Images de page

had received at their hands, the overthrow of their armies, their capital, and their polity: it informs us, that they still insulted the memory of their crucified Messiah, and still remained hardened in infidelity.

Dr. Campbell, speaking of that verse in Luke where it is said, then shall there be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress, with perplexity of the nations, says, 'the prediction, which the verse under examination introduces, is accurately distinguished by the historian, as not commencing till after the completion of the former. It was not, till after the calamities which were to befal the Jews should be ended; after their capital and temple, their last resource, should be invested and taken, and the wretched inhabitants destroyed or carried captive into all nations; after Jerusalem should be trodden by the Gentiles; nay, and after the triumph of the Gentiles should be brought to a period; that the prophecy contained in this and the two subsequent verses should begin to take effect. The judicious reader, to be convinced of this, needs only give the passage an attentive perusal1.> To this quotation another from Mede may be added. To interpret the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven, and his kingdom then, of his coming to the destruction of Jerusalem, is contrary to the context of our Saviour's prophecy for the coming of Christ to destroy Jerusalem was the beginning and cause of that great and long tribulation of that people; but the coming and appearing of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven is expressly said should be after it, immediately after the days of that tribulation, &c. Matt. xxiv. 29. Mark xiii. 24.' To the same purpose Luke says, after, or when the Times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, THEN shall be the signs in the sun and moon, and THEN they shall see the Son of man coming in a

18 So extremely brief are Dr. Campbell's observations on our Lord's prophecy, that the passage above, to every word of which I subscribe, VOL. II. Bb

cloud" This point Mr. Mede had closely considered, and the foregoing statement, he was convinced, was clear and incontrovertible. But some one, unacquainted with the character of this great commentator, may suppose, that, however profoundly learned, he might, notwithstanding, be accustomed to frame his interpretations of scripture, hastily and on light grounds. To the consideration of such a one I recommend the following testimony of a learned prelate. Cool, deliberate, and severe, in forming his judg ments, he was so far from being obsequious to the fancies of other men, that he was determined only by the last de gree of evidence, to acquiesce in any conclusions of his own20.

To the scholar, who is disposed to pay yet farther attention to the prophetic discoveries of Jesus, and is desirous to study every verse in the parallel account of Matthew, as well as that prophecy which is recorded in the xviith ch. of Luke, I recommend, as highly worthy of his perusal, three chapters of the learned Brenius's treatise, De Regno Ecclesiæ Glorioso22.

constitutes a large part of them; and though that passage is accompanied with no doubts, the learned translator, nevertheless, in direct opposition to it, renders the 32d verse, verily I say unto you that this generation shall not pass, until ALL be accomplished.

19 P. 920.

20 Such is the language of Hurd (vol. II. p. 124). I may add, that his friend Warburton, speaking of the reign of James the first, entitles Mede, the greatest divine and scholar of that age.' His Works, 4to. vol. V. p. 451.

21 From v. 20-v. 37.

22 Opera, Amstelædami. 1666. Pars I. cap. 5, 7, and 8.




TO the restoration of the Jews allusion has several times been incidently made. But such is the perspicuity, the number, and the importance, of the passages which foretell this event, that the subject deserves to be illustrated in a separate chapter. The predictions relative to this people, which have already been accomplished, are, observes bishop Newton, a sufficient pledge and earnest of what is yet to come'.'

[ocr errors]

Various are the passages of Holy Writ, which point out the last and greatest of their dispersions. With respect to its extent, what similitude could have been more expressive than that of the prophet Amos?? I will sift the house of Israel among ALL NATIONS, like as corn is sifted in a sieve. With respect to the manner in which they have been treated, what denunciation could have been more correctly fulfilled, than that of Jeremiah3? I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.

The predictions of Moses, the founder of the Jewish polity, recorded in the xxviiith chap. of Deuteronomy, must also be admitted to be wonderfully perspicuous and circumstantial. Nor did they by any means receive their complete accomplishment in the events of the Babylonish captivity. If, said this divine law-giver, addressing himself to the Jews, you forsake the living God, then shall he bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the

[blocks in formation]

earth, as swift as the eagle Bieth: a nation, whose tongue thou shalt not understand: a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favor to the young. And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustest, throughout all thy land.

The nation, spoken of by the prophet, was to come from far, from the end of the earth. This shews,' says bishop Patrick, that he speaks of the Romans, rather than of the Chaldeans, who did not come from far, much less from the end of the earth: whereas the Romans by whom they were last destroyed, came literally from far, and from the end of the earth; particularly Julius Severus was called by the emperor Hadrian to their destruction out of this island of Britain; wherein Vespasian also had given great proof of his conduct. And Hadrian himself, and Trajan, by whom they were still more crushed, after Vespasian had destroyed their city and temple, were both Spaniards by birth. And, therefore, Manasseh Ben Israel says peremptorily, in his book de Termino Vita (lib. III. sect. 3), this is to be understood of the soldiers in Vespasian's army, which he brought out of England, France, and Spain, and other remote parts of the world.' The Romans too,' says bp. Newton, for the rapidity of their conquests might very well be compared to eagles, and perhaps not without an allusion to the standard of the Roman armies, which was an eagle. Not only the eagles, and the distance from Rome, says Dr. Apthorp, discriminate the Romans from the Chaldeans, but also the language, for that of the latter was only a dialect of the Hebrews."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

This distant people, says the Jewish legislator, shall be of fierce countenance, not regarding the person of the old, nor shewing favor to the young. To the conduct of the Romans these particulars, says bishop Patrick, are strictly applicable; for they were a people stern, fierce, undaunt

[blocks in formation]

ed,' who 'inflexibly pursued their designs.' that follows is from bp. Newton.

The passage When Vespasian en

tered Gadara, Josephus saith, that "he slew all, man by man, the Romans showing mercy to no age, out of hatred to the nation, and remembrance of their former injuries." The like slaughter was made at Gamala. "For no body escaped besides two women, and they escaped by concealing themselves from the rage of the Romans. For they did not so much as spare young children, but every one, at that time, snatching up many, cast them down from the citadel." Their enemies were also to besiege and take their cities. The Romans, as we may read in Josephus's history of the Jewish war, demolished several fortified places, before they besieged and destroyed Jerusalem. And the Jews may very well be said to have trusted in their high and fenced walls, for they seldom ventured a battle in the open field.' We read also, that, in the reign of Hadrian, '50 of their strongest castles, and 985 of their best towns, were sacked and demolished'.'

Moses adds in the verses which follow, the man's eye shall be evil towards his brother, and towards the wife of his bosom; because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straightness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. And in like manner the woman's eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter. This also was fulfilled, and in the most literal manner. I know not whether the extremities of famine, to which the Jews were reduced in the memorable siege of their metropolis by Titus, are to be fully paralleled in the records of history. Women,' says Josephus, snatched the food out of the very mouths of their husbands, and sons of their fathers, and (what is most lamentable) mothers of their infants.' And in every

[ocr errors]

house, if any semblance of food appeared, a battle ensued, and those who were the dearest friends, snatching away the

6 Bel. Jud. 1. III. c. 7. 1. IV. c. i.

7 Newton, vol. I. p. 178; vol. II. p. 296.

« PrécédentContinuer »