صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]

This intention and the overthrow of it, is thus related by Ammianus Marcellinus, a Heathen, and a General in the army of Julian; whose testimony is too strongly corroborated by indisputable authority to admit any doubt upon the subject.1 —“ Julian,” he says, "endeavoured to re-build the Temple of Jerusalem with “immense expence, and consigned the charge of it to Alypius of Antioch, to execute the work, and to "the Governour of the Province to assist him in it: " in which work when Alypius was earnestly employed, "and the Governour of the Province was assisting, "terrible balls of fire bursting out near the founda"tions, with frequent and reiterated attacks, rendered "the place, from time to time, inaccessible to the "scorched and blasted workmen; and in this manner "the fire obstinately and resolutely repelling them, "the work ceased." "This

1 "This public event is described by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, in an epistle to the Emperour Theodosius, which must provoke the severe animadversion of the Jews; by the eloquent Chrysostom, who might appeal to the memory of the elder part of his congregation at Antioch; and by Gregory Nazianzen, who published his account of the miracle before the expiration of the same year. The last of these writers has boldly declared, that this præternatural event was not disputed by the Infidels; and his assertion, strange as it may seem, is confirmed by the unexceptionable testimony of Ammianus Marcellinus." Gibbon,'s D. & F. of the Rom. Emp. v. iv. p. 107. Marcellinus wrote the history of the Roman affairs, from Nerva to the death of Valens, A. D. $78.

2 Ambitiosum quoddam templum apud Hierosolymam sumptibus immodicis instaurare cogitabat, negotiumque maturandum Alypio dederat Antiochensi; cum itaque rei idem fortiter instauret Alypius, juvaretque provinciæ Rector, metuendi globi flammarum prope fundamenta crebris assultibus erumpentes fecere locum, exustis aliquoties operantibus inaccessum; hocque modo elemento destinatius repellente, cessavit inceptum.

Lib. xxiii. ab initio. Jortin, concluding his observation upon this subject, remarks, “ that upon the whole, it is not a matter of any consequence whether this event, with the

[ocr errors]

.66

[ocr errors]

"This signal event is attested in a manner that ren"ders its evidence irresistible; though, as usually "happens in cases of that nature, the Christians have “embellished it by augmenting rashly the number of "the miracles that are supposed to have been wrought upon that occasion. The causes of this phenomenon may furnish matter of dispute; and learned men "have, in effect, been divided upon that point. All, however, who consider the matter with attention and impartiality, will perceive the strongest reasons for "embracing the opinion of those who attribute this "event to the almighty interposition of the Supreme "Being; nor do the arguments offered by some, to "prove it the effect of natural causes, or those alleged by "others to persuade us that it was the result of artifice "and imposture, contain any thing that may not be "refuted with the utmost facility."

[ocr errors]

1

An

the circumstances (here alluded to), happened or not. If Julian did make any attempt to re-build the Temple, it is certain that something obstructed his attempt, because the Temple never was re-built. If he made no such attempt, the prophecy of our Saviour still holds good: and it surely cannot be thought to detract from the merit of a prophecy, that nobody ever attempted to elude it, or to prove it a falsehood!" Remarks, vol. i. In this, however, he indulges too much his spirit of scepticism. It is difficult to conceive what possible grounds could exist for thus doubting the testimony of Marcellinus: and far from this testimony being unimportant, it is surely of great consequence to shew, that a prophecy not only has not been falsified, but could not, by any craft of man, be so.—It is, indeed, idle cowardice thus to compliment away the testimony of a heathen to the truth of Christ's prediction.

1 "The truth of this miracle is denied by the famous Basnage, Histoire “des Juifs, tom. iv. p. 1257, against whom Cooper has taken the affirmative, ❝ and defended it in his Letters, published by Bayer, p.400. A most ingenious “discourse has been published lately, in defence of this miracle, by the learned "Dr. Warburton, under the title of Julian; or, A Discourse concerning the "Earthquake and Fiery Eruption, &c. in which the objections of Basnage "are particularly examined and refuted."

Mosheim's Ecc. Hist. Cent. iv. part i. ch. 1,

An instance of the same mode of the fulfilment of that "word which shall not pass away," is exemplified in the History of Alexander the Great, who in a remarkable manner shewed the immutable existence of a scriptural prophecy, strongly resembling this of which we have now spoken; and it is to the testimony of a Heathen that we are again indebted for the confirmation of its unchangeable nature.1-After Cyrus had encamped his army before the walls of Babylon, he employed the soldiers in making a wide and deep trench around that half of the city to which he was nearest by these means the Euphrates which ran exactly through the centre of it before, was drawn into this new made channel; when the troops of Cyrus, advancing under the darkness of a night dedicated to festivity, through the former bed of the river, surprised the guards and took the city by storm. All these, with many other circumstances, were precisely foretold by the prophets;2 and that the mighty Babylon, according to the predictions of the same holy and inspired men, might be "wiped away from the face of the "earth and be clean forgotten," no traces remained by which even its situation could be ascertained. For though it was built upon the Euphrates so as to inclose a portion of that river by its walls; yet after its course was thus interrupted by Cyrus, it ran into another channel; "so that, in Theodoret's time there was but a very small stream, which ran across the ruins, and "not meeting with a descent, or free passage, necessarily degenerated into a marsh. Afterwards Alexander, "designing

[ocr errors]

1 Arrian de Exped. Alex. 1. viii. 2 Jer. 1, and li. Isa. xiv, &c. 3 Euphrates quondam urbem ipsam mediam dividebat: nunc autem fluvius conversus est in aliam viam, et per rudera minimus aquarum meatus Theodoret. in Cap. i. (as quoted by Rollin).

fluit.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

designing to fix the seat of his empire at Babylon, projected the bringing back of the Euphrates into "its natural and former channel, and had actually set "his men to work. But the Almighty, who watched over the fulfilment of his prophecy, and who had "declared he would destroy even to the very remains and footsteps of Babylon,1 defeated this enterprise by the death of Alexander, which happened soon "afterwards."2

66

[ocr errors]

The prediction, therefore, that Jerusalem should be subject to the Gentiles, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled, has been thus far established. It might easily be shewn that the Holy Land, from the time of Julian to the present day, has been subject to the government of various foreign powers, to that of the Romans, the Saracens, the Egyptians, Mamelukes, Franks, and Turks, but never to the Jews since this destruction: and the testimony of many travellers might be brought in confirmation of the emptiness and uncultivated appearance of the country, from the time of Titus almost to the present day.

But neglected as it

1 For I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of Hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, and son and nephew, saith the Lord. I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of Hosts.

2 Rollin's An. Hist. Cyrus. Sec. iii.

Isa. xiv. 22, 23.

3 The eagles of idolatrous Rome, the crescent of the impostor Mahomet, and the banner of Popery, carried by the Crusaders, have been successively displayed amidst the ruins of the sanctuary of Jehovah, for nearly eighteen hundred years. Kett on the Prophecies.

4 AND IF YE Will yet for alL THIS NOT HEARken unto ME, THEN I WILL PUNISH YOU SEVEN TIMES MORE FOR YOUR SINS; YOUR LAND SHALL NOT YIELD

HER

[ocr errors]

it has been, the fertility of that which is in cultivation shews clearly that it was, and by industry might yet be, "a land of corn and wine, flowing with milk and honey." With equal facility might it be proved, that the Jewish people have been and still continue according to the sure words of the prophecy, " to be scattered among all people from one end of the earth unto the other."2 But as the truth and fulfilment of this and similar prophecies are well established by the works of so many writers, as well as by the histories of every nation with which we are conversant; any other consideration of this nature than that connected with Jerusalem as first "trodden down by the Gentiles,” would be foreign to the design of these pages.

Here then the History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, as connected with the prophecies of Scripture, terminates; and when we consider the various circumstances of their antiqnity, the peculiar conditions of those by whom they were spoken, and the precision

with

HER INCREASE, NEITHER SHALL THE TREES OF THE LAND YIELD THEIR FRUITS:
AND I WILL BRING THE LAND INTO DESOLATION; AND YOUR ENEMIES WHICH
DWELL THEREIN SHALL BE ASTONISHED AT IT. AND YOUR LAND SHALL BE DESO-
LATE, AND YOUR CITIES WASTE.
Levit. xxvi. 18.-33.

1 Tacitus says, "the climate is dry and sultry; rain is seldom seen, and the soil is rich and fertile." Rari imbres, uber solum.-Hist. v. 6,

[ocr errors]

Under a wise and beneficent Government, the produce of the Holy Land would exceed all calculation. Its perennial harvests; the salubrity of the air; its limpid springs; its rivers, lakes, and matchless plains; its hills and vales; all these, added to the serenity of its climate, prove this land to be, indeed, a field which the Lord hath blessed:" God hath given it of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine. Clarke's Travels, vol. 2, p. 521. See also the Travels of Sandys, Maundrel, and Shaw, in proof of the fer tility of Judea.

2 Deut. xxviii. 64.

« السابقةمتابعة »