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their internal character is such, as clearly proves them to have been written by men who actually lived at the time here supposed.'
There are peculiarities in these Gospels not to be found in that of St. John (which was written at Ephesus after the Destruction; as a supplement to confirm and establish the former,) which evidently refer to the Jews and their City as they were then existing, and which, as Macknight has observed, shew" that this "manner of writing every reader must be sensible John "would not have made use of, had he composed his Gospel for the use of the Jews, or published it in "Judea: on the other hand, the three Evangelists would
hardly have written in the manner they have done, "had they originally designed their works for the Gen"tiles, or published them out of Judea;" so that it is impossible to pretend that these predictions could have been written after the time of their fulfilment :
(1) For a particular and learned investigation of the internal evidence of genuineness and authenticity in the books of the New Testament, see Dr. Maltby's Illustration of the truth of the Christian Religion.
(*) If evidence were wanted to prove the circumstance of John's Gospel having been written subsequently to those of the other Evangelists; this minute, but not unimportant observation might be made. The three first Evangelists, when speaking of the apprehension of Jesus and his seizure by the servants of the High Priest, respectively mention that one of them had his right ear cut off by the sword of a Disciple whose name is not specified: but John tells us plainly, and without reserve, that it was Peter whose zeal carried him thus to defend his Lord: and evidently for this reason: that at the time the former Gospels were published, Peter was alive, and the knowledge of this event might have brought him into some difficulty with those who espoused the cause of the servant; but when John wrote, Peter had been some time dead, and therefore no mischief could happen from the developement.
See Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iv. ch. vii. sec. x. p. 321,
nor could they have been interpolated after the event, because our Saviour not only foretold the destruction of the City of the Jews, but also the continuance of that desolation; for" Jerusalem," saith he, "shall be trodden "down of the Gentiles, till the time of the Gentiles be "fulfilled;" a prophecy which has long been, and still continues to be accomplished in these our present days; for the Jews have hitherto attempted in vain to collect themselves from the various quarters of the world to form a separate and independent Nation. Moreover, these predictions are frequently interspersed throughout the Gospels, as Parables, or subjects of instruction casually introduced, and carry with them nothing like an air of deceit; whereas had they been introduced after the events to which they refer, there would have been something artificial in them, which would have led to an early detection of the fraud.'
Having then established the truth and certainty of the predictions of our Saviour respecting the destruction of Jerusalem, it is necessary, in the next place, to shew, that the history of their fulfilment is founded upon such evidence and authority as can admit of no reasonable doubt, either as to its correctness or validity. Josephus, the Author of it, by birth a Hebrew of Jerusalem, and a Priest, was descended on the father's side from the Asmonean family, which for a length of time
(') He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen. Matt. xxi. 41.
And when the King heard thereof he was wroth, and he sent forth his armies and destroyed those murderers and burnt up their city. Matt. xxii. 7. Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke xiii. 5.
And if thou bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that thou shalt be cut down. Luke xiii. 9.
Also Matt. iii. 10, and other places.
had the supreme government of the Jewish Nation; and on the mother's from the blood royal. He was born in the reign of Caligula, A. D. 37, and at the age of twenty-seven embraced the principles of the Pharisees. Upon the invasion of his country by the Romans, he headed a party and fought for some considerable time against them, but with such ill success, as ultimately to have been compelled, with forty others, to take refuge in the secret recesses of a cavern; in which situation they determined to remain, rather than fall into the hands of the enemy: having at length exhausted their means of subsistence, they had recourse to the horrid expedient of casting lots of death to preserve the lives of the survivors; until being reduced to two, one of whom was Josephus, they agreed to surrender themselves to the army of Vespasian; and this circumstance has not been unwisely regarded, as a particular intervention of Providence, to preserve him to be the writer of the Jewish History,poindus
Josephus, after he had thus surrendered himself to the Roman power; by the aid of pretended inspiration, so ingratiated himself with Vespasian, as to gain the good opinion and friendship of that Prince; who ever afterwards bestowed upon him every mark of attach
(1) Vide Tillotson's Sermons, No. 186, vol. ii. p. 564, folio edit. "I would not willingly be imposed upon," says Jortin, or impose upon the reader; but I leave it to be considered whether in all this there might not be something extraordinary, as both Vespasian and Josephus were designed and reserved for extraordinary purposes, to assist in fulfilling and justifying the prophecies of Daniel and of our Lord. The same Providence which raised up and conducted Cyrus, and preserved the rash Macedonian Conqueror from perishing, till he had overthrown the Persian Empire, that the Prophecies might be accomplished; might take the ROMAN EMPEROR and the JEWISH WRITER under a singular protection for reasons of no less importance."-Remarks on Ecc. Hist. vol. i.
ment and regard, which were continued to him in an equal degree by the succeeding Emperours, Titus and Domitian.
When Vespasian deputed his Son to carry on the siege against the Jews, Josephus was left with the latter as an interpreter; and having secured the confidence of Titus, he had all the sacred books which were found in the city, or which belonged to the captives, consigned to his immediate care and conservation. In return for this proof of the good opinion of Titus, Josephus, on retiring with the Emperour to Rome, dedicated to him those works which employed the greater part of his remaining life: it was in consequence of this circumstance, that he was enabled so correctly to describe not only the events which he had witnessed and treasured in his own mind, but those whose authority was derived from the public or private stores which thus fell into his possession. This, perhaps, may be better illustrated by his own words, taken from his Book against Apion, written towards the close of his life.
"As for myself, I have composed a true history of "that war, and all the particulars that occurred in it, having been concerned in its transactions; for I acted "as General with those among us who are called Ga"lileans, as long as it was possible for us to make any opposition: and when I was taken captive by the Romans, Vespasian and Titus ordered me to be kept "under a guard, but commanded that I should attend "them continually. At first I was in bonds; after"wards I was set at liberty, and was sent to accompany Titus when he came from Alexandria to the siege
"siege of Jerusalem; during which time nothing was "done which escaped my knowledge. What happened "in the Roman camp I saw, and wrote down carefully; "what information the deserters brought out of the "City, I was the only man who could understand it.' "Afterwards I got leisure at Rome, and when all my "materials were prepared, I procured the help of one
to assist me in writing Greek. Thus I composed "the history of those transactions: and I was so well "assured of the truth of what I related, that I first appealed to those who held the supreme command "in that war, Vespasian and Titus, as witnesses for me; to them I first presented those books, and after"wards to many of the Romans who had been in the 86 war. I also communicated them to many of our countrymen who understood the Greek Philosophy; < among whom were Julius Archelaus, and Herod, a person of great gravity, and King Agrippa himself, "who was deserving the greatest praise. All these bore "testimony to me, that I preserved the strictest regard "to truth: and they would not have dissembled the "matter, nor have been silent, if through ignorance, or with a partiality to either side, I had altered, or "omitted any thing."
Now with regard to the truth and authenticity of the writings of Josephus; as in confirmation of the former,
(') The language of the Romans was unknown to the Jews, as had been foretold." Whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say."-" A nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand."-Jer. v. 15. Deut. xxviii. 49.
"There had been no intercourse between them," says Kett, "till the time " of Pompey's invasion, and the Jews were utterly ignorant of the dialects " of the Western Troops, which composed the Roman armies.
History the Interpreter of Prophecy, vol. i. p. 109.
(*) Contra Apion i. 9.