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XX. Mark and St. Luke, were put to death under Nero, and Jerusalem was not taken till the succeeding reign of Vespasian.
sian. . It should be observed further, that although this prophecy is by far the fullest, and clearest, and most distinct, that our Lord delivered respecting the destruction of Jerusalem, he plainly, though briefly alludes to it in several other parts of the Gospels *. And these OCcasional predictions of that event are so frequent, and so perfectly agree with this larger prophecy; they are introduced so incidentally in the way of parables, or in answer to some question; they arise, in short, so naturally from the occasion, and are so inartificially interwoven into the very essence and substance of the narrative, that they have every imaginable appearance of having formed an ori"ginal part of it, and cannot possibly be considered by any good judge of composition as subsequent or fraudulent insertions. :1..
Indeed such a fabrication as this would have been the silliest and most useless fraud
that can be imagined. For it is very remark** Matth. xxii, 1–7; xxiii. 33-39. Luke xix. 41– 44; xii. 1-5; &c. &c. .'
able that the sacred writers make no use of this prophecy as a proof of our Saviour's divine powers, or of the truth of his religion. They appeal frequently to the ancient prophecies concerning him, to his miracles, and above all to his resurrection, as evidences that he was the Messiah, and the Son of God; but they never appeal to the accomplishment of this prophecy in support of those great truths, though certainly a very natural and important proof to be adduced in favour of them.
But that which ought; .with every reasonable man, to be decisive of the question, is this, that three of the evangelists out of four concur in giving us this prophecy as a part of theit history of our Lord, and as actually delivered by him at the period assigned to it, which we know was nearly forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem. Now we have no more reason to doubt their veracity in this point than in any other; and if, on the strength of their character, on the evident marks of integrity, simplicity, and truth, which appear in every page of their writings ; and above all, if, in consequence of their undergoing the bitterest sufferings as an evidence of their sincerity, we give implicit credit to what they tell us respecting the life, the death, the doctrines, the miracles, and the resurrection of Christ, there is the very same reason for admitting the genuineness of this prophecy, It stands on the same solid grounds of their, veracity and probity, as the rest of the Gospel does; and when men lay down their lives, as they did, in confirmation of what they assert, they have surely some right to be believed.
We may then safely consider this prophecy as an unquestionable proof of the divine foreknowledge of our Lord, and the divine authority of the Gospel; and on this ground only! (were it necessary) we might securely rest the whole fabric of our religion. Indeed this remarkable prediction has always been considered, by every impartial person, as one of the most powerful arguments in favour of Christianity; and in our own times more particularly, a man of distinguished talents and acknowledged eminence in his profession, and in the constant habit of weighing, sifting, and scrutinizing evidence with the minutest accu-l racy in courts of justice, has publicly declared, Dibawah
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that he considered this prophecy, if there were nothing else to support Christianity, as absolutely irresistible* · But our Lord's predictions respecting this devoted city do not end even here. He not only fortels the entire destruction of Jerusalem, but the continuance of its desolation and subjection to heathens, and the dispersion and captivity of the Jews for a long period of time. For if we turn to the parallel place in St. Luke, we shall find him expressing himself in these words, respecting the Jews and their
* See Mr. Erskine's eloquent speech at the trial of, Williams, for publishing Paine's Age of Reason, to which
I must beg leave to add the weighty and importanttestimony of that most able and upright judge, Lord Kenyon, who, in his charge to the jury on the same occasion made this noble CONFESSION OF FAITH :
“I am fully impressed with the great truths of religion, which, thank God, I was taught in my early years to bea lieve; and which the hour of reflection and enquiry, in stead of creating any doubt, has fully confirmed me in." How vain are all the idle cavils of the whole tribe of ina fidels put together, when contrasted with such a decla-, ration as this from such a man!
Since this note was written, the public has to lament the loss of this truly great man. But he is now at rest from his virtuous labours; and he will long be remem-, bered and revered, not only by his own profession, but by all descriptions of men, as the firm friend and intrepid protector of the laws, the constitution, the morals, and the religion of this country.
city: '“ They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled *.” That is, not only vast numbers of the Jews shall perish at the siege of Jerusalem, partly by their own seditions, and partly by the sword of the enemy, but multitudes shall also be made captives, and be dispersed into all countries; and Jerusalem shall remain in a state of desolation and oppression, trampled upon and trodden down by heathen conquerors and rulers, till all the Gentiles shall be converted to the faith of Christ, and the Jews themselves shall acknowledge him to be the Messiah, and shall be restored to their ancient city.
The former part of this prophecy has been already most exactly fulfilled, and is an earnest that all the rest will in due time be accomplished. The number of Jews slain during the siege were upwards of one million one hundred thousand, and near three hundred thousand more were destroyed in other places in the course of the war-f. Besides these, as Josephus informs us, no less than ninety-seven thousand were made captives and dispersed into different coun* Luke xxi, 24. + Bell. Jud. 1.2, 3, 4, 7, &c.
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