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but, after the death of this monarch, he succeeded to his crown, as he did to his father's in the kingdom of Persia; which, with the countries he had conquered, made up the Persian empire, of which he was the founder and first monarch.
It has already been shewn, that Cyrus was appointed by the Lord to restore Israel to their native land. Isaiah, many years before, prophesied of him by name. It has also been shewn, that, in order to keep up the spirits of the people whilst in captivity, encourage their faith and trust in God, and preserve them from idola. trous practices, the LORD graciously revealed to them, at different times, by means of his proplets, that he would, at the end of seventy years, bring them back to Judea ; that they should rebuild their city, and once more be in a prosperous condition. It was likewise predicted that Babylon should be subdued, as it had subdued other nations. These prophecies are very remarkable, and may be seen in the following Section :
SECTION LII. PREDICTIONS RELATING TO THE DOWNFALL OF
. BABYLON. '.
: From Isaiah, Chap. xlv.. Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose: right hand I have holden to subdue nations before him, and I will loose the loins of kings'; to open before him: the two leaved gates, and the gates shall not be shut;'
I will go before thee, and make the crooked places: straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron :
And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, andi hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I the Lord, which call tłce by thy name, ara the God of Israel.
'cios :5,-..' .. For Por Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name; I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no god beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me :
That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord and there is none else.
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil. I the LORD do all these things.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
We shall soon see that this prediction was literally and circumstantially fulfilled. The prophecy relating to Cyrus was uttered nearly 200 years before he was born into the world, and has justly engaged the attention of heathens as well as Christians. How admirably is the divine prescience displayed in every page of the prophetic writings !
Cyrus was a very extraordinary person, greatly distinguished amongst his contemporaries for wisdoin, valour, and virtue; but his highest encomium is, that he was thought worthy by the LORD to dispense his blessings to the house of Jacob. Neriglissar, hearing that Cyrus was coming against him with a very great army to the assistance of the Medes, sent ambassadors to Lydia, and other nations, to call them to his aid; after both parties had been for three years forming alliances, and making preparations for war, they, with their confederates, took the field. Neriglissar was slain, the Assyrian army routed, and Cyrus gained the victory.
Crosus, king of Lydia, being next in dignity to No. riglissar, took the command of the vanquished army,
and made as good a retreat with it as he possibly could; 'but Cyrus overtook it, and entirely routed it; upon which Cræsus made the best of his way into his own country.
The death of Neriglissar was a great loss to the Babylonians, for he was a very learned and excellent prince.
Laborosoarchod, his son, succeeded him : he was in every thing the reverse of his father; and addicted himself to all kinds of wickedness, cruelty, and injustice. Cyrus gained great advantages during the reign of this king, who was killed about nine months after he came to the crown by the conspiracy of his own people. After him succeeded Belshazzar, who is supposed to have been grandson to Nebuchadnezzar, and son to Evil-merodach. He was very young when he ascended the throne, and of a dissolute turn of mind; but his mother Nitocris, who was a woman of excellent understanding, and a mas. culine spirit, whilst her son devoted himself entirely to his pleasures, undertook the principal part of the government, and did all that human prudence could suggest for the preservation of the kingdom. Nitocris used her utmost endeavours to fortify the country against the Medians ; but Cyrus made great progress in taking for. tresses, towns, and provinces: therefore the king of Babylon went into Lydia, and there formed a considerable confederacy by hiring auxiliary forces, over which he appointed Croesus general, who went against the enemy; but Cyrus put him to flight, and he returned to Sardis, where the conqueror closely besieged him, and after a short time took the city, made him prisoner, and condemned him to death, but was induced by compassion to spare his life. Cyrus was so successful in arms that he conquered several other nations : and, having greatly enlarged his dominions, again entered Assyria, and marched on towards Babylon, that being the only place
in the east which held out against him; and having overcome Belshazzar in a battle, he shut him up in his capital : this happened in the sixteenth year of Belshazzar's reign. The Babylonian empire was now drawa ing to a conclusion, and the Judgments of God were ready for execution. Before we proceed with the history it will be proper to read some of the predictions concerning this remarkable revolution.
* PREDICTIONS CONCERNING BABYLON.
From Jer. Chap. li.
Trus saith the LORD ; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind;
And will send unto Babylon fanners that shall fan her, and shall empty her land; for in the day of trouble they sh ll be against her round about.
Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine : and spare ye not her young men : destroy ye utterly all her host.
Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and they that are thrust through in hier streets.
For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.
Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul; be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord's vengeance: he will render unto her a recompence.
In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of
Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the Lord their God.
They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lordin a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.
My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.
All that found them have devoured them: and their adversaries said, We offend not ; because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice; even the Lord, the hope of their fathers.
Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the lands of the Chaldeans, and be as the he. goats before the flocks.
And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up: and the nations shall not flow together any more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall.
My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD.
And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land; a rumour shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumour; and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.
Therefore, behold, the days come that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon: and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.
Then the leaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, said the Lord.
As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth,