« הקודםהמשך »
HISTORY records few events more generally interesting than the destruction of Jerusalem, and the subversion of the Jewish state, by the arins of the Romans. Their intimate connexion with the dissolution of the levitical economy, and the establishment of christianity in the world; the striking verification which they afford of so many of the prophecies, both of the old and new testament, and the powerful arguments for the divine authority of the scriptures which are thence derived; the solemn warning and admonitions which they hold out to all nations, but especially to such as are favoured with the light and blessings of Revelation; together with the impressive and terrific grandeur of the events themselves--are circumstances which must always insure to the subject of the following pages more than ordinary degrees of interest and importance. Many eminent and learned men have employed their pens in the illustration of it; but the fruits of their labours are, for the most part, contained in large and expensive works, out of • the reach of numbers, to whom the discussion might prove equally interesting and improving.
for the use and gratification of such, the present treatise, in a more accessible and familiar form, is diffidently offered to the public. In order that it might be better adapted to the general reader, critical inquiries and tedious details are equally avoided; but it has been the care of the writer alot to omit any important fact or argument that, in his opinion, tended to elucidate the subject. Countenanced by the example of many respectable rlames, he has ventured to introduce the extraordinary prodigies, which, according to Fosephus, preceded the destruction of the Holy City. He has also added a few sentences in their defence, but he does not intend thereby to express his unqualified admission of their genuineness.
Upon the execution of the tract, generally, the public will determine. Usefulness is the writer's main object ; and if a perusal of it shall contribute, under the Divine Blessing, to confirm ihe wavering faith of only one christian, or to shake the vain confidence of a single unbeliever, his labour will be abundantly rewarded.
G, H, LONDON, January 1, 1805.
DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM.
The goodness of God stamps all his proceedings. It has pleased Him not only to communicate to mankind a revelation, which, to the pious mind, bears in its internal texture its own evidence and recom. mendation, but also to accompany it with such external proofs of a sacred origin, as seem calculated to strike, with irresistible conviction, even those who are least disposed to admit the truth of :he Holy Scriptures. In order to evidence their divine authenticity, God has done as much as man could possibly have required*.
* This assertion is sufficient for the writer's purpose. The fact, however, is, that the Almighty hath, in this l'espect, as well as in every other, done for man “exceeding abundantly above all that he can “ asé or think." The scheme of that evidence which demonstrates the divino authority of the Bible could only have been constructed by Him“ who knoweth all things, and who seeeth the end froir the beginning."
For supposing that it had been referred to mankind to have prescribed for their own satisfaction, and that of their posterity, the credentials which His messengers should bring with them, in order to au« thenticate the divinity of their mission, could the wisest and the most sceptical amongst men have proposed, for this end, any thing more conclusive than,
First, Demonstrations of power, surpassing every possible effect of human skill and report--and,
Second, Intelligence relative to the fu ture events and circumstances of nations and individuals, which no human sagacity would ever pretend to foresee or predict ?
If such had been the evidences demanded, what addition to them could possibly have been suggested ? Is it in the human mind to imagine any tests of divine autho rity better adapted, sooner or later, to ex
pose the artifices, and frustrate the designs, of an impostor? In vain will the
pro. foundest policy attempt to discover means more suitable to this purpose, and, with re. spect to the reception of the revelation itself, more perfectly fitted to banish all reasonable doubt on the one hand, and to invalidate the charge of credulity on the other. Now these, precisely, are the credentials with which it has pleased God to sanction the testimony of his inspired messengers, as recorded in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. They wrought miracles: they foretold future events. Thus all that man himself could demand has been given, and objectors are left entirely with out excuse.
Jesus Christ, the principal of those mes. sengers, like his illustrious types and pre. decessors Moses and Elijah, proclaimed and attested his divine mission at once by miraculous acts, and by prophetic declarations. His miracles were numerous, di.