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27 For as the lightning of this chapter relates strictly and

exclusively to the destruction of Jerusalem; and that the latter part

cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so

shall also the coming of the

Son of man be.


28 For wheresoever carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.


(beginning with ver. 29) applies

entirely to the end of the world and the last judgment. It will not be agreeable to our present purpose to enter into any detail of the arguments by which these several views are supported ;-neither will it be needful to discuss difficult questions connected with some particular texts in the course of this chapter. I shall rather call your attention to those great ideas and truths which are undoubtedly contained in this

a Mark xiii. 1. Luke xxi. 5.- 1 Kings ix. 7. Jer. xxvi. 18. Mic. iii. 12. Luke xix. 44.-e Mark xiii. 3.-d 1 Thess. v. 1-e Eph v. 6 Col. ii. 8, 18. 2 Thess. ii. 3. 1 John iv. 1-f Jer. xiv. 14.; & xxiii. 21, 25. ver. 24. John v. 43.-g ver. 11.-h 2 Chron. xv. 6. Is. xix 2. Hag. ii. 22. Zech. xiv. 13-i ch. x. 17. Mark xiii. 9. Luke xxi. 12. John xv. 20; & xvi. 2. Acts iv. 2. 3; & 1 Pet. iv. 16. Rev. ii. 10 13.-k 2 Tim. i. 15; & iv. 10, 16.- ch. 2 Pet. ii. 1.-m 1 Tim. iv. 1. ver. Mark xiii. 13. Heb. iii. 6, 14.

vii. 59; & xii. 1. &c.
ch. xi. 6; & xiii. 57.
vii. 15. Acts xx. 29
5, 24.-n ch. x. 22.
ii. 10.-o ch. iv. 23; & ix. 35.-p Rom. x. 18. Col. i. 6,
23.- Mark xiii. 14. Luke xxi. 20.-r Dan. ix. 27; & xii.
11.- Dan. ix. 23, 25.- Luke xxiii. 29.-u Dan. ix. 26;
& xii. 1. Joel ii. 2.- Is. lxv. 9. Zech xiv. 2, 3-y


Mark xiii. 21. Luke xvii. 23; & xxi. 8-3 Deut. xiii. . portion of holy Scripture, whatever

ver. 5, 11. 2 Thess. ii. 9, 10, 11. Rev. xiii. 13.-a John vi. 37; & x. 28, 29. Rom. viii. 28, 29, 30. 2 Tim. ii. 19. - Luke xvii. 24.-c Job. xxxix. 30. Luke xvii. 37.

may be the precise order in which they lie and with this view I have selected some passages from our Divines relating to,-First, the destruction of Jerusalem as a remark- : able fulfilment of this divine prophecy, and as a punishment inflicted on the unbelieving and impenitent Jews:-Secondly, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to judgment, in 1 a visible form, with power and great glory;-and Thirdly, the duty and necessity of continual watchfulness, and habitual preparation for this solemn and great event. Our present meditation will relate to the first of these three points. I propose to consider the two others afterwards.

Reader. Some Divines regard this chapter simply as a prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, and events in immediate connection with that catastrophe.-Others consider it as a prediction of that event, not simply in itself, but also, and chiefly, as typical of the end of the world, and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to judgment. "The destruction of a great city," says Bishop Newton, "is a lively type and image of the end of the world; and we may observe that our Saviour no sooner begins to speak of the destruction of Jerusalem than his figures are raised, his language is swelled, and he expresses himself in such terms as in a lower sense indeed are applicable to the destruction of Jerusalem, but describe something higher in their proper and genuine signification."-Others again suppose that the former part

READER.-It appears next to impossible that any man should duly consider these prophecies, and the exact completion of them, and,

if he is a believer, not be confirmed in the faith, or, if he is an infidel, not be converted. Can any stronger proof be given of a divine revelation than the spirit of prophecy? and can any stronger proof be given of the spirit of prophecy than the examples now before us, in which so many contingencies, and, I may say, improbabilities, which human wisdom or prudence could never foresee, are so particularly foretold, and so punctually accomplished? Could human prudence foresee famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places? Could human prudence foresee the speedy propagation of the Gospel so contrary to all human probability? Could human prudence foresee such an utter destruction of Jerusalem, with all the circumstances preceding and following it? It was never the custom of the Romans absolutely to ruin any of their provinces: it was improbable therefore that such a thing should happen at all, and still more improbable that it should happen under the humane and generous Titus.

For the completion of these prophecies, the persons seem to have been wonderfully raised up and preserved by Divine Providence. Vespasian was promoted from obscurity, and, though feared and hated by Nero, yet was preferred by him, and singled out as the only general among the Romans who was equal to such a war; God, perhaps, (as Josephus intimates) so disposing and ordering affairs. He had subdued the greatest part of Judæa

when he was advanced to the empire; and he was happy in putting an end to the civil wars, and to the other troubles and calamities of the state, or otherwise he would hardly have been at leisure to prosecute the war with the Jews. Titus was wonderfully preserved in the most critical articles of danger. While he was taking a view of the city he was surrounded by the enemy, and nothing less was expected than that he should be slain, or made prisoner; but he resolutely broke through the midst of them, and, though unarmed, yet arrived unhurt at his own camp: upon which Josephus makes this reflection, that the turns of war and the dangers of princes are under the peculiar care of God.-Josephus himself was also no less wonderfully preserved than Titus; the one to destroy the city, and the other to record its destruction. As Vespasian and Titus seem to have been raised up and preserved for the completion of these prophecies, so might Josephus for the illustration of their completion. For, the particular passages and transactions by which we prove the completion of these prophecies we derive not so much from Christian writers, who might be suspected of a design to parallel the events with the predictions, as from heathen authors, and chiefly from Josephus the Jewish historian, who, though very exact and minute in other relations, yet avoids as much as he can the mention of Christ and the Christian religion. It is indeed very providential, that a more par

ticular detail, a more exact history, is preserved of the destruction of Jerusalem, and of all the circumstances relating to it, than of any other matter whatever transacted so long ago; and it is an additional advantage to our cause, that these accounts are transmitted to us by a Jew, and by a Jew who was himself an eye-witness to most of the things which he relates.-He designed nothing less, and yet, as if he had designed nothing more, his history of the Jewish wars may serve as a large comment on our Saviour's prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem. If any one would compare our Saviour's words with that writer's history of the whole war (as Eusebius very well observes), he could not but admire and acknowledge our Saviour's prescience and prediction to be wonderful above nature, and truly Divine.

The predictions are the clearest, as the calamitiest were the greatest, which the world ever saw. And what heinous sin was it which could bring down such heavy judgments on the Jewish Church and nation? Can any other, with half so much probability, be assigned, as that which the Scripture assigns, their crucifying of the Lord of glory? As St. Paul expresses it, 1 Thess. ii. 15, 16, "they both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and persecuted the Apostles," and so "filled up their sins, and wrath came upon them to the uttermost." This is always objected as the most capital sin of the nation. And upon reflection, we shall find some correspondence between their crime and

their punishment. They put Jesus to death, when their nation was assembled to celebrate the passover; and when the nation was assembled, too, to celebrate the passover, Titus shut them up within the walls of Jerusalem. The rejection of the true Messiah was their crime; and their following of false Messiahs, to their destruction, was their punishment. They sold and bought Jesus as a slave; and they themselves were afterwards bought and sold as slaves, at the lowest prices. They preferred a robber and murderer to Jesus, whom they crucified between two thieves; and they themselves were infested with bands of thieves and robbers. They put Jesus to death lest the Romans should come and take away their place and nation; and the Romans did come and take away their place and nation. They crucified Jesus before the walls of Jerusalem; and before the walls of Jerusalem they themselves were crucified in such numbers, that it is said room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses for the bodies. I should think it hardly possible for any man to lay these things together, and not conclude the Jews' own imprecation to be remarkably fulfilled upon them, "His blood be on us, and on our children." Matt. xxvii. 25.

We, Christians, cannot indeed be guilty of the very same offence, in crucifying the Lord of glory: but it behoves us to consider whether we may not be guilty in the same kind, and, by our sins and iniquities, "crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame,” Heb.

vi. 6; and, therefore, whether, being like them in their crime, we may not also resemble them in their punishment. They rejected the Messiah, and we indeed have received him but have our lives been at all agreeable to our holy profession, or rather, as we have had opportunities of knowing Christ more, have we not obeyed him less, than other Christians, and "trodden under foot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith we are sanctified, an unholy thing, and done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" Heb. x. 29. The flagrant crimes of the Jews, and the principal sources of their calamities, in the opinion of Josephus, were their trampling upon all human laws, deriding divine things, and making a jest of the oracles of the prophets, as so many dreams and fables: and how hath the same spirit of licentiousness and infidelity prevailed likewise among us! How have the laws and lawful authority been insulted with equal insolence, and impunity! How have the holy Scriptures, those treasures of divine wisdom, not only been neglected, but despised, derided, and abused to the worst purposes! How have the principal articles of our faith been denied, the prophecies and miracles of Moses, and the works of Christ and his Apostles, been ridiculed, and impiety and blasphemy not only been whispered in the car, but proclaimed from the press ! How hath all public worship and religion, and the administration of the Sacraments, been slighted and

condemned, and the Sabbath profaned, chiefly by those who ought to set a better example, "to whom much is given, and of whom much, therefore, will be required!" And if, for their sins and provocations, "God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith; be not high-minded, but fear." Romans xi. 21, 22. God bore long with the Jews; and hath he not borne long with us too? But he cut them off when the measure of their iniquities was full; and let us beware lest our measure be not also well nigh full, and we be not growing ripe for excision. What was said to the Church of Ephesus is very applicable to us and our own case; "Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." Rev. ii. 5.BISHOP NEWTON.


Great God of Abraham, hear our prayer;
Let Abraham's seed thy mercy share;
Oh, may they now at length return,
And look on him they pierc'd, and mourn!

Their misery let thy mercy heal;
Their trespass hide, their mercy seal;
O God of Israel! hear their prayer,
And grant them still thy love to share.

How long shall Jacob's offspring prove
The vast suspension of thy love?
Say, shall thy wrath perpetual burn,
And wilt thou ne'er appeas'd return?

Thy quick'ning Spirit now impart, And wake to joy each grateful heart; While Israel's rescued tribes in thee Their bliss and full salvation see!


CHAP. XXIV. 29-35.

Christ foretelleth the signs of his coming to judgment.

29 ¶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 the heavens shall be shaken :

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30 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 Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with

power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

33 So likewise ye, when ye

shall see all these things know 'that it is near, even at the doors.

34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

35 "Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away.

d Dan. vii. 11, 12.-e Is. xiii. 10. Ezek. xxxii. 7. Joel ii. 10, 31 ; & iii. 15. Amos v. 20; & viii. 9. Mark xiii. 24. Luke xxi. 25. Acts ii. 20. Rev. vi. 12.-ƒ Dan. vii. 13.- Zech. xii. 12-h ch. xvi. 27. Mark xiii. 26. Rev. i. 7. ch. xiii. 41. 1 Cor. xv. 52. I Thess. iv. 16. - Or, with a trumpet, and a great voice.-k Luke xxi. 29.- Jam. v. Or, he.-m ch. xvi. 28; & xxiii. 36.

Mark xiii 30. Luke xxi. 32.-n Ps. cii. 26. Is. li.6.

Jer. xxxi. 35, 36.

Heb. 1. 11.

ch. v. 18. Mark xiii. 31. Luke xxi. 39.

Reader. These verses are usually regarded as a direct prophecy of our Lord's second coming to judge the world, of which great event the

destruction of Jerusalem before alluded to may be regarded as a type. Bishop Horsley explains the notes of time thus ;-Immediately after the tribulation of those days, i. e. after the whole period of the tribulation of the Jewish nation,-the whole period during which Jerusalem is to be trodden down. The things to be speedily fulfilled (ver. 34), and their contemporaries were to see, were which some of the Apostles and the destruction of Jerusalem and the ruin and distress of the Jewish nation,-the commencement of that great and long tribulation which is to be followed by the return of the

Son of man.

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