen, they quitted the Prey and the Plunder (a hard thing for Soldiers to submit to) with­out waiting, it seems, for the word of command from the King or his Princes!—"So the armed men" (says the Text) lest the Captives and the Spoil before THE PRINCES and ALL THE CON­GREGATION.’ Ver. 14.

[Page 325]Here (be pleased to observe) is a National Council at once assembled in the field; the whole Power of the People‘THE PRINCES AND ALL THE CON­GREGATION.’

What were their Deliberations on this occasion does not appear, nor their RESOLUTIONS, or rather, they seem to have been totally IRRESOLUTE, waver­ing between what was a RIGHT TO BE DONE and PRIVATE INTEREST; as if each man was unwilling to give up his share of the booty, and yet ashamed openly to resist the active Resolution of the four Chiefs on so charitable a cause; for these four Noblemen, it seems, at last boldly took upon themselves the whole business;—"and the men" (says the Text) "which were expressed by name," (viz. the four Noblemen mentioned in the 12th verse) ‘ROSE UP, and TOOK THE CAPTIVES, and WITH THE [Page 326]SPOIL CLOTHED all that were naked among them, and arrayed them and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho the City of Palm-Trees, to their brethren: then they returned to Samaria. Thus an immediate Judgement from God upon Israel was averted by the spirited oppo­sition of FOUR individuals against a whole Nation! But Great Britain and her Colonies, which forcibly detain more than FOUR times the number(192) of [Page 327]wretched Captives in an involuntary servitude, much more intolerable than any that the Israelites were ever guilty of exacting!—GREAT BRITAIN which recruits the ravages of her Cruelty, Op­pression, and Injustice, by an annual sup­ply of more than fifty thousand poor (193) African STRANGERS (against whom [Page 328]they have not the least pretence of war or quarrel)— ‘MEN AND WOMEN, SONS AND DAUGHTERS’‘FOR BONDMEN AND FOR BONDWOMEN’ to be worn out with unremitted labour; like those poor injured creatures whose places they supplied!—Great Britain, I say, with all this accumulated load of guilt has not yet produced four Chiefs or Noblemen to PROTEST against this most abominable Tyranny, and ‘to stand in the Gap, with reverential fear of God, to avert the DIVINE VEN­GEANCE, though Religion, Humanity, and even Common Sense ought to have prompted them to it!—May we not too aptly compare the principal crimes of the Jews, (for which they lost their liberty), to the present crying Sins of GREAT BRITAIN AND HER COLONIES!—"In the midst of thee" (said a Pro­phet from God) have they DEALT BY OPPRESSION WITH THE STRAN­GER: [Page 329] in thee have they vexed the Fatherless and the Widow. Ezek. xxii. 7. And again, The People of the Land have used OPPRESSION and exercised ROBBERY, and have vexed the Poor and Needy: yea, they have OPPRESSED THE STRANGER WRONG­FULLY. And I sought for A MAN among them that should make up the hedge, and STAND IN THE GAP be­fore me for the Land, that I should not destroy it: but I sound none! THERE­FORE have I poured out mine indigna­tion upon them, I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: THEIR OWN WAY have I RECOMPENSED UPON THEIR HEADS, saith the Lord God. Ezek. xxii. 29—31. And have not the Inhabitants of Great Britain and her Colonies, therefore, just reason to ex­pect a similar VENGEANCE for the like OP­PRESSIONS? Do they flatter themselves, that the same God will permit them to go [Page] [Page 310]on without recompensing their ‘OWN WAY’ upon their HEADS! Slavery for Slavery? Or have they forgot, that the God of Israel, who thus reproved his pe­culiar People for holding their Brethren in BONDAGE, is the SAME "LORD GOD" with whom we have to do? and that he is UNCHANGEABLE? How would our Rulers and Chief Men bear a repetition of this unchangeable word in the pre­sence of God, when the Books are opened for Judgement:— I sought for a Man among them that should make up the hedge, and STAND IN THE GAP before me for the Land, that I should not destroy it; but I FOUND NONE!’ May I not say, that even backsliding Israel shall rise up in Judgement with this Generation, and shall condemn it? As the backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah, (Jer. iii. 11.) so she hath surely "justified herself more than" [Page 331]BRITAIN! for when the measure of her iniquity seemed to be filled by that notorious act of Oppression in the reign of Pekah before-mentioned, there were yet found in her FOUR worthy Advocates to STAND IN THE GAP before GOD for the Land; even four "Chiefs" (or Nobles) "of the Children of Ephraim," who boldly protested against the horrid crime of domestic Slavery. But Great Britain, though staggering under a much heavier load of the same kind of Guilt, has not produced, out of her numerous Peerage, ONE SINGLE CHIEF to stand up "for the Land," and remove her burthen! Mark this, ye Right Reve­rend Fathers of our Church, who sit with the PRINCES of the Realm to con­sult the welfare of the State! Think not that I am inclined, through any misguided prejudice(194), to charge [Page 332] your Order, in particular, with the omission. The crying Sin has hitherto [Page 333]been far distant from your sight, and perhaps was never fully represented to [Page 334]you, or, like faithful Watchmen of Israel, you would long ago have warned our [Page 335]Nation of the Danger: but I now call upon you, IN THE NAME OF GOD, [Page 336]for assistance! Ye know the Scriptures, and therefore to you, my Lords, in [Page 337]particular I appeal! If I have misrepre­sented the Word of God, on which my [Page 338] Opposition to SLAVERY is founded, point out my errors, and I submit: but if, on the other hand, you should perceive that the Texts here quoted are really [Page 339]applicable to the question before us, that my conclusions from thence are fairly drawn, and that the Examples of GOD'S VENGEANCE against TYRANTS and SLAVE-HOLDERS ought strictly to warn us against similar Oppressions and similar Vengeance, you will not then, I trust, be backward in this Cause of GOD and MAN. Stand up (let me intreat you) for the Land; MAKE UP THE HEDGE,’ to save your Country; perhaps it is not yet too late! Enter a solemn protest, my Lords, against those who have oppressed the Stranger wrong­fully. Ye know that the Testimo­nies I have quoted are of God! Warn [Page 340]therefore the Nobles and Senators of these Kingdoms, that they incur not a double load of Guilt! as the burthen, not only of the much-injured African Strangers, but also of our Country's Ruin, must rest on the heads of those who withhold their Testimony against the CRYING SIN Of TOLERATED SLAVERY! For ‘I KNOW that the LORD will main­tain the CAUSE of the Afflicted, and the RIGHT of the Poor. Psa. cxl. 12.

GRANVILLE SHARP.

SOLI DEO GLORIA ET GRATIA.

TEXTS OF SCRIPTURE QUOTED OR ILLUSTRATED IN THE FOREGOING TRACT.

GENESIS.
Chapter.Verse.Page.
XV.11.182
XVII.8.81
EXODUS.
II.23, 24.12
III.7, 8.13
XXI.2, 5, 6.4, 5, 81, 173
XXII.21—24.16
XXIII.9.15
LEVITICUS.
XIX.18, 33, 34.10, 11
XXV.10, 39, 40.4, 173
DEUTERONOMY.
V.15.14
VII.2, 16.8, 9
X.17—19.10
XV.12, 15.173, 178, 195
XVI.12.178, 195
XXIII.15, 16.21
XXIV.18, 22.178—195
JUDGES.
VI.8.14

[Page 342]

I SAMUEL.
Chapter.Verse.Page.
I.22.81
VII.17.75
XIII.13.81
XXII.6.75
II SAMUEL.
VII.11—29.93
XII.10.81
I KINGS.
III.5.70
V.12.236
II KINGS.
XVI.9.231
XVIII.17.234
XXIII.29, 31—34, 36.45, 47—50, 97, 216
XXIV.1, 2, 6, 8, 11—15, 17, 18.91, 95—98, 104, 106, 107, 108, 115, 135
XXV.1.26
I CHRONICLES.
III.15—18.44, 108, 134
XXI.29.70, 75
II CHRONICLES.
I.3.75
XXV.16—24.42
XXVI.5—7.234
XXVIII.9—11, 27.98, 322
XXXIII.14.92
XXXV.21.216
XXXVI.1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13.46, 48, 90, 104, 109, 135
EZRA.
I.1.297
II.26.75

[Page 343]

NEHEMIAH.
Chapter.Verse.Page.
VI.10—12.69
VII.30.75
PSALMS.
XII.5.19
LXXXI.6, 7.14
CXL.12.340
PROVERBS.
XVI.12.120
XXV.5.ibid.
ISAIAH.
III.13—15.21
V.7.316
VII.4.231
X.6, 7, 12—16, 29.75, 209, 213
XIII.2—19.285
XIV.17, 25, 26.217—297
XVI.4.244
XIX.2, 3.226
XXI.2—5.286, 287
XXIII.7—9.237
XXXIII.1.217
XL.11.163
XLII.7.299
XLIV.21—28.294
XLV.1—5, 13.294—296
XLVII.1—14.283
L.41—43.287
LIV.14.121
LVIII.3.19
LXL.1, 2.299
JEREMIAH.
I.15.124
III.11.330
V.26—29.24
VI.6—8.26.
Chapter.Verse.Page.
VII.5—7199
XXI.1, 2, 3—9, 11, 12.29, 30, 36, 142
XXII.1—3, 5—9, 13, 18, 19, 24—28, 30.97, 103, 137, 142, 301.
XXIII.1, 2, 5, 6.112, 162
XXIV.1, 5, 7—9.114, 138, 169
XXV.1—9, 11—14.81, 82, 124, 275
XXVI.1—15.76, 77
XXVII.4—7.85, 209.
XXX.2, 7—9, 11, 16.269—272.
XXXIII.15, 16.163
XXXIV.1—3, 11.28, 176
XXXV.11.88
XXXVI.1—3, 5, 9, 29, 30.85, 89, 94, 95, 97
XXXVII.4—17.185—187
XXXVIII.2—5, 9—13.189, 190
XXXIX.1—7, 10.27, 136, 137, 201, 206
XLV.1, 5.87
XLIX.34, 39.116, 117
L.2—15, 33, 41—43.148, 265—269, 287
LI.1—42, 59—64.119, 287—290
LII.9—11, 31—34.27, 48, 139, 203
LAMENTATIONS.
IV.5, 9, 10.200, 201
V.13.205
EZEKIEL.
VII.3, 4, 8, 9, 11, 23.31
XII.19.32
XVII.15—21.120—123
XXII.7.33, 34
XXIX.3, 4.122
XXXIX.10.262
DANIEL.
I.1—3.79, 90, 134
V.4, 6.286, 288
HOSEA.
V.8.75

[Page 345]

JOEL.
III.7, 8.227, 261
AMOS.
Chapter.Verse.Page.
I.1—15.230—242
II.1—6.242, 246
III.9—11.246—250
V.7—12.247—249
VIII.4—8.23
OBADIAH.
I.9—15.227—229
MICAH.
III.11.69
ZECHARIAH.
VII.3, 5.89
VIII.19.Ibid.
MATTHEW.
I.12.135
VI.24, 33.113, 143
VII.7.197
MARK.
XI.24.197.
LUKE.
IV.17—21.299
X.18.196
XI.9, 13.197
XVI.13.197—143
JOHN.
I.12.196
X.11.163
VIII.34.145
XIV.13.197
XV.7.197

[Page 346]

ROMANS.
VIII.14, 15.197
XI.12, 25, 32.292
XVI.18.145
I CORINTHIANS.
Chapter.Verse.Page.
III.16, 17.197
VI.9, 10.145
X.11.12
GALATIANS.
V.14, 15.11, 257
EPHESIANS.
V.5.144
PHILIPPIANS.
III.18, 19.144
COLOSSIANS.
III.5.144
HEBREWS.
II.14, 15.196
II PETER.
I.3, 4.197
I JOHN.
III.8.145

INDEX.

A.
  • AFRICA, number of slaves annually bartered for on the coast of, page 147, note. Abp. Sharp's re­flections on the decline of, to the present barbarous state, 263, note.
  • African Company, the property they acquire in negro­slaves unjust, 206. The means of procuring them detestable, 207.
  • — Merchants of Liverpool and Bristol, remon­strance to them, on their traffic for men's bodies, 219. See Slave-trade.
  • Ahaz king of Judah, the judgements inflicted on him for his inhuman idolatry, 319.
  • Amaziah king of Judah, his haughty rejection of pro­phetical advice, and subsequent humiliation, 41, note.
  • America, the cause of the opposition to the establish­ment of episcopacy there, assigned, 339, note.
  • Ammonites, denunciation of God's vengeance against them for their barbarities, 240.
  • Amos, his description of the practices by which the Jews reduced their poor brethren to slavery, 21. The [Page 348]Retribution denounced by him against the Syrians for their oppressions, 229. Against the Philistines, 231. Against Tyre, 235. Against Edom, 237. Against the bloody-minded Ammonites, 240. Against Moab, 242. Against Judah, 245. And, lastly, against Israel, 246.
  • Armies, standing, a warning example against the keeping of, 56, note.
  • Assyrians and Babylonians, instruments in the hand of God for the mutual punishment of each other, 210. Remarkable instance of divine vengeance against the former, 216, note.
B.
  • Babylon, the Prophet Jeremiah's denunciation of retri­bution against, 264. A prior denunciation against, by Isaiah, 275. The bondage with which her cap­tives were oppressed, the cause of God's vengeance against, 277. The stratagem by which Cyrus en­tered the City, 293. Great treasures found in the chapels of the idols, 295.
  • Barnes, his account of the ancient mode of choosing Bishops, 334, note.
  • Bengelius, his account of the primitive mode of elect­ing Bishops, 334, note.
  • Bishops, appeal to, and call upon them to exert their influence against negro-slavery, 331. The order of, a divine institution, 332, note. Defect in the Eng­lish establishment of, ibid. The present mode of electing, a total perversion of the primitive one, 334, note. This present mode expressly condemned by Act of Parliament, 337, note.
  • [Page 349]Blackstone, Judge, his account of the ancient mode of electing Bishops, 332, note. This right how usurped from the Laity, 333, note.
  • Britain, warnings to the inhabitants of, for tolerating, by National Authority, the oppression of African Strangers in the Colonies, 16, 34. Indications of the Devil's empire over, 146, note. Unjust laws pointed out, 213, note. Symptoms of national de­struction, 226, note. Inquiry whether the corrup­tions and injustice which have destroyed other na­tions, may not draw down God's vengeance on them, 248, note. Cannot expect to be the only exception to God's general rule of national retribution, 258, 302.
C.
  • Christian Dispensation, Charity and Benevolence du­ties of indispensable obligation under, 6. Will not justify holding men in slavish bondage, ibid.
  • Churches of Britain and Ireland, how deprived of the just and ancient right of electing their own Bishops, 333, note.
  • Colonies, British, the oppressive treatment of negroes in, far exceeding those practices for which the Jews were reproached by their Prophets, 25. Number of negro slaves annually purchased there, 147. More tyranny exercised over the negroes there than formerly by the Chaldcans over the Jews, 304. And have reason therefore to expect more severe punishment, 305. Protest against the slave trade, yet at the same time continue to hold slaves in bon­dage, ibid.
  • [Page 350]Covetousness, a species of idolatry, 144, note.
  • Cyrus, the instrument of God's wrath against Babylon, and of deliverance to the Jews, predicted to this service two hundred years before his birth, 290. Called by Isaiah the Anointed of God, 297. In what respect a type of the Messiah, 298.
D.
  • Dispensations of Providence to public societies, extract from Abp. Sharp's sermon on, 253, note.
E.
  • Edomites, the judgements denounced against them by the Prophet Obadiah, with the reason, 227.
  • Eliakim. See Jehoiakim.
  • Episcopacy, how prevented from being established in America, 339, note.
  • Ezekiel, his severe prophetical censure of King Zede­kiah's breach of faith, 121.
F.
  • Father, a term often used in a loose sense in holy scrip­ture for any direct ancestor, 58, note.
  • Ferrerius, his remarks on Isaiah's prophecy concerning the Assyrians, 222, note.
  • Freedom, spiritual, clearly tendered to all mankind by Jesus Christ, 299. The rejection of this offer by the Jews the cause of the loss of their temporal inhe­ritance, ibid. note.
G.
  • Government, political, the necessity of administering it on just and righteous principles to produce national [Page 351]prosperity, 164, note. The woes denounced against national injustice and tyranny, 213, note.
  • Grotius, his commentary on Jeremiah, ch. xxii. de­fended, 140, note. A mistake of his, respecting the extent of the prophet's message to king Zede­kiah, rectified, 167, note. His opinion of the trans­gression for which the Philistines incurred the cen­sure of the Prophet Amos, examined, 232, note.
H.
  • Hananiah, a false prophet, rebuked by Jeremiah, 72.
  • Heathen, who are to be understood as comprehended under this term in the Mosaic law, 8.
  • Herodotus, his authority quoted for the great trea­sures in Babylon, when taken by Cyrus, 295, note.
I.
  • Idolatry, a specification of vices that participate in the guilt of, 143, note.
  • Je-hoiakim, how he attained the crown of Judah, 49, 50. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made the instrument of God's vengeance against him for his evil deeds, 79, 90. Rebels against Nebuchadnez­zar, 95.
  • Jeremiah, his account of the practices by which the Jews reduced the poor to slavery, 23. His predic­tion of the future empire of Nebuchadnezzar, 52, 57. His prophetical message to Zedekiah particu­larly considered, 131. Collation of passages in ch. xxi. and ch. xxii. 141. Sec Zedekiah.
  • Jerusalem, the prophet Jeremiah's denunciations against that city for oppression, 26. Is taken by Nebu­chadnezzar, [Page 352]89. Is taken a second time, 99. Is taken a third time, 106.
  • Jewish servitude, the nature of under the Mosaic law, explained, 4.
  • Jews, the permission granted them of keeping bonds­men, cannot be claimed by any other nation, 8. The strongest instances of God's vengeance against tyrants, to be found in their history, 11. Their re­storation to natural freedom from Egyptian slavery, the first national mercy they experienced, 12. This deliverance frequently mentioned by the prophets, 13. And particularly recommended to their re­membrance, 14. That they might be moved to sympathize with oppressed strangers, 15. Warnings given them of the danger of oppression, 16. Their oppressions trivial in comparison with the treatment of negroes in the British Colonies, 25. The judge­ments of God executed against king Zedekiah, his family, and the nobles of Judah, 202. Under their present dispersion, have scriptural assurances of a glo­rious re-establishment, 272, note. Their final con­version will be a true object of general joy, 291, note.
  • Josephus, his disingenuous attempt to conceal the tak­ing of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, 89, note. His account of the death of Jehoiakim, 98.
  • Josiah king of Judah, account of his sons, 44. The judgement he drew on himself by undertaking an un­just war against Pharaoh Necho, king of Egypt, 155, note.
  • Isaiah, his reproof to the Jews for the inconsistency of their outward humiliations with their oppressive con­duct to the poor, 19. His denunciation against the city of Tyre, 237, note.
  • [Page 353]Judah, remarkable deliverance of, from the bondage of Pekah king of Israel, by four chiefs of the chil­dren of Ephraim, 322.
L.
  • Liberty, the deprivation of, the greatest of all injuries, except the loss of life, 301.
  • Lives, a general view of the melancholy destruction of, in the prosecution of the slave trade, 148, note.
  • Lowth, Dr. examination of his opinion concerning the successor of Josiah king of Judah, as mentioned by the prophet Jeremiah, 52, note. His interpreta­tion of the word pastor, 162, note.
M.
  • Masquerades, the baneful tendency of, 146, note.
  • Micah, his denunciation of God's vengeance against the Ammonites for their covetous violence, 241, note.
N.
  • Nations, not like individuals, to be called to a future account for their crimes, but receive their punish­ments in their collective capacity in this world, 253, note. Are, by divine wisdom, made mutual scourges to each other, 256.
  • National wickedness, has generally been visited by na­tional punishments, 10, 253, note, 259, note.
  • Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the nations com­manded to submit to his yoke, 63, note, 66. Kills Jeholakim, 99. His extensive conquests, 124. Executes the decree of God against king Zedekiah, 202. His conduct considered, 207.
  • [Page 354]Negroes, inhuman treatment of them for resistance to tyranny, 151, note. One played for and won, at cards, 219, note. Advertisement for the head of one, 238, note. Computation of the number of, in our American islands and settlements, 326, note.
  • New Jersey, proceedings of the inhabitants and free­holders, in disapprobation of the importation of negro slaves, 308.
P.
  • Paris, Matthew, the ancient mode of electing bishops, collected from his account of the election of Ulstan to the see of Worcester, 337.
  • Pastor, a term used both in a civil and ecclesiastical sense, 162, note.
  • Patrick, Bishop, his mistake concerning the eldest son of Josiah king of Judah, corrected, 45, note. His account of the death of Je-hoiakim, 97, note.
  • Philadelphia, petition of the inhabitants of, to the pro­vincial Assembly, against the importation of negro slaves, 312. A provincial act imposing a heavy duty on them, rejected by the crown, 314.
  • Philistines, the retribution prophecied against them by Amos, 231. For carrying on a slave trade with Edom, 233. When probably fulfilled, 234, note.
  • Plagues of Egypt, signal instances of God's vengeance against slave-holder, 13.
  • Planters, not to be exculpated from sharing the load of guilt with the kidnappers in the slave-trade, 150, note.
  • Prideaux, Dean, determines who Belshazzar was in prophane history, 58, note. His account of the great fast of expiation, 93, note. His account of the [Page 355]death of Jehoiakim king of Judah corrected by Jo­sephus, 99.
  • Prophets, lying, hired for money, 69, note.
R.
  • Retribution, the divine law of, explained, 75, note, 253, note, 259, note.
  • Riblah in the land of Hamath, critical exposition of the names of those places, 48, note. The judgements of God against king Zedekiah, his Family, and the nobles of Judah, executed there, 201.
S.
  • Seamen, the great hazard they run in the African slave trade, 149, note.
  • Secker, Abp. the cause of the opposition to his endea­vours at promoting episcopacy in America, traced, 339, note.
  • Shallum king of Judah, critical opinions concerning his proper name, 46, note. His fate, 47.
  • Sharp, Abp. his account of the use God made of king Nebuchadnezzar, 125, note. Extract from his ser­mon on the means of national prosperity, 253, note. His sentiments on national retribution, 259, note. His reflections on the present barbarous state of Africa, 263, note.
  • Slave trade to Africa, rendered a national crime by its legislative support, 1. Indications of a national re­tribution for the guilt of it, 3. The judgements of God against the Jews, brought home to the reflec­tion of African traders and American planters, 206. We have reason to fear the like divine vengeance for the guilt of this criminal traffic, 260.
  • [Page 356]Slavery and oppression, the public toleration of, a most heinous national crime in the sight of God, 10. Strong prophetical description of, 154 Warning hints for the stopping of, communicated by the Au­thor to the British Ministry, 251, 252, notes.
  • Soldiers, African, their deplorable situation in the company's settlements, 150, note.
  • Syrians, the denunciations of the prophet Amos against them for their oppressions, how fulfilled, 230.
T.
  • Tyrants, tremendous examples of God's vengeance against, to be found in all histories, particularly that of the Jews, 11.
  • Tyre and Zidon, the ports for the ancient slave trade, of Palestine, 219. How this wicked traffic was re­taliated upon them, 222, note. The government of Tyre subverted by the slaves, 256, note.
V.
  • Vices, destructive of national prosperity, 165, note. Public, how punished, 253, note.
  • Virginia, petition of the house of burgesses to the king on the inhumanity and dangerous tendency of the African slave-trade, 306.
  • Urijah the prophet murdered by Jehoiakim king of Judah, 77.
  • Usher, Abp. his account of Nabuchadonosor king of Babylon, 55, note. His opinion as to the king ad­dressed by the prophet Jeremiah, ch.xxii. corrected, 136, note.
W.
  • [Page 357]War, barbarity in, will incur the vengeance of God, 240, note.
X.
  • Xenophon, his account of the destruction of Babylon, 287, 288, 295.
Y.
  • Yokes, prophetically used as emblems of slavery, 52, note, 56, 64.
Z.
  • Zedekiah king of Judah, prophetic denunciations against him for injustice and oppression, 26. Exhor­tations to him, 37. Historical account of that prince, 44, 59. Is raised to the throne by Nebuchadnezzar, 108. Exposition of his regal name, 110, 166. Re­bels against the king of Babylon, 119. The pro­phet Jeremiah's message to him particularly consi­dered, 131. Proclaims liberty to bondsmen, 172. Denunciations upon his relapse, 177. Judgement executed on him, by the hand of his conqueror Ne­buchadnezzar, 202.

This Tract having been unavoidably extended to a much greater length than was at first intended, the Extract from Mr. Morgan's Book, mentioned in p. 258, is inserted in the Appendix of another Tract, intituled, ‘The just Limitation of Slavery in the Laws of God compared with the unbound­ed Claims of the African Traders and British American Slave-holders.’

FINIS.

By the same AUTHOR.

  • I. A Short Treatise on the English Tongue. Being an Attempt to render the Reading and Pronunciation of the same more easy to Fo­reigners. 1767.
  • II. Remarks on several very important Prophe­cies. 1768.
  • III. A Representation of the Injustice and dangerous Tendency of Tolerating Slavery; or of admitting the least Claim of Private Property in the Persons of Men in England. Being in Answer to an Opi­nion given in the Year 1729, by the (then) Attor­ney General and Solicitor General concerning the Case of Slaves in Great Britain. 1769.
  • IV. Remarks concerning the Encroachments on the River Thames near Durham Yard. 1771.
  • V. Remarks on the Opinions of some of the most celebrated Writers on CROWN LAW, respecting the due Distinction between Manslaughter and Mur­der. 1773.
  • VI. In two Parts. 1. A Declaration of the Peoples Natural Right to a Share in the Legislature; which is the fundamental Principle of the British Constitu­tion of State. 2. A Declaration, or Defence of the same Doctrine, when applied particularly to THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND. 1774.

Printed ser B. WHITE, at Horace's Head, in Fleet-Street.

TRACTS, by the same AUTHOR, Now in the Press for Publication, by B. WHITE in Fleet-Street, and E. and C. DILLY in the Poultry.

  • I. A Tract on the Law of Nature, and Principles of Action in Man.
  • II. THE CASE OF SAUL; being an Appendage to the former Tract, wherein the compound Nature and various Principles of Action in MAN (with the Reality of supernatural, spiritual Influence, both good and bad) are proved by unquestionable Exam­ples from the History of that unfortunate Mo­narch, and also from many other parts of Scripture.
  • III. The just Limitation of Slavery in the Laws of God compared with the unbounded Claims of the African Traders and British American Slave-holders.
  • IV. The Law of passive Obedience: or, Christian Sub­mission to personal Injuries.—Wherein is shewn that the several Texts of Scripture which command the entire Submission of Servants or Slaves to their Masters, cannot authorize the latter to exact an involuntary Servitude, nor in the least degree justify the unbounded Claims of modern Slave-holders.
  • V. "The Law of Liberty;" or (as it is called in Scripture by way of eminence) "the Royal Law,," by which all Mankind will certainly be judged!

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