PART I. Temporal Prophecy relating to the Hebrew People, from the Time of Solomon to the Restoration from Babylon.

II. Christian Prophecy

during the same Period.

III. Pagan Prophecy

IV. Last Age of Prophecy, from the End of the
Captivity to its Cessation.


Surely, the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

THEY who have not turned their minds to consider the actual contents of ancient Prophecy, may not be aware how nearly it amounts to a complete history of the Hebrew people, that people of God to whom it was given: a complete history, not indeed through the whole of their Annals, but through that great period of them which includes the most remarkable changes of their condition, and during which the mission of Prophecy lasted. that period comprehending the time from the commencement of their Monarchy to their resettlement after the Babylonian Bondage and the

restoration of their Temple. Within these limits I believe it to be nearly the fact, that there is no known event of any magnitude, affecting them as a people, which had not its place in the antecedent warnings of prophecy; nothing befel them, which was not foretold; the apparent case of prophecy fully supporting this declaration of one of its messengers: "Surely the Lord God will do nothing "but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the "prophets." Through so full a probation did Prophecy pass in maintaining its cause with a people little disposed to a gratuitous conviction; and so great an insight did it afford into the Providential Government of God, to those among them who, with a more susceptible mind, sought that kind of instruction, and found it, as they might well do, in the explanations of their prophetic Oracles. In a certain sense, History has been justly called the Interpreter of Prophecy; but to the Israelite, Prophecy was more the Interpreter of History; for it gave him the intelligible notice of the approaching events, and it supplied him with the reasons of God's Providence in bringing those events to pass.

Prophecy did not inform the Israelite in so systematic a way of the changes destined to take place in other states and kingdoms. There is a plain reason why it should not; for in those alien affairs he was not equally concerned, and of the truth and prescience of the predictions of them he could not always be so good a judge. But it opened enough

of the history of those kingdoms, which lay within his sphere of view, to instruct him in the general Providence and Government of God; whilst in his own particular dispensation it was more watchful and constant.

I have now to follow it in its progress; and the completeness of its revelation, in that sense in which I have described it as complete, will be one point among others which my investigation will go to establish. The Division of the Kingdom was the next Epoch in the arrangement to which I proposed to adhere, and I proceed to the prophecy connected with that Epoch.

I. With the peaceful and prosperous reign of Solomon ended the glory of the kingdom of Israel. There straightway ensued the great change, in the dismemberment of the kingdom, by the revolt of the Ten Tribes from Rehoboam, Solomon's son, and the establishment of a separate kingdom under Jeroboam: Judah, with Benjamin annexed, alone adhering to the house of David.

This was a convulsion in the whole body of Israel. Their monarchy, so lately compacted and settled, rent in pieces; their public union, under which they had originally been made subjects of the divine Covenant, broken; and a cause of discord, if not of a more active hostility, rooted between the members of the great Commonwealth, which God had

planted in Canaan in a community of Country and Religion. It was a change which raised a question as to their covenanted relation; and this effect of it gives it its chief importance. For where did the promises of God, attached to that relation, rest? With Israel, or with Judah? or with both? or were they forfeited?

The shock was not permitted to take place without the prior information of prophecy to unravel the aze of things so disordered. The event itself had been foretold in Solomon's reign, by the prophet Ahijah, and other prophecy supplied discriminating marks of the purposes of Providence now in operation. For let us consider. There were the predictions of the ascendency of power to the Tribe of Judah, and the continuance of its Sceptre, that is, of its public existence and civil union, till the advent of the Messiah: there were the recent promises of an extraordinary favour to the house of David; there was the Temple at Jerusalem, that Temple so lately built with a critical coincidence of the opportunity, to predetermine the local seat of their religion, and thereby attach and appropriate the Covenant; lastly, there was the precise document of Ahijah's prophecy, which fully met the case, both in the particular form of the event, and in the reason of it. As to the event, that prophecy had limited the defection to the extent of the Ten Tribes, and bad fixed the time of it, by throwing it beyond the life of Solomon, but bringing it within

that of his son; and assigning the new kingdom to its master, who yet had to fly for his life into Egypt before he could aspire to the conquest which was promised to him. As to the reason of God's moral government in this proceeding, that was also explained: so much was to be taken away, because of the corruptions of Jerusalem, and the demerit of the degenerated family of David: so much was to remain, to make good the mercy and favour promised to that city and that family, and thereby carry on the ulterior scheme of the divine dispensation. "Howbeit, I will not take the whole king"dom out of his hand (Solomon's); but I will "make him prince all the days of his life, for David << my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he

kept my commandments and my statutes. But I "will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and "will give it unto thee, even Ten Tribes. And unto his son will I give one Tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to 66 put my name there*."


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An event of such magnitude was preceded therefore, as we see, by an adequate information of prophecy. But for that information, the event might have seemed to be a catastrophe without hope; to break up the federal character of the chosen people; to interrupt, or confound, the transmission of the

* 1 Kings xi. 34.

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