Ethan Smith's 'View of the Hebrews' - another source of Joe Smith's plagarizing
A View of the Hebrews...
(1st ed., Poultney, NY, 1823)
VIEW OF THE H E B R E W S;
EXHIBITING THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM;
THE CERTAIN RESTORATION OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL;
THE PRESENT FATE OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL;
AND AN ADDRESS OF THE PROPHET ISAIAH RELATIVE TO THEIR RESTORATION.
BY ETHAN SMITH,
PASTOR OF A CHURCH IN POULTNEY, (VT.)
"These be the days of vengeance" -- CHRIST.
"Yet a remnant shall return" -- ISAIAH.
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY SMITH & SHUTE,
District of Vermont, TO WIT:
BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the eleventh day of June, in the forty-seventh year of the Independence of the United States of America, SMITH & SHUTE, of the said District, have deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof they claim as proprietors, in the words following, to wit: "View of the Hebrews; exhibiting the destruction of Jerusalem; the certain restoration of Judah and Israel; the present state of Judah and Israel; and an address of the prophet Isaiah, relative to their restoration. By ETHAN SMITH, Pastor of a Church in Poultney, (Vt.) -- 'These be the days of vengeance' -- CHRIST. 'Yet a remnant shall return' -- ISAIAH." In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled "an act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned."
Clerk of the District of Vermont.
A true copy of record, examined and sealed by
J. GOVE, Clerk.
Few historical events have been of such interest to the world, as the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, about forty years after the ascension of our blessed Lord. This remark is true, if the event be contemplated simply as a piece of history. But when it is admitted that the event was a striking fulfillment of denunciations of wrath uttered by Christ on his persecutors, and by ancient prophets on the same people; also that it furnished a most brilliant type of the final destruction of Antichrist in the last days; it becomes far more interesting. This interest must be felt at this period, when the great events of the last days connected with the restoration of the Hebrews, are in a train of incipient fulfilment. The signs of the times are important on this generation. For upwards of thirty years they have been assuming an aspect, with which the Christian world ought to feel deeply impressed; and which will issue in the battle of the great day of God Almighty, and in the millennial kingdom of Christ.
The restoration of God's ancient people is to be as "life from the dead" to the Gentile world. Some have queried whether they are literally to be restored to Palestine. It hence becomes important to examine the prophetic scriptures upon this subject. This the writer has attempted to do; and will exhibit the result of his enquiries, in the following pages.
To ascertain the present state of the Hebrews, must be a matter of interest; and especially the state of the ten tribes of Israel. This, in the following work is attempted. Also an explanation is given of an address from the prophet Isaiah to some Christian people, relative to the restoration of the ancient people of God; and probably this people in America. If it is ascertained that the ten tribes are to be restored with the Jews, in the last days; they must be now in existence, and they must come to the knowledge of the Christian world about this time: for the time of their restoration must be near. And it is believed they are coming to light with ample evidence. This must deeply interest the Christian part of the world.
It would be strange if so great a section of Christendom as our United States, could claim no appropriate address in the prophetic writings. And it is thought to be capable of being shown, with a satisfactory degree of evidence, that such an address is indeed found; and one of great interest at this day. The writer acknowledges himself to be affected with this part of the subject; and he would rejoice to be the humble instrument of exciting a corresponding feeling in the minds of his christian brethren.
Poultney, July, 1823.
The Pawlet Association certify, that they have heard the Rev. E. Smith read a considerable part of his "VIEW OF THE HEBREWS;" that they do highly approve of the plan and execution of the work; do wish its publication; and cordially recommend it to the perusal of all classes of people.
Attest, RUFUS CUSHMAN, Scribe:
THE D E S T R U C T I O N OF J E R U S A L E M.
The land of promise was long a land of wonders. The Hebrew nation there was, for many centuries, the cradle of the truth and only church of God on earth. There glorious things were wrought for her salvation. Patriarchs had there prayed, sacrificed and praised. There Prophets had prophesied; and the Almighty had often made bare his holy arm. There his people had too often apostatized; had been expelled from their Canaan; and again mercifully restored. There the ten tribes of Israel had renounced the house of David, and their God; and were hence banished to some unknown region of the world, to the present day; while the Jews were still retained in the covenant of God. There God, manifest in the flesh, made his appearance on earth; -- performed his publick ministry; -- atoned for the sins of the world; -- and ascended to glory. There the first heralds of the gospel dispensation commenced their ministry; and thence the wonderful scheme of grace was propagated through the nations.
Jerusalem was the capital of this earthly Canaan. Glorious things were spoken of this city of our God. "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, was this Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the Great King." This, for many centuries, might be called God's Capital on earth. God said, alluding primarily to this city; "For the Lord hath chosen Zion to be an habitation for himself. Here will I dwell, for I have desired it." Here great things were done in divine faithfulness; which led the psalmist to say; "God is known in her places for a refuge. For lo, Kings were assembled; they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and so they hasted away." "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." "In Salem stood his tabernacle; and his dwelling place in Zion. There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield and the sword of the battle." This city of God long answered well to its name. -- Jeru, they shall see; Salem, peace. Long did the church, while they walked with God, there see and enjoy peace.
But alas, we find recorded of this city, temple, and nation of the Jews, a fatal reverse. They found the sentiment in their sacred oracles fulfilled; "The Lord is with you while ye be with him; but if ye forsake him, he will cast you off."
The Jews became carnal; crucified the Lord of glory; and they fell under the denunciations and the full execution of his wrath. Their lawgiver Moses, and their prophets had long thundered against them, that when they should become of the character they finally assumed, the most tremendous judgements of God should cut them off. And the Messiah uttered against them, in consequence of their rejecting him, a new edition of these fatal denunciations, which we find in Matt. xxiv. Mark xiii. Luke xix. 41-44. chap. xxi. and xxiii. 27-30; to which the reader if referred. These were to have a primary fulfilment in the desolation of Jerusalem, and of the Jewish commonwealth. The primary fulfilment Christ assured should take place on that generation. And the denunciation was fulfilled.
This fulfilment, inasmuch as it demonstrated the truth and divinity of our Saviour; exhibited a type of the destruction of Antichrist, and of the wicked at the end of the world; and shows the danger of rejecting the Son of God; ought to be duly noted in the church, and frequently contemplated. It is a subject too much neglected, and forgotten in the present christian world. I design then, to give a concise description of the event, in which Jesus Christ came in awful judgement upon the infidel Jews, and vindicated his cause against his persecutors and murderers. But some preliminary remarks will first be made.
This noted city was built on two mountains; and contained two parts, called the upper and the lower city. The former was built on Mount Sion; the latter on Mount Acra. The city is supposed to have been founded by Melchisedeck, and then called Salem, or Solyma. The warlike Jebusites possessed it when Israel entered Canaan.
In the higher city they long defended themselves against the Hebrews. Here they remained, till David subdued them; and called their city The City of David.
Herod the Great, when he repaired (or rather rebuilded) the temple, added vast strength and embelishments to this city; which accounts for its superb state and strength when it was destroyed.
Most of this city was surrounded with three walls. In some places, where it was deemed inaccessible, it had only one. The wall, first built, was adorned and strengthened with sixty towers. Fourteen towers rested on the middle wall. The outside one, (most remarkable for its workmanship) was secured with ninety towers.
The tower Psephinos was most celebrated. It was seventy cubits high; had eight angles; and commanded a most beautiful prospect. Here the visitor might (in a clear atmosphere) delight himself with a view of the Mediterranean, forty miles to the west; and of the most of the Jewish dominions. Some of these towers were nearly ninety cubits in height; and famous for their beauty, elegance and curiosities. They were built of white marble; and had the appearance of vast marble blocks. These huge piles gave to the city, in the view of the adjacent country, a most majestic appearance.
Near the most lofty of these towers stood the royal palace, of the most commanding elegance. Incredible cost had furnished its pillars, porticoes, galleries, and apartments. Its gardens, groves, fountains, aqueducts, and walks, presented the richest and most delightful scenery. This was the beauty and elegance of the north side of Jerusalem.
On the east side stood the temple, and the fort of Antonio, over against Mount Olivet. This fort built on a rock of fifty feet in height, and of inaccessible steepness, overlaid with slabs of marble. The castle of Antonio stood in the centre of this fortress. The workmanship of this castle made it more resemble a palace than a castle. A tower adorned each square of this fortress; one of which was seventy cubits high, and commanded a full view of the temple.
The temple was in many respects, the most astonishing fabric ever beheld. Its site was partly on a solid rock, originally steep on every side. The lower temple had a foundation of vast dimensions, said to be three hundred cubits from its lowest base. This foundation was composed of stones sixty feet in length; and the lower part of the superstructure was composed of stones of solid white marble, more than sixty feet long; and seven by nine feet in bigness. Four furlongs compassed the whole pile of building; which was one hundred cubits high; with one hundred and sixty pillars, to afford both support and ornament.
In the front were spacious and lofty galleries, with cedar wainscot, resting on uniform rows of white marble columns. Josephus asserts that nothing could exceed the exterior part of this house of God, for exquisite workmanship and elegance. Its solid plates of gold seemed to strive to out-dazzle the rising sun. The parts of the building not covered with gold, had, at a distance, the appearance of pillars of snow, or white marble mountains. And the grandeur of the internal workmanship of this magnificent dome did not fail of being fully equal to its external magnificence. Nothing superb, costly, or elegant, was spared. The different part of the world had seemed to vie with each other, to pour their most costly treasures into this wonderful treasury of Heaven. The lower story was decorated with sacred furniture, the table of shew bread, altar of incense, and the candlestick of pure beaten gold. The altar and the table were overlaid with pure gold. Several doors of the sanctuary were fifty-five cubits in height, and sixteen in breadth, overlaid also with gold. The richest Babylonian tapestry, of purple, blue and scarlet, and of exquisite workmanship, waved within these doors. Golden vines, with leaves and clusters of grapes of gold, were suspended from the ceiling five or six feet, of curious workmanship. The temple had a huge eastern gate of pure Corinthian brass, -- a metal in the highest esteem. It would be a task to enumerate all the foldings of golden doors in the chambers; -- carved works, paintings and gildings; -- vessel of gold; scarlet, violet, and purple sacerdotal vestments; and all the incalculable piles of riches in this temple of Jehovah. The most precious stones, spices, and perfumes; -- every thing that nature, art, or riches could furnish, were stored within these stupendous and hallowed walls. Here were the city, and the temple to be destroyed, for the infidelity, malice, hypocrisy, and persecution of the Lord of glory, (in himself, and his followers,) which characterized its rulers and people. Here a measure of unprecedented atrociousness, was just filled up; which should bring down wrath upon them to the uttermost.
This tremendous ruin our Lord foretold and fulfilled.
The last noted entrance into Jerusalem of Him, who was God manifest in the flesh, took place on the Monday before the scene of his sufferings. Amidst the acclamation of multitudes he has hailed King of Zion, with every token of joy and praise. The air rang again with their praises, uttered for all the mighty works they had seen. They sang, Hosanna! Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven; and glory in the highest. Our Lord (superior to all their adulation, and knowing how soon the hosannas of some of them would turn, "Crucify him;" -- and being touched with sympathy and pity for a devoted city, now going to fill up their guilty measure of iniquity) "beheld the city, and wept over it." He said; "If thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day, the things which belong to thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes! For the days shall come when thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round; and keep. thee in on every side; and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee. And they shall not leave thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." The day but one after, Christ went into the temple for the last time, to instruct the people. While he was thus employed, the high priest, elders, Herodians, Sadducees, and Pharisees, gathered in turn around him, with a malicious view, to entangle him in his talk. Christ returned such answers, spake such parables, and set home such reproof and conviction to their souls, as not only to astonish and silence them; but to give them some awful prelibation of the final judgement, which awaited them at his bar. He thus, in a free and pungent address to the disciples, administered the most dignified and keen reproofs for the cruelty, hypocrisy and pride, of the Scribes and Pharisees. He foretold the malicious treatment the disciples would meet with at their hands; and then denounced the vengeance on that falling city, which for ages their crimes had been accumulating. He forewarned that this cup of divine indignation should be poured on that generation. His tender feelings of soul then melted in a most moving apostrophe: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee! How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings; and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye say, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." Upon this our Saviour left the temple. The disciples took an occasion to speak to Christ of the magnificence of sacred edifice; -- how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts. "Master, (said they,) see what manner of stones and buildings are here." "Jesus said unto them; See ye not all these things? Verily, I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." How very unlikely must such an event have seemed! But it was indeed fulfilled upon that generation.
Jesus and his disciples retired to the mount of Olives. Here the temple rose before them in all its majestick elegance. The surrounding scenery naturally suggested the conversation which followed. The disciples petitioned; -- "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?" Their minds seem to have been impressed with the preceding discourse; and they fell most readily upon the same subject, and wished to know when such awful events should come; and what warnings should announce their approach. Our Lord replied; "Take heed that no man deceive you; for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." As though he had said; This shall be one signal token of the event, both as my denunciations relate to a primary accomplishment in the destruction of Jerusalem; and to a more general and dreadful fulfilment in the destruction of Antichrist in the last days. Imposters shall abound. False religionsts shall deceive and ruin many. This was fulfilled in relation to Jerusalem. Not long after Christ's ascension, the Samaritan Dositheus appeared and declared himself the Messiah predicted by Moses. Simon Magus also declared himself "he Great power of God." Soon after, another impostor appeared from the mongrel Samaritans. The church has ever been annoyed by such kind of Samaritans, who have ever been faithful in vile imposters, crying "Lo, here; and lo there." This impostor promised to exhibit to the people sacred utensils said to be deposited by Moses in Mount Gerazim. Here a new decision must be given from heaven, to the question between the Jews and Samaritans, as to the place of worship; a thing which schismatics have ever been exceedingly fond; to derive some new light upon their party question directly from above; as, though decisions already given were insufficient.
Armed multitudes sallied forth to follow this Messiah, confident their Great Deliverer had at last made his appearance. But Pilate, the Roman governor, checked their fanaticism with the sword, and put their fancied Messiah to death.
Another impostor, Theudas, arose. He had the address to persuade multitudes to follow him into the wilderness, under his promise that he would cause the river Jordan to divide. The Roman procurator, Fadus, with a troop of horse, pursued them; slew the impostor, and many others; and dispersed the faction. Deceivers, under the government of Felix, were multiplied, leading off people into the wilderness under the promise and fanatical expectation that they should there see signs and wonders. The old Serpent often leads fanatical people into the wilderness of error and delusion, under similar expectations. The vigilant eye of the Roman governor rested on those Imposters, and was sure to frustrate their designs, as oft as they appeared.
In the year 55, arose a notable Egyptian impostor, named Felix. Thirty thousand followed him, under the persuasion that from mount Olivet they should see the walls of Jerusalem fall to the ground at his command, for their easy capture of the Roman garrison there; and their taking possession of Jerusalem. They were attacked by the Roman governor: four hundred were slain: and the rest dispersed. The Egyptian impostor escaped for his life. In the year 60, another pretended Messiah appeared, engaging to break the Roman yoke, if they would follow him into the wilderness; but the deceiver and his followers soon fell a sacrifice to the vigilance of Festus, the governor. It would be too unwieldy to mention all the vile imposters of this period. They were a just retribution of righteous Heaven upon the Jews, for having rejected and put to death the true Messiah: and they fulfilled the warning of our Lord, of a host of deceivers at that period. How prone are men to court deception. Christ had said to the Jews, 'I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not. If another should come in his own name, him will ye receive.' This was fulfilled: and not only then, but in every age to this day. Those who give the best evangelical evidence of their being ambassadors of Christ, many will reject; while the confident and noisy claims of egotists are by them fully allowed. "As in water face answers to face; so the heart of man to man."
Our Lord proceeds; "And ye shall hear of wars, and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things shall come to pass; but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation; and kingdom against kingdom; and great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; all these are the beginning of sorrows."
The portentous thunders of wars and rumours of wars may be said to have occupied most of the time from the death of our Saviour, to the destruction of Jerusalem. The historick pages, which treat of these times, are stained with blood. A war between Herod and Aretas, king of Arabia, opened the bloody scene, after a short season of peace. In Selucia, the Greeks and Syrians rose against the Jews, who fled thither from the pestilence in Babylon, and slew 50,000 of them. Five years after, the Jews in Perea and the people of Philadelphia contended about the limits of a city; when many of the Jews were slain. Four years after this, an insult being offered to the Jews within the precincts of the temple, by a Roman soldier; and being violently resented; a Roman force rushed upon them, which so terrified the Jews, that they fled in vast disorder, and 10,000 of them lost their lives in the streets. After another four years, the Jews ravaged the country of the Samaritans, in consequence of their having murdered a Galilean, who was going to keep the passover. Many were slain. Soon after, a contention arose between the Jews in Caesarea and the Syrians, relative to the government of Caesarea. In the first encounter more than 20,000 Jews were slain. This contention raged in many cities where the Jews and Syrians dwelt; and mutual slaughter prevailed. And in five other cities the carnage among the Jews was dreadful. At Damascus 10,000 Jews were slain in one hour. And at Seythopolis 13,000 were slain in one night. In Alexandria the Jews rose upon the Romans; and had 50,000 of their people slain, without any regard to infancy or age. Soon after, in a contention at Totapata, 40,000 Jews perished. These contentions rose and increased till the whole Jewish nation took up arms against the Romans. and brought on themselves their final destruction. Thus the prediction of our Saviour quoted, received in those days a striking primary fulfilment.
Our Savious added; "And great earthquakes shall be in divers places." These significant warnings too were accomplished in those days. Two are recorded by Tacitus; one at Rome in the reign of Claudius; another at Apamea, in Syria, where were many Jews. So destructive was the one at the latter place, that the tribute due to the Romans was for five years remitted. One also was terrific at Crete; one at Smyrna; one at Miletus; one at Chios, and one at Samos; in all which places Jews dwelt. These are noted by Philastratus. Soon after, in the reign of Nero, both Tacitus and Easebius inform, that Hierapolis and Colosse, as well as Laodicea, were overthrown by the earthquakes. Another is noted at Rome; one at Campania; and others tremendous are mentioned as taking place at Jerusalem in the night, just before the commencement of the last siege of that city. Of these, Josephus gives the following account: "A heavy storm burst on them, during the night, violent winds arose, with most excessive rains, with constant lightning, most tremendous thunders, and dreadful roarings of earthquakes. It seemed as if the system of the world had been confounded for the destruction of mankind. And one might well conjecture that these were signs of no common event."
The famines predicted by Christ were likewise fulfilled. The one foretold by Agabus, noted in the Acts of the Apostles, was dreadful, and of long continuance. It extended through Greece and Italy: but was most severely felt at Judea, and especially at Jerusalem. The contributions noted as brought by Paul from abroad, to relieve the poor brethren there, were sent during this sore famine. Authors of that time mention two other famines in the empire, previous to the one occasioned by the seige of Jerusalem.
"Pestilence" too, the Saviour adds. Two instances of this signal judgement took place before the last Jewish war. The one took place at Babylon, where many Jews resided; the other at Rome, which swept off vast multitudes. Other lighter instances of this calamity occurred, in various parts of the empire; as both Tacitus and Suetonius record.
Our Lord also adds: "And fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven," Josephus (who can never be suspected of wishing to favour any prediction of Christ; and who probably knew not of any such prediction, when he wrote,) gives accounts of events, which strikingly answer to this premonition. Speaking of the infatuation of his countrymen, in running after imposters, while they neglected the plainest admonitions from heaven; he gives account of the seven following events:
1. He says; "On the 8th of the month Zanthicus, (before the feasts of unleavened bread.) at the ninth hour of the night, there shone round about the altar, and the circumjacent buildings of the temple, a light equal to the brightness of day; which continued for the space of half an hour."
2. "About the sixth hour of the night, (says Josephus,) the eastern gate of the temple was found to open without human assistance." This gate was of solid brass; and so large and heavy, as to require twenty men to close it. And Josephus says, " it was secured by iron bolts, and bars, that were let down into a large threshold consisting of one entire stone." The Jews themselves concluded, from the miraculous nature of this event, that the security of their temple had fled. When the procurator was informed of this event, he sent a band of men to close the door; who with great difficulty executed their orders.
3. Again, the same celebrated Jewish author says: "At a subsequent feast of Pentecost, while the priests were going by night into the inner temple, to perform their customary ministrations, they first felt (as they said,) a shaking accompanied by an indistinct murmuring; and afterwards voices as of a multitude, saying in a distinct and earnest manner: "Let us depart hence." How striking was this miraculous premonition. It commenced with a shaking, to call and fix the attention of these Jewish priests. Then was heard an indistinct murmur. This would make them listen with all possible heed. Then they heard the distinct voices, as of a multitude in great earnestness and haste; -- "Let us depart hence!" And their last fatal war with the Romans commenced before the next season for the celebrating this feast.
4. Another sign was the following. The same author says; "A meteor, resembling a sword hung over Jerusalem, during one whole year." This could not have been a comet, for it was stationary a whole year, and seems, from the words of Josephus, to have been much nearer than a comet, and appeared to be appropriated to that city. This reminds one of the sword of the destroying angel, stretched out over Jerusalem, I Chro. 21, xiv. This stationary position of the sword for a year, was a lively indication that the impending ruin was fatal.
5. Josephus says again: "As the high priests were leading a heifer to the altar to be sacrificed, she brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple." Most striking rebuke to those infidel priests who had rejected the Lamb of God, who had shed his blood once for all, and abrogated the Levitical sacrifices; which they were impiously continuing. This wonder was exhibited in the temple, the type of the body of Christ, and at the passover, when at a preceding passover Jesus was arrested and sacrificed; and it took place before the high priests and their attendants; so that they could never complain for want of evidence of the fact.
6. This author says: "Soon after the feast of the passover, in various parts of the country, before the setting of the sun, chariots and armed men were seen in the air passing round about Jerusalem." This strange sight occurring before sunset, and being seen in various parts of the country, must have been a miraculous portent; a sign from heaven. The Jews had said, "What sign showest thou, that we may see and believe." Now they had their signs in abundance; yet they would not believe.
7. The last and most fearful sign Josephus relates; that one Jesus, son of Ananus, a rustic of the lower class, appeared in the temple at the feast of tabernacles, and suddenly exclaimed, "A voice from the east -- a voice from the west -- a voice from the four winds -- a voice against Jerusalem and the temple -- a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides -- a voice against the whole people!" These words he continued to exclaim through the streets of Jerusalem by day and by night, with no cessation (unless what was needed for the support of nature) for seven years! He commenced in the year 63, while the city was in peace and prosperity, and terminated his exclamations only in his death, amidst the horrors of the seige, in the year 70. This strange thing, when it commenced, soon excited great attention; and this Jesus was brought before Albinus, the Roman governor, who interrogated him, but could obtain no answer except the continuation of his woes. He commanded him to be scourged, but to no effect. During times of festivals, this cry of his was peculiarly loud and urgent. After the commencement of the seige, he ascended the walls, and in a voice still more tremendous than ever, he exclaimed, "Wo, wo to this city, this temple, and this people!" And he then added, (for the first time for the seven years,) "Wo, wo to myself!" The words were no sooner uttered, than a stone from a Roman machine without the walls, struck him dead on the spot!
Such were the signs in the heavens and in the earth, which just preceded the destruction of Jerusalem. Several of them are recorded by Tacitus as well as by Josephus. The veracity of Josephus as a historian is probably allowed by all. Scaliger affirms that he deserves more credit as a writer than all the Greek and Roman historians put together.
From the conquest of Jerusalem by Pompey, sixty years before Christ, the Jews repeatedly had exhibited a most rebellious spirit against the Romans. The Jews had basely said to Pilate concerning Christ, "If thou let this man go, thou art not a friend of Caesar." But the fact was, they persecuted Christ because he would not erect a temporal throne in opposition to Caesar. Any impostor who seemed prepared to do this, they were ready to follow; and were ready to improve every apparent occasion to evince their decided hostility to the Romans. And they barely needed a prophet's eye to discern that this spirit and conduct (manifest on all occasions) would soon draw against them the Roman sword.
Judas, a Gaulonite, and Sadduc, a Pharisee, had rallied the Jews with the idea that their paying tribute to the Romans would not fail to confirm them in the most abject slavery; in consequence of which, their enmity often burst forth with malignant violence. Tumults and riots increased, and Florus, the Roman governor of Judea, by his cruel exactions, increased this spirit among the Jews. Eleazer, son of the high priest, persuaded the officers of the temple to reject the offerings of foreigners, and to withhold publick prayers for them. The Roman government felt the insult; and a basis was soon found to be laid for a Roman war! Feuds and contentions increased in Judea, till Cestius Gallus marched an army thither from Syria to restore order. His march was marked with blood and desolation. -- The city of Zebulon, Joppa, and other villages in his way, he plundered and burned. Eight thousand four hundred of the inhabitants of the former place, he slew. The district of Narbatene he laid waste, and slew two thousand of the Jews in Galilee; reduced the city of Lydda to ashes, and drove the Jews, (who made desperate sallies upon him) till he encamped within a hundred miles of the capital. Soon after, he entered Jerusalem, and burned some part of the city. But through the treachery of his own officers, he made an unexpected flight. The enraged Jews pursued him, and slew about sixty thousand of his men. Many of the rich Jews, alarmed at the Roman invasion, fled from Jerusalem, as from a floundering ship. Some suppose many of the Christians now fled to a place called Pella in the mountains of Judea.
Nero being informed of the defeat of Cestius, gave the command to Vespasian to press the war against the rebellious Jews. He and his son Titus soon collected an army of sixty thousand men. In A. D. 67, he marched from Ptolemais to Judea, marking his steps with ravages and desolation. Infancy and age fell before the furious soldiery. All the strong towns of Galilee and many of those of Judea fell before the victorious arms of Vespasian, who slew not less than one hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants. Signal vengeance was taken on Joppa, which had in part been rebuilt, after it had been by Cestius reduced to ashes. Vespasian was enraged at the frequent piracies of this people. The Jews of this place fleeing before him, betook themselves to their shipping. But a furious tempest overlook those who stood out to sea, who were lost. The others were dashed vessel against vessel, or against the rocks. Some in their distress laid violent hands on themselves.
Such as reached the shore were slain by the enraged Romans. The sea for some distance was stained with their blood: four thousand two hundred were strewed along their coasts, and not one escaped to relate their catastrophe. Truly this was "distress of their nation, with the sea and the waves thereof roaring!"
Vespasian returned from Jericho to Caesarea, to prepare for a grand seige of Jerusalem. Here he received intelligence of the death of the emperor Nero. This led him to suspend for the present, the execution of his plan against the Jews. This respite to that devoted people continued about two years, and but encouraged them to deeds of greater enormity.
A spirit of faction now appeared in Jerusalem. Two parties first, and afterwards three, raged there; each contending with deadly animosity for the precedency. A part of one of these factions having been excluded from the city, entered it by force during the night; and to such madness were they abandoned, that they butchered (on that fatal night) not less than eight thousand five hundred of men, women and children, whose mangled bodies appeared the next morning strewed in the streets of Jerusalem. These abandoned murderers plundered in the city; murdered the high priests Ananus and Jesus, and insulted their dead bodies. They slew their brethren of Jerusalem, as though they had been wild animals. They scourged and imprisoned the nobles, in hopes to terrify them to become of their party; and many who could not be thus won, they slew. In this reign of terror, twelve thousand of higher orders of the people thus perished; and no relative dared to shed a mourning tear, lest this should bring on him a similar fate.
Accusation and death became the most common events. -- Many fled but were intercepted and slain. Piles of their carcasses lay on publick roads; and all pity, as well as regard for human or divine authority, seemed extinguished.
Too add to the horrid calamities of the times occasioned by the bloody factions, Judea was infested by bands of robbers and murderers, plundering their towns and cutting in pieces such as made any resistance, whether men, women or children. Here were exhibited the most horrid pictures of what fallen man is capable of perpetrating when restraints are taken off; that they would turn their own towns and societies into scenes of horror like kennels of mad animals.
One Simon became commander of one of these factions; John of another. Simon entered Jerusalem at the head of forty thousand banditti. A third faction rose, and discord blazed with terrifick fury. The three factions were intoxicated with rage and desperation, and went on slaying and trampling on piles of the dead, with an indescribably fury. People coming to the temple to worship, were murdered, both natives and foreigners. Their bodies lay in piles, and a collection of blood defiled the sacred courts.
John of Gischala, head of a faction, burned a store of provisions. Simon, at the head of another faction, burned another. Thus the Jews were weakening and destroying themselves, and preparing the way for "wrath to come upon them to the uttermost."
In the midst of these dismal events, an alarm was made that a Roman army was approaching the city! Vespasian becoming emperor, and learning the factious and horrid state of the Jews, determined to prosecute the war against them, and sent his son Titus to reduce Jerusalem and Judea. The Jews, on hearing of the approach of the Roman army, were petrified with horror. They could have no hope of peace. They had no means of flight. They had no time for counsel. They had no confidence in each other. What could be done? Several things they possessed in abundance. They had a measure of iniquity filled up; a full ripeness for destruction. All seemed wild disorder and despair. Nothing could be imagined but "the confused noise of the warrior, and garments rolled in blood." They knew nothing was their due from the Romans, but exemplary vengeance. The ceaseless cry of combatants, and the horror of faction, had induced some to desire the intervention of a foreign foe, to give them deliverance from their domestic horrors. Such was the state of Jerusalem when Titus appeared before it with a besieging army. But he came not to deliver it from its excruciating tortures; but to execute upon it divine vengeance; to fulfil the fatal predictions of our Lord Jesus Christ, that "when ye see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place -- when ye see Jerusalem compassed about with armies, -- then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." "Wheresoever the carcass is, there shall the eagles be gathered together." Jerusalem was now the carcass to be devoured; the Roman eagles had arrived to tear it as their prey.
The day on which Titus had encompassed Jerusalem, was the feast of the passover. Here let it be remembered, that it was the time of this feast, (on a preceding occasion) that Christ was taken, condemned and executed. It was at the time of this feast, that the heifer, in the hands of the sacrificing priests, brought forth a lamb. And just after this feast at another time, that the miraculous besieging armies were seen over Jerusalem, just before sunset. And now at the time of the passover, the antitype of this prodigy appears in the besieging army of Titus. Multitudes of Jews convened at Jerusalem from surrounding nations to celebrate this feast. Ah, miserable people, -- going with intent to feed on the paschal lamb; but really to their own final slaughter, for rejecting "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world!" The Jews had imprecated the blood of the true Paschal Lamb, (by them wantonly shed) on themselves and on their children. God was now going in a signal manner to take them at their word. He hence providentially collected their nation, under sentence of death, as into a great prison, for the day of execution. And as their execution of Christ was signal, low degrading, -- the death of the cross; so their execution should be signal and dreadful. The falling city was now crowded with little short of two millions of that devoted people. The event came suddenly and unexpectedly to the Jews, as the coming of a thief, and almost like lightning. Josephus notes this; and thus without design, shows the fulfilment of these hints of Christ, that his coming should be like a thief in the night, and like lightning under the whole heavens.
The furious contending factions of the Jews, on finding themselves environed with the Roman armies, laid aside (for the moment) their party contentions, sallied out, rushed furiously on their common foe, and came near utterly destroying the tenth legion of the Roman army. -- This panic among the Romans occasioned a short suspension of hostilities. Some new confidence hence inspired the hopes of the Jews; and they now determined to defend their city. But being a little released from their terrors of the Romans, their factious resentments again rekindled, and broke out in great fury. The faction under Eleazer was swallowed up in the other two, under John and Simon. Slaughter; conflagration and plunder ensued. A portion of the centre of the city was burned, and the inhabitants became as prisoners to the two furious parties. The Romans here saw their own proverb verified: "Quos Deus vult perdere prius dementat." "Whom God will destroy, he gives up to madness."
The invading armies knew how to profit by the madness of the Jews. They were soon found by the Jews to have possession of the two outer walls of their city: this alarm reached the heart of the factions, and once more united them against the common enemy. But they had already proceeded too far to retreat from the effects of their madness. Famine, with its ghastly horrors, stared them in the face. It had (as might be expected) been making a silent approach; and some of the more obscure had already fallen before it. But even this did not annihilate the fury of faction, which again returned with redoubled fury, and presented new scenes of wo. As the famine increased, the sufferers would snatch bread from each other's mouths, and devour their grain unprepared. To discover handfuls of food, tortures were inflicted. Food was violently taken by husbands from wives, and wives from husbands; and even by mothers from their famishing infants. The breast itself was robbed from the famishing suckling, as our Lord denounced: "Wo to them that give suck in those days."
This terror produced a new scene of righteous retribution. Multitudes of the Jews were forced by hunger to flee to the enemy's camp. Here instead of pitying and receiving them, the Romans cut off the hands of many, and sent them back; but most of them they crucified as fast as they could lay their hands on them; till wood was wanting for crosses, and space on which to erect them! Behold here thousands of those despairing Jews suspended on crosses round the walls of Jerusalem! Verily "the Lord is known by the judgements that he executeth!" Yea, this did not suffice. Behold two thousand Jews, who had fled to the mercy of their invaders, ripped open alive (two thousand in one night!) by Arabs and Syrians in the Roman armies, in hopes of finding gold, which these Jews had (or their enemies fancied they had) swallowed to carry off with them!
Titus being a merciful general, was touched to the heart at the miseries of the Jews; and in person he tenderly entreated the besieged to surrender. But all the answer he obtained for his tenderness was base revilings. He now resolved to make thorough work with this obstinate people; and hence surrounded the city with a circumvallation of 39 furlongs in length, strengthened with thirteen towers. This, by the astonishing activity of the soldiers, was effected in three days. Then was fulfilled this prediction of our blessed Lord; " Thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and keep thee in on every side."
As the city was cut off from all possible supplies, famine became more dreadful. Whole families fell a sacrifice to it; and the dead bodies of women, children, and the aged, were seen covering roofs of houses, and various recesses. Youth and the middle aged appeared like spectres; and fell many of them dead in publick places. The dead became too numerous to be interred. Many died while attempting to perform this office. So great and awful became the calamities, that lamentations ceased; and an awful silence of despair overwhelmed the city. But all this failed of restraining the more abandoned from most horrid deeds. They took this opportunity to rob the tombs; and with loud infernal laughter, to strip the dead of their habiliments of death; and would try the edge of their swords on dead bodies, and on some while yet breathing. Simon Georas now vented his rage against Matthias, the high priest, and his three sons. -- He caused them to be condemned, as though favouring the Romans. The father asked the favour to be first executed, and not see the death of his sons; but the malicious Simon reserved him for the last execution. And as he was expiring he put the insulting question, whether the Romans could now relieve him?
Things being thus, one Mannaeus, a Jew, escaped to Titus, and informed him of the consummate wretchedness of the Jews; that in less than three months one hundred and fifteen thousand and eight hundred dead bodies of Jews had been conveyed through one gate, under his care and register; and he assured him of the ravages of famine and death. Other deserters confirmed the account, and added, that not less than six hundred thousand dead bodies of Jews had been carried out at different gates. The humane heart of Titus was deeply affected; who, under those accounts, and while surveying the piles of dead bodies of Jews under the walls, and in the visible parts of the city, raised his eyes and hands to heaven in solemn protestation, that he would have prevented these dire calamities; that the obstinate Jews had procured them upon their own heads.
Josephus, the Jew, now earnestly entreated the leader John and his brethren to surrender to the Romans, and thus save the residue of the Jews. But he received in return nothing but insolent reproaches and imprecations; John declaring his firm persuasion that God would never suffer his own city, Jerusalem, to be taken by the enemy! Alas, had he forgotten the history of his own nation, and the denunciations of the prophets? Micah had foretold that in this very calamity they would presumptuously "lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us? No evil shall come upon us." So blind and presumptuous are hypocrisy and self-confidence! "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, are these."
The famine in the city became (as might be expected) still more deadly. For want of food of the Jews ate their belts, sandals, skins of their shields, dried grass, and even ordure of cattle. Now it was that a noble Jewess, urged by the insufferable pangs of hunger, slew and prepared for food her own infant child! She had eaten half the horrible preparation, when the smell of food brought in a hoard of soldiery, who threatened her with instant death, if she did not produce to them the food she had in possession. She being thus compelled to obey, produced the remaining half of her child! The soldiers stood aghast; and the recital petrified the hearers with horror: and congratulations were poured on those whose eyes death had closed upon such horrid scenes. Humanity seems ready to sink at the recital of the woful events of that day. No words can reach the horrors of the situation of the female part of the community at that period. Such scenes force upon our recollection the tender pathetic address of our Saviour to the pious females who followed him, going to the cross: -- "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me; but weep for yourselves and for your children; for behold the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts that never gave suck." Moses had long predicted this very scene. "The tender and delicate woman among you, (said he,) who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness; her eye shall be evil towards her young one, and toward her children, which she shall bear; for she shall eat them, for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates." Probably the history of the world will not afford a parallel to this. God prepared peculiar judgements for peculiarly horrid crimes! "These be the days of vengeance; that all things that are written may be fulfilled." Josephus declares, that if there had not been many credible witnesses of that awful fact, he never would have recorded it; for, said he, "such a shocking violation of nature never has been perpetrated by any Greek or barbarian."
While famine thus spread desolation, the Romans finally succeeded in removing part of the inner wall, and in possessing themselves of the high and commanding tower of Antonio, which
seemed to overlook the temple. Titus with his council of war had formed a determination to save the temple, to grace his conquest, and remain an ornament to his empire. -- But God had not so determined. And "though there be many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord that shall stand." A Roman soldier violating the general order of Titus, succeeded in hurling a brand of fire into the golden window of the temple; and soon (as righteous Heaven would have it!) the sacred edifice was in flames. The Jews perceiving this, rushed with horrid outcries to extinguish the fire. Titus too, flew to the spot in his chariot, with his chief officers and legions. With loud command, and every token of anxiety, he enforced the extinguishing of the fire; but in vain. So great was the confusion, that no attention was paid to him. His soldiers, deaf to all cries, assiduously spread the flames far and wide; rushing at the same time on the Jews, sword in hand, slaying and trampling down, or crushing them to death against the walls. Many were plunged into the flames, and perished in the burning of the temple. The fury of the Roman soldiers slaughtered the poor, the unarmed, and the rich, as well as men in arms. Multitudes of dead bodies were piled around about the altar, to which they had fled for protection. The way leading to the inner court was deluged with blood.
Titus finding the fire had not reached the inner temple, entered it with his superior officers, and surveyed its magnificence with silent admiration. He found it to exceed all he had heard. This view led him to renew his efforts to save this stupendous pile of building, though so many of the out-buildings were gone. He even entreated his soldiers to extinguish the flames, and appointed an officer to punish any who should disobey. But all his renewed efforts were still in vain. The feelings of his soldiery were utterly unmanageable. Plunder, revenge, and slaughter had combined to render them deaf and most furious. A soldier succeeded in firing the door posts of the inner temple, and the conflagration soon became general.
One needs a heart of steel to contemplate the scenes which followed. The triumphant Roman soldiers were in a most ungovernable rage and fury. They were indeed instruments prepared for their work, to execute the most signal vengeance of Heaven; the flame which was now reaching its height! The Romans slew of the Jews all before them; sparing neither age, sex or rank. They seemed determine to annihilate the Jewish race on the spot. Priests and common people; those who surrendered, and those who still fought; all were alike subjects of an indiscriminate slaughter. The fire of the temple at length completely enveloped the stupendous pile of building. The fury of the flames exceeded description. It impressed on distant spectators an idea that the whole city was in flames. The ensuing disorder and tumult, Josephus pronounces to have been such as to baffle description. The outcry of the Roman legions was as great as they could make. -- And the Jews finding themselves a prey to the fury of both fire and sword, exerted themselves in the wildest accents of screaming. The people in the city, and those on the hill, mutually responded to each other in groans and screeches. People who had seemed just expiring through famine, derived new strength from unprecedented scenes of horror and death, to deplore their wretchedness. From mountain to mountain, and from places distant, lamentations echoed to each other.
As the temple was sinking under the fury of the raging element, the mount on which it stood seemed in that part of it, (says the historian) to "mpress the idea of a lake of liquid fire! The blood of the slain ran in rivulets. The earth around became covered with the slain; and the victorious Romans trampled over those piles of the dead, in pursuit of thousands who were fleeing from the points of their swords. In a word, the roar and crackling of fire; the shrieks of thousands in despair; the dying groans of thousands, and the sights which met the eye where-ever it was turned, were such as never before had any parallel on earth. They probably as much exceeded all antecedent scenes of horror, as the guilt which occasioned them, in their treatment of the Lord of Glory, exceeded all guilt ever before known among men.
A tragical event had transpired worthy of particular detail. Before the temple was wrapped in flames, an impostor appeared among the Jews, asserting a divine commission; and that if the people would follow him to the temple, they would see signs, wonders and deliverance. About six thousand (mostly women and children) followed him, and were in the galleries of the temple, waiting for this promised deliverance, when fire was set to that building. Not one escaped. All were consumed in the conflagration of the sacred edifice! What multitudes are by false prophets plunged in eternal fire!
The place of the temple now presented a vast pile of ruins. Here terminated the glory and existence of this stupendous building, this type of the body of Christ and of his church; this type of the Millennium, and of heaven. Here it reached its close, after the period of one thousand and thirty years, from the time of its dedication by Solomon; and of six hundred and thirty-nine years, from its being built in the days of Haggai; after the seventy years captivity. -- It is singular, that it should be reduced to ashes not only soon after the feast of the passover, which convened so many thousands of Jews to Jerusalem to meet the ruins of their city and nation; but that it should be consumed on the same month, on the same day of the month, on which the Babylonians had before destroyed it by fire.
Josephus records another striking event, which seemed a sign of the destruction of Jerusalem. He says; (addressing the Jews who survived this ruin) "The fountain flows copiously for Titus, which to you were dried up. For before he came, you know that both Siloam and all the springs without the city failed; so that water was brought by the amphora, (a vessel.) -- But now they are so abundant to your enemies, as to suffice for themselves and their cattle. This wonder you also formerly experienced, when the king of Babylon laid siege to your city."
The priests of the temple, after the destruction of their sacred edifice, betook themselves (those who had thus far escaped the general slaughter) to the top of one of its broken walls, where they sat mourning and famishing. On the fifth day necessity compelled them to descend, and humbly to ask pardon of the roman general.
But Titus at this late period rejected their petition, saying; " As the temple, for the sake of which I would have spared you, is destroyed; it is but fit the priests should perish also" All were put to death.
The obstinate leaders of the great Jewish factions, beholding now the desperateness of their cause desired a conference with Titus. One would imagine they would at least now lay down their arms. Their desiring an interview with the triumphant Roman general, appeared as though they would be glad to do this. But righteous Heaven designed their still greater destruction. Titus, after all their mad rebellions, kindly offered to spare the residue of the Jews, if they would now submit. But strange to relate, they refused to comply. The noble general then, as must have been expected, was highly exasperated; and issued his general order that he would grant no further pardon to the insurgents. His legions now were ordered to "ravage and destroy." With the light of the next morning, arose the tremendous flame of the castle of Antonio, the council chamber, register's office, and the noble palace of the queen Helena. These magnificent piles were reduced to ashes. The furious legions, (executioners of divine vengeance, Ezek. ix. 5, 6,) then flew through the lower city, of which they soon became masters, slaughtering and burning in every street. The Jews themselves aided the slaughter. In the royal palace, containing vast treasures, eight thousand four hundred Jews were murdered by their seditious brethren. Great numbers of deserters from the furious leaders of faction, flocked to the Romans; but it was too late. The general order was given, all should be slain. -- Such therefore fell.
The Roman soldiers however, being at length weary with butchery, and more than satisfied with blood, for a short time sheathed their swords, and betook themselves to plunder. They collected multitudes of Jews, -- husbands, wives, children, and servants; formed a market; and set them up at vendue for slaves. They sold them for any trifle; while purchasers were but few. Their law-giver, Moses, had forewarned them of this; Deut. xxviii. 68: "And ye shall be sold for bond men, and bond women; and no man shall buy you." Tremendous indeed must the lot of those be, who reject the Messiah, and are found fighting against the Son of God. Often had these Jews heard read (but little it seems did they understand the sense of the tremendous passage) relative to the Jewish rejectors of Christ, "He that sitteth in the Heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision. -- Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." -- Thus saith the Lord, say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished: it is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter; (said God by the prophet, Ezek. xxi. alluding to this very event;) the sword is sharpened, and it is furbished to give it into the hand of the slayer. Cry and howl, son of man; smite upon thy thigh; smite thy hands together, and let the sword be doubled a third time; the sword of the slain. I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their hearts may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: Ah, it is made bright! it is wrapped up for the slaughter." Such, and much more, were the divine denunciations of this very scene, which the infidel Jews would not escape, but would incur! And even a merciful God shrunk not from execution! Let antichristian powers, yea, let all infidels and gospel despisers, consider this and tremble!
The whole lower city now in the possession of the Roman legions, (after the respite noted,) was set on fire. But the insolence of the devoted Jews in a part of the higher city remained unabated. They even insulted and exasperated their enemies, as though afraid the work of vengeance might not be sufficiently executed.
The Romans brought their engines to operate upon the walls of this higher branch of the city, still standing; which soon gave way before them. Before their demolition, Titus reconnoitred the city, and its fortifications; and expressed his astonishment that it should ever fall before his army. He exclaimed, "Had not God himself aided our operations, and driven the Jews from their fortresses, it would have been absolutely impossible to have taken them. For what could men and the force of engines have done against such towers as these?" Yes, unless their Rock had sold them for their iniquities, no enemy could have prevailed against Jerusalem. Josephus, who was an eye witness of all the scene, says; "All the calamities, which ever befel any nation, since the beginning of the world, were inferior to the miseries of the Jews at this awful period."
The upper city to fell before the victorious arms of the Roman conquerors. Titus would have spared all, who had not been forward in resisting the Romans; and gave his orders accordingly. But his soldiers, callous to all the feelings of humanity, slaughtered the aged and sick, as well as the mass of the people. The tall and most beautiful young men, however, were spared by Titus to grace his triumph at Rome. Of the rest, many above the age of seventeen were sent in chains to Egypt to be disposed of as slaves. Some were reserved to be sacrificed on their ampitheatres, as gladiators; to be slain in sham fights, for the sport of their conquerors. Others were distributed through the empire. All who survived, under the age of seventeen, were exposed for sale.
The triumphant general commanded what remained of the city, to be razed to its foundation, except three of the mast stately towers, Mariamne, Hippocos, and Phasael. These should stand as monuments of the magnificence of the place, and of his victory. A small part of the wall of the city at the west also, he commanded should be spared, as a rampart for his garrison. The other parts of the city he wished to have so effectually erased, as never to be recognized to have been inhabited. The Talmud and Mamonides relate that the foundations of the temple were so removed, that the site of it was ploughed by Terentius Rufus. Thus our Saviour predicted, that "there should be left one stone upon another."
One awful occurrence is noted as transpiring during the scenes; that eleven thousand Jews, under the guard of one Fronto, a Roman general, were (owing to their own obstinacy, and to the scarcity of provisions) literally starved to death!
Josephus informs that eleven hundred thousand Jews perished in this siege of Jerusalem; that two hundred and thirty-seven thousand perished in that last war in other sieges and battles; besides multitudes who perished by famine and pestilence: making a total of at least fourteen hundred thousand. Some hundreds of thousands, in sullen despair, laid violent hands on themselves. About ninety-seven thousand were captured, and dispersed. Relative to the two great leaders of the Jewish factions, Simon and John, they were led to Rome, to grace the triumph of Titus; after which Simon was scourged and executed as a malefactor; and John was committed for life to dungeon. Thus ended their violent contentions.
The Roman army, before they left Jerusalem, not only demolished the buildings there, but even dug up their foundations. How fatal was the divine judgement on this devoted city. Five months before it was the wonder of the world; and contained, at the commencement of the siege, more than a million and a half of Jews, natives and visiters; now it lay in total ruins, with not "one stone upon another;" as Christ had denounced. These ruins Eusebius informs us he beheld. And Eleazer is introduced by Josephus as exclaiming; "Where is our great city, which it was believed God inhabited." The prophet Micah had predicted; "Therefore shall Zion for your sakes be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the Lord's house as the high places of the forest." A captain of the army of Titus, did in fact plough where some part of the foundation of the temple stood, as the Talmud records, and thus fulfilled this prediction.
Jesus Christ had foretold of this destruction, that "there should be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world." And of the event Josephus says; "If the misfortunes of all nations from the beginning of the world, were compared with those which befel the Jews, they would appear far less." Again; "No other city ever suffered such things; as no other generation from the beginning of the world, was ever more fruitful in wickedness."
Other parts of Judea were still not subdued. Macherus was attacked. Seventeen hundred Jews surrendered and were slain; also three thousand fugitives taken in the woods of Jardes. Titus at Caesarea celebrated in great splendour the birth day of his brother Domitian. Here a horrid scene, according to the bloody customs of those times, was presented. To grace this occasion more than two thousand five hundred Jews fell; some by burning; some by fighting with wild beasts; and some by mutual combat with the sword.
Massada was besieged. The Jewish commander, in despair, induced the garrison first to destroy their stores, and then themselves. They (nine hundred and sixty in number) consented to the horrid proposal. Men, women, and children took their seats upon the ground, and offered their necks to the sword. Ten men were selected to execute the fatal deed. The dreadful work was done. One of the ten was then chosen to execute the nine, and then himself. -- The nine being put to death, and fire being set to the place, the last man plunged his dagger into his own heart.
Seven persons, (women and children,) found means to conceal themselves, and escape the ruin. When the Romans approached. these seven related to them these horrid events.
Most of the remaining places now, through sullen despair, gave up all opposition, and submitted to the conquerors. Thus Judea became as a desolate wilderness; and the following passage in Isaiah had at least a primary accomplishment; "Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant; and the houses without man; and the land be utterly desolate; and the Lord have removed man far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land."
A line of prophecies is found in the sacred oracles, which relate to a signal temporal destruction of the most notorious enemies of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Those were to have a two-fold accomplishment; first upon the Jews; and secondly upon the great Antichrist of the last days, typified by the infidel Jews. Accordingly those prophecies in the Old Testament are ever found in close connexion with the Millennium. The predictions of our Saviour, in Matt. xxiv. Mark xiii. and Luke xxi. are but a new edition of these sacred prophecies. This has been noted as "the destruction of the city and temple foretold." It is so indeed, and more. -- It is also a denunciation of the destruction of the great Antichrist of the last days. The certainty of this will appear in the following things, as New Testament writers decide. The Thessalonians, having heard what our Lord denounced, that all those things he had predicted should take place on that generation, were trembling with the apprehension, that the coming of Christ predicted, would then very soon burst upon the world. Paul writes to them, (2 Thes. ii.) and beseeches them by this coming of Christ, not to be shaken in mind, or troubled with such an apprehension. For that day, (that predicted coming
of Christ, as it related to others beside the Jews,) was not to take place on that generation. It was not to come till the Antichristian apostacy come first; that man of sin was first to be revealed. This long apostacy was to be accomplished, before the noted coming of Christ in its more important sense be fulfilled. After the Roman government, which hindered the rise of the man of sin, should be taken out of the way, Paul says, "Then shall that wicked one be revealed whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming." Here then is the predicted coming of Christ, in its more interesting sense, in the battle of that great day, which introduces the Millennium. Here is a full decision that these noted denunciations of Christ alluded more especially (though not primarily) to a coming which is still future.
The same is decided by Christ himself, in Rev. xvi. After the sixth vial, in the drying up of the Turkish Euphrates, three unclean spirits of devils, like frogs, go forth to the kings of the earth, and of all the world, to gather them to the great battle. The awful account is interrupted by this notice from the mouth of Christ; verse 15, "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments; lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." This is as though our Lord should say; now the time is at hand, to which my predictions of coming as a thief, principally alluded. Now is the time when my people on earth shall need to watch, as I directed, when predicting my coming to destroy first the type of Antichrist, and secondly the antitype.
The predictions in the prophets, which received an incipient fulfilment in the destruction of Jerusalem, were to receive a more interesting fulfilment in Christ's coming to destroy his antichristian foes. Hence it is that the seventh vial is called (Rev. xvi. 14,) "the battle of that great day of God Almighty;" clearly alluding to that great noted through the prophets. And of the same event it is said, Rev. x.7; "the mystery of God shall be finished, as he hath declared to his servants, the prophets." Here again the allusion clearly is to the many predictions in the prophets of the destruction of the enemies of Christ's kingdom, which were to receive an incipient fulfilment in the destruction of Jerusalem; and a far more interesting one, in the sweeping from the earth the last antichristian powers, to introduce the millennial kingdom of Christ. We accordingly find those predictions through the prophets clearly alluding to the last days, and the introduction of the Millennium.
Viewing the destruction of Jerusalem then, as but a type of an event now pending upon antichristian nations, we peruse it with new interest; and it must be viewed in the light of a most impressive warning to this age of the world. -- The factions, madness, and self ruin of the former, give but a lively practical comment upon the various predictions of the latter. Three great and noted factions introduced the destruction of Jerusalem. And of the destruction of Antichrist we read (perhaps alluding to that very circumstance) Rev.xvi. 19; "And the great city was divided into three parts." Then it follows; "and the cities of the nations fell; and great Babylon came in remembrance before God to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath." In the desolation of Gog and his bands, faction draws the sword of extermination. "I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God; every man's sword shall be against his brother." Ezek xxxviii. 21.
The great coalition against the Jews, in the time of Jehoshaphat, was destroyed by the sword of mutiny and faction: See 2 Chron.xx. And in allusion to this very battle which God fought for his church, the vast coalitions of Antichrist, in the last days, when the Jews are restored, is said to be gathered "to the valley of Jehoshaphat:" See Joel iii. The various circumstances of the destruction of Jerusalem, afford a lively comment on the many denunciations of the battle of that great day of God Almighty, which awaits the antichristian world; while it is fully evident, that the passages more especially allude to the tremendous scenes of judgement, which shall introduce the Millennium.
JUDAH AND ISRAEL.
The subject of this chapter is introduced with a concise view of expulsion of the ten tribes of Israel from the promised land. The ten tribes revolted from the house of David, early in the reign of Rehoboam, son and successor of king Solomon. They received from the young prince treatment, which was considered impolitick and rough; upon which they separated themselves from that branch of the house of Israel, who from that time, have been distinguished by the name of Jews. They submitted to another king, Jeroboam. And this breach was never after healed. Jeroboam, to perpetuate and widen this breach, and apprehending that if the Jews and ten tribes amicably met for publick worship, according to the law of God, the rupture between them would probably soon be healed, set up two golden calves, one in Dan, and one in Bethel; and ordered that the ten tribes of Israel should meet there for their publick worship. He thus "made Israel to sin." And would to God
he had been the last who has made the professed worshippers of Jehovah "to sin," by assigning them different places to worship, from motives not more evangelical than those of Jeroboam.
The ten tribes thus went off to idolatry. A line of kings succeeded Jeroboam; but none of them, to the time of expulsion, were true worshippers of the God of Israel. By their apostasy, folly, and idolatry, the ten tribes were preparing themselves for a long and doleful rejection, an outcast state for thousands of years. -- This Moses had denounced; Deut. xxviii. And this God fulfilled.
Tiglah-Pilnezer, king of Assyria, captured the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manassah, who lay east of the Jordan, and placed them in Halah, Harah, and Habor, by the river Gozen. -- I Chro. v. 26. About twenty years after, (134 years before the Babylonish captivity of the Jews, and 725 years before Christ,) the rest of the ten tribes continuing impenitent, Shalmanezer, the succeeding king of Assyria, attacked Samaria, took the remainder of the ten tribes, in the reign of Hoshea, king of Israel, carried them to Assyria, and placed them with their brethren in Halah and Habor, by the river Gozen in Media -- 2 Kings xvii. This final expulsion of Israel from the promised land, was about 943 years after they came out of Egypt. The king of Assyria placed their stead, in Samaria, people from Babylon, Cutha, Ava, Hamah, and Sapharvaim. Here was the origin of the mongrel Samaritans.
From this captivity the ten tribes were never recovered. And they have long seemed to have been lost from the earth. They seem to have been indeed "outcast" from the social world, and the knowledge of civilized man. The Jews, long after, were dispersed among the nations; but have ever been known as Jews. But not so with Israel. They have seemed strangely to disappear from the world; and for 2500 years to have been utterly lost.
What are we to believe concerning the ten tribes? Are they ever again to be known as the natural seed of Abraham? Are they now in existence as a distinct people? If so, where are they to be found? All parts of the world are now so well known, that one would conceive the commonwealth of Israel cannot now be found among the civilized nations. Must we look for them in a savage state? If so, the knowledge of their descent must be derived from a variety of broken, circumstantial, traditionary evidence. Who, or where, then are the people who furnish the greatest degree of this kind of evidence?
An answer, relative to their restoration, will be involved in this chapter; and an answer to the other questions may be expected in the chapter following.
That the Jews are to be restored to Palestine as Jews, seems evident from a variety of considerations. And that the ten tribes of Israel will there be untied with them, seems also to be plainly predicted in the prophets.
Let the following things be considered:
1. The preservation of the Jews, as a distinct people, among the many nations whither they have been dispersed, now for nearly 1800 years, affords great evidence, to say the least, that the many predictions which seem to foretel such a restoration, are to have a literal accomplishment. This their preservation is a
most signal event of Providence. Nothing like it has ever, in any other instance, been known on earth; except it be the case with the ten tribes of Israel. Other dispersed tribes of men have amalgamated with the people where they have dwelt, and have lost their distinct existence. And nothing but the special hand of God could have prevented this in the case of the Jews. -- The event then shows, that God has great things in store for them, as Jews. What can these things be, but the fulfilment of those many prophecies, which predict their restoration to the land of their fathers, as well as their conversion to the christian faith?
2. That people have never, as yet, possessed all the land promised them; nor have they possessed any part of it so long as promised. -- Hence their restoration to that land, is essential to the complete fulfilment of those ancient promises. They were to possess the land to the river Euphrates, and forever; or to the end of the world. God promised to Abraham, Gen. xv. 18 -- "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." Exod. xxii. 31 -- "And I will set thy bounds from the Red Sea, even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river (Euphrates); for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands, and thou shalt drive them out before thee." -- Deut. xi. 21 -- "Every place whereon the sole of thy feet shall stand, shall be yours, from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea, shall your coast be." Here then, are the boundaries of this ancient divine grant to Abraham, and his natural seed. Beginning at the river of Egypt, (a river not far from the north-east corner of the Red Sea, and running into the Mediterranean.) Thence northward, on the shore of the said sea, as far as the point due west of Mount Lebanon. Thence eastward, over said mountain, away to the river Euphrates. Thence southward, as far as the north line of Syria. -- Thence westward, including the whole of Syria, to the first named river. The whole of this territory, the natural seed of Abraham were to possess "for ever." The inhabitants "should be driven out before them." But this people anciently possessed but a small part of this territory. There was indeed a kind of typical possession of it in the reign of Solomon; -- which reign was a type of the Millennium. (See Psalm lxxii.) David, in his wars which were typical of the wars that will introduce the Millennium, subdued and put under tribute the Syrians, Moabites, Ammonites, and most of the nations dwelling in the above named territories. And they continued in subjection in the reign of Solomon. (See I Kings iv. 21.) But those nations were not then driven out; nor was their land possessed by the children of Abraham. -- They afterward threw off their yoke, and were extremely troublesome to the people of God. They were only made tributary during, a part of two reigns. But God promised -- Exod. xxii. 31 -- "I will set thy bounds from the Red Sea even to the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river (Euphrates.) For I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands, and thou shalt drive them out before thee." The land east of Canaan, and away to the river Euphrates, was never possessed by Israel. Their literal possession of that extent of territory must be an event still future.
The promised land was given to Israel "for an everlasting possession;" Gen. xvii. 8. Surely this must mean a longer time than they did in ages past possess it. This promise remains then to be yet fulfilled. It must mean an undisturbed possession of it, so long as the possession of it on earth may be desirable; or to the end of the world. We accordingly find that people, at the time of the introduction of the Millennium, expostulating with God, and pleading that ancient grant; Isa. lxiii. 17, 18; "O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy way, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. The people of thy holiness have possessed it (thine inheritance) but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. We are thine. Thou never bearest rule over them; they are not called by thy name." Here is a plea put into the mouths of the ancient people of the Lord, at the time of their restoration, not long before the battle of the great day, with a description of which battle this chapter begins. -- They expostulate, relative to the sovereignty of God, in the resting of the veil of blindness and hardness so long on their hearts, during their long infidel state. They plead that they are God's servants, according to the ancient entail of the covenant. They plead for a restoration; -- and plead that their nation had enjoyed that, their everlasting inheritance, but a little while; but that a people not called by God's name, nor governed by his word, had trodden down the sanctuary; a description exactly fulfilled by the Turks. This fully implies the entering again of the Jews upon their ancient inheritance, in the last days.
3. I shall now adduce some of the numerous express predictions of this event. In the prophecy of Ezekiel, the restoration of the Jews and of Israel to their own land, as well as their conversion in the last days, is clearly predicted. In chapter xxxvi. we have their long dispersion, and their guilty cause of it. But God, in the last days, works for his own name's sake, and recovers them. God says, "And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord -- when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give unto you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgements and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways -- and shall loathe yourselves. -- Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you. Thus saith the Lord God; in the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities, I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all the heathen that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was so desolate, is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced and are inhabited. Then the heathen, who are left round about you, shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that which is desolate. I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it." Here is their regeneration; having a new heart, being cleansed from all sin. And besides this, we find expressly promised, their being reinstated in the land of their fathers, which had long lain waste. They rebuild their ancient cities. That this is in the last days, connected with the introduction of the Millennium, the connexion of the whole passage, and the following chapters, fully decide. Both houses of the descendants of Abraham, (viz. Israel and Judah,) are recovered, as will be seen. Those predictions cannot be fulfilled merely by the conversion of that people. For over and above their express conversion, they are established in the land of their fathers.
The prophet proceeds further to predict and illustrate the wonderful events, by the resurrection of a valley of dry bones, chap.xxxvii. which figure God thus explains: "Son of Man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, our bones are dried, and our hopes lost; we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophecy, and say unto them; Thus saith the Lord God; behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your land. Then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord."
The re-union of the two branches of that people follows, by the figure of the two sticks taken by the prophet. Of the one he writes, "For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions." Upon the other; "For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions,"
Lest any should say, the prediction which here seems to foretel the restoration of the ten tribes, as well as that of the Jews, were accomplished in the restoration of that few of the Israelites, who clave to the Jews under the house of David, and the ten tribes are irrecoverably lost; it is here expressed that the Jews and those Israelites, their companions, were symbolized by one stick; and Ephraim, all the house of Israel, (the whole ten tribes,) by the other stick. These sticks miraculously become one in the prophet's hand; which is thus explained. "Thus saith the Lord their God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel (their general ancient name, including the twelve tribes) from among the heathen, whether they be gone; and I will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. And they shall dwell in the land that I gave unto Jacob, my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt, and they shall dwell therein, even they and their children and their children's children forever." Can a doubt here rest on the subject, whether the Jews and the ten tribes shall be re-established in Palestine?
Can such divine testimony as this be done away? But similar testimonies to the point are numerous in the prophets. This passage has never yet received a primary, or partial fulfilment. -- The whole of it remains to be fulfilled. Some of the predictions, which are to have an ultimate accomplishment in this final restoration, had a primary one in the restoration from the seventy years captivity in Babylon. But even this cannot be said of the prophecy under consideration. None of those written on the second stick, in the hand of the prophet, have ever yet been recovered. The whole passage is intimately connected with the battle of that great day, which introduces the Millennium; as appears in the two following chapters. Here the house of Israel enter again upon their everlasting possession of the land of promise, which God engaged to Abraham.
A reiteration of these predictions is intermingled with the predictions concerning Gog, or the powers of Antichrist, to be collected against the Jews, after their restoration, in the two chapters succeeding. "In the latter years thou (Gog) shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste, (or have lain waste for so many centuries during the dispersion of Israel;) but it (that nation) is brought back out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm; thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou and all thy bands, and many people with thee. Thus saith the Lord God; it shall also come to pass, that at the same time, shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought; and thou shalt say, "I will go up to the land of unwalled villages, (the state of the Jews in Palestine, after their restoration); I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them, dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates; to take a spoil, and to take a prey, to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, who have gotten cattle and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land." -- "Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou and all thy bands. So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, it is come, it is done, saith the Lord God. This is the day whereof I have spoken. And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons -- seven years."
The whole account is thus divinely summed up. "Therefore, thus saith the Lord God; now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my only name; after that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, who caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen; but I have gathered them into their own land, and left none of them there (among the heathen) any more; neither will I hide my face any more from them, for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God." It seems as though this were enough, if nothing more were quoted from the prophets to prove our point. If this proof should be deemed insufficient, one would be apt to say, nothing that inspiration can assert upon the point, could be deemed sufficient!
But that it may appear that the prophetic writings unite to exhibit this as a great object of the christian's belief. I shall note some of the other predictions of it.
In Isaiah xi. the stem from the root of Jesse is promised. The Millennium follows, when the cow and the bear shall feed together, and the wolf and the lamb unite in love; and nothing more shall hurt or offend. "And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set his hand again, the second time, to gather the remnant of his people, who shall be left, from Assyria and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamah, and from the isles of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah, from the four corners of the earth." Here just before the Millennium, the Jews and ten tribes are collected from their long dispersion, by the hand of Omnipotence, set a second time for their recovery. -- A body of the Jews, and some of several other tribes, were recovered from ancient Babylon. God is going, in the last days, to make a second, and more effectual recovery from mystical Babylon, and from the four quarters of the earth. The prophet proceeds; "And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dry shod. And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt." Mr. Scott, upon this passage, says; "For the Lord will then remove all obstacles by the same powerful interposition, that he vouchsafed in behalf of Israel, when He separated the tongue, or bay of the Red Sea, and destroyed that hindrance to the departure of Israel; and with a mighty wind he will so separate the waters of the river Euphrates, in all its streams, that men may pass over dry shod. Thus an highway shall be made for Israel's return, as there was for their ancestors to pass from Egypt into Canaan. This part of the chapter contains a prophecy, which certainly remains yet to be accomplished." Bishop Lowth says the same; and adds, as quoted by Mr. Scott, "This part of the chapter foretels the glorious times of the church, which shall be ushered in by the restoration of the Jewish nation, when they shall embrace the gospel, and be restored to their own country. This remarkable scene of Providence is plainly foretold by most of the prophets; and by St. Paul." We thus have the testimony of those great men in favour of a literal restoration of the Jews to their own land, being here predicted. And here is a drying up of a mighty river, to prepare the way for the event. A river is the symbol of a nation. When Israel were to be redeemed from Egypt, the Red Sea was to be dried before them. When they were to be redeemed from Babylon, the Euphrates was by Cyrus to be dried or turned, to accomplish the event. And in their last restoration to Palestine. (ere long to be accomplished.) another great mystical river is to be dried up. The sixth vial dries up the mystic Euphrates, that the way of the kings of the east may be prepared. This is to be fulfilled on the Turks. Perhaps the event is now transpiring. This river is to be smitten in its seven streams; as stated in this prophecy of Isaiah; perhaps indicating that the Turks, be they ever so powerful in provinces and resources, as seven is a number of perfection, they yet shall fall by the remarkable hand of God, to accommodate the return of his ancient people. These prophetic hints give an interest to the present struggles in the south-east of Europe.
In Jeremiah, xxiii. 6, 8, is the restoration of Israel. "In his days, (i. e. under the millennial reign of the righteous branch raised up to David,) Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries, whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds. Therefore, behold the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, the Lord liveth, who brought up, and who led the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I have driven them, and they shall dwell in their own land." As this event is under the reign of Christ; so it has never yet been fulfilled. It is an event of the last days; and plants the ancient people of God in their own land.
The same compassion of the same event, we find in Isaiah xvi. 14, l5. After denouncing their long dispersion for their sins; God says, "Therefore, behold the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but the Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither I had driven them; and I will bring them into their land, that I gave unto their fathers."
In Isaiah xviii. a land shadowing with wings at the last days, is by the Most High addressed, and called to aid this restoration of that people of God. "Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from the beginning hitherto; a nation meted out, and trodden down; whose land the rivers have spoiled. In that day shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts, of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from the beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot; whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion." The people here described, (to be brought by that land addressed, as a present to the Lord, to Mount Zion, or to Palestine,) are evidently the descendants of Abraham, and an event of the last days. A further explanation of this chapter, is to be given in the last chapter of this work.
The same thing is noted in Isaiah lx. The Jewish church is called upon; "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. The gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Who are these that fly as clouds, and as doves to their windows? Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee." Here are ships conveying the Jews to Palestine, as clouds and as doves to their windows. Chap. lxvi. 20: "And they shall bring of your brethren for an offering unto the Lord, out of all nations, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring and offering in a clean vessel unto the house of the Lord." In Zephaniah iii. 10, (connected with the battle of the great day, and the Millennium.) we read; "From the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants (or worshippers) shall bring my offering, even the daughter of my dispersed;" as the passage should be rendered.
In Amos ix. 14, 15, is a prediction of this event. "And I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; and I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land, which I have given them, saith the Lord God." This restoration is surely future. For after the restoration from the Babylonish captivity, they were again expelled from their land, now for many centuries. But after the restoration here promised, God says, "They shall no more be pulled up out of their land." This shows that the restoration here promised is both future and literal. Jer.xxx. 3; "For lo, the last days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people, Israel and Judah, saith the Lord; and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it." In the restoration from Babylon, Israel was not returned. And the Jews possessed their land but a short time. Hence this prophecy remains to be fulfilled. Read the whole 31st chapter of Jeremiah, and you will find the restoration of the Jews and the ten tribes, to the land of their fathers, in the last days; and their continuance in it so long as the sun, moon and stars endure. "If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord. (i. e. of the sun, moon and stars) then the seed of Israel shall cease from being a nation before me forever." God here promises "the city (Jerusalem) shall be built to the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more forever." Here God engages that as Ephraim is God's first born; so he will earnestly remember him still. and surely have mercy upon him, for his bowels are pained with his long outcast state. That he will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of men; and that "like as he had watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, to throw down, and to destroy and afflict;" so he will watch over them to build and plant. That all this shall be, when the new covenant is made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that he made with their fathers. Thus is an event to take place under the last, the gospel dispensation; and hence it must be now future.
The prophet Joel, when foretelling the last days, and the Millennium, notes this event; chap.iii. 1. "For behold, in those days, and at 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." The battle of the great day of God follows; verse 9-17. Upon which follows the Millennium. In this series of events, God "brings again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem."
In Zeph. iii. is the same. A new preparatory scene of judgment is predicted; verse 6, 7. The battle of the great day follows; verse 8. Then the Millennium; verse 9. To prepare the way for this, the noted restoration is promised; verse 10-18. And the scene closes thus; verse 19, 20. "Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee; and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get me praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time I will bring you again, even in the time that I gather you; for I will make you a name and a praise among all the people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord."
The prophet Hosea most decisively predicts this event. His first son must be called Jezreel; for God would soon avenge the blood of Jezreel; "and I will cause to cease the house of Israel." This house did cease; and has been banished and lost to this day. The name of his daughter Lo-ruhamah, is explained: "Ye are not my people; and I will not be your God." Here is their long dispersion. But he immediately proceeds to predict their restoration. Chap.i. 10, 11; "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass that in the place, where it was said unto them. Ye are not my people; there shall it be said to them. Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Israel and the children of Judah be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head; and they shall come up out of the land; (earth;) for great shall be the day of Jezreel." Here the ten tribes were to be dispersed, and again restored, together with the Jews; and their numbers and prosperity shall be immense. This prophet proceeds in the following chapters to predict the same event. See Hosea, 2d and 3d chapters. The account closes thus; "For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without a teraphim. Afterward shall the children of Israel return and seek the Lord their God, and David, their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days." Here is a description of the present dispersed state of Israel; and a prediction of their national restoration, "in the latter days."
The restoration is a great event in the prophets; and we find it in the New Testament. Paul (in his epistle to the Romans, chap. xi.) notes their being again grafted into their own olive tree, as a notable event of the last days, which shall be the "riches of the gentiles ;" yea, "life from the dead" to them. See also Isaiah xlix. 18-23. One passage more I will adduce from the writings of Moses; Deut. xxx. The long and doleful dispersion of this people had been predicted in the preceding chapters. Here their final restoration follows. "And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return unto the Lord thy God; -- that then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it, and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers." This has never yet been fulfilled. For the Jews, returned from Babylon, were very far from being multiplied in their land above their fathers. This remains still to be accomplished.
Thus the prophetic writings do clearly decide, that both Israel and the Jews shall, in the last days, before the Millennium, be literally restored to their own land of Palestine, and be converted to the Christian faith.
4. To give a mystical import to all these prophecies, and say they will be fulfilled only in the conversion of these ancient people of God to Christianity, is to take a most unwarrantable liberty with the word of God. Some have made such pretence; but far be it from me to follow them! Why not as well apply a mystical sense to every prediction of future events? To the predictions of the battle of that great day; of the Millennium; of the resurrection of the bodies of men; of the final judgment; of the conflagration of this world; of heaven, and of hell? Why may not those as well all be fulfilled, not by a literal, but by some mystical accomplishment? Is not this to add and to diminish, with a witness? Paul says, (2 Tim.ii. 16.) "But shun profane and vain babblings; for they will increase unto more ungodliness, and their words will eat as doth a canker; of whom Hymeneas and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying, that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some." What was the liberty taken by those arch heretics? No doubt it was this; applying to predictions of a resurrection of the bodies of men from the grave, a mystical resurrection of the soul from the death of sin. But the predictions of the resurrection are far less numerous, and are not more express, than are the predictions of the restoration of the Jews and Israel to their own land.
In various of the most remarkable of these predictions, we find it distinctly ascertained that the Jews shall be converted; shall have a new heart given them; shall have their hearts circumcised to fear the Lord. And beside this, it is said that people shall (as a distinct nation,) be restored to the land of their fathers, and shall dwell in temporal prosterity there through all following ages, and be more numerous than ever were their fathers. To say then, that all those predictions of such a restoration to Palestine, are to be accomplished only in the bringing of that people (in their dispersed state,) to embrace the Messiah; is to take a most unwarrantable liberty with the word of God! Look at one passage; Ezekiel, 36th, 37th, 38th, and 39th chapters. Are the new heart (the heart of the flesh,) there promised, and God's gathering them out of all lands into their own land, which had so long lain waste, one and the same event? What can such expositors do with the predictions of Gog and his bands, gathered against them, and falling upon the mountains of Israel? Are these (and all predictions in Joel, Zechariah, and other prophets, of the gathering of all nations to Jerusalem,) to be explained away, so that no "gathering of the nations, and assembling of the kingdoms" must be expected? It must be a dangerous expedient thus to explain away the clear and express sentiments of revelation. The old and best expositors generally have believed in a literal restoration of Judah and Israel. And no material objections can be raised against it, which might not in its principle operate as forcibly against all predicted future events.
5. That the Hebrews are to have a literal restoration, appears from the fact, that the threatenings that God cast them off, had their fulfilment in a literal rejection of them from the promised land. The promises of their restoration appear to be an exact counterpart of this; and hence must have their effect in restoring them again to Palestine. If such promises did not design to restore them again to the land of their fathers; why should the threatenings of their rejection of God be designed to have their effect in expelling them literally from the land of promise? Why should one of them receive a literal, and the other a mystical construction? No account can be given of this. If there is no benefit in restoring them to Palestine; why was there any calamity in expelling them from Palestine? Why did not God let them continue there, though he withdrew his spirit and grace from them? But if, over and above this, they must be expelled from the land of promise; then surely their promised restoration must (over and above giving them the heart of flesh) bring them back to Canaan, which was given to them for an everlasting possession.
JUDAH AND ISRAEL.
The present state of the Jews is so well understood in the Christian and literary world, that very little will here be said on this part of the subject. While a more particular attention will be paid to the present state of the ten tribes of Israel.
The whole present population of the Jews has been calculated at five millions. But the probability is, (as has been thought by good judges,) that they are far more numerous. One noted character says, that in Poland and part of Turkey, there are at least three millions of this people; and that among them generally, there is an unusual spirit of enquiry relative to Christianity. Mr. Noah says, that in the States of Barbary, their number exceeds seven hundred thousand. Their population in Persia, China, India, and Tartary, is stated (in a report of the London Society for the conversion of the Jews,) to be more than three hundred thousand. In Western Asia the Jews are numerous; and they are found in almost every land.
As in Europe this remarkable people have been singularly depressed, and in ages past, made a taunt, reproach, and by-word, trodden down, scattered, and pealed; one would hope that quarter of the world would feel themselves obligated to be singularly active in bringing about their restoration. Considerable has been undertaken to meliorate their condition, and prepare the way for their restoration.
It is fourteen years since a society was formed in London to aid the Christianization of this people. A chapel has been erected by this society for their benefit. The New Testament they have caused to be translated into the Hebrew language; also many tracts written in Hebrew. These tracts and Testament have been liberally distributed among the Jews, and been read by multitudes of them with no small attention. Missionaries have been sent among them; -- schools opened, and various means used. A seminary was opened in 1822 for the instruction of the youth of this people. Four students of the seed of Abraham entered it; one of them the celebrated Mr. Wolff, a Jewish convert and missionary. In various parts of the United Kingdoms, auxiliary societies have been formed; and the amount of monies received in 1822, was upwards of 10.698 sterling. (between 40 and $50,000;) In the schools of the society are between seventy and eighty children of the Jews. In 1822 there were distributed, 2,459 Hebrew Testaments; 892 German Jewish do.; 2597 Polish Judea do; 800 Hebrew Psalters; 42,410 Hebrew Tracts; 30,000 English do. for the Jews; 19,300 Hebrew cards. The prophets are about to be printed in Hebrew, on stereotype plates, for the benefit of the Jews. Places of deposit of books for the Jews are established extensively in the four quarters of the world.
Other and similar societies in favour of the Jews are becoming numerous. Only several will be given in detail. One has been formed in Berlin under the sanction of his Prussian majesty. This society in an address to the public, observes; "Pious Christians in Germany seem themselves almost excluded from the work of converting the heathen; to whom sea-faring nations only have an immediate access. May they be of good cheer in turning their eyes to the millions of the ancient people of God, who live among them, or in their vicinity. There is no nation provided with so effective means now to begin the work of their conversion, as protestant Germany. For this country the most glorious harvest seems to be in reserve. Let us then clear ourselves from the blame of leaving to perish these millions living among us, or near our gates, without having ever made any well regulated attempt to lead them to that cross, upon which their fathers crucified the Messiah. This field is our own, and only requires labourers. According to our best information of its state, we have no doubt but the soil will readily receive the seed of the divine word." The informations received from Poland too, are interesting. The Jews there seem to be convinced that some important change in their condition is preparing; and they seem ready to co-operate in the means of such a change. Count Von der Recke, near Westphalia, has established near Dasselsdorf an asylum for converted Jews. And numerous societies have been formed in Europe and America, to aid this great object. The American Meliorating Society, with its auxiliaries, might be noted in detail; but they are well known. The history of the Palestine mission also; the noted agency of Mr. Frey, and the mission of Mr. Wolff, the Jewish missionary to Palestine; also the remarkable conversion of many of the Jews; but this would exceed my designed limits; and these things are well known to the Christian world.
My present object is rather to attend to the present state of the ten tribes of Israel. This branch of the Hebrew family have long been "outcasts" out of sight; or unknown as Hebrews. The questions arise, are they in existence, as a distinct people? If so, who, or where are they? These are queries of great moment, at this period, when the time of their restoration is drawing near. These queries may receive an answer in the following remarks.
1. It has been clearly ascertained in the preceding chapter, that the ten tribes, as the Israel of God, are in the last days to be recovered, and restored with the Jews. The valley of dry bones, and the two sticks becoming one in the prophet's hand, have been seen clearly to ascertain this: See Ezek. xxxix. as well as the many other passages noted in this chapter. But as this fact is essential to our inquiring after the ten tribes with confidence of their existence, I shall here note several additional predictions of the event, found in the prophets; and note some passages, which distinguish between the dispersed state of the Jews, and the outcast state of the ten tribes; which distinction will afford some light in our inquiries.
When the restoration of the Hebrews is predicted, in Isaiah xi. that God will in the last days set up an ensign for the nations; it is to "assemble the outcasts of Israel; and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." Mark the distinction; the Jews are "dispersed;" scattered over the nations as Jews, as they have long been known to be; but Israel are "outcast;" cast out from the nations; from society; from the social world; from the knowledge of men, as being Hebrews. This distinction is repeatedly found in the prophets. The dispersed state of the Jews, as Jews, is a most notable idea in the prophetic scriptures. But of Israel, the following language is used; as Isaiah lvi. 8; "The Lord God who gathereth the outcasts of Israel, saith." &c. Accordingly, when Israel are recovered, and united with the Jews at last, the Jews express their astonishment, and inquire where they had been? They had utterly lost them, as is the fact. See Isaiah xlix. 18-22. The Jews here, while "removing to and fro" through the nations, in their dispersed state, had been "left alone," i. e. of the ten tribes. The latter being now restored to the bosom of the mother church, the Jews inquire, "Who hath brought up these? behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?" Here we learn that the ten tribes had, during the long dispersion of the Jews, been utterly out of their sight and knowledge, as their brethren. This implies the long outcast state of the ten tribes.
Several additional passages will be noted, to show that both the branches of that ancient people are to be restored. In Isaiah xi. after the promise that the dispersed Jews, and outcast Israel shall be restored; the prophet adds, verse 13; "The envy also of Ephraim shall depart; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim." Here the mutual jealousies between the two branches of the house of Israel, which before the expulsion of the ten tribes kept them in almost perpetual war, shall never again be revived; which passage assures us of the restoration of Israel as Israel.
In Jer. iii. those two branches are distinguished by "backsliding Israel, and her treacherous sister Judah." Israel was already put away for her spiritual adulteries, (having then been rejected for nearly one hundred years.) But the same backsliding Israel is there again recovered in the last days. God calls after them; "Return, thou backsliding Israel; for I am married unto you, saith the Lord. And I will take you, one of a city and two of a family; and will bring you to Zion." "In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel; and they shall come together out of the land of the north, to the land that I have given to your fathers." This has never yet had even a partial accomplishment. Its event is manifestly future.
The entail of the covenant must as surely recover the ten tribes, as the Jews. Paul shows in Romans xi. the consistency of the rejection of the Jews, with the entail of the covenant with Abraham. And he makes their final restoration in the last days, essential to this consistency. -- But this inspired argument as forcibly attaches itself to the ten tribes, to ensure their recovery, as to the Jews. He accordingly there says, "and so all Israel shall be saved;" or both branches of the Hebrews shall be recovered. This same point is most positively decided in Jeremiah, 30th and 31st chapters, as has appeared in the preceding chapter.
2. It inevitably follows that the ten tribes of Israel must now have, somewhere on earth, a distinct existence in an outcast state. And we justly infer, that God would, in his holy providence, provide some suitable place for their safe keeping, as his outcast tribes, though long unknown to men as such. There is no avoiding this conclusion. If God will restore them at last as his Israel, and as having been "outcast" from the nations of the civilized world for 2500 years; he surely must have provided a place for their safe keeping, as a distinct people, in some part of the world, during that long period. They must during that period, having been unknown to the Jews as Israelites; and consequently unknown to the world as such; or the Jews would not at least (on their being united to them,) inquire, "These, where had they been?" Isaiah xlix. 21.
3. We have an account of the ten tribes, after their captivity, which accords with the ideas just stated. We receive not the books of the Apocrypha as given by Inspiration; but much credit has been given to historical facts recorded in it; as in the wars of the Maccabees, and other places. In 2 Esdras xiii. 40, and on, we read; "Those are the ten tribes which were carried away prisoners out of their own land, in this time of Osea, the king, whom Salmanezer, the king of Assyria, led away captive; and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land." Here is the planting of them over the Euphrates, in Media. The writer adds; "But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never man dwelt; that they might there keep their statutes which they never kept (i. e. uniformly as they ought,) in their own land. There was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half." The writer proceeds to speak of the name of the region being called Asareth, or Ararat. He must allude here to the region to which they directed their course to go this year and a half's journey. This place where no man dwelt, must of course have been unknown by any name. But Ararat, or Armenia lay north of the place where the ten tribes were planted when carried from Palestine. -- Their journey then, was to the north, or north-east. This writer says, "They entered into the Euphrates by the narrow passages of the river." He must mean, they repassed this river in its upper regions, or small streams, away toward Georgia; and hence must have taken their course between the Black and Caspian seas. This set them off north-east of the Ararat, which he mentions. Though this chapter in Esdras be a kind of prophecy, in which we place not confidence; yet the allusion to facts learned by the author, no doubt may be correct. And this seems just such an event as might be expected, had God indeed determined to separate them from the rest of the idolatrous world, and banish them by themselves, in a land where no man dwelt since the flood.
4. Let several suppositions now be made. Suppose an extensive continent had lately been discovered, away north-east from Media, and at the distance of "a year and a half's journey;" a place probably destitute of inhabitants, since the flood, till the time of the "casting out" of Israel. Suppose a people to have been lately discovered in that sequestered region, appearing as we should rationally expect the nation of Israel to appear at this period, had the account given by the writer in Esdras been a fact. Suppose them to be found in tribes, with heads of tribes; but destitute of letters, and in a savage state. Suppose among different tribes the following traditionary fragments are by credible witnesses picked up; some particulars among one region of them, and some among another; while all appear evidently to be of the same family. Suppose them to have escaped the polytheism of the pagan world; and to acknowledge one, and only one God, the Great Spirit, who created all things seen and unseen. Suppose the name retained by many of them for this Great Spirit, to be Ale, the old Hebrew name of God; and Yohewah, whereas the Hebrew name for Lord was Jehovah; also they call the Great First Cause, Yah; the Hebrew name being Jah. Suppose you find most of them professing great reverence for this great Yohewah; calling him "the great beneficent supreme holy spirit," and the only object of worship. -- Suppose the most intelligent of them to be elated with the idea that this God has ever been the head of their community; that their fathers were once in covenant with him; and the rest of the world were "the accursed people," as out of covenant with God. Suppose you find them, on certain occasions, singing in religious dance, "Hallelujah," or praise to Jah; also singing Yohewah, Shilu Yohewah, and making use of many names and phrases evidently Hebrew. -- You find them counting their time as did ancient Israel, and in a manner different from all other nations, They keep a variety of religious feasts, which much resemble those kept in ancient Israel.
You find an evening feast among them, in which a bone of the animal must not be broken; if the provision be more than one family can eat, a neighbor must be called in to help eat it, and if any of it be still left, it must be burned before the next rising sun. You find them eating bitter vegetables, to cleanse themselves from sin. You find they never eat the hollow of the thigh of any animal. They inform that their fathers practised circumcision. Some of them have been in the habit of keeping a Jubilee. They have their places answering to the cities of refuge, in ancient Israel. In these no blood is ever shed by any avenger. You find them with their temples, (such as they be,) their holy of holies in their temple, into which it is death for a common person to enter. They have their high priests, who officiate in their temples, and make their yearly atonement there in a singular pontifical dress, which they fancy to be in the likeness of one worn by their predecessors in ancient times; with their breast-plate, and various holy ornaments. The high priest, when addressing to his people what they call "the old divine speech," calls them "the beloved and holy people," and urges them to imitate their virtuous ancestors; and tells them of their "beloved land flowing with milk and honey." They tell you that Yohewah once chose their nation from all the rest of mankind, to be his peculiar people. That a book which God gave, was once theirs; and then things went well with them. But other people got it from them, and then they fell under the displeasure of the Great Spirit; but that they shall at some time regain it. They inform you, some of their fathers once had a spirit to foretel future events, and to work miracles. Suppose
they have their imitation of the ark of the covenant, where were deposited their most sacred things; into which it is the greatest crime for any common people to look. All their males must appear at the temple at three noted feasts in a year. They inform you of the ancient flood; of the preservation of one family in a vessel; of this man in the ark sending out first a great bird, and then a little one, to see if the waters were gone. That the great one returned no more; but the little one returned with a branch. They tell you of the confusion of languages, once when people were building a great high place; and of the longevity of the ancients; that they "lived till their feet were worn out with walking, and their throats with eating."
You find them with their traditional history that their ancient fathers once lived where people were dreadfully wicked, and that nine tenths of their fathers took counsel and left that wicked place, being led by the Great Spirit into this country; that they came through a region where it was always winter, snow and frozen. That they came to a great water, and their way hither was thus obstructed, till God dried up that water; (probably it froze between the islands in Beering's Straits.) You find them keeping an annual feast, at the time their ears of corn become fit for use; and none of their corn is eaten, till a part of it is brought to this feast, and certain religious ceremonies performed. You find them keeping an annual feast, in which twelve men must cut twelve saplin poles, to make a booth. Here (on an altar made of twelve stones, on which no tool may pass,) they must sacrifice. You find them with the custom of washing and anointing their dead. And when in deep affliction, laying their hand on their mouth, and their mouth in the dust.
Suppose you should find things like those among such a people, without books or letters, but wholly in a savage state, in a region of the world lately discovered, away in the direction stated by the aforenoted writer in the Apocrypha; and having been ever secluded from the knowledge of the civilized world; would you hesitate to say you had found the ten tribes of Israel? and that God sent them to that sequestered region of the earth to keep them there a distinct people, during an "outcast" state of at least 2500 years? Would you not say, we have just such kind of evidence, as must at last bring that people to light among the nations? And would you not say, here is much more evidence of this kind, of their being the people of Israel, than could rationally have been expected, after the lapse of 2500 years in a savage state? Methinks I hear every person whisper his full assent, that upon the suppositions made, we have found the most essential pile of the prophet Ezekiel's valley of dry bones!
5. Those things are more than mere supposition. It is believed they are capable of being ascertained as facts, with substantial evidence. Good authorities from men, who have been eye and ear witnesses, assure us that these things are facts. But you enquire, where or who are the people thus described? They are the aborigines of our continent! Their place, their language, their traditions, amount to all that has been hinted. These evidences are not all found among any one tribe of Indians. Nor may all the Indians in any tribe, where various of these evidences are found, be able to exhibit them. It is enough, if what they call their beloved aged men, in one tribe, have clearly exhibited some of them; and others exhibited others of them; and if among their various tribes, the whole have been, by various of their beloved or wise men, exhibited. This, it is stated, has been the fact. Men have been gradually perceiving this evidence for more than a half a century; and a new light has been, from time to time, shed on the subject, as will appear.
The North American Reviewers, in reviewing a sermon of Doct. Jarvis, on this subject, delivered before the New-York Historical Society, (in which he attempts to adduce much evidence to show that the natives of this continent are the tribes of Israel,) remark thus; "The history and character of the Indian tribes of North America, which have for some time been a subject of no inconsiderable curiosity and interest with the learned in Europe, have not till lately attracted much notice among ourselves. But as the Indian nations are now fast vanishing, and the individuals of them come less frequently under our observation; we also, as well as our European brethren, are beginning to take a more lively interest than ever, in the study of their character and history."
In the course of their remarks they add; "To the testimonies here adduced by Doctor Jarvis, (i. e. that the Indians are the ten tribes of Israel,) might have been added several of our New England historians, from the first settlement of the country." Some they proceed to mention; and then add, that the Rev. Messrs. Samuel Sewall, fellow of Harvard College, and Samuel Willard, vice president of the same, were of opinion, that "the Indians are the descendants of Israel." --
Doct. Jarvis notes this as an hypothesis, which has been a favourite topic with European writers; and as a subject, to which it is hoped the Americans may be said to be waking up at last.
Manasses Ben Israel, in a work entitled "The Hope of Israel," has written to show that the American Indians are the ten tribes of Israel. But as we have access to his authors, we may consult them for ourselves. The main pillar of his evidence is James Adair, Esq. Mr. Adair was a man of established character, as appears from good authority. He lived a trader among the Indians, in the south of North America, for forty years. He left them and returned to England in 1774, and there published his "History of the American Indians;" and his reason for being persuaded that they are the ten tribes of Israel. Remarking on their descent and origin, he concludes thus; "From the most accurate observations I could make, in the long time I traded among the Indian Americans, I was forced to believe them lineally descended from the Israelites. Had the nine tribes and a half of Israel, that were carried off by Shalmanezer, and settled in Media, continued there long, it is very probable by intermarrying with the natives, and from their natural fickleness and proneness to idolatry, and also from the force of example, that they would have adopted and bowed before the gods of Media and Assyria; and would have carried them along with them. But there is not a trace of this idolatry among the Indians." Mr. Adair gives his opinion that the ten tribes, soon after their banishment from the land of Israel, left Media, and reached this continent from the north-west, probably before the carrying away of the Jews of Babylon.
A summary will be given of the arguments of Mr. Adair, and of a number of other writers on this subject. As the evidence given by Mr. Adair appears in some respects the most momentous and conclusive, I shall adduce a testimonial in his behalf. In the "Star in the West," published by the Hon. Elias Bondinot, LL. D. upon this subject, that venerable man says; "The writer of these sheets has made a free use of Mr. Adair's history of the Indians; which renders it necessary that something further should be said of him. Sometime about the year 1774, Mr. Adair came to Elizabethtown, (where the writer lived.) with his manuscript, and applied to Mr. Livingston, (afterward governor of New Jersey -- a correct scholar,) requesting him to correct his manuscript. He brought ample recommendations, and gave a good account of himself. Our political troubles with Great Britain then increasing, (it being the year before the commencement of the revolutionary war,) Mr. Adair, who was on his way to Great Britain, was advised not to risk being detained from his voyage, till the work could be critically examined; but to set off as soon as possible. He accordingly took passage in the first vessel bound to England. As soon as the war was over, (Mr. Bondinot adds of himself,) the writer sent to London to obtain a copy of this work. After reading it with care, he strictly examined a gentleman, then a member with him in congress, and of excellent character, who had acted as our agent among the Indians to the southward, during the war, relative to the points of fact stated by Mr. Adair, without letting him know the design, and from him found all the leading facts mentioned
in Mr. Adair's history, fully confirmed from his own personal knowledge."
Here are the evidences of two great and good men most artlessly uniting in the leading facts stated by Mr. Adair. The character of Mr. Boudinot (who was for some time President of the American Bible Society,) is well known. -- He was satisfied with the truth of Mr. Adair's history, and that the natives of our land are Hebrews, the ten tribes. And he hence published his "Star in the West" on this subject; which is most worthy of the perusal of all men.
From various authors and travellers, among the Indians, the fact that the American Indians are the ten tribes of Israel, will be attempted to be proved by the following arguments:
1. The American natives have one origin.
2. Their language appears to have been Hebrew.
3. They have had their imitation of the ark of the covenant in ancient Israel.
4. They have been in practice of circumcision.
5. They have acknowledged one and only one God.
6. Their variety of traditions, historical and religious, go to evince that they are the ten tribes of Israel.
7. The celebrated William Penn gives account of the natives of Pennsylvania, which go to corroborate the same point.
8. Their having a tribe, answering in various respects, to the tribe of Levi, sheds further light on this subject.
9. Several prophetic traits of character given to the Hebrews, do accurately apply to the aborigines of America.
10. The Indians being in tribes, with their heads and names of tribes, affords further light upon this subject.
11. Their having an imitation of ancient citiy of refuge, evinces their the truth of our subject.
12. Other Indian rites, and various other considerations, go to evince the fact, that this people are the ten tribes of Israel.
l. The American natives have one origin. -- Their language has a variety of dialects; but all are believed by some good judges to be the same radical language. Various noted authors agree in this. Charlevois, in his history of Canada, says; "The Algonquin and the Huron languages, (which he says are as real the same, as the French and old Norman are the same,) have between them the language of all the savage nations we are acquainted with. Whoever should well understand both of these, might travel without an interpreter more than fifteen hundred leagues of country, and make himself understood by an hundred different nations, who have each their peculiar tongue;" meaning dialect. The Algonquin was the dialect of the Wolf tribe, or the Mohegan; and most of the native tribes of New-England and of Virginia.
Doctor Jonathan Edwards, son of President Edwards, lived in his youth among the Indians; as his father was a missionary among them, before he was called to Princeton College; and he became as familiar with the Mohegan dialect, as with his mother tongue. He had also a good knowledge of the Mohawk dialect. He pronounced the Mohegan the most extensive of all the Indian dialects of North America. He names not less than sixteen tribes, besides the original tribes of New-England, as agreeing with the Mohegan. Herein the doctor agrees with the testimony of Charlevoix just noted. Here we find a cogent argument in favour of the Indians of North America, at least as being of one origin. And arguments will be furnished that the Indians of South America are probably of the same origin.
Doctor Boudinot (who for more than forty years was of opinion that the Indians are the ten tribes, and who sought and obtained much evidence on this subject,) assures us, that the syllables which compose the word Yohewah, (Jehovah) and Yah, (Jah) are the roots of a great number of Indian words, through different tribes. -- They make great use of these words, and of the syllables which compose the names of God; also which form the word Hallelujah, through their nations for thousands of miles; especially in their religious songs and dances. With beating and an exact keeping of time, they begin a religious dance thus; Hal, hal, hal; then le, le, le; next lu, lu, lu; and then close yah, yah, yah. This, it is asserted, is their traditional song of praise to the great Spirit. This, it is asserted, is sung in South, as well as North America. And this author says; "Two Indians, who belong to far distant nations, may without the knowledge of each other's language, except from the general idiom of all their tribes, converse with each other, and make contracts without an interpreter." This shews them to have been of one origin.
Du Pratz says, in his history of Louisiania, "The nations of North America derived their origin from the same country, since at bottom they all have the same manners and usages, and the same manner of speaking and thinking." It is ascertained that no objection arises against this, from the different shades of complexion found among different tribes of Indians. "The colour of the Indians generally, (says Doct. Boudinot,) is red, brown, or copper, according to the climate, and the high or low ground." Mr. Adair expresses the same opinion; and the Indians have their tradition, that in the nation from which they originally came, all were one colour. According to all accounts given of the Indians, there are certain things which all agree. This appears in the journals of Mr. Giddings, of his exploring tour. The most distant and barbarious Indians agree in a variety of things with all other tribes. They have their Great Spirit; their high priests; their sacrificing, when going to or returning from war; their religious dance; and their sacred little enclosure, containing their most sacred things, though it be but a sack, instead of an ark. Messrs. Lack and Escarbotus both assert that they have often heard the Indians of South America sing "Hallelujah." For thousands of miles the North American Indians have been abundant in this.
Doctor Williams, in his history of Vermont says; "In whatever manner this part of the earth was peopled, the Indians appear to have been the most ancient, or the original men of America. They had spread over the whole continent, from the fiftieth degree of north latitude, to the southern extremity of Cape Horn. And these men every where appeared to be the same race or kind of people. In every part of the continent, the Indians marked with a similarity of colour, features, and every circumstance of external appearance. Pedro de Cicca de Leon, one of the conquerors of Peru, and who had travelled through many provinces of America, says of the Indians; "The people, men and women, although there are such a multitude of tribes or nations, in such diversities of climates, appear nevertheless like the children of one father and mother."
Ulloa (quoted by Doct. Williams,) had a great acquaintance with the Indians of South America, and some parts of North America. Speaking of the Indians of Cape Breton in the latter, he declared them to be "the same people with the Indians in Peru. "If we have seen one American, (said he) we may be said to have seen them all." These remarks do not apply to all the people in the northern extremities of America. The Esquimaux natives appear to be a different race of men. This race are found in Labrador, in Greenland, and round Hudson's Bay. All these appear evidently the same with the Laplanders, Zemblans, Samoyeds and Tartars in the east. They probably migrated to the western hemisphere at periods subsequent to the migration of the Indians. They, or some of them, might have come from the north of Europe; from Norway to Iceland, then to Greenland, and thence to the coasts of Labrador, and farther west. But the consideration of those different people, does not affect our subject.
2. Their language appears clearly to have been Hebrew. In this, Doctor Edwards, Mr. Adair, and others were agreed. Doctor Edwards, after having a good acquaintance with their language, gave his reasons for believing it to have been originally Hebrew. Both, he remarks, are found without prepositions, and are formed with prefixes and suffixes; a thing probably known to no other language. And he shows that not only the words, but the construction of phrases, in both, have been the same. Their pronouns, as well as their nouns, Doctor Edwards remarks, are manifestly from the Hebrew. Mr. Adair is confident of the fact, that their language is Hebrew. And their laconic, bold and commanding figures of speech, he notes as exactly agreeing with the genius of the Hebrew language. -- He says, that after living forty years among them, he obtained such knowledge of the Hebrew idiom of their language, that he viewed the event of their having for more than two millenaries, and without the aid of literature, preserved their Hebrew language so pure, to be but little short of a miracle.
Relative to the Hebraism of their figures, Mr. Adair gives the following instance, from an address of a captain to his warriors, going to battle. "I know that your guns are burning in your hands; your tomahawks are thirsting to drink the blood of your enemies; your trusty arrows are impatient to be upon the wing; and lest delay should burn your hearts any longer, I give you the cool refreshing word; join the holy ark; and away to cut off the devoted army!"
A table of words and phrases is furnished by Doct. Boudinot, Adair, and others, with several added from good authority, to show how clearly the Indian language is from the Hebrew. Some of these Indian words are taken from one tribe. and some from another. In a long savage state, destitute of all aid from letters, a language must roll and change. It is strange that after a lapse of 2500 years, a single word should, among such a people, be preserved the same. But the hand of Providence is strikingly seen in this, perhaps to bring that people to light.
The following may afford a specimen of the evidence on this part of the subject.
Roof of a house-Traubana ora-Debonaour
Ararat, or high mount-Ararat-Ararat
Very hot-Heru hara or hala-Hara hara
Praise to the First Cause-Halleluwah-Hallelujah
Give me food-Natoni boman-Natoui bamen
Go thy way-Bayou boorkaa-Boua bouak
Good be to you-Halea tibou-Ye hali ettouboa
My necklace-Yene kali-Vongali
I am sick-Nane guaete-Nance heti
Who can doubt but the above Indian words and phrases were from their corresponding Hebrew? To be otherwise, their adoption by savages must be miraculous. And if they be from the Hebrew, surely these Indians must be the very ten tribes of Israel.
Governor Hutchinson observed, that "many people (at the time of the first settlement of New England,) pleased themselves with the conjecture, that the Indians in America are the descendants of the ten tribes of Israel." Something was discovered so early, which excited this pleasing sentiment. This has been noted as having been the sentiment of Rev. Samuel Sewall, of vice president Willard, and others. Governor Hutchinson expresses his doubt upon the subject, on account of the dissimilarity of the language of the natives of Massachusetts, and the Hebrew. Any language in a savage state, must, in the course of 2500 years, have rolled and varied exceedingly. This is shown to be the case in the different dialects, and many new words introduced among those tribes, which are acknowledged to have their language radically the same.
The following facts are enough to answer every objection on this ground. The Indians had no written language. Hence the English scholar could not see the spelling or the root of any Indian word. And the guttural pronunciation of the natives was such as to make even the Hebrew word, that still might be retained, appear a different word; especially to those who were looking for no Hebrew language among them. And the following noted idiom of the Indian Language was calculated to hide the fact in perfect obscurity, even had it been originally Hebrew, viz; the Indian language consists of a multitude of monosyllables added together. -- Every property or circumstance of a thing to be mentioned by an Indian, must be noted by a new monosyllable added to its name. Hence it was that the simple word our loves, must be expressed by the following long Indian word, Noowomantammoonkanunonnash.
Mr. Colden, in his history of the five nations, observes, "They have a few radical words. But they compound their words without end. The words expressive of things lately come to their knowledge (he says) are all compounds. And sometimes one word among them includes an entire definition of the thing." *(* See the Connecticut Magazine, Vol.III. p.367.) These things, considered of a language among savages, 2500 years after their expulsion from Canaan, must answer every objection arising from the fact, that the Indian language appears in some things very different from the Hebrew. And they must render it little less than miraculous (as Mr. Adair says it is) that after a lapse of so long a period among savages, without a book or letters, a word or phrase properly Hebrew should still be found among them. Yet such words and phrases are found. And many more may yet be found in the compounds of Indian words. I have just now observed, in dropping my eye on a Connecticut Magazine for 1803, a writer on the Indians in Massachusetts, in its earliest days, informs, that the name of a being they worshipped was Abamocko. Here, without any perception of the fact, he furnishes a Hebrew word in compound. Abba-mocko; father-mocho. As a tribe of Indians in the south call God, Abba-mingo-ishto; Father-chief-man. In the latter, we have two Hebrew words; Abba, father, and Ish, man. Could we make proper allowance for Pagan pronunciation, and find how the syllables in their words ought to be spelled, we might probably find many more of the Hebrew roots in their language.
3. The Indians have had their imitation of the ark of the covenant in ancient Israel. Different travellers, and from different regions unite in this. Mr. Adair is full in his account of it. It is a small square box, made convenient to carry on the back. They never set it on the ground, but on logs in low ground where stones are not to be had; and on stones where they are to be found. This author gives the following account of it. "It is worthy of notice, (he says) that they never place the ark on the ground, nor sit it on the bare earth when they are carrying it against an enemy. On hilly ground, where stones are plenty, they place it on them. But in level land, upon short logs, always resting themselves (i. e. the carriers of the ark) on the same materials. They have also as strong a faith of the power and holiness of their ark, as ever the Israelites retained of theirs. The Indian ark is deemed so sacred and dangerous to touch, either by their own sanctified warriors, or the spoiling enemy, that neither of them dare meddle with it on any account. It is not to be handled by any except the chieftian and his waiter, under penalty of incurring great evil; nor would the most inveterate enemy dare to touch it. The leader virtually acts the part of a priest of war, pro tempore, in imitation of the Israelites fighting under the divine military banner."
Doct. Boudinot says of this ark, "It may be called the ark of covenant imitated." In time of peace it is the charge of their high priests. In their wars they make great account of it. The leader, (acting as high priest on that occasion,) and his darling waiter, carry it in turns. -- They deposit in the ark some of their most consecrated articles. The two carriers of this sacred symbol, before setting off with it for the war, purify themselves longer than do the rest of the warriors. The waiter bears their ark during a battle. It is strictly forbidden for any one, but the proper officer, to look into it. An enemy, if they capture it, treat it with the same reverence.
Doctor Boudinot says, that a gentleman, who was at Ohio, in 1756, informed him that while he was there, he saw among the Indians a stranger who appeared very desirous to look into the ark of that tribe. The ark was then standing on a block of wood, covered with a dressed deer skin. A centinel was guarding it, armed with a bow and arrow. The centinel finding the intruder pressing on, to look into the ark, drew his arrow at his head, and would have dropped him on the spot; but the stranger perceiving his danger, fled. Who can doubt the origin of this Indian custom? And who can resist the evidence it furnishes, that here are the tribes of Israel? See Num. x. 35, 36, and xiv. 44.
4. The American Indians have practised circumcision. Doct. Beaty, in his journal of a visit to the Indians in Ohio, between fifty and sixty years ago, says that "an old Indian informed him, that an old uncle of his, who died about the year 1728, related to him several customs of former times among the Indians, and among the rest, that circumcision was long ago practised among them, but that their young men made a mock of it, and it fell into disrepute and was discontinued." Mr. M'Kenzie informs that in his travels among the Indians, he was led to believe the same fact, of a tribe far to the north-west; as stated in the 'Star in the West.' Doctor Boudinot assures that the eastern Indians inform of its having been practised
among them in times past; but that latterly, not being able to give any account of so strange a rite, their young men had opposed it, and it was discontinued. Immanuel de Moraez, in his history of Brazil, says it was practised among the native Brazilians. What savage nation could ever have conceived of such a rite, had they not descended from Israel?
5. The native Americans have acknowledged one, and only one God; and they have generally views concerning the one Great Spirit, of which no account can be given, but that they derived them from ancient revelation in Israel. Other nations destitute of revelation, have had their many gods. But little short of three hundred thousand gods have existed in the bewildered imaginations of the pagan world. Every thing, almost, has been defied by the heathen. Not liking to retain God in their knowledge, and professing themselves to be wise, they became fools; and they changed the glory of the one living God, into images of beasts, birds, reptiles, and creeping things. There has been the most astonishing inclination in the world of mankind to do thus. But here is a new world of savages, chiefly, if not wholly free from such wild idolatry. Doctor Boudinot (being assured by many good witnesses,) says of the Indians who had been known in his day; "They were never known (whatever mercenary Spanish writers may have written to the contrary) to pay the least adoration to images or dead persons, to celestial luminaries, to evil spirits, or to any created beings whatever." Mr. Adair says the same, and assures that "none of the numerous tribes and nations, from Hudson's Bay to the Mississippi, have ever been known to attempt the formation of any image of God." Du Pratz was very intimate with the chief of those Indians called "the Guardians of the Temple," near the Mississippi. He inquired of them the nature of their worship. The chief informed him that they worshipped the great and most perfect Spirit; and said, "He is so great and powerful, that in comparison with him all others are nothing. He made all things that we see, and all things that we cannot see." The chief went on to speak of God as having made little spirits, called free servants, who always stand before the Great Spirit ready to do his will. That "the air is filled with spirits; some good, some bad; and that the bad have a chief who is more wicked than the rest." Here it seems is their traditional notion of good and bad angels; and of Beelzebub, the chief of the latter. This chief being asked how God made man, replied, that "God kneaded some clay, made it into a little man, and finding it was well formed, he blew on his work, and the man had life and grew up!" Being asked of the creation of the woman, he said, "their ancient speech made no mention of any difference, only that the man was made first." Moses' account of the formation of the woman, it seems, had been lost.
Mr. Adair is very full in this, that the Indians have but one God, the Great Yohewah, whom they call the great beneficent, supreme, and holy Spirit, who dwells above the clouds, and who dwells with good people, and is the only object of worship." So different are they from all the idolatrous heathen upon earth. He assures that they hold this great divine Spirit as the immediate head of their community; which opinion he conceives they must have derived from the ancient theocracy in Israel. He assures that the Indians are intoxicated with religious pride, and call all other people the accursed people; and have time out of mind been accustomed to hold them in great contempt. Their ancestors they boast to have been under the immediate government of Yohewah, who was with them, and directed them by his prophets, while the rest of the world were outlaws, and strangers to the covenant of Yohewah. The Indians thus please themselves (Mr. Adair assures us) with the idea that God has chosen them from the rest of mankind as his peculiar people. This, he says, has been the occasion of their hating other people; and of viewing themselves hated by all men. -- These things show that they acknowledge but one God.
The Peruvians have been spoken of as paying adoration to the sun; and as receiving their race of Incas, as children of the sun, in their succession of twelve monarchies. The Indians have had much of an apprehension that their on Great Spirit had a great affinity to fire. And the Peruvians, it seems, went so far as to embody him in the sun. Here seems a shred of mixture of the Persian idolatry, with the theocracy of Israel. As the more ancient Israelites caught a degree of idolatrous distemper of Egypt, as appears in their golden calf; so the ten tribes of the time they resided in Media, and before they set off for America, may have blended some idea of fire with their own God. But the veneration the Peruvians had for the Incas, as children of the Most High, seems but a shred of ancient tradition from Israel, that their kings were divinely anointed; and is so far from being an argument against their being of Israel, that it operates rather in favour of the fact.
Doctor Boudinot informs of the southern Indians of North America, that they had a name for God, which signifies, "the great, the beloved, holy cause." And one of their names of God, is Mingo Ishto Abba; -- Great Chief Father. He speaks of a preacher's being among the Indians at the south, before the American revolution, and beginning to inform them that there is a God who created all things. Upon which they indignantly replied, "Go about your business, you fool, do not we know there is a God, as well as you?"
In their sacred dances, these authors assure us the Indians sing "Halleluyah Yohewah;" -- praise to Jah Jehovah. When they return victorious from their wars, they sing, Yo-he-wah; having been by tradition taught to ascribe the praise to God.
The same authors assure us, the Indians make use of the initials of the mysterious name of God, like the tetragrammaton of the ancient Hebrews; or like four radical letters which form the name of Jehovah; as the Indians pronounce thus, Y-O-He-wah. That like the ancient Hebrews, they are cautious of mentioning these together, or at once. They sing and repeat the syllables of this name in their sacred dances thus; Yo-yo, or ho-ho-he-he-wah-wah. Mr. Adair upon the same, says; "After this they begin again; Hal-hal-le-le-lu-lu- yah-yah. And frequently the whole train strike up, hallelu-hallelu-halleluyah-halleluyah." They frequently sing the name of Shilu (Shilo, Christ) with the syllables of the name of God added; thus, "Shilu-yo-Shilu-yo-Shilu-he-Shilu-he-Shilu-wah-Shilu-wah." Thus adding to the name of Shilu, the name of Jehovah by its sacred syllables. Things like these have been found among Indians of different regions of America. Syllables and letters of the name of God have been so transposed in different ways; and so strange and guttural has been the Indian pronunciation, that it seems it took a long time to perceive that these savages were by tradition pronouncing the names of the God of Israel. Often have people been informed, and smiled at the fact, that an Indian, hurt of frightened, usually cries out wah! This is a part of his traditional religion; O Jah! or O Lord!
Doctor Williams upon the Indians' belief of the being of God, observes; "They denominate the deity the Great Spirit; the Great Man above; and seem to have some general ideas of his government and providence, universal power and dominion. The immortality of the soul was every where admitted among the Indian tribes."
The Rev. Ithamar Hebard, formerly minister of this place, related the following: That about fifty years ago a number of men were sent from New-England by the government of Britain into the region of the Mississippi, to form some treaty with the Indians. That while these commissioners were there, having tarried for some time; an Indian chief came from the distance of what he calls several moons to the westward. Having heard that white men were there, he came to enquire of them where the Great Being dwelt, who made all things. And being informed, through an interpreter, of the divine omnipresence; he raised his eyes and hands to heaven with great awe and ecstacy, and looking round, and leaping, he seemed to express the greatest reverence and delight. The head man of these commissioners had been a profane man; but this incident cured him, so that he was not heard to utter another profane word on his tour. This was related to Mr. Hebard by one Elijah Wood, who was an eye witness of the scene, and who was afterward a preacher of the gospel. The son of Mr. Hebard, a settled minister, gives this relation.
Let this fact of the Indians generally adhering to one, and only one God, be contrasted with the polytheism of the world of pagans, and heathen besides; with the idle and ridiculous notions of heathen gods and goddesses; and who can doubt of the true origin of the natives of our continent? They are fatally destitute of proper views of God and religion. But they have brought down by tradition from their remote ancestors, the notion of there being but one great and true God; which affords a most substantial argument in favour of their being the ancient Israel.
It is agreed that within about eighty years, a great change has been produced among the Indians. They have in this period much degenerated as to their traditional religion. Their connexions with the most degenerate part of the white people, trading among them; and their knowledge and use of ardent spirit, have produced the most deleterious effects. They have felt less zeal to maintain their own religion, such as it was; and to transmit their own traditions. Remarkable indeed it is, that they did so diligently propagate and transmit them, till so competent a number of good testimonies should be furnished to the civilized and religious world, relative to their origin. This must have been the great object of divine Providence in causing them so remarkably to transmit their traditions through such numbers of ages. And when the end is answered, the cause leading to it may be expected to cease.
This may account for the degeneracy of some Indians far to the west, reported in the journals of Mr. Giddings, in his exploring tour. He informs, "They differ greatly in their ideas of the Great Spirit; one supposes that he dwells in a buffalo, another in a wolf, another in a bear. another in a bird, another in a rattlesnake. On great occasions, such as when they go to war, and when they return, (he adds) they sacrifice a dog, and have a dance. On these occasions they formerly sacrificed a prisoner taken in the war; but through the benevolent exertions of a trader among them, they have abandoned the practice of human sacrifice. There is always one who officiates as high priest. He practices the most rigid abstinence. He pretends to a kind of inspiration, or witchcraft; and his directions are obeyed.
"They all believe (he adds) in future rewards and punishments; but their heaven is sensual. They differ much in their ideas of goodness. -- One of their chiefs told him, he did not know what constituted a good man; that their wise men in this, did not agree.
"Their chiefs, and most of their warriors, have a war sack, which contains generally, the skin of a bird, which has green plumage; or some other object, which they imagine to have some secret virtue."
Here we learn that those far distant savages have (as have all other tribes) their Great Spirit, "who made every thing," though in their bewildered opinion he dwells in certain animals. On going to war, or returning, they must sacrifice; and for victory obtained, must have their religious dance. They must have their high priest, who must practice great abstinence, and pretend to inspiration; and hence must be obeyed. -- They have brought down their traditional notions of these things; and of future rewards and punishments. The ark of their war like chieftains, it seems, has degenerated into a sack! but this (like the ark of the other tribes) must contain their most sacred things; "green plumage, or some other objects which they imagine to have some secret virtue." Here these Indians furnish their quota of evidence, in these more broken traditions, of their descent from Israel.
These tribes in the west are more savage, and know less of the old Indian traditions. Mr. Giddings says, "As you ascend the Missouri and proceed to the west, the nearer to the state of nature the savages approach, and the more savage they appear." This may account for their ark's degenerating into a sack; and for their verging nearer to idolatry in their views of the Great Spirit, viewing man as embodied in certain animals.
A chief of the Delaware Indians far in the west, visited by Messrs. Dodge and Blight, Jan. 1824, from the Union Mission, gave the following information to these missionaries. The chief was said by these missionaries "to be a grave and venerable character, possessing a mind which (if cultivated) would render him probably not inferior to some of the first statesman of our country." On being inquired of by them whether he believed in the existence of a Supreme Being? he replied; "Long ago, before ever a white man stepped his foot in America, the Delaware knew there was one God; and believed there was a hell, where bad folks would go when they die; and a heaven, where good folks would go." He went on to state (these missionaries inform) that "he believed there was a devil, and he was afraid of him. These things (he said) he knew were handed down by his ancestors long before William Penn arrived in Pennsylvania. He said, he also knew it to be wrong if a poor man came to his door hungry and naked, to turn him away empty. For he believed God loved the poorest of men better than he did proud rich men. Long time ago, (he added) it was a good custom among his people to take but one wife, and that for life. But now they had become so foolish, and so wicked, that they would take a number of wives at a time; and turn them away at pleasure!" He was asked to state what he knew of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He replied that "he knew but little about him. For his part, he knew there was one God. He did not know about two Gods." This evidence needs no comment to show that it appears to be Israelitish tradition, in relation to the one God, to heaven, hell, the devil, and to marriage, as taught in the Old Testament, as well as God's estimation of the proud rich, and the poor. These things he assures us came down from their ancestors, before ever any white man appeared in America. But the great peculiarity which white men would naturally teach them (if they taught any thing.) that Jesus Christ the Son of God is the Saviour of the world, he honestly confesses he knew not this part of the subject.
The following is an exact of a letter from Mr. Calvin Cushman, missionary among the Choctaws, to a friend in Plainfield, Mass. in 1824.
It is probable that while most of the natives of our land had their one Great Spirit, some of this wretched people talked of their different gods. Among the natives on Martha's Vineyard, in the beginning of Mayhew's mission among them, we find Mioxo, in his conversation with the converted native, Hiaccomes, speaking of his thirty-seven gods; and finally concluding to throw them all away, to serve the one true God. We know not what this insulated native could mean by his thirty-seven gods. But it seems evident from all quarters, that such were not the sentiments of the body of the natives of America.
The ancient natives on Long Island talked of their different subordinate gods. Sampson Occum, the noted Indian preacher, says; "the Indians on Long Island imagined a great number of gods." But he says "they had ( at the same time) a notion of one great and good God, who was over all the rest." Here doubtless, was their tradition of the holy angels which they had become accustomed to call gods under the one great God. The North American Reviewers speak of the fact, that the natives of our land acknowledged one supreme God. They inquire, "If the Indians in general have not some settled opinion of a Supreme Being; how has it happened that in all the conferences or talks of the white people with them, they have constantly spoken of the Great Spirit; as they denominate the Ruler of the universe?"
Lewis and Clark inform us of the Mandans, (a tribe far toward the Pacific) thus; "The whole religion of the Mandans consists in a belief of one Great Spirit presiding over their destinies. To propitiate whom, every attention is lavished, and every personal consideration is sacrificed." One Mandan informed that lately he had eight horses; but that he had offered them all up to the Great Spirit. His mode of doing it was this; he took them into the plains, and turned them all loose; committing them to the Great Spirit, he abandoned them forever. The horses, less devout than their master, no doubt took care of themselves.
Heckewelder (a venerable missionary among the Indians 40 years, noted in Doct. Jarvis' discourse, before the New York Historical Society, and who had a great acquaintance with the wide spread dialect of the Delaware language,) says; "Habitual devotion to the great First Cause, and a strong feeling of gratitude for the benefits he confers, is one of the prominent traits which characterize the mind of the untutored Indian. He believes it to be his duty to adore and worship his Creator and Benefactor."
Gookin, a writer in New England in 1674, says of the natives; "generally they acknowledge one great Supreme doer of good." Roger Williams, one of the first settlers of New England, says; "He that questions whether God made the world, the Indians will teach him. I must acknowledge (he adds) I have in my concourse with them, received many confirmations of these two great points; -- 1. that God is; 2. that He is a rewarder of all that diligently seek him. If they receive any good in hunting, fishing or harvesting, they acknowledge God in it."
Surely then, the natives of the deserts of America must have been a people who once knew the God of Israel! They maintained for more than two millenaries, the tradition of Him in many respects correct. What possible account can be given of this, but that they were descendants of Israel, and that the God of Israel has had his merciful eye upon them, with a view in his own time to bring them to light, and effect their restoration?
11. Their variety of traditions, historical and religious, go to evince that they are the ten tribes of Israel. Being destitute of books and letters, the Indians have transmitted their traditions in the following manner. Their most sedate and promising young men are some of them selected by what they call their beloved men, or wise men, who in their turn had been thus selected. To these they deliver their traditions, which are
carefully retained. These are instead of historic pages and religious books.
Some of these Indian traditions, as furnished from good authorities, shall be given. Different writers agree that the natives have their historic traditions of the reason and manner of their fathers coming into this country, which agree with the account given in Esdras, of their leaving the land of Media, and going to a land to the northeast, to the distance of a year and a half's journey. M'Kenzie gives the following account of the Chepewyan Indians, far to the north-west. He says; "They have also a tradition among them, that they originally came from another country, inhabited by very wicked people, and had traversed a great lake, which was in one place narrow, shallow, and full of islands, where they had suffered great misery; it being always winter, with ice, and deep snows. At the Copper Mine River, where they made the first land, the ground was covered with copper, over which a body of earth has since been collected to the depth of a man's height." Doctor Boudinot speaks of this tradition among the Indians. -- Some of them call that obstructing water a river, and some a lake. Some give account of their getting over it; others not. What a striking description is here found of the passing of the natives of this continent, over from the north-east of Asia, to the north-west of America, at Beering's Straits. These Straits all agree, are less than forty miles wide, at this period; and no doubt they have been continually widening. Doctor Williams, in his history of Vermont, says they are but eighteen miles wide. Probably they were not half that width 2500 years ago. And they were full of islands, the Indian tradition assures us. Many of those islands may have been washed away; as the Indian tradition says, "the sea is eating them up;" as in Dr. Boudinot.
Other tribes assure us that their remote fathers, on their way to this country, "came to a great river which they could not pass; when God dried up the river that they might pass over." Here is a traditionary notion among the Indians of God's anciently drying up rivers before their ancestors. Their fathers in some way got over Beering's Straits. And having a tradition of rivers being dried up before the fathers, they applied it to this event. Those straits, after Israel had been detained for a time there, might have been frozen over in the narrows between the islands; or they might have been passed by canoes, or other craft. The natives of this land, be they who they may, did in fact arrive in this continent; and they probably must have come over those straits. And this might have been done by Israel, as well as by any other people.
Relative to their tradition of coming where was abundance of copper; it is a fact, that at, or near Beering's Straits, there is a place called Copper Island, from the vast quantities of this metal there found. In Grieve's history we are informed that copper there covers the shore in abundance; so that ships might easily be loaded with it. The Gazetteer speaks of this, and that an attempt was made in 1770 to obtain this copper, but that the ice even in July, was so abundant, and other difficulties such, that the object was relinquished. Here, then, those natives made their way to this land; and brought down the knowledge of this event in their tradition.
Doctor Boudinot gives it as from good authority, that the Indians have a tradition "that the book which the white people have was once theirs. That while they had this book things went well with them; they prospered exceedingly; but that other people got it from them; that the Indians lost their credit; offended the Great Spirit, and suffered exceedingly from the neighboring nations; and that the Great Spirit then took pity on them, and directed them to this country." There can be no doubt that God did, by his special providence, direct them to some sequestered region of the world, for the reasons which have been already given. * (* We have a prediction relative to the ten tribes, which fully accords with the things exhibited of them, and of the natives of our land. In Amos viii. 11, 12, we read, "Behold the days came, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water; but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it." This prophecy did relate to the ten tribes.)
-- Amos was a prophet to them: he lived not long before their expulsion, from which they have never yet returned. He in the context predicted in this expulsion, as then just at hand -- See v. 1, 2, 14. The famine here predicted, was to be fulfilled while they were in their outcast state. This is clearly evident from the whole connection.
The prediction implies, they should know they had been blessed with the word of God, but had wickedly lost it; as a man in a famine knows he has had bread or food, but now has it not. It implies, they shall feel something what they have lost, and shall wander. They shall rove from sea to sea, from the north even to the east. They shall set off a north course, and thence east; or be led to wander in a north-east direction as far as they can wander; from the Mediterranean, whence they set out, to the extremest sea in the opposite direction north-east; to the Frozen Ocean; over its straits to the Pacific; and to the Atlantic. They shall run to and fro, over all the vast regions, the dreary wilds, which lie between those extreme seas. They shall retain some general correct idea of God, but they shall find they have lost his word. This they shall not regain, till their long famine shall close in the last days. How exactly does this prophecy accord with the account M'Kenzie adds the following accounts of the Chepewyan nation; "They believe also that in ancient times, their ancestors lived till their feet were worn out with walking, and their throats with eating. They describe a deluge, when the waters spread over the whole earth, except the highest mountains; on the tops of which they preserved themselves." This tradition of longevity of the ancients, and of the flood, must have been from the word of God in ancient Israel.
Abbe Clavigero assures us, that the natives of Mexico had the tradition, that "there once was a great deluge; and Tepzi, in order to save himself from being drowned, embarked in a ship,
noted in Esdras, and with the Indian tradition, which meets it; of their fathers being led into this country! They have indeed wandered north-east, and from north to east, and south; from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. They have run to and fro in a famine of the word; retaining some general view of God, and of their ancient blessings under him. But their famine and savage state have still continued. From their savage high priests, they have sought the word of the Lord, and from their vague traditions; but they have not found it.
But the following chapter in Amos, engages they shall find again the holy oracles -- ix. 13-15. "Behold the days come saith the Lord, that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper; and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountain shall drop sweet wine; and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel; and they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land, which I have given them, saith the Lord God." Here are the rapid scenes, the melting missionary events of our day. Here is the succeeding recovery of the tribesof Israel. Here is the planting of them in their own land; and their permanent residence there to the end of the world. Never has this restoration had even a primary accomplishment.
with his wife and children, and many animals. -- That as the waters abated, he sent out a bird, which remained eating dead bodies. He then sent out a little bird, which returned with a small branch."
Doctor Beatty says that an Indian in Ohio informed, that one of their traditions was; "Once the waters had overflowed all the land, and drowned all the people then living, except a few, who made a great canoe and were saved."
The Indian added, to Dr. Beatty, that "a long time ago the people went to build a high place; that while they were building, they lost their language, and could not understand each other."
Doctor Boudinot assures us that two ministers of his acquaintance informed him, that they being among the Indians away toward the Mississippi, the Indians there (who never before saw a white man.) informed him that one of their traditions was, -- a great while ago they had a common father, who had the other people under him. That he had twelve sons by whom he administered his government; but the sons behaving illy, they lost this government over the other people. This the two ministers conceived to be a pretty evident traditionary notion concerning Jacob and his twelve sons.
Various traditions of the Indians strikingly denote their Hebrew extraction. Dr. Beatty (mentioned by Mr. Boudinot) informs of their feast, called the hunter's feast; answering, he thinks, to the Pentecost in ancient Israel. He describes it as follows:
They choose twelve men, who provide twelve deer. Each of the twelve men cuts a saplin; with these they form a tent, covered with blankets.
They then choose twelve stones for an altar of sacrifice. Some tribes, he observes, choose but ten men, ten poles, and ten stones. Here seems an evident allusion to the twelve tribes; and also to some idea of the ten separate tribes of Israel. Upon the stones of their altar they suffered no tool to pass. No tool might pass upon a certain altar in Israel. The middle point of the thigh of their game, Doctor Beatty informs, the Indians refuse to eat. Thus did ancient Israel, after the angel had touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank: Gen. xxxii 25, 31, 32. "In short, (says Dr. Beatty,) I was astonished to find so many of the Jewish customs prevailing among them; and began to conclude there was some affinity between them and the Jews."
Col. Smith, in his history of New-Jersey, says of another region of Indians, "They never eat of the hollow of the thigh of any thing they kill." Charlevoix, speaking of the Indians still further to the north, says, he met with people who could not help thinking that the Indians were descended from the Hebrews, and found in every thing some affinity between them. Some things he states; as on certain meals, neglecting the use of knives; not breaking a bone of the animal they eat; never eating the part under the lower joint of the thigh; but throwing it away. Such are their traditions from their ancient fathers. Other travellers among them speak of their peculiar evening feast, in which no bone or their sacrifice may be broken, No bone might be broken of the ancient paschal lamb of Israel, which was eaten in the evening.
Different men who had been eye witnesses, speak of this, and other feasts, resembling the feasts in Israel; and tell us relative to this peculiar evening feast, that if one family cannot eat all they have prepared, a neighbouring family is invited to partake with them; and if any of it be still left, it must be burned before the next rising sun. None who read the law of the passover can doubt the origin of this.
A Christian friend of mine informs me, that he some time since read in a book which he now cannot name, the account of a man taken at Quebec, in Montgomery's defeat; as he being carried far to the north-west by Indians; and of a feast which they kept, in which each had his portion in a bowl; that he was charged to be very careful not to injure a bone of it; that each must eat all his bowl full, or must burn what was left on a fire, burning in the midst for this purpose. The object of the feast he knew not
The Indians have their feasts of first ripe fruits, or of green corn; and will eat none of their own corn till a part is thus given to God. The celebrated Penn, Mr. Adair, and Col. Smith, with others, unite in these testimonies. In these Indian feasts they have their sacred songs and dances; singing Halleluyah, Yohewah, in the syllables which compose the words. What other nation, besides the Hebrew and Indians ever in this manner attempted the worship of Jehovah? The author of the "Star in the West" says; "May we not suppose that these Indians formerly understood the psalms and divine hymns? Otherwise, how came it to pass that some of all the inhabitants of the extensive regions of North and South America have, and retain, these very expressive Hebrew words, and repeat them so distinctly; using them after the manner of the Hebrews, in their religious acclamations?"
The Indian feast of harvest, and annual expiation of sin, is described by these writers; and in a way which enforces the conviction that they derived them from ancient Israel. Details are given in the Star in the West. My limits will permit only to hint at them. The detailed accounts are worth perusing.
An Indian daily sacrifice is described. They throw a small piece of the fattest of their meat into the fire, before they eat. They draw their newly killed venison through the fire. The blood they often burn. It is with them a horrid abomination to eat the blood of their game. This was a Hebrew law.
A particular or two of their feasts shall be noted. Doctor Beatty gives an account of what he saw among the Indians north-west of the Ohio. He says; "Before they make use of any of the first fruits of the ground, twelve of their old men meet; when a deer and some of the first fruits are provided. The deer is divided into twelve parts; and the corn beaten in a mortar, and prepared for use by boiling or baking under the ashes, and of course unleavened. This also is divided into twelve parts. Then these (twelve) men hold up the venison and fruits, and pray, with their faces to the east, acknowledging (as is supposed) the bounty of God to them. It is then eaten. After this they freely enjoy the fruits of the earth. On the evening of the same day, (the Doctor adds) they have another public feast which looks like the passover. A great quantity of venison is provided, with other things dressed in their usual way, and distributed to all the guests; of which they eat freely that evening. But that which is left is thrown into the fire and burned; as none of it
must remain till sun rise the next day; nor must a bone of the venison be broken."
Mr. Boudinot says, "It is fresh in the memory of the old traders, (among the Indians) as we are assured by those who have long lived among them, that formerly none of the numerous nations of Indians would eat, or even handle any part of the new harvest, till some of it had been offered up at the yearly festival by the beloved man (high priest) or those of his appointment at the plantation; even though the light harvest of the past year should almost have forced them to give their women and children of the ripening fruits to sustain life." Who that reads the laws of Moses, can doubt the origin of these Indian traditions?
The Hebrews were commanded to eat their passover with bitter herbs; Exod. xii. 8. The Indians have a notable custom of purifying themselves with bitter herbs and roots. Describing one of their feasts, the writer says, "At the end of the notable dance, the old beloved women return home to hasten the feast. In the mean time every one at the temple drinks plentifully of the Cussena, and other bitter liquids, to cleanse their sinful bodies, as they suppose."
The Indians have their traditionary notion clearly alluding to the death of Abel, by the murderous hand of Cain; as well as one alluding to the longevity of the ancients.
More full accounts are given by some of these authors, of the Archi-magus of the Indians -- their high priest. As the high priest in Israel was inducted into office by various ceremonies, and by anointing; so is the Indian high priest by purification, and by anointing. Which the holy garments are put upon him, bear's oil is poured on his head. And it is stated that the high priest have their resemblances of the various ornaments worn by the ancient high priests; and even a resemblance of the breast-plate. These men have been called by the white people, ignorant of Indian customs, jugglers. But they are now ascertained by good witnesses, as a manifest though corrupt succession of the high priesthood in ancient Israel. Bartram says, those, with inferior priests and prophets, have been maintained in most if not all the tribes.
The Indian high priest makes his yearly atonement for sin. He appears at their temple, (such as it is) arrayed in his white deer skin garments, seeming to answer to the ancient ephod. Entering on his duty, the waiter spreads a white seat with a white dressed buckskin, close by the holiest apartment of their temple; and puts on his white beads offered by the people. A variety of curious things are described in this dress, by Mr. Adair, as pretty evidently designed imitations of the parts of ancient pontifical dress, which it would exceed my limits to describe. This dress is left in the holy place of their temple, till the high priest comes to officiate again. His breastplate is made of a white conch shell, through which two straps of otter skin pass in two perforations; whole white buttons of buck's horn are superadded, as though in immitation of the precious stones on the ancient breast-plate. A swan skin wreath adorns his head, instead of the ancient plate of gold, and for the ancient tiara, the Archi-magus has his tuft of white feathers. His holy fire he obtains by rubbing two sticks together; and his golden bells and pomegranates are formed of the dried spurs of wild turkies, strung so as to rattle on his fine mocasins.
Mr. Adair assures us, when the Indian Archi-magus (high priest) is addressing his people, and enforcing "the divine speech," that he calls them "the beloved and holy people," according to the language concerning ancient Israel, He urges them "to imitate their virtuous ancestors," and "flourishes upon their beloved land, flowing with milk and honey."
Mr. Adair describes the Indian feasts, and speaks of them as bearing a very near resemblance of the stated feasts in ancient Israel. He gives account that when the Indians are about to engage in war, they have their preparatory sacrifices, purifications, and fastings. He speaks of their daily sacrifice, their ablutions, marriages, divorces, burials, mournings for the dead, separations of women, and punishment of various crimes, as being in his opinion manifestly of Hebrew origin.
Their reckonings of time, Mr. Adair viewed as evidently Hebrew. They begin their year, as did Israel, at the first appearance of new moon after the vernal equinox. They reckon by the four seasons, and by the sub-divisions of the moons.
Bartram says, the Indians believe their high priests have intimate communion with the world of spirits; and that no great design is formed by the Indians without his counsel.
The Assinipoils, far to the west, we learn in Capt. Carver's travels among the western Indians, have their high priest, who pretends to great intimacy with the Great Spirit, and to be able to foretel future events; as is the case with the Killistinoes, at the Grand Portage. Certain things he thus found among different Indians, which show them to have been of the same origin.
Within about eighty years, men inform, that these rites of the high priests have been more neglected. The Indians inform that in 1747, the high priest in the Natchez was struck dead by lightning, while using his invocation for rain. They suppose the Great Spirit to have been angry with him for some impurity; and with the "darting fire and threatening voice," took him away; and forbid them to renew the like attempt..
Bartram gives a description of a southern Indian temple. It is a square of small buildings in the centre of their Indian town. The small buildings of one story covers perhaps half acre, more or less, according to the strength of the tribe. In one of these buildings they hold their councils. A part of this building is shut up as a holy of holies; and it is death for any but the high priest to enter it. Here they deposit their most sacred things; as the physic-pot, rattles, chaplets, eagle's tail, and pipe of peace.
To this temple "the males (is ancient Israel) are obliged to assemble three times a year: viz. at the feast of the first ripe fruits; at the feast for the success of hunting, about the time of the ancient pentecost; and the great feast for the expiation of sins, about the tune of ripe corn." No account could be given of these things, without a complicated miracle, unless the Indians have descended from the tribes of Israel.
Mr. Boudinot informs, that "when any of their beloved people die, they soften the thought of death by saying, "he is gone to sleep with his beloved fathers." The ancient pious Hebrews dying, "fell asleep, and was gathered to his people."
The Indians when one dies, wash and anoint the body. The Hebrews did the same.
Some of the southern Indians hire mourners to bewail and magnify the merits of the dead. Thus did the Hebrews: Jer. ix. 17. And the Indians, as did the Hebrews, have their solemn songs on such occasions. A religious procession moves round the corpse, singing, Yah, (Jah.) Ho, is then sung by the procession. The leader then says, He; -- all follow. Then Wah is sung by all. Thus they sing the syllables which compose Jah, Jehovah. The corpse is then buried with the face to the east.
Lewis and Clark, in their tour to the Pacific, inform that they found among the natives, in those remote regions, receptacles for the dead, always lying east and west; the door of the tomb to the east, and the bodies in the tombs lying with the face to the east.
The Indians often bury with the corpse a variety of furniture; and their best things, if the dead be a first character. The Hebrews did the same. Josephus informs that Hyrcanus, a Maccabee, when Jerusalem was besieged by the Syrain tyrant, and money was wanted, took from king David's sepulchre 3000 talents, which had 1300 years before been buried with him.
Another noted Hebrew custom the Indians have. Doctor Boudinot informs, that a worthy minister informed him, that as he was preaching with some Indians; between the exercises, tidings were brought to an Indian woman present, that her son was suddenly drowned. In deep distress she retired to a little distance, and sat on the ground. Female friends followed, and sat around her. After sitting a season in solemn silence, the mourning mother put her hand upon her mouth, and then fell forward with her face in the dust. The rest all followed the example. The men went by themselves, and did the same. It is well known that laying the hand on the mouth, and the mouth in the dust, is a distinguished Hebraism. See Micah vii. 16; Lam. iii. 29; Prov. xxx. 32.
Thus the reader is presented with a view of the historical and religioustraditions of the native Americans; and will judge for himself whether they do not exhibit satisfactory evidence that these natives are the very tribes of Israel?
So important an argument is furnished on this subject from the Indian's place of refuge from the avenger of blood, that a particular head shall be reserved for it, in a succeeding page.
Among what other people on earth can such a traditional evidence be found of their being the descendants of the ten tribes? It is believed no other nations exhibits such evidence. Whence came the natives of one continent, if they be not the tribes of Israel? and where are those tribes to be found? They are to be found, and come to light, as Israelites; and this too, about the present period. This results from the prophetic scriptures, and the signs of the times. The descendants of Abraham are now soon to be recovered. When shall this branch of them be found as having been providentially preserved, now for 2500 years, if not in this sequestered land? The tribes of Israel might have found their way hither, as well as any other people. Some people did find they way hither, and have brought down all these Hebraisms and traditions, which it seems could not be furnished from any other quarter, than from the commonwealth of Israel.
7. The celebrated William Penn * (Quoted by Dr. Boudinot) gives accounts of the natives of Pennsylvania, which go to corroborate the same point. Mr. Penn saw the Indians of Pennsylvania, before they had been affected with the rude treatment of the white people. And in a letter to a friend in England he thus writes of those natives; "I found them with like countenances with the Hebrew race; and their children of so lively a resemblance to them, that a man would think himself in Duke's place, or Barry street in London, when he sees them." Here, without the least previous idea of these natives being Israelites, that shrewd man was struck with their being Israelites, that shrewd man was struck with their perfect resemblance of them; and with other things which will be noted. He speaks of their dress and trinkets, as notable, like those of ancient Israel; their ear rings, nose jewels, bracelets on their arms and legs, rings (such as they were) on their fingers, necklaces, made of polished shells found in their rivers, and on their coast; bands, shells and feathers ornamenting the heads of females, and various strings of beads adorning several parts of the body.
Mr. Penn adds to his friend, "that he considered this people as under a dark night; yet they believed in God and immortality, without the help of metaphysics. For he says they informed him that there was a great king, who made them -- that the souls of the good shall go to him." He adds; "Their worship consists in two parts, sacrifice and cantico, (songs.) The first is with their first fruits; and the first buck they kill goes to the fire." Mr. Penn proceeds to describe their splendid feast of the first ripse fruits, one of which he attended. He informs; "all that go to this feast must take a piece of money, which is made of bone and a fish." -- "None shall appear before me empty." He speaks of the agreement of their rites with those of the Hebrews. He adds; "They reckon by moons; they offer their first ripe fruits; they have a kind of feast of tabernacles; they are said to lay their altars with twelve stones; they mourn a year; they have their separations of women; with many other things that do not now occur." Here is a most artless testimony, given by that notable man, drawn from his own observations, and accounts given by him; while the thought of this people's being actually Hebrew, probably was most distant from his mind.
8. Their having a tribe, answering in various respects, to the tribe of Levi, sheds further light on this subject. The thought naturally occurs, that if these are the ten tribes, and they have preserved so many of their religious traditions; should we not be likely to find among them some tradition of a tribe answering to the tribe of Levi? If we should find something of this, the evidence of their being the tribes of Israel would indeed be more striking. Possibly this is furnished. The Mohawk tribe were held by the other tribes in great reverence; and the other tribes round about them had been accustomed to pay them an annual tribute. Mr. Boudinot gives the following account of them. "Mr. Colden says, he had been told by old men (Indians) in New-England, that when their Indians were at war formerly with the Mohawks, as soon as one (a Mohawk) appeared, the Indians would raise a cry, from hill to hill, a Mohawk! a Mohawk! upon which all would flee as sheep before a wolf, without attempting to make the least resistance. And that all the nations around them have for many years entirely submitted to their advice, and paid them a yearly tribute. And the tributary nations dared not to make war or peace, without the consent of the Mohawks." Mr. Colden goes on to state an instance of their speech to the governor of Virginia, in which it appears the Mohawks were the correctors of the misdoings of the other tribes.
Now, could any thing be found in their name, which might have an allusion to the superiority of the tribe of Levi, we should think the evidence very considerable, that here are indeed the descendants of the part of that tribe which clave to the house of Israel. And here too evidence seems not wholly wanting. The Hebrew word Mhhokek, signifies an interpreter of the law superior. We have, then, a new view of the possible origin of the Mohawks!
9. Several prophetic traits of character given of the Hebrews, do accurately apply to the aborigines of America. Intemperance may be first noted. Isaiah, writing about the time of the expulsion of Israel from Canaan, and about to predict their restoration, says; Isai. xxviii. 1 -- "Wo to the crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim; -- (Ephraim was a noted name of the ten tribes of Israel.) The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet. For all tables shall be full of vomit and filthiness; so that there is no place clean."
In the course of the descriptions of their drunkenness, that of their rejection and restoration is blended; that the Lord by a mighty one would cast them down to the earth; and their glorious beauty should be like that of a rich flower in a fertile valley, which droops, withers and dies. But in time God would revive it. "In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty unto the residue of this people." None who know the character of the Indians in relation to intemperance, need to be informed that this picture does most singularly apply to them.
Doctor Williams in his history of Vermont, on this trait of Indian character, says; "no sooner had the Indians tasted of the spirituous liquors brought by Europeans, than they contracted a new appetite, which they were wholly unable to govern. The old and the young, the sachem, the warrior, and the women, whenever they can obtain liquors, indulge themselves without moderation and without decency, till universal drunkenness takes place. All the tribes appear to be under the dominion of this appetite, and unable to govern it."
A writer in the Connecticut Magazine assures us of the Indians in Massachusetts, when our fathers first arrived there; "As soon as they had a taste of ardent spirits, they discovered a strong appetite for them; and their thirst soon became insatiable."
Another trait of Hebrew character which singularly applies to the Indians, is found in Isai. iii. "The bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet; their cauls, and round tires like the moon; their chains, bracelets, mufflers, bonnets, ornaments of the legs; head-bands, tablets, ear rings, rings, and nose-jewels; the mantles, the wimples; and the crisping pins." One would imagine the prophet was here indeed describing the natives of America in their full dress! No other people on earth probably bear a resemblance to such a degree.
This description was given just before the expulsion of Israel. And nothing would be more likely than that their taste for these flashy ornaments should descend to posterity. For these make the earliest and deepest impressions on the rising generation. And many of the Indians exhibit the horrid contrast which there follows.
10. The Indians being in tribes, with their heads and names of tribes, affords further light upon this subject. The Hebrews not only had their tribes, and heads of tribes, as have the Indians; but they had their annual emblems of their tribes. Dan's emblem was a serpent; Issachar's an ass; Benjamin's a wolf; and Judah's a lion. And this trait of character is not wanting among the natives of this land. They have their wolf tribe; their tiger tribe; panther tribe; buffalo tribe; bear tribe; deer tribe; raccoon tribe; eagle tribe; and many others. What other nation on earth bears any resemblance to this? Here, no doubt, is Hebrew tradition.
Various of the emblems given in Jacob's last blessing, have been strikingly fulfilled in the American Indian. "Dan shall be a serpent by the way; an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that the rider shall fall backwards. Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey; and at night he shall divide the spoil." Had the prophetic eye rested on the American aborigines, it seems as though no picture could have been more accurate.
11. Their having an imitation of the ancient city of refuge, evinces the truth of our subject. -- Their city of refuge has been hinted from Mr. Adair. But as this is so convincing an argument, (no nation on earth having any thing of the kind, but the ancient Hebrews and the Indians;) the reader shall be more particularly instructed on this article. Of one of these places of refuge, Mr. Boudinot says; "The town of refuge called Choate, is on a large stream of the Mississippi, five miles above where Fort Loudon formerly stood. Here, some years ago, a brave Englishman was protected, after killing an Indian warrior in defence of his property. He told Mr. Adair that after some months stay in this place of refuge, he intended to return to his house in the neighborhood; but the chiefs told him it would prove fatal to him. So that he was obliged to continue there till he pacified the friends of the deceased by presents to their satisfaction. " In the upper country of Muskagee, (says Doctor Boudinot) was an old beloved town, called Koosah -- which is a place of safety for those who kill undesignedly."
"In almost every Indian nation (he adds) there are several peaceable towns, which are called old beloved, holy, or white towns. It is not within the memory of the oldest people that blood was ever shed in them; although they often force persons from them, and put them elsewhere to death." Who can read this, and not be satisfied of the origin of this Indian tradition.
The well known trait of Indian character, that they will pursue one who has killed any of their friends, ever so far, and ever so long, as an avenger of the blood shed, thus lies clearly open to view. It originated in the permission given to the avenger of blood in the commonwealth of Israel; and is found in such a degree probably in no other nation.
12. Other Indian rites, and various other considerations, go to evince the fact, that this pople are the ten tribes of Israel. Further details are given, and might be enlarged upon; as religious separations of Indian females, almost exactly answering to the law in ancient Israel; their beginning the year as did Israel, with the new moon after the vernal equinox; their special attention paid to new moons, as was paid in Israel; their green corn moon, the most lovely of all, even as Israel had their beloved month Abib, which signifies an ear of green cornl their Jubilee declared to have been observed by some of the natives: "Melvenda and Acasta both affirm that the natives keep a Jubilee according to the usage in Israel." The testimony of Edwards, in his "West Indies," that the striking uniformity of the prejudices and customs of the Caribbee Indians to the practice of the Jews, had not escaped the notice of historians, -- as Gumella, Du Tertre, and others;" and the various predictions of the final restoration of Israel, bringing them from the ends of the earth, from the west, and (as one translates it) "from the going down of the sun." These things open fruitful sources of evidence.
But I have more than equalled my designed limits. It is again asked, is it possible to find another people on earth exhibiting an equal degree of evidence of their being the ten tribes of Israel? Can another people on earth be found exhibiting one sixth part of the evidence adduced in favour of the American natives? We expect no new revelation, nor miracles wrought, to inform who are the ten tribes of Israel. Here is just such evidence as we should rationally look for; but six times as much of it, as we should dare to have expected, after a lapse of 2,500 years, with a people without letters. Our aborigines are essentially distinguished from all other pagans on earth, in the uniform belief of most of them of one God; and their freedom from false gods; as well as in many other striking things, which appear in their history.
How prone have been mankind, in all ages, to idolatry. Hundreds of thousands of false gods, of every foolish description, have existed in the bewildered imaginations of men destitute of revelation. But the knowledge of the true God was renounced. "As they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them up," to almost every description of idolatry. How early did the world (in several centuries after the flood) go off in gross idolatry, even under the instructions of the patriarchs, and so soon after the terrible admonitions of the flood! The natives of one of the greatest islands of the eastern ocean are so depraved, that it has not been known that they had the least idea of any Supreme Being. -- How prone were the Jews and Israel, in ancient times, even under all their rich advantages, to unite in the idolatries of their heathen neighbours!
But the 70 years captivity of the Jews in Babylon, cured them utterly of idolatry, from that day to this. While they have been dispersed, and been infidels relative to JesusChrist; they have been firm believers in the Old Testament, and in the one God of Abraham. It is analogous with this to expect, that the ten tribes (whatever they are) would be cured, as well as the Jews, of their gross idolatry, and would be kept during their long outcast state, in a situation somewhat resembling that of the Jews, in their speculation concerning God. Such has been the case with the natives of this continent, at least to as great a degree as could be without a bible or letters; and such has been the case with no other people on earth! Nothing but the very special power and mercy of God, could have kept these natives in this traditional habit of acknowledging the one only living and true God, as they have done. While they have been dead to the life of religion, as a valley of dry bones; yet they have strangely been kept from acknowledging any other God but Jehovah, the Great Spirit, who made them and all things.
And light, in these last days of wonders, (when the time for the restoration of Israel and Judah is drawing near) has been breaking out and accumulating on this subject, to exhibit this origin of the American natives. It is ascertained in the "Star in the West," that Spaniards, Portuguese, French, English, Jews, and Christians, men of learning, and the illiterate, and sea-faring men; all have united in the statements of facts, which go to indicate that these Indians are the descendants of Israel! Mr. M'Kenzie has travelled from the Atlantic very far to the north-west; and some of his statements of facts go to the same point. Various of the European visitants to this continent, early after it was known to the civilized world, expressed their surprise on finding among the natives things which bore such a resemblance to the history of ancient Israel. What account can be given of all this, but that here are the very ten tribes? These tribes must be somewhere on earth. Where are they? How can they be known? Whence came our native Americans? What other account can be given of their traditions, their language, Hebrew words, and phrases, (the radical language of their tribes) and the broken fragments of the ancient economy of Israel running through so many of them? It would be far wilder and more difficult to account for these things on any other principle, than to say we have evidence that is satisfactory, of having found at last, the very valley of the dry bones of the house of Israel! The facts stated of them, must on every other principle, appear most unaccountable, not to say miraculous.
Before any degree of confidence is admitted against the evidences adduced, as though other and more conclusive evidence must point out at last, the ten tribes; let it be recollected, that the divine mode of affording evidence is not always such as human wisdom would dictate. The Jews had their strong objections against the evidences of the divinity, the resurrection and ascension of Christ. These were not such as they would have chosen. In the midst of such evidences as God saw fit to afford, the Jews required more. "What sign showest thou?" "How long dost thou make us to doubt?" "Let him descend from the cross, that we may see and believe." Naaman had formed his expectations how his cure would be effected, by the prophet of Israel. He "would come out and lay his hand on the sore, and call upon God and heal him." And for the mortifying reverse of this, he turned to go away in a rage
Many things may be very probably fancied concerning the kinds or degrees of evidence, which must at last exhibit the ten tribes to the world. But Providence may adopt a different method. The methods divinely adopted in every point, have usually been such as to stain the pride of all human glory. The Afgans in Persia
may prove to be a small part of the ten tribes. But it is doubted whether their evidence is by any means so full as that of the American natives. The latter have, to say the least, very considerable of just such kind of evidence, as it would naturally be suppossed must bring to light the ten tribes after remaining for millenaries in a savage state. May the subject be duly examined, and a correct decision in due time be formed.
RELATIVE TO THE RESTORATION OF HIS PEOPLE
An interesting addressis found in the 18th chapter of Isaiah to some people of the last days; calling them to have a special agency in the recovery and restoration of the ancient people of God. Many years ago, while writing my Dissertation on the Prophecies, I became much interested in this address of Isaiah; and in that dissertation, gave a paraphrase of it; conceiving then it was an address to the people of God in Great Britain. I have since become of a different opinion; and now apprehend it to be an address to the Christian people of the United States of America.
To prepare the way for the contemplation of this address, let several things be considered.
1. In the prophetic writings, many addresses are made to nations, or concerning them. Would it not be strange, if no mention were found in the prophecies of this new western world; which was destined by propitious Heaven to make so distinguishing a figure both in the political and religious world, in the last days? It certainly would seem unaccountable, and the thought can hardly be admitted.
2. The address in the eighteenth of Isaiah to be contemplated, is clearly an address to some people of these last days; and concerning events intimately connected with the battle of that great day of God, which is now future and not far distant, and is to introduce the Millennium. This event in verses 5 and 6; which will be noted.
3. The address then cannot have been to any ancient nation or people; as some expositors have inconsiderately supposed. But it must be to a nation of the last days; a nation now on earth; a nation to be peculiarly instrumental in the restoration of the Hebrews in the last days. For this is the very object of the address, as will appear. The demand in the address is, to go and restore that ancient people of God in the last days; or at a time intimately connected with the tremendous scenes [of judgment] on antichristian Europe, and on the hostile wicked world, which shall sweep antichristian nations from the earth, and prepare the way for the millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ. This will clearly appear.
4. The address then, is to a nation, that may seem to have leisure for the important business assigned; when the old and eastern parts of the world are in the effervescence of revolution, and in those struggles which precede dissolution. -- This consideration fixes the address to a people distinct and distant from the those old lands; and hence probably to our
5. If it be a fact, as is apprehended, that the aborigines of our continent are indeed descended from the ten tribes of Israel; our nation, no doubt, must be the people addressed to restore them; to bring them to the knowledge of the gospel, and to do with them whatever the God of Abraham designs shall be done. The great and generous Christian people, who occupy much of the land of those natives, and who are on the ground of their continent, and hence are the best prepared to meliorate their condition, and bring them to the knowledge and order of the God of Israel, must of course be the people to whom this work is assigned. The one consideration would do much toward the decision of our question, Who is the nation addressed?
6. Various things are found in the predictions of the restoration of God's ancient people, which strikingly accord with the idea of a great branch of them being recovered from this land, and by the agency of the people of our States. A few of these shall be noted.
In the thirtieth and thirty-first chapters of Jeremiah, the prophet treats of the united restoration of Judah and Israel. These chapters were written about one hundred and twenty years after the expulsion of the ten tribes. And in relation to the ten tribes, they have never yet had even a primary accomplishment, or any degree of fulfilment. The restoration there predicted is to be in "the latter days;" chap. xxx. 24: and at the time near the battle of the great day; see verses 6-8, 23, 24. Much of the substance of these chapters is appropriated to the ten tribes of Israel; though Judah is expressly to be restored with them. Of the former (having then been outcast for an hundred and twenty years.) God says; chap.xxxi. 20; "Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spake against him, (or expelled him from Canaan,) I do earnestly remember him still; therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord." The next verse invites and predicts his final restoration. These yearnings of the divine compassion for Ephraim (one noted name of the ten tribes) are the immediate precursor of his restoration. "I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord." Set thee up way-marks, make thee high heaps, set thine heart toward the high way -- turn again, O virgin of Israel; turn again to these thy cities." "I will again be the God of all the families of Israel; and they shall be my people." "For lo, the days come. saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah; and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave their fathers, and they shall possess it." "Fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel; for lo I will save thee from afar." "Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth." In this country "afar" off, these "coasts of the earth," they had been in an outcast state. "Because they called thee an outcast, saying; "This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after." (For more than 2000 years none sought after the ten tribes.) These ideas striking accord with their having been outcasts from the known world, in America. This might with singular propriety be called the land afar off, and the coasts of the earth.
In the same connexion, when God promises to gather them "from the coasts of the earth," and says, "they shall come with weeping and with supplication; for I am a father to Israel, and
Ephraim is my first born;" he adds; "Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as the shepherd doth his flock." "Isles afar off!" "Isles in the Hebrew language, signify any lands ever so extensive, away over great waters. Where can these "isles afar off," (these "coasts of the earth," here addressed by God in relation to the restoration of his outcast; yet beloved Ephraim,) where can they be so naturally found as in America?
In other prophets the same things are found. In Isai.xliii. God promises this same restoration of Israel. "But now, thus saith the Lord, that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, Oh Israel; Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee. I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not, for I am with thee. I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth." "Thus saith the Lord, who maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the deserts." In Isai. xi. is this wonderful restoration. Ephraim and Judah are both restored; the one from his "dispersed." the other from his "outcast" state; and their mutual envies are forever healed. And the places from which they are recovered are noted; among which are "the isles of the sea;" or lands away over the sea, and "the four corners of the earth." Certainly then, from America! This surely is one of the four corners of the earth. Of such a land away over the sea, it is predicted, Isai. lx. 9; "Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarnish first, (or a power expert in navigation,) to bring my sons from far." In Zech. viii. 7, is the same event. "Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; and I will bring them, and they shall dwell in Jerusalem; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God." Here they are saved from the west country; or as it may be rendered, from the going down of the sun, The going down of the sun from Jerusalem, would be over America. In Zech. x. 8, 9, is this same restoration of Ephraim by name; meaning the ten tribes. "I will hiss for them, (or call them,) and gather them; for I have redeemed them; and they shall remember me from far countries; and they shall live, and their children, and turn again."
Such promises of the restoration of Israel from far countries, from the west or the going down of the sun, from the coasts of the earth, from the ends of the earth, from isles afar, their being brought in ships from far, making their way in the sea, their path in the mighty waters; these expressions certainly well accord with the ten tribes being brought from America. And such passages imply an agency by which such a restoration shall be effected. Where shall such an agency be so naturally found, as among a great Christian people, providentially planted on the very ground occupied by the outcast tribes of Israel in their long exilement; and who are so happily remote from the bloody scenes of Europe in the last days, as to have leisure for the important business assigned?
Surely then this business would be assigned, either tacitly or expressly, to our nation. At this conclusion we safely arrive, reasoning a priori. The circumstances of the case enforce it. And we might expect so interesting a duty, relative to an event on which the prophecies so abundantly rest, would not be left to uncertain deductions, but would be expressly enjoined.
We may then open the prophetic scriptures with some good degree of confidence, that the assignment of such a task is somewhere to be found. And where so natural to be found as in the prophecy of Isaiah? He is the most evangelical prophet; and treats largely upon the restoration of his brethren.
He lived to behold the expulsion of the ten tribes; and must have been deeply affected with the event. The expulsion of the ten tribes took place 725 years before Christ. Isaiah is supposed to have begun his ministry about the year 760 before Christ; 35 years before that expulsion; and to have continued it about 27 years after that event. It is then very natural, to consider his mind as deeply affected with this event; with the place of the long exilement of his brethren of Israel; and as delighted with a view of their final restoration, which he was inspired to foretel.
Behold this man of God then, wrapt in the visions of the Almighty, casting an eye of faith down the lapse of time to the days of the final restoration of his long rejected brethren. He finds presented in vision, away over the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic, far in the west, or going down of the sun, the continent of their long banishment. He also beholds in vision a great nation arising there in the last days; a land of freedom and religion. He hears the whisper of the Spirit of inspiration, directing him to address that far sequestered and happy land; and call their attention to the final restoration of his people.
Isaiah xviii. verse 1; "Ho, land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia." Our translators render this address, "Wo to the land." But this is manifestly incorrect, as the best expositors agree. The Hebrew particle here translated Wo to, is a particle of friendly calling, as well as of denouncing. And the connexion in any given place must decide which rendering shall be given. In this place, the whole connexion and sense decide, that the word is here a friendly call, or address; as in this passage; "Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters."
The land addressed, lies "beyond the rivers of Ethiopia." It is agreed that these rivers mean the mouths of the Nile, which enter from Egypt into the south side of the Mediterranean. It is as though the prophet had said; Thou land beheld in vision away over the mouths of the Nile. Where would such a line strike? It would glance over the northern edge of the States of Barbary. But could the friendly address to a people of the last days, light on those barbarous Mohammedan shores? Surely not. No land "shadowing with wings," or that would aid the restoration of the Hebrews, is found in those horrid regions. No; the point of the compass and the address must have been designed for a new world, seen in that direction. This address of Heaven must be to our western continent; or to a hospitable people found here. Our southern boundary is not far from the latitude of the mouths of the Nile. The prophetic eye glanced beyond all lands then known; and hence no land is named. It must have been a land over the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
Thou land "shadowing with wings." The above direction lands the prophetic vision at the point of the western continent, where the two great wings of North and South America meet; as the body of a great Eagle. This at first might furnish the prophetic imagery of a land "shadowing with wings." As though the inspiring Spirit had whispered; The continent of those two great wings shall be found at last most interesting in relation to your Hebrew brethren.
And those two great wings shall prove but an emblem of a great nation then on that continent; far sequestered from the seat of antichrist, and of tyranny and blood; and whose asylum for equal rights, liberty and religion, shall be well represented by such a national coat of arms, -- the protecting wings of a great eagle; which nation in yonder setting of the sun, (when in the last days, judgments shall be thundering through the nations of the eastern continent,) shall be found a realm of peaceful protection to all, who fly from the abodes of despotism to its peaceful retreat; even as an eagle protects her nest from all harm. Yea, a land that, when all other lands shall be found to have trampled on the Jews, shall be found to have protecting wings for them, free from such cruelty, and ready to aid them.
Verse 2; "Who sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the face of the waters." It is to be supposed that a great difficulty would at once present itself to the prophet's view, when beholding in vision this western continent, over the mighty waters of the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic, and about to be called to restore his people. What could be done across such mighty waters? The difficulty at once vanishes, by the prophet's being ascertained of this characteristic of the people addressed. They would be most expert in navigation. They could traverse the Atlantic and Mediterranean, and be able to send missionaries to Jerusalem, or to the ends of the earth, in those last days, or convey the Hebrews from one continent to another, with an expedition similar to that with which the Nile (beyond which this new world is beheld) used to be navigated with the skiffs made of the bulrush, or the rind of the papyrus. * (* Our states may claim the characteristic of expert navigation, equal at least to any people on earth. Consider our steam-boat navigation, and such accounts as the following; found in Niles' Register, of March 22, 1823. "Baltimore vessels. -- The brig Thessulian arrived at Baltimore on Saturday evening last, in 79 days from Lima, and 24 from the sight of the city of Pernambuco, in Brazil; a distance of 12,000 miles; averaging six and a quarter miles every hour of her passage. This vessel was, less than eight months ago, on the stocks in this city.")
Verse 2, concluded. "Saying, go ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and pealed, to a people terrible from the beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled." `Saying,' before the command Go, is interpolated in our translation, and destroys the sense; as though the nation said this to her swift messengers; whereas it is what God says to the nation addressed. q. d. Come thou protecting nation; I have a great business for you. Collect and restore my ancient people; that nation whose ancient history has been so remarkable and terrible; that nation so long dispersed, robbed, and insulted, in the people of the Jews; and so long outcast in the ten tribes. -- That people of line, line, (as in the Hebrew, and in the margin of the great Bible;) or, whose only hope to find their ancient inheritance must be in the line of divine promise, or the entail of the covenant. As the land addressed is described as away over the mouths of the Nile; so various characteristics in the address are suggested from thoughts associated with that river, and the people on its banks; as the bulrush vessel just noted; and here the measuring line. The river Nile periodically overflowed its banks, and swept away the boundaries of every man's inheritance on its interval. Every man then, had to depend on a noted line, to measure anew and find his land. So the Hebrews, having by their sins, and expulsion from Canaan, and from the covenant of Abraham, lost all the visible boundaries of their inheritance, having no ground of hope of regaining their standing either in Palestine, or in the covenant of grace, but the line of the mere and sovereign promise of God, for their restoration The word is doubled, line, line; a mere Hebraism. to form a superlative. As peace, peace, means perfect peace, -- Isai. xxvi. 3; and as good, good, means the best; so line, line, means superlatively of line, or altogether dependent on the mere promise of God. That the allusion is to the event noted is evident from what follows:-- "Whose land the rivers have spoiled." Whose inheritance (in the Holy Land) has been torn from them, and overrun by neighbouring hostile nations, often symbolized by rivers, even as the lands by the sides of the Nile often had their boundaries swept away by the overflowings of that river. Thus the Romans first, then the Persians, the Saracens, the Egyptians, and the Turks, have overflowed and possessed the Holy Land. But the line of divine promise will restore it to the Hebrews. * (* Much perplexity had rested on the passage, a nation of line, line, till the above solution occurred to mind. With this I am fully satisfied. It is natural, as is the bulrush navigation. It agrees with facts, and is confirmed by the clause following; "whose land the rivers have spoiled.")
Go thou protecting people; shadow with thy wings my ancient family, as though the Most High should say. For thus it is written; "Surely the isles shall wait for me, (or lands away over the sea from Palestine,) and the ships of Tarshish first, (a people expert in navigation,) to bring my sons from far." A far distant land over sea shall be engaged in this work.
Verse 3. "All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye when he lifteth up the ensign on the mountains, and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye." After the land shadowing with wings is under way in fulfilment of the divine requirement; an apostrophe is made by the Most High to all nations, to stand and behold the banner of salvation now erected for his ancient people; and to hear the great gospel trumpet, the blessed Jubilee, now to be blown for their collection and their freedom. The ancient silver trumpets in Israel collected their solemn assemblies. And the same trumpets, with joyful and peculiar blasts, ushered in the Jubilee morn, and loosed every bond slave of the Hebrews. -- And the antitype of the event shall now be accomplished.
This standard of salvation at that period, is a notable event in the prophets. See Isai. xi. 12, where God sets his hand a second time to gather his Hebrew family from all nations and regions beyond sea; doubtless from America, as well as other nations; and it is promised, "He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." If from the four corners of the earth, then surely from America! In this passage are the descriptive situations from which the two great branches of the Hebrews are recovered; Judah from being dispersed among the nations; and Israel from being outcast from the nations; thrown out of sight of the social world; precisely as they have been in the wilds of America for more than two thousand years, provided our natives are of Israel.
Verse 4. "For so the Lord said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest." The event and the figures in this passage are best explained by those found in synchronical passages, or prophecies alluding to the same event. And according to them, it is as though the Most High should say; I am now about to renew my ancient dwelling place. I will again have fixed habitation in Canaan; as Zech. i. 16: "Thus saith the Lord, I am again returned to Jerusalem with mercies; my house shall be built in it;" and viii. 3; "Thus saith the Lord, I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem." And the event shall be as "life from the dead" to the nations; Rom.xi. 15. Therefore, ye Gentile lands, now behold. I will now be to my ancient heritage like the genial heat of the sun to promote vegetation after the death of winter; as Isai. xxvi. 19, "Thy dew is the dew of herbs," which in the spring shall vegetate. "And I will be like the fertile cooling cloud in the sultry heat of harvest."
The Hebrews shall now become "as the tender grass springing out of the earth, by the clear shining after rain;" 2 Sam. xxiii. 4. Yes, "I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon; Hos. xvi. 5, 6. The nations shall behold this fulfilment of divine grace to Israel, and shall find instruments raised up adequate to the work.
But a tremendous scene to the antichristian world shall be found intimately connected.
Verse 5. "For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches." Or near the fulfilment of this even of the last days, a vast scene is to be accomplished, Prophetic notice is ever given relative to that period, that the salvation of the friends of Zion shall be ushered in with a proportionable destruction to her enemies. The harvest and the vintage of divine wrath, called "the battle of that great day of God Almighty," must be accomplished; and at the time of the restoration of the Hebrews, that tremendous event shall be at the doors. As in the natural vineyard, when the blossom is succeeded by the swelled pulp, which soon reaches the size of the full grape, indicating that the vintage is near; so at the time of the service here divinely demanded, wickedness shall have blossomed; pride shall have budded in antichristian realms. The sour grapes of their tyranny, violence, and licentiousness, will be found to be arriving at their growth; indicating that the time for the casting of the vine of the earth into the wine press of the wrath of God, is just at hand.
Verse 6. "They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and the beasts of the earth; and the fowls shall summer upon them, and the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them." Soon the most prominent branches of the antichristian vine of the earth, shall be collected and trodden upon the mountains of Israel, in the noted scene of Armageddon; Rev. xxi. 16. The passage noted in Ezek. xxxix. 17-20, (at the time of the slaughter of Gog and his bands, and which is given as an illustration of the text,) shall then be accomplished. "And thou son of man, thus saith the Lord God, speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beasts of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth; of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord God." Also the further illustration of the same, Rev. xix. 17, 18; "And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of Heaven, Come and gather yourselves unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great."
Verse 7. "At that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people scattered and pealed, and from a people terrible from the beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot; whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, to Mount Zion." Just at that period of the world, the present which I claim of you shall be brought to the Lord of hosts, of that scattered and outcast people; of that people so terrible in ancient times to their enemies by the presence and power of their God with them; that people of "line, line," or depending solely on the measuring line of promise, or the entail of the covenant, found in the sacred oracles, for their restoration to their ancient inheritance in the church of God, and in the promised land; inasmuch as the boundaries of their inheritance in both these respects have long since been swept away. A present of this people must be brought by you, sequestered land shadowing with wings, unto the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion.
Ye friends of God in the land addressed; can you read this prophetic direction of the ancient prophet Isaiah, without having your hearts burn within you? Surely you cannot, if you can view it as an address of the Most High to you. God here exalts you, in the last days, the age of terror and blood, as high as the standard to be raised for the collection of the seed of Abraham; "on the mountains." Nor is this the only passage, in which this your exaltation is recognized. See the same honor alluded to, in Zeph iii. 10. -- There nearly connected with the battle of the great day of God, in which he there asserts he "will gather the nations, and assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them his indignation, even all his fierce anger, and all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of his jealousy;" and that he will then "turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, and serve him with one consent;" he informs, as in the address in Isaiah; "From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, my suppliants (or a people who are my worshippers,) shall bring mine offering, even the daughter of my dispersed." (as the verse should be read.) Here is the same people, away in the same direction, over the mouths of the Nile, who are called God's suppliants, and who, in those days of vengeance, are to bring their offerings to God, consisting of the descendants of his ancient people.
If these views be correct. Christians in our land may well bless God that it is their happy lot to live in this land shadowing with wings; this protecting realm, an asylum of liberty and religion; a land so distant from the seat of antichrist and of the judgments to be thundered down on old corrupt establishments in the last days. And their devout gratitude to Heaven ought to rise, for the blessing of having their existence so near the period alluded to in this sublime prediction, when this land of liberty is beginning to feel her distinguishing immunities compared with the establishments of tyranny and corruption in the old continent. We may rejoice to have our earthly lot with a people of whom such honourable mention is made by the prophetic spirit of old; and to whom so noble a work is assigned. Our children coming upon the stage may live to see the meaning and fulfilment of this prophetic chapter, which is most rich in sentiment, and when will not fail of accomplishment.
The great argument found in this sacred address, to induce to a compliance with the duty demanded, is the terrors of the days of vengeance on eastern corrupt nations; which seems to imply some good degree of exemption in our own case, and our happy leisure for the business assigned. Heaven will show despotic nations, and old corrupt empires, the difference between them, and a land shadowing with wings;" a happy asylum of liberty and religion in the west.
Can a motive be wanting to induce us to maintain the character implied in this address, and to obey the injunction of Heaven here urged upon us? Should and say, what can be done? Let this be the reply; be devoutly disposed and prepared to obey; and Heaven will, in due time, make the duty plain. By prayer, contributions, and your influence, be prepared to aid every attempt for the conversion of the Jews and Israel; and God will be his own interpreter, and will make the duty plain.
A leading step has already been taken in a Jerusalem mission. This may prove, in relation to a fulfilment of our text, a cloud like a man's hand, which shall afford a sound of great rain; and shall water the hills of ancient Zion. How great effects spring from little causes! A purling stream from the threshold of the sanctuary, soon rises to the ankles, to the knees, to the loins, and to an unfordable river, which heals the Dead sea; Ezek. xlvii. Already has the bulrush vessel slipped from the "land shadowing with wings," across the mighty waters, over the prophetic eye glanced; over the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, by the mouths of the "rivers of Ethiopia," and has landed her "ambassadors," for a Jerusalem mission! Bless the Lord, O children of Abraham, for this ray of light from the land of the going down of the sun. This may shed an incipient lustre on the noted passage in our evangelical prophet. It may prove to the children of Abraham, in these days of signal phenomena, a morning rising in the west! Let us, dear country men, second this attempt with our intercessions, our contributions, and our influence. May all societies formed in behalf of the Jews, and all solicitations in their favour, meet our most fervent patronage. And God will not fail of fulfiling by us his gracious designs. The blessed business will be brought within our reach, and will be accomplished.
The ten tribes, as well as the Jews, belong to the "nation scattered and peeled, and terrible from the beginning." Yes, the stick of Ephraim is to become one in the hand of the prophet, with the stick of the Jews; Ezek. xxxvii. 15. -- If it is a fact, that the aborigines of this "land shadowing with wings," are the tribes of Israel; we perceive at once what can be done to fulfil the noted demand of God, as it relates to them. -- And all who fear God will leap for joy, that as the Jerusalem mission is already under way; so missions to these tribes of Israel are already under way!
Let us then, in view of the evidence providentially afforded, that we have found the long banished tribes of Israel, seat ourselves as at the feet of Isaiah; hear him sighing with deep affliction at the long exilement of his brethren of Israel, and in vision beholding this land of their banishment, Hear the Spirit of Inspiration suggesting to his anxious mind; There is the land, the long exilement of your brethren of Israel. There for 2500 years shall they be an outcast race, till about the time of the Messiah's kingdom, that darling promised title to their fair inheritance shall take effect. A great nation shall there be found, at that period, whose sequestered realm and peaceful national character, shall afford a retreat for liberty and religion; and shall entitle them to the appellation of a "land shadowing with wings," as the form of their continent suggests, Here is the people to aid the restoration both of your dispersed, and especially your outcast brethren. Address them therefore, and from me assign them their business.
Ho thou nation of the last days, pity, instruct, and save my ancient people and brethren; especially that outcast branch of them, who were the natives of your soil. Pity that degraded remnant of a nation so terrible in ancient times, but who have been now so long wretched. Bring a present of them, ye worshippers of Jehovah, to the God of Abraham. Give not sleep to your eyes, till a house be builded to your God, from those ancient and venerable materials. -- Were not your fathers sent into that far distant world, not only to be (in their posterity) built up a great protecting nation; but also to be the instruments of gathering, or recovering the miserable remnant of my outcasts there, in the last days? Rejoice, then, ye distinguished people in your birthright, and engage in the work by Heaven assigned. Let not those tribes of my ancient people, whom I have borne as on eagles' wings for so many ages; let them not become extinct before your eyes; let them no longer roam in savage barbarism and death! My bowels yearn for Ephraim, my first born. "For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still." "I have seen his ways, and will heal him. I will restore peace to him, and to his mourners; peace in the renewal of my covenant. I will again hear him on eagles wings, and bring him to myself. For you, (my suppliants in the west.) this honour is received;" Zeph. iii. 10. The wings of your continent have long borne him in his banishment. Let now the wings of your liberty, compassion, and blessed retreat, bear him from his dreary wild to the temple of God.
Look at the origin of those degraded natives of your continent, and fly to their relief. -- Send them the heralds of salvation. Send them the word, the bread of life. You received that book from the seed of Abraham. Restore it to them, and thus double your own rich inheritance in its blessings. Learn them to read the book of grace. Learn them its history and their own. Teach them the story of their ancestors; the economy of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Sublimate their views above the savage pursuits of the forests. Elevate them above the wilds of barbarism and death, by showing them what has been done for their nation; and what is yet to be done by the God of their fathers, in the line of his promise. Teach them their ancient history; their former blessings; their being cast away; the occasion of it, and the promise of their return. Tell them the time draws near, and they must now return to God of their salvation. Tell them their return is to be as life from the dead to the gentile nations. Tell them what their ancient fathers the prophets were inspired to predict in their behalf; and the charge here given for their restoration. Assure them this talk of an ancient brother, is for them, and they must listen to it and obey it. That the Great Spirit above the clouds now calls them by you to come and receive his grace by Christ the true star from Jacob, the Shiloh who has come, and to whom the people must be gathered. Inform them that by embracing this true seed of Abraham, you and multitudes of other gentiles, have become the children of the ancient patriarch; and now they must come back as your brothers in the Lord. Unfold to them their superlative line of the entail of the covenant; that "as touching this election, they are beloved for their fathers' sakes;" that they were for their sins excluded for this long period, until the fulness of the gentiles be come in, so all Israel shall be saved.
God, thou nation highly distinguished in the last days; save the remnant of my people. -- Bring me a present of them "to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion."
(Note. -- I have lately been informed that a Dr. M'Dounald has published something on this chapter similar to what I have written. What his ideas particularly are, I know not, as I have never been favoured with a sight of the book, nor seen any one who could give any particular account of his scheme.)
1. It becomes us to be deeply affected with the excommunication of the ancient people of God. In the temporary rejection of those two branches of the Hebrew nation, the truth is solemnly enforced, that the God of Zion is a God of government; and that he will be known by the judgments that he executeth. The casting out of the ten tribes for their impious idolatries, is full of instruction. The wonders God had done for them, and all their privileges in the land of promise, could not save, when they rejected the stated place of his worship, and united in the abominations of the open enemies of God. They should be hurled from the promised land, and abandoned to a state of savage wretchedness, for two and a half millenaries. Their sin in those dark ages of the old dispensation was no trifle. Its consequence is held up as an awful warning to the world. It impresses the following language; "Know thou and see that it is an evil thing and bitter that thou hast forsaken the Lord." To that event people under evangelical privileges ought to turn their eye, and take the solemn warning. The God of Abraham is a God of judgment; while blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
The judgments of Heaven on the Jews were still more dreadful. The Lord of that vineyard did indeed come in the day when they looked not for him, and in an hour when they were not aware; and did cut them asunder. He came and miserably destroyed those husbandmen, and burned up their cities, as he foretold. Upon their turning him off with hypocrisy and will-worship, and rejecting the Saviour, the denunciation, "Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?" was fulfilled with unprecedented decision. Let all rejectors of Christ, behold and tremble. The Jews were confident in a fancied security, to the last. But an impious confidence can never save. It is but a dead calm before a fatal catastrophe. Such presumptuous leaning upon the Lord, and saying, "Is not the Lord among us? no evil shall come upon us;" was so far from saving, that it was a sure precursor of perdition, and of the coming of wrath upon them to the uttermost. Let gospel rejectors beware. "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish." "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall."
2. How evident and rich is the entail of the covenant which will recover the two branches of the house of Israel! Truly they are "a nation of line, line;" (Isai. xviii. 2. in the Hebrew, and margin of the great Bible.) Though they be infidels, and rejected, and as touching the gospel are enemies for our sakes; yet as touching the election, (the entail of the covenant,) they are beloved for the fathers' sakes; Rom. xi. 28. -- This entail insures their ingrafting again into their own olive tree, which shall be as life from the dead to the nations. This is the infallible hold upon them, which shall finally recover them again to Palestine, and to the covenant of their God. It is upon this covenant-hold upon them, that the God of Abraham promises to take away their stony heart out of their flesh, and give them
a heart of flesh; to sprinkle them with clean water, and to make them clean; to put his Spirit within them and cause them to walk in his statutes, and make them keep his judgments and do them; Ezek.xxxvi. 24-27. It is upon this entail, that God thus engages to bring them in under his new covenant, or the Christian dispensation; that their children shall be as aforetimes, and their congregations established before him; and "that all who see them acknowledge they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed;" "that they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them." It will then be understood, that though blindness in part had happened to Israel, it was that the gentiles might take their place, and only till the fulness of the gentiles be come in; and then all Israel shall be saved. The Jewish church will thence be a kind of capital and model of the Christian world; see Isai. lx. 1-5; and many other promises of the same tenor.
The entail of the covenant may be expected thenceforth to have its proper and perfect effect in the fulfillment of such promises as the following, which relate to that period; "I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring; and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses;" Isai. xliv. 3, 4. "As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord. My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever;" Isai. lix. 21. This will indeed bring a season of salvation to man.
3. On reading the prophetic scriptures relative to the restoration of the Hebrews, and the calls of Heaven to aid in the event; the question becomes interesting, What is the first to be done relative to this restoration? The first object, no doubt, must be, to christianize them, and wait the leadings of Providence relative to any further event. God will in due time, be (to all who are willing to wait on him) his own interpreter; and to such he will make the path of duty plain. In his own time and way, after his ancient people shall be duly instructed, and taught the Christian religion. God will open the door for the fulfilment of his designs relative to any local restoration; and will bring that part of them, whom he designs, to their ancient home. All the Jews did not return to Palestine from their seventy years captivity. Many chose to continue where they were planted in the east. Something of the same may be realized in the final restoration of Judah and Israel. God will take one of a family and two of a city, and will bring them to Zion! A proportion of that nation will in due time be offered, to return to the land of their fathers, where they may form a kind of centre or capital to the cause of Christ on earth. Relative to many particulars of the event, the holy oracles are not express. They have strongly marked the outlines or leading facts of the restoration; and the unrevealed particulars, the events of Providence must unfold. That great number will return, there seems not room to doubt. But the actual propostion to return, will doubtless be a free-will offering of those hearts God shall incline. The first duty must be to recover them to the visible kingdom of Christ. To this our prayers, alms, and all due exertions must be devoutly tend.
[4.] Viewing the aborigines of America as the outcast tribes of Israel; an interesting view is given of some prophetic passages, which appear nearly connected with their restoration.
In Isai. xl. 3, relative to this restoration of the ancient people of God, we read; "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness; Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desart a highway for our God." This received a primary and typical fulfillment in the ministry of John the Baptist, in the wilderness of Judea, to introduce Christ. Hence the passage was applied to him. But it was to receive its ultimate and most interesting fulfillment at a period connected with the commencement of the Millennium, when "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together;" as the subsequent text decides. It is intimately connected with the restoration of the Hebrews; as appears in its context. "Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, (a name here put for all the Hebrew family, as it was their capital in the days of David and Solomon,) and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins." Here is the final Hebrew restoration, after the time of their doubly long corrective rejection for their sins shall have expired. The voice in the wilderness then follows, as the great means of this restoration.
A wilderness has justly been considered as a symbol of a region of moral darkness and spiritual death. It has been considered as a symbol of the heathen world; and it is a striking emblem of it. And the emblem receives strength from the consideration, that it is in a sense literally true. The voice, which restores Israel, is heard in the vast wilderness of America, a literal wilderness of thousands of miles, where the dry bones of the outcasts of Israel have for thousands of years been scattered. The voice crying in the wilderness has a special appropriation to these Hebrews. As it had a kind of literal fulfilment in the preaching of the forerunner John, for a short time in the wilderness of Judea; so it is to have a kind of literal fulfillment, upon a much greater scale, in the missions, which shall recover the ten tribes from the vast wilderness of America.
Of the same period and event, the same evangelical prophet says, Isai. xxxv. 1. "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, and the excellency of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the Lord and the excellency of our God." In such passages, while the prediction is to have its mystical and full accomplishment in the conversion of the heathen world to God, the prophetic eye evidently rested with signal pleasure, on a literal restoration of his long lost brethren, as involved in the event, and as furnishing the ground of the figure. They will be literally, and the fulness of the Gentiles mystically, restored and brought to Zion.
As the wilderness of Judea in a small degree rejoiced and blossomed as the rose, when John the Baptist performed his ministry in it; so the wilderness and solitary place of our vast continent, containing the lost tribes of the house of Israel, will, on a most enlarged scale, rejoice and blossom as the rose, when the long lost tribes shall be found there, and shall be gathered to Zion. The event in relation to these ancient heirs of the covenant, stated in the last verse of this chapter, will then receive a signal fulfilment; "And the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Upon this final restoration of his brethren, this prophet exalts in lofty strains. Several of the many of these strains shall be here inserted. Isai. xlix. :Listen O isles, unto me; (or ye lands away over the sea) hearken ye people from afar. I will make all my mountains a way; and my high way shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from far; and lo, these from the north, and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim. -- Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted." Such texts have a special allusion to the lost tribes of the house of Israel. And their being called over mountains, and over seas, from the west, and from afar, receives an emphasis from the consideration of their being gathered from the vast wilds of America.
With the prophet Hosea, the rejection and recovery of the ten tribes are a great object. In chapter 2d, their rejection, and the cause of it, are stated, and also a promise of their return. God threatens to strip them naked, and "make them as a wilderness." "And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them;" i. e. to Baalim, her false gods. The visiting upon her her idolatries, was to be done in her subsequent outcast state, in which God there says; "she is not my wife, neither am I her husband." But he says, v.14 -- "Therefore behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. -- And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope; and she shall sing there as in the days of her youth, and as in the days she came up out of the land of Egypt." Here is Israel's restoration; and it is from the wilderness, where long they had been planted during the period of their outcast state. In this wilderness God eventually speaks comfortably to them, and restores them, as he restored from Egypt. Here God gives them "the valley of Achor for a door of hope." The first encampment of the Hebrews in the valley of Achor, was to them a pledge in their eventual possession of the promised land, after the Lord had there turned from the fierceness of his wrath; Josh. vii. 26.
Upon the same event God says; Isai. xlii. 19, 20; "Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The beasts of the field shall honour me; the dragons and the owls; because I give water in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, to my chosen." If such texts have a glorious, general, mystical fulfilment in the conversion of pagan lands; yet this does not preclude, but rather implies the fact, that the people whose restoration is in them particularly foretold, shall be recovered from a vast wilderness; and their conversion shall be almost like a conversion of dragons and owls of the desert. Rivers of knowledge and grace shall in such wilds be open for God's chosen. It will then truly be fulfilled that God in comforting Zion, will "make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord;" Isai. li. 3. Such passage will have a degree of both literal and mystical fulfilment.
A signal beauty will then be discovered in such passages as the following; Isai. xli. 14. "Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord God, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. I will open rivers in the high places, and fountains in the midst of vallies: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the olive tree; and I will set in the desert the fir tree, the pine, and the box tree together, that they may see and know and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it." The view given of the place of the long banishment of the ten tribes, gives a lustre to such predictions of their restoration. -- These will have a striking fulfilment in the vast wilds of our continent, when the glad tidings of salvation shall be carried to the natives of these extensive dreary forests and those regions of wretchedness and death shall become vocal with the high praises of God, sung by his ancient Israel.
5. If it be a fact that the native Americans are the tribes of Israel, new evidence is hence furnished of the divinity of our holy scriptures. A new field of evidence is here opened from a race of men, "outcast" from all civil society for a long course of centuries. Impressed on these wild tenants of the forest, (these children of nature, without books or letters, or any thing but savage tradition,) striking characters are found of the truth of ancient revelation.
The intelligent vindicator of the word of God has never feared to meet the infidel on fair ground. His triumph has not been less certain than that of David against Goliah. But in the view taken of the natives of our continent, the believer will find additional arguments, in which to triumph. He will find more than "five smooth stones taken out of the brook," (1 Sam. xvi. 40,) each one of which is sufficient to sink into the head of an impious Goliah, challenging the God of Israel.
Let the unbeliever in revelations undertake to answer the following questions.
Whence have the greater part of the American natives been taught the being of one and only one God; when all other heathen nations have lost all such knowledge, and believe in many false gods?
Whence have the Indians, or most of them, been kept from gross idolatry, which has covered the rest of the heathen world? and to which all men have been so prone?
Whence have many of them been taught that the name of the one God, the Great Spirit above, is Yohewah, Ale, Yah, (Hebrew names of God,) who made all things, and to whom alone worship is due?
Who taught any of them that God, at first, made one man from earth; formed him well; and breathed him into life? and that God made good and bad spirits; the latter of whom have a prince over them?
Whence came the idea among these untutored savages, that Yohewah was once the covenant God of their nation; and the rest of the world were out of covenant with him, -- the accursed people?
Whence their ideas that their ancestors once had the book of God; and then were happy; but that they lost it; and then became miserable; but that they will have this book again at some time?
Whence their notion that their fathers once had the Spirit of God to work miracles, and to fortel future events?
Who taught the untutored savage to have a temple of Yohewah; a holy of holies in it, into which no common people may enter or look?
Who taught him a succession of high priests? that this priest must be inducted into office by purifications, and anointing? that he must appear in an appropriate habiliment, the form of which descended from their fathers of remote antiquity?
Whence their custom of this priest's making a yearly atonement, in or near the holy apartment of their temple?
Whence their three annual feasts, which well accord to the three great feasts in Israel?
Whence came their peculiar feast, in which a bone of the sacrifice may not be broken; and all that is prepared must be eaten; or burned before the next morning sun?
Whence a custom of their males appearing three times annually before God at the temple?
Who taught wild savages of the desert to maintain places of refuge from the avenger of blood; "old, beloved, white towns?"
Who taught them to keep and venerate a sacred ark, containing their most sacred things; to be borne against their enemies by one purified by strict rites? -- That no one but the sanctified keeper might look into this ark; and the enemy feeling the same reverence for it, as the friends?
Whence came the deep and extensive impression among these savage tribes, that the hollow of the thigh of no animal may be eaten?
Let the infidel inform how these savages (so long excluded from all intercourse with the religious or civilized world) came by the right of circumcision? and some idea of them an idea of a Jubilee?
Whence their idea of an old divine speech; that they must imitate their virtuous ancestors, enforced by "flourishing upon a land flowing with milk and honey?"
Whence their notion of the ancient flood? and of the longevity of the ancients? also of the confusion of the language of man at building a high place? evidently meaning the scene of Babel.
How came these wild human herds of the desert by various Hebrew words and phrases; and such phrases as accord with no other language on earth? See the table furnished, page 90.
Who taught them to sing, Halleluyah, Yohewah, Yah, Shilu Yohewah; and to make the sacred use they do of the syllables, which compose the names of God? singing them in their religious dances, and in their customs; thus ascribing all the praise to Yohewah? I ask not, who taught them the spirit of holiness of such religious forms? For probably they have little or no intelligent meaning. But whence have they brought down these traditional forms?
How came their reckoning of time so well to accord with that of ancient Israel?
Whence their tradition of twelve men, in preparing for a feast similar to the ancient feast of tabernacles; taking twelve poles, forming their booths; and their altar of twelve stones, on which no tool may pass; and here offering their twelve sacrifices? and some tribes preceding by the number ten instead of twelve? indicating their tradition of the twelve tribes; and their subsequent ten, after the revolt.
Whence came their tradition of purifying themselves with bitter vegetables? also fasting, and purifying themselves when going to war?.
Who taught them that at death their beloved people sleep, and go to their fathers?
Whence their custom of washing and anointing their dead; and some of them of hiring mourners to bewail them; and of singing round the corpse (before they bury it) the syllables of Yah, Yohewah?
How came they by their tradition answering to the ancient Jewish separations of women? -- also of a tradition taking their shoes from their feet, on solemn occasions?
Whence were some of them taught in deep mourning to lay their hands on their mouth, and their mouth in the dust?
And whence came their tradition of their ancient father with his twelve sons, ruling over others? and the mal-conduct of these twelve sons, till they lost their pre-eminence?
Let it be remembered, it is not pretended that all the savages are in the practice of all these traditions. They are not. But it is contended that the whole of these things have been found among their different tribes in our continent, within a hundred years. A fragment of these Hebrew traditions has been found among one tribe; and another fragment among another; and some of the most striking of these traditions have been found among various and very distant tribes; as has appeared in the recital from various authors, traders and travellers.
Let the unbeliever in revelation set himself to account for these events. No account can be given of them, but that they were derived from ancient revelation in Israel. And hence in the outcast state of the ten tribes of Israel, (in their huge valley of dry bones, in this vast new world.) we find presented a volume of new evidence of the divinity of the Old Testament; and hence of the New; for the latter rests on the former, as a building rests on its foundation. If the one is divine, the other is divine; for both form a perfect whole.
We are assured by the chief apostle to the gentiles, that the restoration of the ancient people of God in the last days, when "all Israel shall be saved," shall be to the nations "as life from the dead;" Rom. xi. 15. Its new and demonstrative evidence of the glorious truth of revelation, will confound infidelity itself; and fill the world with light and glory. These Indian traditions may be viewed as beginning to exhibit to the world their quota of this new evidence.
The earthquake, at the time of our Savior's giving up of the ghost, which rent the rocks, may be said thus to have opened many mouths (perhaps over the face of the earth) tacitly to proclaim the event. It may be said in figure; -- "The stones cried out!" (Luke xix. 40.) In our subject, we find a powerful corresponding evidence of the truth of revelation, extending through a wild continent, in savage traditions; which traditions must have been brought down from 725 years before the Christian era.
The preservation of the Jews, as a distinct people, for eighteen centuries, has been justly viewed as a kind of standing miracle in support of the truth of revelation. But the arguments furnished from the preservation and traditions of the ten tribes, in the wilds of America from a much longer period, must be viewed as furnishing, if possible, a more commanding testimony. And it is precisely such evidence as must have been expected in the long outcast tribes of Israel, whenever they should come to light; and just such evidence as must rationally be expected to bring them to the knowledge of the civilized world.
The evidence discovered among the various tribes of Indians, of the truth of their Hebrew extraction, and of the divinity of the Old Testament, seems almost like finding, in the various regions of the wilds of America, various scraps of an ancient Hebrew Old Testament; --one in one wild; another in another; inscribed on some durable substance in evident Hebrew language and character, though much defaced by the lapse of ages. Surely such an event, when attended with concomitant evidence that it could be no imposition, must silence the unbeliever in ancient revelation; and add a new and powerful item to the evidences already furnished upon so interesting a subject. The evidence, actually furnished in the traditions of the savages of America, suggest the suppositions just made; but are of a far more substantial character. It is contended that they furnish the very evidence, long desired, of the existence, and present state of the ten tribes of Israel.
The Rev. Dr. Morse, in his report of his tour among the Indians at the west, made under commission from our government, in 1820, to ascertain the actual state of the Indians in our country, says; "It is matter of surprise, that the Indians, situated as they have been for so many successive ages and generations, without books or knowledge of letters, or of the art of reading or writing, should have preserved their various languages in the manner they have done. Many of them are copious, capable of regular grammatical analysis, possess great strength, gracefulness, and beauty of expression. They are highly metaphorical in their character; and in this and other respects resemble the Hebrew. This resemblance in the language, and the similarity of many of their religious customs, &c. to those of the Jews, certainly give plausibility to the ingenious theory of Dr. Boudinot, exhibited in his interesting work, entitled "Star in the West." A faithful and thorough examination of the various languages of the Indian tribes, would probably show that there are very few of them that are throughout radically different. -- The differences of these languages are mostly differences of dialect."
The various Indian tribes, visited by Dr. Morse, had their Great Spirit. Speaking of the manners and customs of the Sauks, Fox tribe, Pattowattamies, and others, he says;"Other feasts to the Great Spirit are frequently made by these Indians." Of one of these feasts, he says;"They seat themselves in a circle on the ground; -- when one of the guests places before each person a wooden bowl with his portion of the feast, and they commence eating. When each man's portion is eaten, the bones are collected, and put into a wooden bowl, and thrown into the river, or burnt. The whole of the feast must be eaten. If any one cannot eat his part of it, he passes his dish, with a piece of tobacco to his neighbour, and he eats it; and the guests then retire. Those who make the feast never eat any part of it themselves. They say they give their part of it to the Great Spirit." Here seems manifestly the same feast noted by other authors among other and different tribes in the different parts of the continent, and probably answering to the passover in ancient Israel. The different and distant tribes have their circumstantial differences; while yet certain things indicate that the feast is a broken tradition of the passover.
Another tradition from a Hebrew rite the Doctor states. He says; "The women of these nations are very particular to remove from their lodges to one erected for that particular purpose, at such a seasons as were customarily observed by Jewish women, according to the law of Moses. No article of furniture ever used in this lodge, is ever used in any other; not even the steel and flint with which they strike fire. No man approaches this lodge, while a woman occupies it." The existence of this extensive Indian rite is fully ascertained. And of its origin there appears but very little room to doubt.
This writer says;"The belief of these Indians relative to their creation is not very unlike our own. Masco, one of the chiefs of the Sauks, informed me that they believed that the Great Spirit in the first place created from the dust of the earth two men; but finding that these alone would not answer his purpose, he took from each man a rib, and made two women." Of the descendants of these two pair, they say, "that they were all one nation, until they behaved so badly, that the Great Spirit came among them, and talked different languages to them; which caused them to separate and form different nations." Here are manifest broken fragments of Moses' history of creation, and of the confusion of language at Babel. "I asked (says Dr. M.) how they supposed white men were made? He replied that Indians supposed the Great Spirit made them of the fine dust of the earth, as they know more than Indians." Dr. M. gives an account of their holding to a future state; and to some kinds of reward for the good, and of punishments for the wicked.
He informs from a Major Cummings, that the Indians are very suspicious of some evil intent, when questioned by the Americans; and that there is no way to obtain a full knowledge of their traditions and ways, but by a long residence in their country. This may account for the fact that their traditions (which seem manifestly Hebrew) were kept so long and to so great a degree from the knowledge of our people.
Relative to their manner of transacting public business. they informed Dr. M.; "We open our council by smoking a pipe selected for the occasion; and we address the audience through a speaker chosen for the purpose; first invoking the Great Spirit to inspire us with wisdom. We open our council in the name of the Great Spirit, and close with the same."
He informs that the Indians "before attending on treaties, great councils, or any other important national business, always sacrifice in order to obtain the good will of the Great Spirit. And adds; "There are no people more frequent or fervent in their aknowledgements of gratitude to God. Their belief in him is universal; and their confidence astonishingly strong.
Speaking of their feasts he says; "The principal festival is celebrated in the month of August; sooner or later, as the forwardness of the corn will admit. It is called the Green Corn Dance; or more properly speaking, the ceremony of thanksgiving for the first fruits of the earth."
The question continually recurs, whence came things like these among the natives of our continent, or the American savages, unless these savages are the very tribes of Israel? No evidence is furnished that such a variety of Hebrew rites is found among any other people on earth, except the Jews. And it seems morally impossible they should have derived them from any other source than the ancient Hebrew religion.
Mr. Schoolcraft, a member of the New-York Historical Society, (in his journals of travels among the western Indians, round and beyond the western lakes, and to the mouth of the Mississippi, in 1820.) gives some accounts, which confirm some of the Indian traditions already exhibited. He speaks of attending a feast among the Sioux Indians; a feast of the first green corn. He says; "Our attention was now drawn off by sound of Indian music which proceeded from another large cabin at no great distance; but we found the doors closed, and were informed that they were celebrating an annual feast, at which only certain persons in the village were allowed to be present; and that it was not customary to admit strangers. Our curiosity being excited, we applied to the governor, Cass, to intercede for us; and were by that means admitted. The first striking object presented was, two large kettles full of green corn, cut from the cob and boiled. They hung over a moderate fire in the midst of the cabin; and the Indians, both men and women, were seated in a large circle around them. They were singing a doleful song in a savage manner. The utmost solemnity was depicted upon every countenance. When the music ceased, as it frequently did for a few seconds, there was a full and mysterious pause, during which certain pantomimic signs were made; and it appeared as if they pretended to hold communion with invisible spirits. Suddenly the music struck up -- but as we did not understand their language, it is impossible to say what they uttered, or to whom their supplications or responses were addressed. When the ceremony ceased, one of the older Indians divided out all the boiled corn into separated dishes for as many heads of families as there were present, putting an equal number of ladles full into each dish. -- Then while the music continued, they one by one took up their dishes, and retiring from the cabin by a backward step, so that they still faced the kettles, they separated to their respective lodges; and thus the ceremony ceased."
This writer says, "The Indians believed in the existence of a great invisible Spirit, who resides in the regions of the clouds, and by means of inferior spirits throughout every part of the earth."
Their word for spirit, is manito, which he observes, "from the Arkansaw to the sources of the Mississippi; and according to M'Kenzie, throughout the arctic regions." This word, Mr. S. remarks, with many others, strengthens the opinion "of which (he says) there appears ample grounds, that the erratic tribes of the north-western region, and of the vallies of the Mississippi are all descended from one stock, which is presumed to have progressed from the north toward the south, scattering into different tribes, and falling from the purity of a language, which may originally have been rich and copious." Here is good testimony to some of the points, adduced in this work, viz. that all the Indians are from one origin; all originally of one language; all from the north- west, the straits of Beering, leading from the north-east of Asia to the north-west of America.
These Indians, Mr. S. informs, "have their good and bad minitoes," or spirits. The Old Testament informs of holy and of fallen angels.
Mr. S. speaks of the best authors allowing that great corruptions have crept into the Indian language; and that the remarks of some upon the supposed poverty of the language of these Americans, are very incorrect.
He speaks of some of the Indians as looking to the people of our state for aid, and says, a council which (meaning the United States) are a great people. Can it be possible they will allow us to suffer?"
The Rev.Lemuel Haynes informs that about 60 years ago, he was living in Granville, Mass. A minister by the name of Ashley, called on an old deacon, with whom he was living, being on his way from a mission among the Indians in the west, where he had been a considerable time. Mr. Ashley stated his confident belief that the Indians were the Israelites; for he said there were many things in their manners and customs, which were like those of ancient Israel. Various of these he stated. Mr. Haynes being then a boy, does not now recollect them. But the people he mentions as being impressed with the accounts; and the good old deacon long spake of them with much interest.
A brother minister informs me that his father was a lieutenant in the revolutionary war, and was long among the Indians; and that he became a firm believer that the Indians were the ten tribes of Israel from their traditions and rites; various of which he used to state; but which the minister does not now remember.
The most important evidence in relation to the Indians beinf the descendants of Israel, the reader will perceive, is James Adair, Esqr. Recollect he had lived among them as an intelligent trader, 40 years. -- That his character was well established; and his accounts well authenticated by collateral evidence, by a gentleman, member of congress, who had resided a number of years as an agent of our government among those Indians where Mr. Adair resided. Dr. Boudinot assures us that he examined this congress member, without letting him know his design; and that from him, he found all the leading facts mentioned in Mr. Adair's history fully confirmed from his own personal knowledge. [See page 83d of this book.]
I think it therefore desirable, that the reader should see more fully Mr. Adair's arguments, as found in his book; and a few additional extracts from his work in support of them. He states his sentiment on the subject thus: "From the most exact observation that I could make in the long time I traded among the Indian Americans, I was forced to believe them lineally descended from the Israelites." He argues that those of the ten tribes from whom the American Indians descended must soon have removed from that part of Assyria, where they were lodged, and probably reached this continent previous to the Babylonian captivity of the Jews.
His arguments that the natives of this continent are of the ten tribes are as follows. 1. Their division into tribes. 2. Their worship of Jehovah. 3. Their notion of a theocracy. 4. Their belief in the ministration of angels. 5. Their language and dialects. 6. Their manner of counting time. 7. Their prophets and high priests. 8. Their festivals, fasts, and religious rites. 9. Their daily sacrifice. 10. Their ablutions and anointings. 11. Their laws of uncleanness. 12. Their abstinence from unclean things. 13. Their marriages, divorces and punishments of adultery. 14. Their several punishments. 15. Their cities of refuge. 16. Their purifications and preparatory ceremonies. 17. Their ornaments. 18. Their manner of curing the sick. 19. Their burial of their dead. 20. Their mourning for their dead. 21. Their raising seed to a deceased brother. 22. Their change of names adapted to their circumstances and times. 23. Their own traditions; the accounts of English writers; and the testimonies given by Spanish and other writers of the primitive inhabitants of Mexico and Peru.
Some of his illustrations of these arguments will be subjoined in his own words. Under the 1st argument. "As the nation hath its particular symbol, so each tribe, the badge from which it is denominated. The sachem of each tribe is a necessary party in conveyances. and treaties, to which he affixes the mark of his tribe. If we go from nation to nation among them, we shall not find one, who doth not lineally distinguish himself by his respective family. The genealogical names, which they assume, are derived either from the name of those animals, whereof the cherubims are said in revelation to be compounded, or from such creatures as are most familiar to them. The Indians, however, bear no religious respect to the animals from whence they derive their names. On the contrary, they kill them when opportunity serves. When we consider that these savages have been above twenty centuries without the use of letters to carry down their traditions, it cannot reasonably be expected that they should still retain the identical names of their primogenial tribes. Their main customs corresponding with those of the Israelites, sufficiently clears the subject. Besides, as hath been hinted, they call some of their tribes by the names of cherubinical figures that were carried on the four principal standards of Israel."
His illustrations of the second argument, blended with those of many others, have been sufficiently given in the third chapter of this work.
Under the 3d argument, he says: "Agreeably to the theocracy or divine government of Israel, the Indians think the Deity to be the immediate head of their state. All the nations of Indians are exceedingly intoxicated with religious pride, and have an inexpressible contempt of the white people. * (*Within 20 years this trait of Indian character is much meliorated) They used to call us in their war orations, the accursed people. But they flatter themselves with the name of the beloved people; because their supposed ancestors, as they affirm, were under the immediate government of the Deity, who was present with them in a very peculiar manner, and directed them by prophets, while the rest of the world were aliens and outlaws to the covenant. -- When the old Archimagus, or any one of their magi, is persuading the people at any one of their religious solemnities to a strict observance of the old beloved or divine speech, he always calls them the beloved or holy people, agreeably to the Hebrew epithet, Ammi (my people) during the theocracy of Israel. -- It is their opinion of the theocracy, that God chose them out of all the rest of mankind as his peculiar and beloved people; which alike animates both the white Jew and the red American with that steady hatred against all the world except themselves; and renders them (in their opinion) hated and despised by all."
His illustrations of the 4th and 5th arguments have been given with those of other authors.
Under the 6th argument he says: "They count time after the manner of the Hebrews. They divide the year into spring, summer, autumn, and winter. They number their year from any of those four periods, for they have no name for a year, and they subdivide these, and count the year by lunar months, like the Israelites, who counted by moons. The number and regular periods of the Indians' religious feasts is a good historical proof (Mr. Adair adds) that they counted time by, and observed, a weekly Sabbath long after their arrival on the American continent. They begin a year at the first appearance of the first new moon of the vernal equinox, according to the ecclesiastical year of Moses. Till the 70 years captivity, the Israelites had only numeral names for the solar and lunar months, except Abib and Ethamin; the former signifying a green ear of corn; and the latter robust or valiant. And by the first of these, the Indians (as an explicative) term their passover, which the trading people call the green corn dance." Mr. Adair then proceeds to show more fully the similarity between the ancient Israelites and the Indians in their counting time, as has been noted.
Under the 7th agreement he says: "In conformity to, or after the manner of the Jews, the Indian Americans have their prophets, high priests, and others of a religious order. As the Jews had a sanctum sanctorum, (holy of holies) so have all the Indian nations. There they deposit their consecrated vessels; -- none of the laity daring to approach that sacred place. The Indian tradition says, that their fathers were possessed of an extraordinary divine spirit, by which they foretold things future, and controlled the common course of nature: and this they transmitted to their offspring, provided they obeyed the sacred laws annexed to it. Ishtoallo, (Mr. Adair says of those Indians) is the name of all their priestly order: and their pontifical office descends by inheritance to the eldest. There are some traces of agreement, though chiefly lost, in their pontifical dress. Before the Indian Archimagus officiates in making the supposed holy fire for the yearly atonement for sin, the sagan (waiter of the high priest) clothes him with a white ephod, which is a waistcoat without sleeves. In resemblance of the Urim and Thummim, the American Archimagus wears a breast plate made of a white conch-shell with two holes bored in the middle of it, through which he puts the ends of an otter skin strap, and fastens a buck horn white button to the outside of each, as if in imitation of the precious stones of the Urim."
In this statement Mr. Adair exhibits evidence of which himself seems unconscious. He says the general name of all their priestly order is Ishtoallo. And the name of the high priest's waiter is Sagan. Mr. Faber (remarking upon this) thinks the former word is a corruption of Ish-da-eloah, a man of God; see original of 2 Kings, iv. 21, 22, 25, 27, 40, and other places. And of the latter word he says, "Sagan is the very name by which the Hebrews called the deputy of the high priest, who supplied his office, and who performed the functions of it in the absence of the high priest. See Calmet's Dict. vox Sagan."
Here then is evidence to our purpose, that those Indians should call their order of priests, and the high priest's waiter, by those ancient Hebrew names of a man of God, and a deputy of the high priest. How could these events have occurred, had not those natives been Hebrew, and brought down these names by Hebrew tradition?
Under the 8th argument Mr. Adair says; "The ceremonies of the Indians in their religious worship are more after the Mosaic institutions, than of pagan imitation; which could not be, if the majority of the old nation were of heathenish descent. They are utter strangers to all the gestures practised by the pagans in their religious rites. They have another appellative which with them is the mysterious essential name of God; the tetragrammaton, or great four lettered name, which they never name in common speech. Of the time and place when and where they mention it, they are very particular, and always with a solemn air. It is well known what sacred regard the Jews had to the four lettered divine name, so as scarcely ever to mention it, but once a year, when the high priest went into the sanctuary at the expiation of sins. Might not the Indians copy from them this sacred invocation, Yo-he- wah? Their method of invoking God in a solemn hymn with that reverend deportment, and spending a full breath on each of the two first syllables of the awful divine name, hath a surprising analogy to the Jewish custom, and such as no other nation or people, even with the advantage of written records, have retained. It may be worthy of notice that they never prostrate themselves, nor bow their bodies to each other by way of salute or homage, though usual with the eastern nations; except when they are making or renewing peace with strangers, who come in the name of Yah,"
Mr. Adair proceeds to speak of the sacred adjuration of the Indians by the great and awful name of God; the question being asked, and the answer given. Yah, with a profound reverence in a bowing posture of body immediately before the invocation of Yo-he-wah; this he considers to be Hebrew, adjuring their witnesses to give true evidence. He says, "It seems exactly to coincide with the conduct of the Hebrew witnesses even now on like occasions."
Mr. Adair's other illustration under this agreement, in various feasts, fastings, their ark, and their ever refusing to eat the hollow of the thigh of their game, have been sufficiently given, in connexion with the testimonies of others to the same points.
Enough has also been exhibited under the 9th, 10th and 11th arguments.
Under the 12th he says; "Eagles of every kind they esteem unclean food; likewise ravens, crows, bats, buzzards, swallows, and every species of owl." This he considers as precisely Hebrew; as also their purifications of their priests; and purification for having touched a dead body, or any other unclean thing.
Under most of his subsequent arguments the quotations before given have been sufficient. Under the 16th he says; "Before the Indians go to war, they have many preparatory ceremonies of purification and fasting like what is recorded of the Israelites." Under the 21st he says; "The surviving brother by the Mosaic law was to raise seed to a deceased brother, who left a widow childless. The Indian custom looks the same way."
Under the last argument he says; "The Indian tradition says that their forefathers in very remote ages came from a far distant country, where all the people were of one colour; and that in process of time they removed eastward to their present settlements." He notes and confutes some idle fabulous stories which he says "sprung from the innovating superstitious ignorance of the popish priests to the southwest;" and speaks of the Indian tradition as being altogether more to be depended on. He says, "They, (the rambling tribes of northern Indians excepted,) aver that they came over the Mississippi from the westward, before they arrived at their present settlements. This we see verified in the western old towns they have left behind them, and by the situation if their old beloved towns or places of refuge lying about a west course from each different nation."
"Ancient history (he adds) is quite silent concerning America, which indicates that it has been time immemorial rent asunder from the eastern continent. The north-east parts of Asia were also undiscovered till of late. Many geographers have stretched Asia and America so far as to join them together; and others have divided them into two quarters of the globe. But the Russians, after several dangerous attempts, have clearly convinced the world that they are now divided, and yet have a near communication together by a narrow strait in which several islands are situated, and through which there is an easy passage from the north-east of Asia to the north-west of America. By this passage, it was very practicable to go to this new world, and afterward to have proceeded in quest of suitable climates.
Those who dissent from my opinion of the Indian American origin, (he adds) ought to inform us how the natives came here, and by what means they found the long chain of rites and customs so similar to the usage of the Hebrew nation, and in general dissimilar to the modes of the pagan world. Their religious rites, marital customs, dress, music, dances and domestic forms of life, seem clearly to evince also, that they came to America in early times before sects had sprung up among the Jews; which was soon after their prophets ceased; also before arts and sciences had arrived at any perfection. Otherwise it is likely they would have retained some knowledge of them."
We learn in Dr. Robertson's history of America, that the Mexicans had their tradition that "Their ancestors came from a remote country situated to the north-west of Mexico. The Mexicans (he says) point out their various stations as they advanced from this into the interior provinces; and it is precisely the same rout which they must have held, if they had been emigrants from Asia." * (B. 4, page 41-2-3)
Mr. Adair says that though some have supposed the Americans to be descendants from the Chinese; yet neither their religion, laws, or customs agree in the least with those of the Chinese, which sufficiently proves that they are not of this line. And he says the remaining traces of their religious ceremonies, and civil and martial customs, are different from those of the old Scythians. He thinks, therefore, that the old opinion that the Indians are descended from the Tartars or ancient Scythians, should be exploded as weak and without foundation. Those who have advocated the affirmative have not been able to produce much, if any evidence, that any of the religious rites found among the Indians, and resembling those of ancient Israel, have ever been found among any people in the east of Asia. Such a thing cannot be expected. Those rites were arbitrary, established only in Israel; and designed to distinguish them from all other nations. It is utterly inadmissible then, to suppose these Indian rites may be accounted for, from an idea that the Indians may have learned them from other heathen nations. With very similar propriety might the unbeliever in divine revelation say that the Jews and ancient Israel derived their religion, not from God, as the bible purports, but from heathen nations, who at the time might, for aught we know, have had just such religious customs.
If the aborigines derived these rites and customs from ancient Asiatic heathen; why have not some of them, and disseminated them through some other parts of the world, besides the vast wilds of North and South America?
Capt. Carver is able to find that some of the people north-east of Asia once presented to some of the Russians their pipe of peace. The people of Israel, as they passed by that people in ancient days may have caught this custom from them; as none pretend this was a Hebrew rite. Or those few people thus noted in Asia may have caught this custom from the Indians over the Beering's Straits. But this is nothing, compared with the many Hebrew rites found among the natives of America.
Captain Carver, who travelled five thousand miles among the Indians of North America, states some customs observed by some of them in relation to marriage and divorce, which seems much like those of ancient Israel. He says; "When one of their young men has fixed on a young woman he approves of, he discovers his passion to her parents, who give him an invitation to come and live with them in their tent. He accepts the offer, and engages to reside in it for a whole year in the character of a menial servant. This however is done only while they are young men, and for their first wife; and not repeated like Jacob's servitude. When this period is expired, the marriage is solemnized."
"When any dislike (he adds) a separation takes place, for they are seldom know to quarrel, they generally give their friends a few days notice of their intention, and some times offer reasons to justify their conduct." Some little ceremonies follow; and he says, "The separation is carried on without any murmurings, or ill will between the couple or their relations." Probably no other nations has such a resemblance in this respect to ancient Israel.
Capt. Carver says of the Indians "wholly unadulterated with the superstitions of the church of Rome;" "It is certain they acknowledge one Supreme Being, or giver of life, who presides over all things -- the Great Spirit; and they look up to him as the source of good -- who is infinitely good. They also believe in a bad spirit, to whom they ascribe great power. They hold also, that there are good spirits of a less degree, who have their particular departments, in which they are constantly contributing to the happiness of mortals." -- "The priests of the Indians (he adds) who are at the same time their physicians -- while they heal their wounds, or cure their diseases, they interpret their dreams, and satisfy their desires of searching into futurity." But Capt. Carver unites with other authors on the subject, in speaking of the difficulty of strangers among them obtaining much knowledge of their religious rites. He says; "It is very difficult to attain a perfect knowledge of the religious principles of the Indians. They endeavor to conceal them." It is no wonder then, that Capt. Carver, passing by them on a tour upwards of five thousand miles, discovered but few of these many rites resembling the religion of ancient Israel, stated by Mr. Adair. He says there was "one particular female custom" bearing resemblance to the rites in the Mosaic law; alluding to the well known Indian separation of women. Speaking of their "religious principles," which he says are "few and simple," he adds, "they (the Indians) have not deviated, as many other uncivilized nations, and too many civilized ones have done, into idolatrous modes of worship." -- "On the appearance of the new moon they dance and sing; but it is not evident that they pay that planet any adoration."
Here then, according to this author, is their one God, infinitely good, the giver of life, and of all good, presiding over all, who is the only object of worship; though they sometimes beg of the evil spirit to avert their calamities, which in their opinion, he brings. Here are their good angels, ministering to the good; here their priests; and a "particular female custom" inexplicable unless by the Mosaic law. Here is their firm adherence to their "few simple doctrines," or rites, less deviating to idolatry than other uncivilized, and even many civilized nations. These facts are far from being destitute of then favourable bearing on our subject. -- How should such things be true of these savages, were they not the descendants of ancient Israel?
It was observed in page 88 of this book, that the Esquimaux natives and people round Hudson's Bay appear a different race from the American Indians, and may have come from the north of Europe. Capt. Carver notes an ascertain from Grotius, that "some of the Norwegians passed into America by way of Greenland." He also notes that De Laet gives "the following passage from the history of Wales, written by David Powel, in the year 1170. This history says, that Madoc, one of the sons of prince Owen Gwyanith, being disgusted at the civil wars which broke out between his brothers, fitted out several vessels, and went in quest of new lands to the westward of Ireland." And he goes on to speak of their planting a colony there. Here may be the origin of the people of Greenland, Iceland, and round Hudson's Bay. But it gives no satisfactory account of the origin of the numerous Indian tribes of America.
Let us look at the natives in an extreme part of South America, and see if they exhibit any evidence similar to what has been adduced of the natives of North America.
Don Alonzo de Ericilla, in his history of Chili, says of the natives there; "The religious system of the Araucanians is simple. They acknowledge a Supreme Being, the author of all things, whom they call Pillan, a word derived from Pulli, or Pilli, the soul; and signifies theSupreme Essence. They call him also, Guenu-pillan; the Spirit of Heaven; Bulagen, the Great Being; Thalcove, the Thunderer; Vilvemvoe, the Omnipotent; Mollgelu, the Eternal; and Avnolu, the Infinite." He adds; "The universal government of Pillan, (his Supreme Essence, is a prototype of the Araucanian polity. He is the great Toqui of the invisible world." He goes on to speak of his having subordinate invisible beings under him, to whom he commits the administration of affairs of less importance. These, this author sees fit to call "subaltern divinities." We may believe they are a traditional notion of angels, good and bad; such as is held by the Indians of North America.
This author says of this people; "They all agreed in the belief of the immortality of the soul. This consolatory truth is deeply rooted, and in a manner innate with them. -- They hold that man is composed of two substances essentially different; the corruptible body and the soul, incorporeal and eternal."
Of their funerals, he says; "Their bier is carried by the principal relations, and is surrounded by women who bewail the deceased in the manner of the head mourners among the Romans."
He also says; "They have among them a tradition of a great deluge, in which only a few persons were saved, who took refuge on a high mountain called Thegtheg, which possessed the property of moving on the water."
Here then it seems the remote natives of Chili (a region 1260 miles south of Peru, in South America,) furnish their quota of evidence that they originated in the same family with the North American Indians, and hold some of their essential traditions.
Whence could arise the tradition of those natives, of one "Supreme Being, author of all things?" That he is the "Supreme Being; the Spirit of Heaven; The Thunderer; the Omnipotent; the Eternal; the Infinite?" Whence their tradition of the flood, and of several persons being saved on a floating mountain, meaning no doubt the ark? Whence their ideas so correct of man's immortal soul?
This author says of those native Chilians, "Many suppose that they are indigenous to the country; while others suppose they derive their origin from a foreign stock, and at one time say, that their ancestors came from the north, and at another time from the west."
Their better informed or wise men, it seems retain some impressions of their original emigration from a foreign land, and from the north-west, of Beering's Straits. It is possible to give a satisfactory account of such traditions among those native Indians of Chili, short of their having received from them from the Hebrew sacred Scriptures? And if from thence, surely they must be Hebrew.
In Long's expedition to the Rocky Mountains, we learn that the Omawhaw tribe of Indians (who inhabit the west side of the Missouri River, fifty miles above Engineer Cantonment,) believe in one God. They call him Wahconda; and believe him to be the greatest and best of beings; the Creator and Preserver of all things; the Fountain of mystic medicine. Omniscience, omnipresence, and vast power are attributed to him. And he is supposed to afflict them with sickness, poverty, or misfortune, for their evil deeds. In conversation he is frequently appealed to as an evidence of the truth of their asservations -- "Wahconda hears what I say."
These Indians have many wild pagan notions of this one God. But they have brought down by tradition, it seems, the above essentially correct view of him, in opposition to the polytheistical world.
Their name of God is remarkable -- Wahconda. It has been shown in the body of this work, that various of the Indians call God Yohewah, Ale, Yah, and Wah , doubtless from the Hebrew names Jehovah. Ale, and Jah. And it has been shown that these syllables which compose the name of God, are compounded in many Indian words, or form the roots from which they are formed. Here we find the fact; while the author from whom the account is taken, it is presumed, had no perception of any such thing. Wah-conda; the last syllable of the Indian Yohewah, compounded with conda. -- Or Jah, Wah, their monosyllable name of God thus compounded. Here is evidence among those children of the desert, both as to the nature and the name of their one God, corresponding with what has been exhibited of other tribes; and very unaccountable, if they are not of the lost tribes of Israel.
A religious custom, related by Mr. Long goes to corroborate the opinion that these people are of Israel. He relates that from the age of between five and ten years, their little sons are obliged to ascend a hill fasting, once or twice a week during the months of March and April, to pray aloud to Wahconda. When the season of the year arrives, the mother informs the little son, that the "ice is breaking up in the river; the ducks and geese are migrating, and it is time for you to prepare to go in clay." The little worshipper then rubs himself over with whitish clay, and at sun rise sets off for the top of a hill, instructed by the mother what to say to the Master of Life. From this elevated position he cries aloud to Wahconda, humming a melancholy tune, and calling on him to have pity on him, and make him a great hunter, warrior, &c.
This has more the appearance of descending from Hebrew tradition, than from any other nation on earth; teaching their children to fast in clay, as "in dust and ashes;" and to cry to Jah for pity and protection. Such are the shreds of evidence furnished, one here and another there, through the wilds of America, suggesting what is the most profitable, if not evident origin, of the natives of this continent.
In the Percy Anecdotes, we have an account that the Shawano Indians in an excursion captured the Indian warrior called Old Scranny, of the Muskhoge tribe, and condemned him to a fiery torture. He told them the occasion of his falling into their hands was, he had "forfeited the protection of the Divine Power by some impurity or other, when carrying the holy ark of war against his devoted enemy. Here he recognized the one God, his providence speaks of his holy ark borne against enemies, alludes to the purity of those who bear it, and if they become impure, the Divine Being will forsake them. The bearing which ideas like these have on our subject, needs no explanation.
05 Destruction of Jerusalem
07 Description of Jerusalem
09 Description of the Temple
10 Christ foretells their destruction
12 Various signs of the event
17 Seven miraculous portents of it
21 Causes of the war
23 Factions of the Jew
24 The Roman army under Titus approaching
42 A primary fulfillment of prophecies
47 The certain restoration of Judah and Israel
47 The expulsion of the ten tribes
Arguments in favour of a restoration.
49 1. The distinct existence of the Jews
50 2. Their past partial and short possession of Canaan
53 3. Express predictions of the event
66 4. A mystical import given to these, inadmissible
68 5. Their expulsion was literal, and their restoration must be thus
69 The present state of Judah and Israel
69 State of the Jews
72 State of the ten tribes
72 Jews dispersed, Israel outcast
72 Israel as such, is to be restored
75 Hence they must now have somewhere a distinct existence;
and God must have provided some place for them for 2500 years
75 An account in Esdras of their going to such a place
76 Some suppositions in relation to them
80 These suppositions are true
Arguments to show that the American natives are the tribes of Israel
85 1. They all appear to have had one origin
88 2. Their language appears a corruption of Hebrew
93 3. They have their holy ark
94 4. They have practised circumcision
95 5. They have one, and only one, God
104 6. Their variety of traditions evince they are the descendants of Israel
107 7. A prediction relative to their famine of the world
119 8. Testimony of William Penn
120 9. The tribe of Levi
121 10. Several appropriate traits of character
123 11. Their being in tribes, with heads of tribes
123 12. Their places answering to the cities of refuge
125 13. Other evidences and considerations
128 A hint to objectors
131 An address of the prophet Isaiah
131 Preparatory consideration
133 The 18th Chapter of Isaiah considered
146 An Address to America
153 1. The excommunication of the Hebrews deeply affecting
154 2. The Entail of the Covenant rich
156 3. What is first to be done for the Hebrews
157 4. A new view given of some prophetic passages
161 5. New evidence furnished of the Divinity of the Bible
NAMES OF AUTHORS AND MEN QUOTED AND
ALLUDED TO IN THE THIRD CHAPTER
OF THIS WORK.
Charlevoix, page 85.
Dr. Edwards, 85, 88.
Boudinot, 86, 93, 94, 98, 106,
109, 113, 116, 117, 124.
Du Pratz, 86, 96.
Dr. Williams, 87, 99, 122.
Adair, 89, 93, 96, 115, 123, 173, 178.
Beatty, 94, 109, 112.
M;Kenzie, 94, 108.
Giddings, 101, 102.
Lewis and Clark, 103, 107.
Hechewelder, page 103.
R. Williams, 104.
Col. Smith, 110.
Bartram, 115, 116.
Carver, 115, 179.
N. A, Review, 81.
Don Alonzo deEricilla, 181.
Page 58, line 1st from bottom, for unite read smite.
Page 64, line1st from top, for Zech. read Zeph.
Page 72, line10th from bottom, for xxxix. read xxxvii.
Page 75, line19th from bottom, for least read last
Page 122, line 7th from bottom, for tines read tires..
Page 123, line 5 from top for fleshy read flashy.
Page 162, line13 from top, for xvi. read xvii.