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doth gather her chickens under her wings and ye would not.” The day, the day of grace was drawing to a close. “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." The presence of the Lord shall dwell in Jerusalem no more.
How desolate is the empty house, the cold hearth once brightened by the warmth of family love! It may be a palace, it may be a cottage, it matters little if it is left desolate; ruin will creep upon it; it will soon be swept away or stand a mournful sign of joys and sorrows past and gone. Nothing is so sad to look upon as a forsaken home; but if it has been abandoned because of deeds of violence and sin, then it is doubly desolate, and each passer-by casts on it a look of pain, as he remembers what it once was, and why it has thus become.
How great is the desolation that has fallen on Jerusalem, once the dwelling-place of the Lord !
What city had from the beginning been so blessed as she had been ! What people so happy as Israel! When Jesus for the last time looked down upon it from the Temple-courts, she still lay glittering in the sun; but the hour was come. For her own crime she was about to be forsaken. Her domes and her porches might for a time remain, but not the less for that should she be desolate. Ruin must fall upon her, for the presence of the Lord,—that which had been her glory and her blessing,—was departing from her. No more should she be the city of the Lord ; in the days of that generation she should become an astonishment and a terror to the nations. Ruin should sit in silence where now there was joy and gladness.
Jesus rose to quit the Temple, and sad and solemn was this His last farewell; but surely there was a whisper of hope in the closing words, “ Ye shall not see me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Do they not point to a time that will come, when the children of Jerusalem, having at last discovered and confessed the cause of their desolation, shall welcome the glad tidings of the gospel of the
Christ they crucified, and then shall they see Him, then shall Jerusalem again be the glory of the nations. Alas, that time is not yet. Nearly two thousand years have rolled away since the Saviour spoke, and still Jerusalem lies desolate, but it will come.* It may be that the hour is at hand. Who shall say ? Meanwhile let us each one speak to ourselves His mournful words. They bewail each one of us who have refused His call. How often would He have gathered us and our families beneath the refuge of His tender care, and we would not! So long as we refuse the shelter He offers in His love, we must abide the storms of life : our hearts, whatever be our outward shew, must be desolate. And blessed be God that so it is, for only thus can the wayward learn to welcome the gospel of peace ; then shall they find rest, for they shall see that Christ is their Savi
Prayer. Father of Mercies, God of love, we adore thee that thou hast manifested thyself unto us in Christ our Lord, thine only Son. Oh let His loving-kindness melt and reclaim our souls. How often would He have gathered us together, and we would not. When for a moment we have listened to His voice, the noise and hurry of this world has seemed to drown it, we have turned from Him, and forgotten that He has called us. Yet do not thou forget us, O Holy Jesus, leave us not desolate. Where thou art not, there is no real joy; where thy Spirit dwells not, there can be no real goodness. Without Thee, the heart is as a desolate home, cold and empty of all that can warm and brighten it. Without thee the fairest seeming, yes, even the life of the most admired of men, is but as a whited sepulchre, “full of dead men's bones within." God of mercy, how full ! Could we be seen of men as we are seen of Thee, would they not abhor us as they would abhor an open grave? Yet as Thy Spirit could bid “the dry bones live”* as thy voice will call the buried dead to rise again in life and beauty, so thou canst now impart to our souls a heavenly life.
* Deuteronomy xxxiii. 28, 29.
Dwell thou with us, blessed Lord; then shall “our bodies be the Temple of the Holy Ghost," and we shall be able to glorify God in our body and in our spirit which are God's.t Amen.
MARK xiii. l. “And as Jesus went out of the temple, (MATTHEW xxiv. 1.) his disciples came unto him for to show him the buildings of the temple, and one of them saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones, and what buildings are here! (LUKE XXI. 5.) And some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts.”
MATTHEW xxiv. 2. “And Jesus answering saith unto them, See ye not all these things—(MARK xiii. 2.) these great buildings ? verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
The Temple was so beautiful that none could look upon it without the greatest admiration, and perhaps the mournful words of Christ, which seemed to foretel its ruin, drew the attention of the disciples at this time to its strength and beauty. They stopped bim for a moment while they pointed out to him the wonderful size of the stones with which it was built and the richness of its ornaments; but the mournful shadow of the future was already upon it, and Jesus saw it, as in forty years it was to be, a heap of burning ruins. He foresaw the Roman * Ezekiel xxxyii.
of 1 Corinthians vi. 19, 20.
General, at the peril of his life, vainly striving to save it from the mad fury of his soldiers. Jew and Gentile He foreknew would rage in frantic fight within these solemn courts, and he replied, “ Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Then turning from the Temple, which he never entered more, he climbed the Mount of Olives, and sat him down upon its heights overlooking Jerusalem, and “the holy and beautiful house of the Lord.” It is written
MARK xiii. 3, 4. “And as he sot upon the Mount of Olives over against the Temple, the disciples (St. Mark especially names Peter and James and John and Andrew,) came unto him, and asked him privately, saying, “Tell us when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world ?”
Then Jesus spake those wonderful prophecies, which in part have been fulfilled to the very letter, and which are now fulfiling, and will soon be all fulfilled.
We dare not attempt to explain his meaning line by line, for while he plainly answered the three questions of his disciples, “When shall these things be?” that is, the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem, and what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world, he so framed his answer that “of that day and hour, (the day and hour of his coming) knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven but the Father
only. " *
It is not given to us to “ know the times and the seasons, but a solemn warning as clear and plain as that which saved the disciples of Christ from the ruin that fell upon their unbelieving countrymen, is given to us; and we shall do well to give earnest heed to it, lest the awful day when time shall be no more,t come upon us unawares. * Matthew xxiv. 36.
+ Revelation x. 6.
The few words, " Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives over against the Temple ; ” when his disciples came to him “ with the anxious enquiry when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world ?” bring before our minds a scene, sad, solemn, and yet most beautiful. It was evening, and Jesus for the last time in quiet gazed upon Jerusalem lighted up by the setting sun. Twice again that sun would set, before its light should be quenched in the horror of great darkness that fell like a shroud upon the guilty city, and hid the murder of “the Holy One and the Just," who now sad of heart, foretold the coming ruin. The sun, the emblem of Himself, sinking behind the hills that stood round about Jerusalem, shed with his parting rays a flood of glory on Mount Moriah where the Temple stood high above the city, and the gloom of night was settling down in the deep glens which hemmed it in on every side. How true the picture of the departing presence of the Messiah, and the coming darkness of desolation !
While we read the prophecies now spoken by our Lord, we must bear in mind that they point both to the destruction of Jerusalem, and to the day of judgment: both to the peculiar trials, and supports under them, given to the early Christians in the first persecutions, and to the trials and supports given to all Christians even to the end of the world: both to the setting up of Christ's kingdom on earth, in the spreading of the Gospel among the nations, and to the final establishment of that kingdom when He shall come in triumph with his holy angels, and the dead shall rise to meet him. We must bear these things in mind while we study the words of these wonderful prophecies, that they may be to us, as they were to the first disciples, a saving guide through the trials and troubles of life, and in death a cheering light that changes the darkness of the tomb into the brightness of His coming. There are a few verses that point only to the siege of Jerusalem when she should