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THE COMPLETION OF THE PROPHECIES RELATING TO EVENTS IMMEDIATELY SUCCEEDING THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CITY AND THE FALL OF THE NATION.... THE NAZARENES.... ADRIAN BUILDS ÆLIA CAPITOLINA UPON THE RUINS OF JERUSALEM, AND ERECTS TEMPLES FOR HEATHEN WORSHIP....THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH ESTABLISHED....HELENA'S VISIT TO THE HOLY LAND....DISCOVERS THE TRUE CROSS....CONSTANTINE BUILDS CHURCHES UPON SPOTS CONSECRATED BY THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST, AT THE INSTIGATION OF HIS MOTHER....JULIAN, THE APOSTATE, ENDEAVOURS TO REBUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE JEWS ....HIS FAILURE....REFLECTIONS ARISING FROM THE SUBJECT OF THE WORK.
WE have now seen in what a remarkable manner the memorable words of Christ and the Prophets have been fulfilled by the signal overthrow of the Jewish church and nation. We have seen the Romans unexpected spectators of the dissentions of the people, and the ambition of their leaders witnessing the sparks of faction, kindled to a blaze, and unchecked by the hostile aspect of a warrior army marching to their gates-we have seen them enduring distress and anguish, calamity, and torture, unequalled in the annals of history, and never
to be paralleled again. " out like water;" their Temple "consumed with fire,” their city depopulated, and their country laid desolate.1
"Their blood has been shed
Such has been the exemplary punishment inflicted on this disobedient people, who having rejected the Lord's Messiah and slain his servants, have themselves. been forsaken by their God, and destroyed by famine and the sword.2
"Soon after the tribulation of these days," saith our Saviour to his disciples, when taking a prophetic view of those sufferings which many of his zealous servants should endure; "soon after the tribulation of these days, the violence of persecution shall abate.3 When the nation of the Jews shall be brought to utter destruction,
1 FOR THEN SHALL BE GREAT TRIBULATION, SUCH AS WAS NOT FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD TO THIS TIME, NO: NOR EVER SHALL BE.
Matt. xxiv. 21.
2 BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF THEY WERE BROKEN OFF. Rom. xi. 20. Jesus said to Peter when he had drawn his sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the High Priest-" Put up again thy sword into its place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." (Matt. xxvi. 52.) The truth of this was severely felt by the Jews in this siege, most of whom, strangers to the use of arms, were either instigated or compelled to fight against the Romans. 3 IMMEDIATEly after thE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS SHALL THE SUN BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON SHALL NOT GIVE HER LIGHT, AND THE STARS SHALL FALL FROM HEAVEN, AND THE POWERS OF HEAVEN SHALL BE SHAKEN. Matt. xxiv. 29.
Maimonides calls this metaphorical expression" proverbial, importing (as it often does in the Old Testament and other writings) the destruction and utter ruin of a nation, and the downfall of their great powers." The destruction of Egypt is thus represented by Ezekiel,-I will cover the Heavens and make the stars thereof dark, I will cover the sun with a cloud and the moon shall not give her light, and the bright lights of Heaven will I make dark over thee. xxii. 7, §.
destruction, and a more than Egyptian darkness shal come upon them-when their kingdom shall have been left desolate, and their religious light obscured when the people shall have fallen, and the powers of their kingdom shaken-when these tokens of my appearance to execute this judgment shall have happened, and there shall have been great lamentation, and the tribes of the earth have mourned-when the fulfilment of all these things shall have been as apparent as if I came in the clouds of heaven to give the world the assurance that this judgment was authorised by me-when thus the Jewish power, and their opposition to the Gospel shall have been brought to an end; then will I commission my servants to proclaim and publish salvation to the world at large, and they shall raise an army of believers from the four quarters of the world, from one end of the earth to the other. When these things begin to come to pass, be confident and joyful: behold! your deliverance from persecution is rapidly approaching, and the kingdom of heaven is drawing near at hand!"
See the fall of Babylon foretold by Isaiah xiii. 10, also xxxiv. 4, 5% Joels' fall of Jerusalem ii. 30, 31. Also Haggai ii. 21, and Dan. viii. 10. -In hieroglyphic writing, the sun, moon, and stars were used to represent states and empires, kings, queens, and nobility, and their eclipse and extinction denoted temporary disasters, or entire overthrows. Atticus writing to Cicero on the wretchedness of the times, says, "The sun seems to me to have been taken from the world. Sol mihi e mundo excidisse videtur."
Virgil alluding to the eclipse which happened at the time of Cæsar's death, says,
Ille etiam exstincto miseratus Cæsare Romam
Geo. 1, 466.
1 AND THEN SHALL APPEAR THE SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN; AND THEN SHALL ALL THE TRIBES OF THE EARTH MOURN, AND THEY SHALL SEE THE
Little further remains to be said on this subject, if we except the recollection that it was from this time that Jerusalem was to be under the power of the Gentiles. "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
Sion and Acra now desolate, and the greater part of their late inhabitants buried in the ruins of the city, little hopes could exist in the minds, even of the most sanguine amongst the remnant, that Jerusalem should rise again; and the consideration that the remnant was now to be sent captive into all nations, must at once have banished the slightest expectation of this sort, far beyond the limits of probability. No: the land was
SON OF MAN COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN WITH POWER and grEAT
AND HE SHALL SEND HIS ANGELS WITH A GREAT SOUND OF THE TRUMPET, AND THEY SHALL GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT FROM THE FOUR WINDS; FROM ONE END OF HEAVEN TO THE OTHER. WHEN THESE THINGS BEGIN TO COME TO PASS, THEN LOOK UP AND LIFT UP YOUR HEADS; FOR YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH. Matt. xxiv. 31. Luke xxi. 21.
The violence of persecution began considerably to abate after the destruction of Jerusalem, although it was by no means done away. The Christians suffered much under the Romans after that time; and those living beyond the limits of the empire shared a harder fate. "Sapor the "IId, King of Persia, vented his rage against those of his dominions, in "three dreadful persecutions. The 1st of these happened in the 18th year "of the reign of that Prince; the 2d in the 30th, and the 3d in the 31st year of the same reign. This last was the most cruel and destructive of "the three; it carried off an incredible number of Christians, and continued during the space of forty years, having commenced in the year 330, and *ceased only in 370." Mosheim's Ecc. Hist. Lib. ii. ch. 1.
1 Luke xxi. 24.
2 Eusebius says, that immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem, Vespasian caused all the branches of the house of Judah to be cut off, to deprive them at once of all hopes of a deliverer, or future Messiah.
Ecc. Hist. iii. 12.
now desolate, and some years were seen to elapse before those Jewish converts, the Nazarenes, who had sought refuge in the siege at Pella, returned to build themselves huts in the place consecrated by the awful accomplishment of Christ's predictions. Here, however, at length they established their church, and preserved the doctrines taught them by the Apostles and their successors, in conjunction with the ceremonies of the Mosaic Law.
The dispersed Jews began again to multiply, and in the course of a century made many attempts to reinstate themselves in the city of their forefathers; in consequence of which continued ruptures broke out between them, and the Nazarenes, till their conduct becoming more violent as their numbers increased, they openly rebelled against the Roman power. On the other hand, the Romans feeling themselves called upon to check this spirit of revolt, once more exercised the powerful and vindictive influence of their arms against them, and finally quelled the sensation caused by these emotions. The Jews having collected themselves from all quarters, under their false Messiah, Barchochebah, came up to the heights of Jerusalem. "Hadrian deputed some of his best Generals to oppose them, appointing as chief, Julius Severus, whom he sent from his command in Britain for that purpose. Unwilling to hazard a general action with the allied forces of the Jews, from a consciousness of their strength and desperation, Severus engaged them separately, and thus with a superiority of numbers, in comparison
1 This man, says Eusebius (Ecc. Hist. iv. 6) was a robber and murderer, who from his name signifying a star, pretended that the prophecy of Balaam referred to him. (Numb. xxiv. 7.)