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subject, which Dr Pearce the bishop of Bangor was so kind' as to communicate ; observing only that Christ foretold, 1. The total destruction of the city.
2. Of In Eusebius, E. H. iii. 23. sélvnce is explained by some rédynes' drien gang wongas ĉ štúans zij to nepárasov ansás.
Nuri di dnuarywyti iv tois čuw vexgois. Aristoph. Ran. Act. i. sc. 7. in choro.
See L. Capell, and Grotius op Matth. viii. 22. who says, Nexpand vocantur homines a vera disciplina, quæ animi vita est, alieni. dio ĉ bis sa (ait Clemens Alex. Strom. v.) Begoodgame Ponoropige vexgg's xaršos to's εκπεσόνίας των δογμάτων, και καθυποτάξανθας τον νεν τοϊς παθεσι ψυχικούς. Hausit queque hæc, ut alia, ab orientis philosophia Pythagoras, This tô, 'Isdaiw dółces peopesusvos, ut de eo scribit Hermippus : siquidem και προς τας Εφραίες αφίκετο, ut de eo ex Diogene scribit Malchus ; unde mos ortus ut his qui cætu. Pythagoreorum essent ejecti, cenotaphia struerentur, quod Hipparcho cuidam factum legimus, &c.
Under the metaphor of eagles, which fly swiftly, and seize upon their prey violently, conquerors with their armies, are frequently spoken of in scripture ; Jeremiah, Lament. iv. 19. says, Our persecutors are swifier iban eagles; and Hosea, viii. 1, says of the king of Assy, ria, He shall come as an eagle against ibe bouse of the Lord, because ibey have transgressed bis covenant. Ezekiel, xvii. 3. pronounces a parable under the same figure ; Tbus saiib the Lord, A great eagle, wiib great wings full of fearbers, came unto Lebanom, and took the bighest branch of the cedar ; which the prophet thus explains, ver. 120 Bebold the king of Babylon is come 10 Jerusalem, and baih taken the king thereof.
Nor must it be forgotten, that when Moses, Deut. xxviii. 49, &c. threatens the Jews with the destruction of their nation, if they would not hearken unto the words of the Lord, the description of the calamities with which he threatens them, answers so exactly in the most material parts to the final destruction of that people by the Romans, that this seems to have been chiefly and principally in the intention of the prophet ; and there the destroying army is spoken of under this very emblem of an eagle ; The Lord shall bring a nation against ibee from far, from the end of ibe earıh, as swift as the eagle fiieth; a nation whose language thou shalt not understand.
t had been forriy, ruin and destroying armies,
2. Of the temple.
3. The coming of false christs and false prophets, magicians, and sorcerers, leading the people to the desarts.
4. Famines. The sense of the proverb then is this ; wheresoever the wicked Jews are, there will the Roman eagles, the destroying armies, follow them; and whithersoever they fly, ruin and desolation will overtake them.
Christ had been foretelling to his disciples the destruction of the Jewish nation, and the vengeance which he was to take upon them for their obstinate refusal of him and his doctrine. This he expressed by the coming of ihe Son of Man; and he told them many particulars of what was to happen before, and at that great day of visitation. Among others he acquainted them that there would be some impostors, who should set up themselves for the Christ, or Messiah of the Jews : Wberefore, says he, if they shall say unto you, Bebold be is in the desart, go nor farıb: bebold he is in the secret chambers, believe it not : i. e. none but false christs will be found there. The true coming of Christ will be of another nature ; not with observation, Luke xvii, 20. not with a display of his person, but of his power in the vengeance which he is to take upon the Jews; not restrained to the desart or the chambers, not confined to holes and comers, nor to any one part of Judea, but extended through every province of it; for as the lightning, says he, cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be, i, e. as extensive and universal over the land, as the lightning shines ; the comparison being brought in to shew, not so much its swiftness, as its wide extent and compass ; for wberesoever the carcase, &c. In St Luke when our Lord had been describing this calamity which was to befal the Jews, his disciples asked him, Where, Lord? where shall this happen ? to which he replied, Wheresoever the body is, ihitber will the eagles be gathered together. If then his words contain any direct answer to the question, they must be understood as pointing out the place and extent of the calamity,
This prophecy was pronounced by our Saviour near forty years, and recorded by St Matthew near thirty years, before the event was to take place. And, for the literal accomplishment of it, we have the authority of Josephus. He was a general on the side of the Jews in the beginning of that war, and a prisoner at large in the Roman ar
. 8. The my during the rest of it: he was a party concerned in much of the ca. lamity of his countrymen, and an eye-witness to almost all of it. And, besides this, it is to be considered, that if he ever had heard of this prophecy, which it is probable he had not, yet as he was a Jew by reli. gicn, and a Jewish priest too, he is therefore a witness not to be suspected of partiality in this case, and was every way qualified to give us an exact history of those times ; which he has accordingly done, by describing very punctually all the particulars of that terrible destruction,
From his account it may be observed, that the Roman army entered into Judea on the east side of it, and carried on their conquests westward, as if not only the extensiveness of the ruin, but the very route, which the army would take, was intended in the comparison of the lightning coming out of the east, and shining even unto the west. • In the course of his history, he gives us a very particular account of the prodigious numbers of such as were slain in Judea properly so called, in Samaria, the two Galilecs, and the region beyond Jordan : and he confirms the prophecy of Christ by making a remarkable observation to this purpose, that there was not any the least part of Judea, which did not partake of the calamities of the capital city; B. J. v. 3. There, at Jerusalem, the last and finishing stroke was given to the ruin of the church and state ; for after a long and sharp siege, in which famine killed as many as the sword, in which the judgments of heaven appeared as visibly as the fury of man, in which intestine factions helped on the desolation which the foreign armies completed, Jerusalem was at last taken, not then a city, but a confused mass of ruins, affording a sadder scene of calamity than the world had ever seen, and exactly fulfilling the words of Christ, Mat, xxiv. 21. Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world unto this time, no, nor ever shall be. To which Josephus bears express testimony, and says that the calamities of all nations from the beginning of the world were exceeded by those wbich befel bis country'e men on this occasion, B. J. i. 1.
Christ foretold, that Jerusalem should be encompassed with armies, Luke xxi. 20. and accordingly it was besieged and taken by the Romans; a circumstance which had no necessary connection with the 8. The persecution of the Apostles. -9. The apostasy of some Christians,
10. A preservation of the faithful,
11. The spreading of the gospel through the Roman world.
12. The revolt and conquest of Judea : For at the time when Christ spake this, the Roman governor resided in that city, and had troops there sufficient to keep it in obedience ; whence it was more probable, that Jerusalem would have continued in a quiet subjection to the Romans, whatever troubles might be raised in other parts of the Jewish dominions.
He foretold, that the Roman ensigns, called the abomination of desolation, ver. 15. should be seen standing in tbe boly place, or temple : an event not to be foreseen by human skill, because very unlikely to happen. The great care which the Jews took at other times not to defile that holy place, and the small strength which it had to defend them long from the Roman arms, as they had twice experienced in the memory of man, were both circumstances, which, in all human appearance, would have kept them from the rash experiment. And yet, against all probability, they fled to the temple, and there made a last and desperate resistance. Having thus defiled it with their own arms, they made it necessary for the Romans to follow them into the sanctuary ; so that they took it by storm, and of consequence caused their military ensigns to be seen standing there.
Christ foretold, Matt. xxiv. 2. that when the temple should be taken, ibere should not be left there one stone upon another sbal should not be thrown down. And yet the building was so magnificent, that it was esteemed for cost, for art and beauty, one of the wonders of the world; whence it was natural to expect, that the Romans, according to their usual custom amidst their conquests, would endeavour to preserve it safe and entire. And Josephus, B. J. vi. 2, 4. tells us, that Titus laboured with all his power to save it, but that his soldiers, as if moved dzipcovia ogress, by a divine impulse, would not hearken to his positive and repeated orders, but set fire to every part of it, till it was entirely consumed ; and then the ruins were removed, and the soil on which it stood was ploughed up, and not one stone left upon another. See Drusius and Calmet on Matt. xxiv. 2. and Lightfoot's Horæ Hebr. on the same text, where he quotes for proof of this the Taanish of
12. The Roman standards defiling the holy place.
13. The city encompassed with armies, walls, and trenches.
14. The retiring of the Christians to the mountains.
15. The Maimonides, c. 4. Josephus indeed, in B, J. vii, 1. speaking of the temple, says only that it was demolished, without expressly telling us that the foundations of it were digged up. And yet it seems probable, that some parts at least of those foundations were digged up, from what he says there in the following chapter concerning one Simon. He lived
n Jerusalem, in the upper part of it, near to the temple; and, when the city was taken, he endeavoured to escape by letting himself down with some of his companions into a cavern ; where, when they had digged but a little way for themselves, he crept out from underground in that very place where the temple had before stood. Therefore either he crept out in that hollow where the foundation had stood ; or, if it was in any other part of the temple, the foundations must have been removed there at least where he worked his way through the ground from the outside to the inside of the temple.
To these circumstances we may add the time : This generation shall not pass away, till all these ibings be fulfilled, ver. 34. and again, Mat. xvi. 28. There be some standing here, who shall nu lasle of death till ihey see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom; pointing out to his hearers, that this train of calamities was not to come upon the Jews immediately, nor yet so late but that some then living should see the accomplishment of his prophecies. The fixing of this circumstance had no connection with any thing which might serve for the foundation of human conjecture.
He also foretold, that the gospel of his kingdom should be preached in all the world for a winess unio all nations, ver. 14. before this end of the Jewish state should come ; than which no circumstance was less likely in all human appearance to happen, if we consider the time when this prophecy was delivered ; for we find that within two days afterwards, as himself foretold, Mat. xxvi. 2, and 31. all his disciples forsook him and fled upon his being apprehended. It could not be expected that they who had deserted his person when alive, would adhere to his cause after his death, and with so much steadiness and courage, as to preach a crucified Jesus in spite of ail opposition thro!