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"had happened before, being attended with a consi"derably greater slaughter than any upon record.” 1 The circumstances are too long to be introduced here, but it will sufficiently answer the present purpose, barely to state, that this disturbance broke out A. D. 40, and occasioned the death of 50,000 people.
About eleven years after the death of Christ, "when "Fadus came as Procurator into Judea, he found the "Jews dwelling in Perca, in a state of commotion "with the people of Philadelphia, about the bounda"ries of a City called Mia; which was filled with men "in arms: he, therefore, seized three of the authors of "the commotion, and killing one, banished the other "two."2" Afterwards, while the Jewish affairs were "under the administration of Cumanus, there arose a great disturbance in the City of Jerusalem; and many of the Jews perished in it."3 -At the Passover, A. D. 49, an indignity was offered to the Jews within the precincts of the Temple, by a Roman soldier; " upon which a tumult arose, but as soon as "a larger number of the Romans appeared, the Jews "fled so precipitately, that more than 10,000 were "trodden under foot and perished." 4
Besides these he mentions many other Insurrections; particularly one at Cæsarea, between the Jews and Syrians, contending for the equality of their rights as Citizens: 5 and another at the same place, "when in 66 the space of one hour above 20,000 Jews were killed, " and
1 Antiq. 18, ix. 1.
2 Antiq. 20, i. 1, and 20, v. 3. 3 Ibid.
4 Bell. Jud. 2, xii. 1.
5 Bell. Jud. 2, xiii, 6.-Antiq. 20, viii. 7.
"and Cæsarea cleared of its Jewish inhabitants."1 — "The Syrians also were even with the Jews in the "number of the men they slew, for they killed those "whom they caught in their Cities;" 2-and indeed ❝contentions at this time were carried so far, that at Scythopolis the number of the slain was above "13,000."" At Alexandria the slaughter of the "Jews went on without any regard to the aged, till the place overflowed with blood, and 50,000 of them lay "dead in heaps." 4" The people at Damascus also, at "a later time, came upon the unarmed Jews, and de"stroyed 10,000 in the space of an hour."5" In short" says Josephus, "every City throughout Syria was di"vided into two camps; it was the security of one party, to anticipate the destructive designs of the other; and the whole Province was full of unspeak"able calamities."6-So that "Wars and the rumours of Wars" were extremely prevalent, and "Nation rose against Nation, and Kingdom against Kingdom;" when Judea was thus disturbed, and thus contended with the various powers around it, particularly at the predicted time. 7
1 Bell. Jud. 2, xviii. 1. 2 Bell. Jud. 2 xviii. 2.
3 Bell. Jud. 2, xviii. 3.
4 Bell. Jud. 2, xviii. 8. Here it is surely necessary to quote the promise that "their seed should be in number as the stars in Heaven, and as the sand upon the sea shore" (Gen. xxii. 17.), when such immense numbers were so rapidly cut off.
5 Bell. Jud. 2, xviii. 2. 6 Bell. Jud. 2, xviii. 1, 2.
7 These instances of sedition and tumult, commotions and disturbances, are sufficient to prove the truth of this prophecy: accounts of many others may still be collected from Josephus. Vide Antiq. 20, viii. 8, and 10. 20, ix. 4. Bell. Jud. 2, xiii. 3. 2, xiv. 5, 6, 9. 2, xv. 2, 3, 5. 2. xvii. passim. 9. xviii. passim. 2. xix. passim.
II. Again it was declared, "There shall be famines, "and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places." With respect to the former of these; Josephus, speaking of Queen Helena's visit to Jerusalem, says, "Her
coming was of very great advantage to the people of Jerusalem, for a famine oppressed them at the time, and many died for the want of food:"2-and afterwards he introduces it again, when alluding to Tiberias, Alexander, and Fadus. "Under these procurators, that great famine happened in Judea, when Queen Helena "bought corn in Egypt at a great expence, and dis"tributed to those who were in want."3" A short "time before the war with the Romans," continues the historian, “under the Emperour Claudius and Ishmael "the High Priest, a famine oppressed our country; so "that an assaron of corn was sold for five drachmæ."4
There was a famine in Rome and in Italy mentioned by Dion Cassius, 5 which began in the fifth year of Claudius, and continued some time in the following; when the Christians made a collection for the relief of
1 Matt. xxiv. 7. Mark xiii. 8. Luke xxi. 11.
2 Antiq. 20, ii. 5. 3 Antiq. 20, v. 2.
4 Antiq. 3. xv. 3. An assaron was equal to rather more than two pints and a half: and five drachmæ equivalent to 5s. 5d.
This is the famine alluded to by Agabus in the
(xi. 28.), and "was not," as Lardner has observed,
Acts of the Apostles an accidental scarcity
at Jerusalem only; but was a famine all over that Country: it began in
the fourth year of that Emperour, and lasted seven years." Many circumstances tend to make this probable, besides the expression, ASSIDUAS STERILI, TATES, made use of by Suetonius upon this occasion.
5 Hist. 1. 60, p. 671.
Vide in vitâ Claud. xviii,
their brethren in Judea.1 Tacitus and Eusebius refer to another in the same reign; and Suetonius in his life of Claudius, makes a pointed reference to it, when he says, "that Cæsar, during the scarcity, made use of every possible means to supply the city with provisions, “even in the worst seasons.'
That the Jewish Nation was likewise afflicted with pestilence, we learn from Josephus; who says, "In the "sixth year, a pestilence fell upon the city of Babylon, "causing the Jewish inhabitants to remove their dwel
lings to the city of Selucia." "This occasioned,” says Archbishop Newcome, "a dreadful commotion: "for the Greeks and Syrians combined against the "Jews, and slew about five myriads of them. Josephus " mentions this calamity of his nation in strong terms; "and says that the greatness of the slaughter was un"paralleled in their former history."5-This happened
A. D. 40.
There was a very great mortality at Rome in the sixty-fifth year of the Christian æra; and Suetonius in his life of Nero, speaks of a "plague, by which in one "autumn there died no less than thirty thousand per
1 Acts xi. 29. Then the Disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the Brethren which dwelt in Judea.
2 Frugum quoque egestas et orta ex eo fames in prodigium accipiebatur, Ann. xii. 43.
3 Fames facta in Græcia-Magna fames Romæ.-Chr. p. 160.
4 Nihil non excogitavit ad invehendos etiam in tempore hiberno commeatus. Suet. in vitâ Claud. xix.
Arctiore autem annona propter assiduas sterilitates.
Vide also Bell. Jud. 4. i. 7.—Tacit. xiv. 38. and Suet. xlv.
5 Obs, on the conduct of our Lord, p. 218.
sons, as appeared by the registers of the Temple of "Libitina." And Tacitus, about the same time, presents us with a picture of distress, at which humanity shudders. "To the blood and horrour, that made this year for ever memorable, we may add the vengeance "of Heaven, declared by storms and tempests, and epidemic disorders. A violent hurricane made the country of Campania a scene of desolation; whole villages were overthrown, plantations were torn up by "the roots, and the hopes of the year destroyed. The
fury of the storm was felt in the neighbourhood of "Rome, where, without any apparent cause in the 'atmosphere, a contagious distemper broke out, and swept away a vast number of inhabitants. The houses were filled with dead bodies, and the streets with "funeral processions. Neither sex nor age escaped.
Slaves, and men of gentle birth were carried off with"out distinction, amidst the shrieks and lamentations "of their wives and children. Numbers, while they "assisted their expiring friends, or bewailed their loss, "were suddenly seized by the infection, and were burnt "on the same funeral pile."2
1 Pestilentia unius Autumni, quæ triginta funerum millia in rationem Libitinæ venerunt. In vitâ Neros. xxxix.
AND I WILL BRING A SWORD UPON YOU, THAT SHALL AVENGE THE QUARREL OF MY COVENANT: AND WHEN YE ARE GATHERED TOGETHER WITHIN YOUR CITIES, I WILL SEND MY PESTILENCE AMONG YOU AND YE SHALL BE DELIVERED INTO THE HAND OF THE ENEMY. Levit. xxvi. 25.
2 Tot facinoribus fædum annum etiam Dii tempestatibus et morbis insignivere. Vastata Campania turbine ventorum qui villas, arbusta, fruges passim disjecit: pertulitque violentiam ad vicina urbi: in qua omne mortalium genus vis pestilentiæ depopulabatur, nulla cæli intemperie quæ occurreret oculis. Sed domus corporibus exanimis, itinera funeribus com