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of Christ; his investigation was not designed to answer the purpose of a History of the signal downfal of the City and Nation of the Jews.
Bishop Newton1 and Mr. Kett2 both introduce us to the subject by means of the Prophecies themselves, and consequently relate no other particulars than are requisite concisely to exhibit their completion. Others might be mentioned, who, though they have only partially treated, have added much to the general elucidation of the subject: so that little more seems necessary to form a detailed History of the overthrow of Jerusalem, as connected with the Scripture Prophecies; than a compilation from the works of these various authors in conjunction with that of Josephus; and consequently the degree of merit must be trifling that can accrue to an attempt of this nature.
But however small the merit, the utility of such an undertaking is evidently great; not only as it furnishes a most signal assurance that the vengeance of heaven is the inevitable consequence of national guilt; but as it confirms the accomplishment of the most ancient prophecies; corroborates the authenticity of the gospel; and stamps the divine character of Him by whom that gospel was delivered. With a desire to attain these important ends, the works of the authors alluded to have been impartially, though not indiscriminately, employed
1 Dissertations on the Prophecies.
2 History, the Interpreter of Prophecy.
3 Whitby on Matt. xxiv.-Tillotson's Sermons, &c.
4 This prophecy stands eminently distinguished by its singular importance and the great variety of matter which it embraces, affording so decisive, so irresistible a proof of the divine authority of our religion. Bp. Porteus.
employed in drawing up the following pages: and such an account is presented to the reader as may, at one view, make him acquainted with the Jewish and Roman histories, so far as they are connected with the subject of the work; with the City and Temple of Jerusalem as they were standing at the time of Christ's appearance, and for some time afterwards; with the various stages and proceedings of this destructive siege; and with every corresponding particular recorded in Holy Writ; in the order of their occurrence.
Nothing appears better calculated to reward the attention of the serious observer of religion, than the contemplation of this part of the Jewish History, and its connection with the writings of the Evangelists; for, as Eusebius has remarked-" If any man will compare "the words of our Saviour with the whole History of "the Jewish war, as related by Josephus; he cannot "forbear to admire and acknowledge our Lord's pres"cience and prediction to be wonderful above nature, " and truly divine:"1 nor does it seem less probable that he could fail to be forcibly struck with the completion of those predictions also of the ancient prophets, which though not so singularly precise, or so remarkable, as those of our Saviour; from their antiquity and evident application, in no less a degree establish the revered characters
1 Quod si quis Servatoris nostri verba cum iis comparet, quæ ad eodem Scriptore de universo bello commemorata sunt, fieri non potest quin admiretur præscientiam ac predictionem Servatoris nostri, eamque verè divinam et supra modum stupendam esse fateatur.
Euseb. Eccl. Hist. iii. 7.
2 The prophecies of the Old Testament referring to the former destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, were most of them fulfilled a second time by Titus; indeed, they apppear to bear a particular reference to this latter siege.
characters of those by whom they were spoken; and the infinite power and wisdom of Him, by whose spirit they were made to shew and promulgate the mysteries of futurity.
If we want reasons for believing in a divine revelation, what stronger proofs can be brought in confirmation of its truth, than the plain discovery of the fulfilment of those things which that revelation has predicted: predicted too, to substantiate its validity, and to confirm the assurances that the conditions it imposes are those best calculated to benefit mankind? If then, by shewing the predictions of a prophet to have been verified after his death, the character of that prophet is confirmed; and as none can see into futurity but God alone; that, therefore, the prophet has been directed by the divine spirit: and consequently that nothing he has spoken professedly in his prophetic character can be otherwise than true; it follows that a revelation of the will of God to man is established whenever such declarations are proved to have been fulfilled; and the importance of the objects to which the obedience of mankind has thus been directed, is rendered at the same time equally conspicuous. Now, though the certainty of a divine revelation may have been abundantly manifested by the completion of a variety of other scripture prophecies, as well as by those now under consideration; yet, by bringing the History of the Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem into a form calculated to excite an interest in the mind even of an indifferent reader; and to set the events, as they occur, on a parallel with the prophecies which relate to them; it surely appears highly probable that a more ready assent to the truth of the scriptures will be given,
a seriousness and application to their subject may be induced, and a stronger, if not a confirmed belief of revelation, finally extorted.
If objects so great and desirable as these, can be obtained by such investigations, their utility is manifestly obvious: and he, who by a work of this description can so far interest his reader as to induce him to make further researches, which ultimately may confirm him in the belief and exercise of his religion, will derive a satisfaction which will amply re-pay the labour it may have cost him in its execution.
With a view to elucidate the authenticity of the gospel narratives, and to establish the divine character of Him whose actions and doctrines they record; the Author of the following pages has endeavoured to prove, first, that the Evangelists themselves both lived and wrote at the periods assigned them by christian tradition: and secondly, that in the volume of Josephus, we have the ungarbled testimony of that eminent person. These particulars are briefly comprised in the Introduction: the occasion of the Jewish war and its continuance till the time of Titus, constitutes the first chapter of the work. The history and topography of the city and temple, the second; and the prophecies, the fulfilment of which was appointed to precede the destruction, together with their accomplishment; form the subject of the third. The remaining chapters contain a detail of the various particulars of the siege with the predictions of the Prophets and of Christ introduced as notes, together with whatever observations the subject occasionally suggested; besides other circumstances in the history itself.
The conclusion concisely enumerates the authorities