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“ similar word, as people, &c. Among others, Matt. xi. 16. 66 xvii, 17. Acts ii. 40."
This Writer having adduced these instances, says, “ Now " it being admitted that the word Generation here, in our " Lord's discourse, (Matt. xxiv.), may mean the Jewish “ Nation-or people-almost every difficulty vanishes. This, 6 Sir, I think, deserves your very attentive consideration." • It will, perhaps, very much contribute to throw light upon our Lord's meaning in the use of the word Generation in the xxivth of Matthew and the parallel chapters—first to attend to the nature of the prediction which gave rise to this discourse ;--Secondly, to some particulars, in our Lord's answer to the questions of the Disciples ;-And thirdly, to the use of the tern Generation, in other parts of the Sacred Writings, and particularly in the New Testament; together with the design which Jesus appears to have had in view, in the fre. quent use of this term...
ist. With respect to the nature of the prediétion which gave rise to this discourse—whatever ambiguity there may appear to be in the questions of the Disciples, in consequence of that prediction—there certainly can be none in the prediction itself. No one can possibly doubt that it related to the destruction of Jerusalem, and to the destruction of Jeru. salem only. This event, it is well known, took place in the age in which this prediction was delivered or in that Generation, in the common acceptation of the word, and consequently there arises, from hence, a strong presumption, that our Lord made use of the word Generation in that sense,
If again, 2dly, The question of the Disciples—When shall these things be? be considered in connection with our Lord's answer to it the presumption that this was his meaning, will be rendered still stronger-for the rising of Nation against Nation—the preaching of the Gospelmor good news of the Kingdom, i. e. of the Kingdom of the Messiah, and the seeing of the abomination of desolation are mentioned as particular signs of the near approach of the destruction of Jerusalem, and upon the last of these signs being mentioned--the direction to the Disciples is given in the following unambiguous terms; Then let those who are in JUDEA flee to the mountains. And having in the 29th and following verses, described the awful and desolating effects of these calami. ties, he, in the 33d verse, says, --When ye shall see all these
things, viz. all the things which he had before been describing—know that it—or as it is in St. Luke, that the kingdom of God-or of the Messiah, is near, even at the doors. This, it must be particularly observed, is an explicit answer to the question of the Disciples-What shall be the sign of thy coming, i. e. of the coming of the Messiah-or of the coming of the kingdom of God ? Then follows the solemn asseveration in question, which clearly appears to be a direct and explicit answer to their other question-When shall these things be-Ve. rily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled. Here it seems to be evident, that these things, in the question of the Disciples, have a direct and exclusive reference to their Master's prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem—the seeing all these things, in the 33d verse, appears to have as direct a reference to the question of the Disciples—When shall these things be ? and consequently, all these things, having a distinct and unambiguous reference to the things which had before been described the term Generation must necessarily have been used to signify—the people of that age.
But there is still farther evidence that our Lord used the term Generation in the common acceptation ; for when he says, ver. 37. As the days of Noah were, &c.—is there not the strongest reason for thinking that he referred to this important piece of History, to point out to them, that the destruction of Jerusalem would be equally sudden and unexpected with the destruction of Sodom. * The ablest Commentators appear
to * The learned person last referred to, as well as Mr. Mede, intimates " that the coming of Christ, and of the kingdom of God, sometimes signily 66 Christ's appearing in the way of providential judgments on the Jews, « and the establishment of the Christian dispensation, cannot be doubted, “ and in this sense, Jesus Christ did.come more 1700 years ago.--but this « his coming is not," he says, “ what is more eminently meant by this, " phrase in general; and that order of things, or age, or dispensation, which 66 we still look for, is, in Scripture, more especially, called the kingdom of “ God---of Christ---and of the Saints. And this is that coming of the Son of “ Man which Daniel saw and prophesied of, and not his coming 1700 years "s ago. The coming of the Son of Man, which Daniel prophesies of, is to « destroy the beast---the little horn, &c. and which is to be in the latter “ days, when the kingdom of the Saints is to commence. Of the same “ coming our Lord appears here to speak, in his prophetic discourse, when 6 he borrows the language of Prophecy to represent that event.
In the preceding pages, this opinion has been controverted, (see p. 114, &c.) and it is unnecessary to make any additions to what was there advanced, ex