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ting the true method of typical exposition, which consists in employing the primary sense to explain or to confirm that which is secondary and remote, greatly embarrass both themselves and their readers, in order to distinguish the different senses and subjects into the different portions of the text, and to determine the verses which are to be understood of the city of the Jews, as contrasted with those which are to be referred to the end of the world. But we should recollect that the prophecy was delivered to Jews, who had been accustomed to the allegorical manner and the figurative language of the Law and the Prophets, and who had been taught by them to believe that their religion would be generally received and adopted by the Gentiles, and be triumphantly and indefectibly established upon earth; which was doubtless to be the case, and has been the case for many centuries; but not exactly as they then understood it and expected it. And from their question, " When shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?" it appears clearly that they considered the ruin of the temple and city of Jerusalem, and the end of the world, to be equivalent and synchronous events. The Prince of prophets does not undeceive them immediately and at once in this case, any more than in many others, until after his ascension, and the sending to them of the Holy Ghost: before which
time they had, as appears from the Acts, believed and expected that the Gentiles, who were to be converted as the prophets had foretold, must be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses in all its strictness and severity. He, therefore, adopts the established typical system and the emblematic art and practice of his own prophets and precursors, in order to answer their question, which was indeed derived from the double object and sense of prophecy, and to which, therefore, that sense was best adapted to reply, under the existing circumstances of the disciples who had proposed it. Hence, he answers their question, not exactly as they had understood it, but as it was in itself, and as it required to be answered, not merely for the instruction of themselves, but also of all future ages to the end of the world. And being the minister of the circumcision whilst upon earth, he envelopes in the consecrated figures and the symbolical designations of the prophets, the fates and fortunes of the shadow and of the substance, of the type and the antitype, of the religion and church of the Jews, and of his own religion and church, which he now in person sets out, as he had done before, by his messengers the prophets, in the prophetic mystery and typical integument of the temple and city of Jerusalem, and thereby adopts the double sense, in order to declare, at one and the same time, the corresponding final destinies of the literal city, or of the Jerusalem
that then was; and which was, in fact, the Jewish church, and of the spiritual and true city, that is, of the heavenly Jerusalem, or the Christian church, which is to be ultimately established in all parts of the earth, and to be co-extensive with it; and, therefore, its destruction will be that of the earth itself. And his coming to destroy the earthly city is in the same way constituted the type and token of his coming to destroy the mys tical city, the catholic church. And the signs of the one in like manner resemble those of the other. If the double sense of prophecy had not been observed and continued throughout, and the various events and circumstances of the one coming, had not been made the types and pledges of the other and the last coming, he could not have said with any shadow of truth and justice, that," this generation shall not pass till ALL these things be fulfilled;" which public and sweeping declaration, admitting neither evasion nor exception, is carefully repeated in the three Evangelists who relate the prophecy, and was NOT fulfilled except in the shadowy and the imperfect sense, by the destruction of the Jewish capital. His first coming, consequently, had the same or similar effects upon the literal and earthly city which his second coming will have upon the mystical and heavenly city, "the Jerusalem which is above, and is free, and the mother of us all." The one, or the Jewish church, was succeeded and
superseded by the other, or the catholic church and that church will itself be succeeded and superseded by the church actually and locally in heaven, or the eternal church. The Jewish church had been of divine original, and could boast of its sacred constitution, its inspired laws and founder, equally with that of Christ, and differed from it in these respects, not in kind, but in degree yet it became at last grievously corrupt, degenerate, and even abominable. It was "the barren fig-tree," and "no more fruit was to grow on it henceforth for ever," and it is distinctly intimated that the Christian church will also become in like manner, and in many respects, a barren fig-tree, and will cast its unripe figs to the ground. The Jewish church had become a carcase, and the Roman eagles were to be gathered together in order to pounce upon their prey, and to devour it. The Christian church will, in the same way, and in a great degree, become a carcase; and, as it approximates to the world in size, and in extent, will also, in many respects, though not universally, but with considerable and honourable exceptions, approximate to it also in temper and spirit. For, "when the Son of Man cometh shall he find faith upon the earth?" And, therefore, when the Gospel shall be preached in all nations, it will be for a testimony against them, and " then cometh the end, and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn because of Him,
who cometh in the clouds of heaven" with his eagles to destroy the carcase of his church; that is, with his heavenly church of saints and angels, of whom, as will be shewn in a future section, the eagle is the sacred emblem, and the appropriate and prophetic symbol," And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses clothed in fine linen, white and clean, and out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; his eyes are as a flame of fire, and on his head are many crowns, and his name is, the Word of God, and he is King of kings and Lord of lords *." The sun and the moon being darkened, and the stars falling from heaven, typically denoted the ruin of the Jewish church and state. But St. Peter teaches us to apply that passage and prediction both of our Lord and of Joel, to the dissolution of the elements, and the ruin of the present visible and material world, at the last day, and consequently of the church of Christ, which is indeed the light and the sun of the world, and which will then be established
* See the whole passage in Rev. xix. This is also St. Chrysostom's exposition of the eagles, πληθος αγγελων των μαρτυρων των ἁγιων ἁπάντων δηλων. Chrysostom in Matt. xxiv. "indicating the multitude of angels of the martyrs of all the saints," who will be united with their Head, will follow their Captain, and be assessors with the Judge in sentencing the ungodly, and in condemning the world.