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"Churches." To this enumeration of 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. 2-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 testimony of 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 "those who endured to the end should be saved:"5-together with the admonition to the disciples of Christ, when they should "see Jerusalem encompassed by armies, to flee to the mountains:"6-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
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. 13.-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."1 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."5 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.
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. 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 66 were apprehended.”—Igitur primo correpti qui fatebantur, deinde INDICIO FORUM multitudo ingens.
Ann. xv. 14.
5 Matt. xxiv. 12.-Mark, xiii. 12, 13.-Luke, xxi. 16. This prediction is evidently fulfilled by 2 Tim. iv. 16-Heb. x. 25.
6 Heb. x. 23, 25, 89.-xii. 12.-vi. 4, 9.
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 " 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.”*
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 " never was a city that suffered such miseries, or a race of men, from the "beginning of the world, who so abounded in wickedness. I am of opinion, "that if the Romans had delayed to destroy these impious wretches, the "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 those, who suffered such "punishment." Jos. Bell, Jud, 5. . .
s Luke xxi, 25, 29.
have occurred to Mount Vesuvius, and the plain of Campania, about the predicted time:-" The sudden "earthquakes were so grievous, that the valley glowed “with a fervid heat, and the tops of the mountains "sunk within themselves; the noise of the thunders "under ground, corresponded with the awful eruptions "above. The sea roared, and the heavens resounded; "vast and terrible concussions were heard, as if the "mountains had met and clashed together; stones of enormous size were thrown up to a height above "that of the surrounding hills. An abundance of fire "and smoke issued out, which darkened the air and "obscured the sun, as if there had been an eclipse; so "that night was turned into day, and day into night. "Many felt persuaded that the Giants had now waged war among themselves, particularly as their appearances were seen in the smoke, and a sound of trumpets heard. Others imagined the world was about to be resolved into its former chaos, or consumed "with fire; some abandoned their houses, and ran into "the streets for protection: others, from the streets "and highways, sought shelter in houses: those on ship-board directed their course to the land, while many on land, ran for safety to the sea."1
1 Post hæc consequuta est maxima siccitas, ac repente ita graves terræ-motus facti, ut et omnis ea planities fervida esset, et culmina montium subsiderent. Adhæc sonitus tum subterranei tanquam tonitrua, tum super terram mugitibus similes extiterit. Deinde mare simul fremere (omne), cælum una sonare, ingensque et repentinus fragor, quasi montes simul considerent exaudiri. Tum exsilire primum immensi lapides, et ad summos vertices pervenire: deinde magna copia ignis fumique ita ut omnem aerem obscuraret, occultaretque; solem non aliter, quam si defecisset. Igitur ex die nox, et tenebre ex luce factæ erant, putantibus nonnullis Gigantes sedi
IX. The completion of the last of these prophecies will at present be shewn by little more than a quotation from Bishop Newton, and a further reference made to it, when we come to that part of the history of the siege, with which it appears more pertinently connected.
"There shall arise false Christs and false Prophets, " and shall shew (pretend, or promise to shew) great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible, they should deceive the
"Very soon after our Saviour's decease, appeared Simon Magus, AND BEWITCHED THE PEOPLE OF SAMA
RIA, GIVING OUT THAT HE WAS SOME GREAT ONE: TO WHOM THEY ALL GAVE HEED, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST, SAYING, THIS MAN IS THE GREAT 66 POWER OF GOD.2 He boasted himself likewise among the Jews, as the son of God3 Of the same el stamp and character was 'Dositheus the Samaritan, "who pretended that he was the Christ foretold by "Moses.1 In the reign of Claudius, about twelve years after the death of our Saviour, when Cuspius "Fadus
ditionem inter se facere, quod multæ imagines eorum infumo conspicerentur, quodque clangor tubarum audiretur. Alii existimabant aut mundum in chaos redigi, aut igni consumi; ob eamque causam properabant, alii ex ædibus in vias, alii de viis in ædes confugere, atque e mari continentem et ex continente in mare se recipere.
Dio Cass. Lib. 66, p. 755. Ed. Hanoviæ, A. D. 1606. Vide also Jos. Bell. Jud. 3. ix. 2—5; and Newcome's Conduct of ourLord, p. 228.
1 Matt. xxiv. 24,-Mark, xiii. 6.-Luke, xxi. 8.
So many false Christs appearing about this time, and in no instance before, is an evident proof that the Jews were, at that very time, in expectation of their Messiah.
4 "Origen contra Celsum. Lib. 1, p. 372, &c.”