By Richard Watson
OBJECTIONS TO THE EVIDENCE FROM PROPHECY CONSIDERED.
BESIDE the objections which have been anticipated and answered in the last chapter, others have been made to the argument from prophecy, which, though exceedingly futile, ought to receive a cursory notice, lest any should think them of greater importance.
It has been objected, as to some of the prophecies, that they were written after the event; as for instance, the prophecy of Isaiah in Which tile name of Cyrus is found, amid the prophecies of Daniel. This allegation, standing as it does upon no evidence whatever, and being indeed in opposition to contrary proof, shows the hopelessness of the cause of infidelity, and affords a lofty triumph to the evidence of prophecy. For the objector does in fact acknowledge, that these predictions are not obscure; that the event exactly corresponded with them; and that they were beyond human conjecture. Without entering into those questions respecting the date of the books of Isaiah and Daniel, which properly belong to works on the canon of Scripture, we may observe, that the authors of this objection assert, but without giving the least proof, that Isaiah wrote his prophecies in order to flatter Cyrus, and that the book of Daniel was composed about the reign of ANTIOCHUS EPIPRANES. It is therefore admitted that both were extant, and in their present form, before the time of the Christian era; but if so, what end, we ask, is answered by the objection? The Scriptures, as received by the Jews, were verified by the sentence of our Lord and his apostles; and unless their inspiration can be disproved, the objection in question is a mere cavil. Before it can have any weight, the whole mass of evidence which supports the mission and Divine authority of our Saviour and the apostles, must be overthrown: and not till then can it in strictness of reasoning be maintained. But, not to insist on this, the assertion respecting Isaiah is opposed to positive testimony. The testimony. of the prophet himself, who states that he lived "in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Altax, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah ;" and the testimony of an independent witness, the author of the Second Book of Kings, in the twentieth chapter of which book Isaiah is brought forward in connection with a public event of the Jewish history-the dangerous sickness and recovery of the King Hezekiah. The proof is then as decisive as the public records of a kingdom can make it, that Isaiah wrote more than a hundred years before the birth of Cyrus.
The time when Daniel lived and wrote is bound up in like manner with public history,-and that not only of the Jews, but of the Babylonians and Persians; and could not be antedated so as to impose upon the Jews, who received the book which bears his name into their canon, as the production of the same Daniel who had filled exalted stations in time courts of Nebuchadnezzar and his successors. In favour of a later late being assigned to the book of Daniel, it has been said, that it has many Greek terms, and that it was not translated by the LXX, time translation now inserted in the Septuagint being by THEODOTIAN. With respect to the Greek terms, they are chiefly found in the names of the musical instruments; and the Greeks acknowledge that they derived their music from the eastern nations. With respect to the second objection, it is unfounded. The authors of the Septuagint did translate time book of Daniel, and their version is cited by CLEMENS ROMANUS, JUSTIN MARTYR, and many of the ancient fathers; it occupied a column of the Hexapla of Origen, and is quoted by JEROME. The present Greek version by Theodotian inserted in the Septuagint, was made in the second century, and preferred as being more conformable to the original. The repudiated version was published some years ago from an ancient MS. discovered at Rome.
The opponents of Scripture are fond of the attempt to lower the dignity and authority of the sacred prophecies by comparing them to the heathen oracles. The absolute contrast between them has already been pointed out; (Vide chapter xvi;) but a few additional observations may not be useless.
Of the innumerable oracles which were established and consulted by the ancient heathen, the most celebrated was the Delphic; and we may, therefore, for the purpose of exhibiting the contrast more perfectly between the Pythian oracle and the prophecies of Scripture, confine our remarks to that.
The first great distinction lies in this, that none of the predictions ever uttered by the Delphic oracle went deep into futurity. They relate to events on the eve of taking place, and whose preparatory circumstances were known. There was not even the pretence of foresight to the distance of a few years; though had it been a hundred years, even that were a very limited period to the eye of inspired prophets, who looked through the course of succeeding ages, and gave proof by the very sweep and compass of their predictions, that they were under the inspirations of Him to whom "a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
A second contrast lies in the ambiguity of the responses. The prophecies of Scripture arc sometimes obscure, though this does not apply to the most eminent of those which have been most signally fulfilled, as we have already seen; but they never equivocate. For this the Pythian oracle was notorious. Historians relate that Craesus, who had expended large sums upon the agents of this delusion, was tricked by an equivocation; through which, interpreting the response most favourably for himself, he was induced to make an unsuccessful war on Cyrus. In his subsequent captivity lie repeatedly reproached the oracle, and charge it with falsehood. The response delivered to PYRRHUS was of the same kind; and was so expressed as to be true, whether Pyrrhus conquering the Romans or the Romans Pyrrhus. Many other instances of the same kind are given; not to mention the trifling, and even bantering and oracles, which were sometimes pronounced.
The venality, wealth, and servility of the Deiphic oracle, present an. other contrast to the poverty and disinterestedness of the Jewish prophets whom no gifts could bribe, and no power awe in the discharge of their duty. Demosthenes, in one of his speeches to the Athenians, public charges this oracle with being "gained over to the interests of King Philip;" and the Greek historians give other instances in which it had been corrupted by money, and the prophetess sometimes deposed for bribery, sometimes for lewdness.
Neither threats nor persecutions had any influence with the Jewish prophets; but it would seem that this celebrated oracle of Apollo was not even proof against raillery. At first it gave its answers in verse; but the Epicureans, Cynics, and others laughing so much at the poor. ness of the versification, it fell at length into prose. "It was surprising," said these philosophic wits, " that Apollo, the god of poetry, should be a much worse poet than Homer, whom he himself bad inspired." Plutarch considers this as a principal cause of the declension of the oracle of Delphos. Doubtless it had declined much in credit in his day; and the farther spread of Christianity completed its ruin.
Can then the prophecies of Scripture be paralleled with these dark, and venal, and delusive oracles, without impiety? and could any higher honour be wished for the Jewish prophets, than the comparison into which they are thus brought with the agents of paganism at Deiphos and other places? They had recourse to no smooth speeches, no compliances with the tempers and prejudices of men. They concealed no truth which they were commissioned to declare, however displeasing to their nation and hazardous to themselves. They required no caves, or secret places of temples, from which to utter their messages; and those who consulted them were not practised upon by the bewildering ceremonies imposed upon inquirers at Deiphos. They prophesied in streets, and courts, and palaces, and in the midst of large assemblies. Their predictions had a clear, determinate, and consistent sense; and they described future events with so many particularities of time and place, as made it scarcely possible that they should be misunderstood or misapplied.
Pure and elevated as was the character of the Jewish prophets, the hardihood of infidelity has attempted to asperse their character; because it appears from Scripture story, that there were false prophets and bad men who bore that name.
Balaam is instanced, though not a Jewish prophet; but that he was always a bad man, wants proof. The probability is, that his virtue was overcome by the offers of Balak; and the prophetic spirit was not taken away from him, because there was an evident design on the part of God to make his favour to Israel more conspicuous, by obliging a reluctant prophet to bless, when he would have cursed, and that in the very presence of a hostile king. When that work was done, Balaam was consigned to his proper punishment.
With respect to the Jewish false prophets, it is a singular proceeding to condemn the true ones for their sake, and to argue that because bad men assumed their functions, and imitated their manner, for corrupt purposes, the universally, received prophets of the nation,-men who, from the proofs they gave of their inspiration, had their commission acknowledged even by those who hated them, and their writings received into the Jewish canon,-were bad men also. Let the characters of Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Nathan, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and the authors of the other prophetical books, be considered ; and how true are the words of the apostle, that they were "HOLY men of old," as well as that they were "moved by the Holy Ghost !" That the prophets who prophesied "smooth things" were never considered as true prophets, except for a time by a few who wished to have their hopes flattered, is Plain from this-none of their writings were preserved by the Jews. Their predictions would not abound in reproofs and threatenings, like those of Isaiah and Jeremiah; and yet the words of those prophets, who were personally most displeasing to the Jews of the age in which they lived, have been preserved, while every flattering prophecy: was suffered to fall into oblivion almost as soon as it was uttered. Can we have a more decisive proof than this, that the false prophets were a perfectly distinct class of men,-the venal imitators of these "holy men of old," but who never gave, even to those most disposed to listen to their delusive prophecies, a satisfactory proof of their prophetic commission?
Attempts have been made to show that a few of the prophecies of, Scripture have failed. The following are the principal instances :- It has been said that a false promise was made to Abraham, when it was promised to him, that his descendants should possess the territory which lies between the Euphrates and the river of Egypt. But this objection is clearly made in ignorance of the Scriptures; for the fact is, that David conquered that territory, and that the dominions of Solomon were thus extended. (Vide 2 Sam. viii; 1 Chron. xviii.)
Voltaire objects, that the prophets made promises to the Jews of the most unbounded riches, dominion, and influence; insomuch that they could only have been accomplished by their conquering or proselyting the entire of the habitable globe. On the contrary, he says, they have, lost their possessions instead of obtaining either property or power, and therefore the prophecies are false.
The case is here unfairly stated. The prophets never made such exaggerated promises. They predict many spiritual blessings to be bestowed in the times of Messiah, under figures drawn from worldly opulence and power, the figurative language of which no attentive, reader can mistake. They also promise many civil advantages, but only conditionally on the obedience of the nation; and they speak in high terms of the state of the Jewish nation, upon its final restoration, for which objectors must wait before they can determine the predictions to be false. But did not Voltaire know, that the loss of their own country by the Jews, of which he speaks, was predicted in the clearest manner? and would he not have seen, had he not been blinded by his prejudices, that his very objection acknowledges the truth of prophecy? The promises of the prophets have not been falsified in the instance given, but their threats have been signally fulfilled.
Paine, following preceding writers of the same sentiments, asserts the prophecy of Isaiah to Ahaz not to have been verified by the event, and is thus answered by Bishop Watson: (Apology, letter v:) "The prophecy is quoted by you, to prove, and it is the only instance you produce, that Isaiah was 'a lying prophet and impostor.' Now I maintain, that this very instance proves that he was a true prophet and no impostor. The history of the prophecy, as delivered in the seventh chapter, is this,-Rezin king of Syria, and Pekah king of Israel, made war upon Ahaz king of Judah; not merely, or, perhaps, not at all for the sake of plunder, or the conquest of territory, but with a declared purpose of making an entire revolution in the government of Judah, of destroying the royal house of David, and of placing another family on the throne. Their purpose is thus expressed-' Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal.' Now what did the Lord commission Isaiah to say to Ahaz? Did he commission him to say, The kings shall not vex thee? No.-The kings shall not conquer thee? No.-The kings shall not succeed against thee? No. He commissioned him to say- 'It (the purpose of the two kings) shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.' I demand-Did it stand, did it come to pass? Was any revolution effected? Was the royal house of David dethroned and destroyed? Was Tabeal ever made king of Judah? No. The prophecy was perfectly accomplished. You say, 'Instead of these two kings failing in their attempt against Ahaz, they succeeded: Ahaz was defeated and destroyed.' I deny the fact: Ahaz was defeated but not destroyed; and even the 'two hundred thousand women, and sons and daughters,' whom you represent as carried into captivity, were not carried into captivity: they were made captives, but they were not carried into captivity; for the chief men of Samaria, being admonished by a prophet, would not suffer Pekah to bring the captives into the land,- 'They rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that Were naked among them, and arrayed them and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, (sonic humanity, you see, among those Israelites. Whom you every where represent as barbarous brutes,) and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren,' 2 Chron. xxviii, 15. The kings did foil in their attempt: their attempt was to destroy the house of David, and to make a revolution: but they made no revolution; they did not destroy the house of David, for Ahaz slept with his fathers; and Hezekiah, his son, of the house of David, reigned in his stead."
A Similar attempt is made by the same writer to fix a charge of false vaticination upon Jeremiah, and is thus answered by the bishop of Llandaff: "'In the thirty.fourth chapter is a prophecy of Jeremiah to Zedekiah, in these words, verse 2, Thus saith the Lord, Behold I will give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and will burn it with fire; and thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but thou shalt surely be taken, and delivered into his hand! and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth, and thou shalt go to Babylon. Yet hear the word of the Lord, 0 Zedekiah king of Judah: thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not die by the sword, but thou shalt die in peace; and with the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings that were before thee, so shall they burn odours for thee, and will lament thee, saying, Ah, lord! for I have pronounced the word saith the Lord.-Now, instead of Zedekiah beholding the eyes of the king of Babylon, and speaking with him mouth to mouth, and dying in peace, and with the burnings of odours at the funeral of his fathers, (as Jeremiah hath declared the Lord himself had pronounced,) the reverse, according to the fifty second chapter, was the case: it is there stated, (verse 10,) That the king of Babylon slew the Sons of Zedekiah before his eyes; then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death. What can we say of these prophets, but that they are impostors and liars ?' I can say this-that the prophecy you have produced was fulfilled in all its parts; and what then shall be said of those who call Jeremiah a liar and an impostor? Here then we are fairly at issue you affirm that the prophecy was not fulfilled, and I affirm that it was fulfilled in all its parts. 'I will give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and lie shall burn it with fire:' so as the prophet. What says the history? 'They (the forces of the king of Babylon) burnt the house of God, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire,' 2 Chron. xxxvi, 19.-' Thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but thou shalt surely be taken and delivered into his hand:' so says the prophet. What says the history? 'The men of war fled by night, amid the king went the way toward the plain, and the arm of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho; and all his army were scattered from him: so they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon, to Riblah, 2 Kings xxv, 5. The prophet goes on, 'Thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth.' No pleasant circumstance this to Zedekiah, who had provoked the king of Babylon by revolting from him. The history says, 'The king of Babylon gave judgment upon Zedekiah,' or, as it is more literally rendered from the Hebrew, 'spake judgments with him at Riblab.' The prophet concludes this part with, 'And thou shalt go to Babylon:' the history says, 'The king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death,' Jer. lii, 11.-' Thou shalt not die by the sword.' He did not die by the sword, he did not fall in battle.-' But thou shalt die in peace.' He did die in peace, he neither expired on the rack nor on the scaffold; was neither strangled nor poisoned, no unusual fate of captive kings; he died peaceably in his bed, though that bed was in a prison.-' And with the burnings of thy fathers shall they burn odours before thee.' I cannot prove from the history that this part of the prophecy was accomplished, nor can you prove that it was not. The probability is, that it was accomplished; and I have two reasons on which I ground this probability. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, to say nothing of other Jews, were men of great authority in the court of the king of Babylon, before and after the commencement of the imprisonment of Zedekiah; and Daniel continued in power till the subversion of the kingdom of Babylon by Cyrus. Now it seems to me to be very probable, that Daniel and the other great men of the Jews, would both have inclination to request, and influence enough with the king of Babylon to obtain permission to bury their deceased prince Zedekiah, after the manner of his fathers. But if there had been no Jews at Babylon of consequence enough to make such a request, still it is probable that the king of Babylon would have ordered tine Jews to bury and lament their departed prince, after the manner of their country. Monarchs, like other mean, are conscious of the instability of human condition; amid when the pomp of war has ceased, when the insolence of conquest is abated, and the fury of resentment is subsided, they seldom fail to revere royalty even in its ruins, and grant, without reluctance, proper obsequies to the remains of captive kings."
Ezekiel is assaulted in the same manner. "You quote," says the same writer, "a passage from Ezekiel, in the twenty ninth chapter, where speaking of Egypt, it is said-' No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years:' this, you say, 'never came to pass, and consequently it is false, as all the books I have already reviewed are.' Now that the invasion predicted did come to pass, we have, as Bishop Newton observes, 'the testimonies of Megasthenes and Berosus, two heathen historians, who lived about 300 years before Christ; one of whom affirms, expressly, that Nebuchadnezzar conquered the greater part of Africa; and the other affirms it in effect, in saying, that when Nebuchadnezzar heard of the death of his father, having settled his affairs in Egypt, and committed the captives whom he took in Egypt to the care of some of his friends to bring them after him, he hasted directly to Babylon.' And if we had been possessed of no testimony in support of the prophecy, it would have been a hasty conclusion, that the prophecy never came to pass; the history of Egypt, at so remote a period, being no where accurately and circumstantially related. I admit that no period can be pointed out from the age of Ezekiel to the present, in which there was no foot of man or beast to be seen for forty years in all Egypt; but some think that only a part of Egypt is here spoken of; and surely you do not expect a literal accomplishment of a hyperbolical expression, denoting great desolation; importing that the trade of Egypt which was carried on then, as at present, by caravans, by the foot of man and beast, should be annihilated."
To this we may add, that the passage respecting the depopulation of Egypt stands in the midst of an extended prophecy, which has received the most marked fulfilment, and illustrates, perhaps as strikingly as any thing which can be adduced, the cavilling spirit of infidelity, and proves that truth could never be the object of discussions thus conducted. Here is a passage which has some obscurity hanging over it. No one how ever can prove that it was not accomplished, even so fully that the expressions might be used without violent hyperbole; for the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar was one of the same sweeping and devastating character as his invasion and conquest of Judea: and we know that the greater part of the inhabitants of that country were destroyed, or led captive, and that the land generally remained untitled for seventy years, though not absolutely left without inhabitant. In the common language of men, Judea might be said not to be inhabited, so prodigious was the excision of its people; and in such circumstances, from the total cessation of all former intercourse, commercial and otherwise, between the different parts of the kingdom, it might also, without exaggeration, be said, that the foot of man and beast did not "pass THROUGH it ; " their going from one part to another on business, or for worship at Jerusalem, being wholly suspended. Now, as we have no reason to suppose the Babylonian monarch to have been more merciful to Egypt than to Judea, the same expressions in a popular sense might be used in respect of that country. Here however infidelity thought a cavil might be raised, and totally-may we not say wilfully?-overlooked a prediction immediately following, which no human sagacity could conjecture, and against which it is in vain to urge, that it was written after the event: for the accomplishment of the prophecy runs on to the present day, and is as palpable and obvious as the past history, and the present political state of that country--" Egypt shall be the basest of the kingdoms, neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations-there shall be no more a prince the land of Egypt." (Vide Ezek. xxix and xxx.) It is more than two thousand years since the prophecy was delivered, and Egypt has never recovered its liberties, but is to this day under the yoke of foreigners. It was conquered by the Babylonians; then by the Persians; and in succession passed under the dominion of the Macedonians, Romans, Saracens, Mamelucs, and Turks. No native prince of Egypt has ever restored his country to independence, and ascended the throne of his ancestors; and the descendants of the ancient Egyptians are to this hour in the basest and most oppressed condition. Yet in Egypt the human mind had made some of its earliest and most auspicious efforts. The stupendous monuments of art and power, the ruins of which lie piled upon the banks of the Nile, or still defy the wastes of time, attest the vastness of the designs, and the extent of the power of its princes. Egypt, too, was possessed of great natural advantages. Its situation was singularly calculated to protect it against foreign invasion; while its great fertility promised to secure the country it enriched from poverty, baseness, and subjection. Yet after a long course of grandeur, and in contradiction to its natural advantages, Ezekiel pronounced that the kingdom should be "the basest of all kingdoms," and that there should be "no more a prince of the land of Egypt." So the event has been, and so it remains; and that this wonderful prophecy should be passed over by infidels in silence, while they select from it a passage which promised to give some colour to objection, is deeply characteristic of the state of their minds, it is not from deficiency of evidence that the word of God is rejected by them. The evil is not the want of light, but the love of darkness.
Much ridicule has been cast upon the prophets for those significant actions by which they illustrated their predictions; as when Jeremiah hides his linen girdle in a hole of the rock, and breaks a potter's vessel in the sight of the people; when Ezekiel weighs the hair of his heat, and heard in balances, with many other instances familiar to those who read the Scriptures. But this ridicule can only proceed from ignorance. In the early ages of' the world, the deficiency of language was often supplied by signs; and when language was improved, "the practice remained," says Bishop Warburton, "after the necessity was over; especially among the easterns, whose natural emperament inclined them to this mode of conversation. The charges then of absurdity and fanaticism brought against the prophets, vanish of themselves. The absurdity of an action consists in its being extravagant and insignificative but use and a fixed application made the actions in question both sober and pertinent. The fanaticism of an action consists in fondness for such actions as are unusual, and for foreign modes of speech; but those of the prophets were idiomatic and familiar." We may add, that several of these actions were performed in vision; and that, considering the genius of the people who were addressed, they were calculated strongly to excite their attention, the end for which they were adopted.
Such are the principal objections which have been made to Scripture prophecy, as the proof of Scripture truth. That they are so few and so feeble, when enemies so prying and capable have employed them. selves with so much misplaced zeal to discover any vulnerable part, is the triumph of truth. Their futility has been pointed out; and the whole weight of the preceding evidence in favour of the truth of the Old and New Testaments, remains unmoved. We have, indeed, but glanced at a few of these extraordinary revelations of the future, for the sake, not of exhibiting the evidence of' prophecy, which would require a distinct volume, but of explaining its nature and pointing out its force. To the prophecies of the Old Testament, the attentive inquirer will add those of our Lord and his apostles, which will appear not less extraordinary in themselves, nor less illustrious in their fulfilment, so far as they have received their accomplishment. Many prophecies both of the Old and New Testament evidently point to future times, and this kind of evidence will consequently accumulate with the lapse of ages, and may be among the means by which Jews, Mohammedans, and pagans shall be turned to the Christian faith. At all events, prophecy even unfulfilled now answers an important en(l. It opens our prospect into the future', and if the detail is obscure, yet, notwithstanding the mighty contest which is still going on between opposing powers and principles, we see how the struggle will terminate, and know, to use a prophetic phrase, that "at eventime it shall be light."
 "But if you will persevere in believing that the prophecy concerning
Cyrus was written after the event, peruse the burden of Babylon; was that also written after the event? Were the Medes then stirred up against Babylon? Was Babylon, the glory of the kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees, then overthrown, and become as Sodom and Gomorrab? Was it then uninhabited: Was it then neither fit for the Arabian's tent nor the shepherd's fold? Did the wild beasts of the desert then lie there? Did the wild beasts of the islands then cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant places? Were Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, the son and the grandson then cut off? Was Babylon then become a possession of the bittern and pools of water? Was it then swept With the besom of destruction, so swept that the world knows not now where to find it?" (Bishop WATSON's Apology.)
 Porphyry, in his books against the Christian religion, was the first to attack the prophecies of Daniel; and in modern times, COLLINS, in his Scheme of Literal Prophecy," bent all his force against a book so pregnant with proofs of the truth of Christianity, and the inspiration of ancient prophecy. By two learned opponents his eleven objections were most satisfactorily refuted, and shown to be mere cavils-by Bishop CHANDLER in his "Vindication" of his "Defence of Christianity," and by Dr. Sam. CHANDLER in his "Vindication of Daniel's Prophecies."
 Eusebius has preserved some fragments of a philosopher called OEnomaus; who, out of resentment for his having been so often fooled by the oracles, wrote, an ample confutation of all their impertinences: "When we come to consult thee," says he to Apollo, "if thou seest what is in futurity, why dost thou use expressions that will not be understood? If thou dost, thou takest pleasure in abusing, us, if thou dost not, be informed of us, and learn to speak more clearly. I tell thee, that if thou intendest an equivoque, the Greek word whereby thou affirmedst that Craesus should overthrow a great empire, was ill chosen; and that it could signify nothing but Croesus's conquering Cyrus. If things must necessarily come, to pass, why dost thou amuse us with thy ambiguities? What dost thou, wretch as thou art, at Delphi; employed in muttering idle prophecies
 A weak attempt has been made by some infidel writers to fasten a charge of falsehood on Jeremiah, in the case of his confidential interview with King Zedekiah. A satisfactory refutation is given by Bishop WATSON in his answer to Paine, letter vi.
 The opinion of the bishop, that not the whole of what is now called Egypt was intended in the prophecy, seems to derive confirmation from the following passages in Richardson's Travels in Egypt in 1817 :-" The Delta, according to the tradition of the Jonians, is the only part that is, strictly speaking, entitled to be called Egypt, which is hieroglyphically represented by the figure of a heart, no unapt similitude."-" The principal places mentioned in our sacred writings, Zoan, Noph, and Tophanes, are all referable to the Delta.. Probably little of them remains."