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own flame and smoke; their heads being held up by "a stake fixed to their chins, till they make a long "stream of blood and melted sulphur on the ground." These events took place within the first thirty years after the death of Christ, and clearly verify the prediction foretelling the persecution of the Christians in particular.

V. That the Apostles accomplished the same prophecy as it related to themselves, may also be collected from the writings of St. Luke, which inform us that shortly after the ascension of Christ, Peter and John were called before the Jewish council, and were imprisoned and beaten ;—that Stephen, an eminent disciple, suffered death by stoning.3-James, the brother of John, was beheaded by Herod-Agrippa, who shut up Peter

(1) Pone Tigellinum, tædâ lucebis in illâ

Quâ stantes ardent, qui fixo gutture fumant,
Et latus mediam sulcus diducit arenam.

Sat. i. 153.

The conflagration kindled by Nero, with a view to burn the city, was discovered to have broken out in the house of Tigellinus, who from his vices and debauchery had made himself the favourite of that Emperour. Enraged at this discovery, Nero, with the hope of averting the odium from his favourite, basely taxed the Christians with setting fire to his house.-With this interpretation, Gifford thus renders the passage:

Now glance at Tigellinus, and you glare

In that pitched shirt, in which such crowds expire,
Chained to the bloody stake, and wrapp'd in fire;
While he, whose crimes your daring lines arraign,
More vicious, proves-you plough the sand in vain!

Vide Gifford's Translation of Juvenal, and his Note upon this passage. (2) And when they had called the Apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus.-Acts, v. 40.

(3) And they cast him out of the city and stoned him.-Acts, vii. 58.

(4) And about that time Herod the King stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the Church, and he killed James the brother of John with the sword.-Acts, xii. 1, 2.

Peter in prison with an intention of putting him to death, had he not been miraculously delivered.'



Paul, formerly himself a persecutor, but afterwards a convert, was in his turn frequently persecuted. He was kept in prison two years in Judea, as long at Rome, and was with Silas imprisoned and beaten in the synagogue of Philippi.—He pleaded before Festus and Felix at Jerusalem, and also before the younger Agrippa; and last of all before Nero, at Rome, as it is commonly supposed. The catalogue of his sufferings he thus records:" In labours abundant, in stripes "above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths "oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes. save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I "stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day "I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils "in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watching often, in hunger "and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedBesides those things that are without, that "which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the "Churches."

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(1) And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quarternions of soldiers, to keep him, intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people; Peter, therefore, was kept in prison.-Acts, xii. 3, 4, 5.

(2) And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely.-Acts, xvi. 23.

(3) Acts, xxii. 30, and xxiii. 1—35.

"Churches." To this enumeration of the worldly persecutions of this great apostle, might be added those also of St. Peter; who, according to the testimony of Eusebius, at last underwent the same death with his master, but with this variation; that the head of the apostle was placed downwards while suspended on the cross. Thus, this great prediction is shewn to have been fully accomplished in every particular; not only from the evidence of sacred authority, but as being established upon the indisputable and credited testiof profane writers.3


VI. The next prophecies relating to the preservation of the elect, that "not one hair of their heads should perish;"-and that " they who endured to the end should be saved :-together with the admonition to the disciples of Christ, when they should "see Jerusalem encompassed by armies, to flee to the mountains:"were also accomplished, as we learn from Josephus; who says, that" after the first attack upon the city by Cestius, many of the most considerable of the Jewish people

(1) 2 Cor. xi. 23-28. (2) Ecc. Hist. iii. 1.

(3) AND IF THEY DO THESE THINGS IN A GREEN TREE, WHAT SHALL BE DONE IN THE DRY ?—Luke, xxiii. 31. If the innocent suffer thus, what shall become of the guilty?

(4) Matt. xxiv. 12.-Mark, xiii. 13.-Luke, xxi. 17, 18, 19.-The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations. 2 Pet, ii. 9.

(5) Matt. x. 22,-xxiv. 13.-Mark, xiii. 19.-Equivalent to the expression, "In your patience possess ye your lives," (Luke xxi. 19.) observes Newcome; He that patiently abides in the faith, notwithstanding persecutions and impostures, and draweth not back at any time, shall escape with life, and even without the least hurt from the enemy: provided he observes my admonition, and flies when he seeth Jerusalem encompassed with armies, Obs. on the Conduct of our Lord, p. 269, (6) Luke xxi. 20.

people forsook it as men do a sinking ship." Eusebius mentions that "before the war began, the Christians left Jerusalem and went to a place beyond Jordan, called Pella:"-so that it has always been regarded as certain, that none of the adherents to the religion of Christ were exposed to the wretchedness and distress which the Jews suffered during the siege of their city, from the circumstance of their having left it, in obedience to the injunction of Christ, some time previous to the commencement of the invasion.

VII. "Then," said our Saviour, when referring to these events preceding the destruction of the city, "then "shall many be offended, and shall betray one another;* -and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." That these circumstances occurred, most of the apostles, but particularly St. Paul, have shewn in their epistles, by their repeated injunctions to adhere steadily to the faith.-"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;-was a hint to those Christians who apostatised to Judaism to avoid suffering.

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(3) Some seed fell in stony places: the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it: yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, bye and bye he is offended.-Matt. xiii. 20, 21.

(4) Matt. xxiv. 10. That they betrayed one another, Tacitus affirms, when he says, "first of all those only were seized who confessed them"selves Christians, and then, from their information, a vast multitude "were apprehended."-Igitur primo correpti qui fatebantur, deinde indicio corum multitudo ingens.

(5) Matt. xxiv. 12.-Mark, xiii. 12, 13.-Luke, xxi. 16. is evident y fulfilled by 2 Tim. iv. 16.—Heb. x. 25.

(6) Heb. vi. 4,9—x. 25, 25, 39.—xii. 12.


Ann. xv. 14.

This prediction

suffering." This thou knowest, that all they which "are of Asia have turned away from me:"-indeed, the epistle to the Hebrews, and that of St. James, were written with the principal design of preventing the apostacy of the Christians at that time: and as an evident proof of the iniquity then abounding, it is only necessary to quote the words of Josephus: "That "time amongst the Jews abounded with all manner of

iniquity, so that they left no evil work unpractised: "had any one exerted his imagination to ever so great "a degree, he could not have invented any new "crime." The iniquity, however, to which our Saviour principally alludes, is that of the wicked persecution of his disciples.

VIII. Our Saviour immediately after speaking of the desolation of Jerusalem, connects these fearful signs with it :-" And there shall be signs in the sun, and in "the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth "distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the

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waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and "for looking after those things which are coming on the "earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”3

This extraordinary prediction is, by some, thought to have been answered by what Dion Cassius relates to have


(1) 2 Tim. i. 15.-1 Pet. iv. 12, 13, 19.

(2) Bell. Jud. 7. xxviii. 1. Also 5, ix. 1, 4, 5.—5. xiii. 6, &c.—“ There 86 never was a city that suffered such miseries, or a race of men, from the

beginning of the world, which so abounded in wickedness. I am of opinion,

"that if the Romans had delayed to destroy these impious wretches, the

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city would have been swallowed up by an earthquake, overwhelmed by "the waters, or consumed by fire from heaven, like another Sodom: for "it produced a race of men much worse than that which suffered such "punishment." Jos. Bell. Jud. 5. x. 3.

(3) Luke, xxi. 25, 29.

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