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names of Bel and Dragon, which were the fa. vorite deities of Babylon and Nineveh; by whích liberality, doubtless, he intended to im. prove his popularity with both nations, and aid the union of both states. And his son im. proved upon this stroke of policy, and to the name of Baladan, which he retained, he add, ed that of Merodach. Baladan signifies the fon of death, and Merodach, in the Syriac tongue, is the prince below, or as we fhould say, the prince of hell.
Ancient idolaters conceived of two prin. cipal deities, which they worshipped, viz. a fupernal and an infernal deity; but as fear was the great principle of their religion, like the aborigines of America, they thought it most to their advantage, and were induced to pay their chief homage to the evil genii. Thus the aposţie observed, The things which the Genti'es facrifice, they sacrifice to devils or demons. 1 Cor. x. 20. The prophet Isaiah, chap. xxviii. reproving and threatening the people of Israel for their alliances with the A lyrian and Babylonian powers, alluded to ihis style of their kings, saying, Because ye buve said, Wepave made a coven.. nt with death, and with hell, are we at agreement; wben the cverfi.wing scurge shall pass through, it shall
. not come unto us. Therefore thus faith the Lord God, Your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement wiih hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, thenye shull be trodden down by it – And John, if the opening of the leal which denoted the filing of myltical Babylon, evią
dently alludes to the same things, when he fays, I lookeit, and bebold a pale barfe; and bis name ibat fat on him was Death, and bell fola lowed with bim. And hence all the powers of darkness are called the gates of bell. And when they shall together receive their final doom, in the second death, at the second and last judgment, it is said, that death and bell were call into the lake of fire. Merodach-Baladan may be considered as the motto of the powers of darkness, i. e. death and hell united,
This would be an excellerit text for a mo. dern evangelical preacher, as he is juftly de. scribed by William Huntington, minister in London, in his Discourses on the Wise and Foolish Virgins. When the devil' has in* fluenced, varnished, polished, set forth, and equipped such a professor as this, he perfuades him that his hearing the word, his
receiving it with joy, his springing up in • zeal, in knowledge, in a profession, in a re• formation, and in a separation from the • world, and joining with God's faints, that this is conversion, it is regeneration, and * the joy he felt is the power of God, and the
confidence that attended it is the work of • faith wrought in the heart with power. And • he furnishes the world with preachers to confirm such in their profession. To counterfeit
every distinct operation of the Spirit of God • is the devil's master-piece; and to be set down in a false hope, and under an infernal influence, is the fool's deepest cell, the next to " that of utter darkness. When the devil sends one of his ministers to counterfeit the first
operation of God's Spirit, the deceiver may be discovered by the following appearance; • he comes with a gloomy countenance, and • commands a solemn awe: his deportment • is grave, his voice hollow, his looks decla• rative of pensiveness and deep thought; he · deals much in morality, death and judge • ment to come; his eyes ftare, his face is • pale, and his accents are weighty; a solemn gloom, dismal sensations follow, and are communicated to all the audience; a cold chill runs thrơ the blood, and every thought of the beart is brougbt into captivity to the boufe appointed for all living. This is a so. • lemn meeting, and a solemn opportunity; * and is called the powerful operations of the • Holy Spirit.'
Merodach-Baladan sending his ambassadors to Hezekiah king of Judah, and making his fuit at the Lord's court, was an accomplished measure; this was a fair specimen of the mystery of iniquity, and deceivableness of unrighteousness, which has been so fatally practised, in these last days, upon the Christian church. Satan, in this business, began betimes to be transformed into an angel of light; to which character the prophet refers, by calling the king of Babylon Lucifer, son of the morning. Ifai. xiv. 12. It was, doubtless, in the view of all natural men, a very promising incident, that death and hell should propose a truce and lasting league with life and heaven, O the boldness of ihis son of darkness! This proposal was not unlike the very generous' proffer of the devil to Jesus Chrilt, that if he
would consent to bis being honored and worIhipped as the king of heaven, he should be made king below, and all the kingdoms and glory of this world should be given to him for his own; or, in other words, that he would exchange kingdoms with him. The people of Israel were altogether an elect people; but the prophets, upon whom came the Holy Spi. rit
, were among them the very elect, This bufinels deceived Hezekiah, but even this could not deceive Isaiah.
The authority and ministrations of the prophets formed a high court of heaven over the kingdoms of the world; by the word of the Lord in their mouth, they planted and plucked
up nations, erected and pulled down king, doms. We have their commission, Jer. i. 9, 10. Then the Lord put forth his hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.See, I have this day set thee over the nations, and over the kingdoms; to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy; and to throw down, to build, and to plant. Agreeably to this, Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, was ordained and fet up; and her extensive dominions, and long ages, were assigned to her by the word of ihe Lord in the mouth of the prophets; and first, by the prophet Isaiah, whose declarations, upon the occasion of the cordial receprion by Hezekiah of the ambassadors of the king of Babylon, require particular notice.
Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekial, and said unto him, What said these mon?
and from whence came they unto thee? And
The giving forth of this word of the Lord forms a memorable date in the annals of the powers that be. It appcars, however, by the answer of Hezekiah, it was understood that this folemn denunciation would not go into effect in bis days; but, sometime in the days of his son, when, as has been observed, the land of Judah was first invaded by this pow. er, it may be concluded that the long, long teign of Babylon, as by this decree of heaven, and the great captivity of the sons of Zion, commenced.