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bantur, et prophetarum oracula ut prrestigiatorum commmenta subsannabant-ήν και δή τις σαλαιός λόγος ανδρών, ένθα τότε την πόλιν αλύσεσθαι, και καταφλεγήσεσθαι τα άγια νόμο σολεμε, τάσις εαν κατασκήψη, και χειρες οικιαι σρομιάνωσε το τε Θεέ τίμενος" οίς ΟΥΚ απισήσαντες οι ζηλωθαι διακόγος εαυθες επίδοσαν. Vetus enim virorum sermo quidem crat, tum urbem captııın iri, et loca sancta confiagratura jure belli, ubi seditio invaserit, et indigenarum manus polluerint sacratum Deo locum. Quibus licet fidem non detraherent Zelote, tamen ipsi se earum rerum ministros prrebuerunt. B. J. iv. 6. This seems to have been a traditionary interpretation of Daniel, a aayas, a report, and not a written prophecy. But here is a negative which seems to contradict what was said before. It should perhaps be os insskcarles--or something to the same effect, and the meaning may be, that the impious zealots caused those prophecies to be fulfilled in the destruction of themselves and their nation, which they had ridiculed and disbelieved,
Many of the first Christians, who were Jews dwelling in Judea, sold their lands and possessions. The Gentiles did it not when the gospel came to them, and none of St Paul's Epistles contain any such precept, or intimate any such practice. The Jews acted thus, though not by the command, yet doubtless with the approbation of the apostles, and the most probable reason for it was this ; they knew that Christ had foretold the destruction of their country, which should come upon it before that generation were passed away, and therefore they thought it proper, whilst there was opportunity, to iinprove to the best use their estates, which they should not long enjoy, by relieving their poorer brethren, and by enabling the first teachers to pursue their travels from place to place. Therefore
also when the gospel was spread amongst the Gentiles, the apostles were careful to make collections in their churches for the relief of the poor saints at Jerusalem, since it was just that a provision should be made for those who had given up all for the common good, and at whose charges the gospel was at first preached amongst some of the Gentiles. See Jos. Mede Disc. on Prov. xxxvii. 7.
We read in the Acts of the Apostles that the Jews suborned and set up false witnesses against Stephen, who said, We have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this holy place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. Now though these were calumniators, yet probably something had been said, which gave occasion to the accusation, and St Stephen had been heard to mention the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, and the inferiority of the ceremonial to the moral law. See Grotius.
This is one reason why the unbelieving Jews hated the disciples of Christ so implacably, because they did not prophesy good concerning the nation, but evil.
Μάντι κακών, και σώποθέ μοι το κρή δυον είπας. The author of the Recognitions of Clemens, introduces St Peter telling the Jews that the temple would be destroyed, and adds, well enough, that upon this all the priests were highly enraged, i. 64.
The destruction of the Jewish nation is not mentioned by Jesus Christ, as a threatened calamity which might be averted by repentance, but as a decree which was fixed and unalterable. If thou hadst known, &c. but now they are hid from thine eyes.--Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away: that is, sooner shall heaven and earth pass away, than iny predictions pass away unfulfilled. The best and the most probable method, by which a Jew might secure himself from being involved in this national evil, was to embrace Christianity: for which, amongst other reasons, St Paul says to the Jews, Bečvare therefore lest that come upon you which is spoken of in the Prophets: Behold, ye despisers, andwonder, onil perish; for I work a work in your days, a work which 'ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it to you, Acts xiii. 40. which words of St Paul, and of the Prophets, as they are applied by him, seem plainly to intimate the approaching rụin of that people. Apud Lucam Paulus optime hcec verba aptat ad excidium simile eventurum per Romanos. Grotius ad Habac, i. 5. Patet proprie de Chaldæis agi, Habak. i. 5, 6. Paulus tamen hoc opus paradoxum considerans tanquam cokeerens cum aliis gratissimis Dei judiciis, processu temporis vulgandis in eandem gentem,midad judicia et mala, quce Judieos sui temporis manebant, transtulit. Vitringa ad Jesai. x. 12. See him also on Isa. xxviii. 21. and Hammond on Acts xiii. 40.
These things amount to an evidence which cannot reasonably be resisted :
itu res accendunt lumina rebus. The ancient Christians saw it plainly, and insisted upon it strongly *, as upon a satisfactory proof of the truth of Christianity ; and the proof is as evident now as it was then. It highly deserves the serious considera
tion Συγκρίνας δε τις τας τε Σωλήρος ημών λέξες ταϊς λοιπαίς τα γραφίας τορίαις ταις περί το παντός πολέμε, τώς έκ αν αποθαυμάσειεν θείαν ως αληθώς και υπηρφυώς παράδοξον την πρόγνωσίν τε και πρόχρησιν τε Σωλήρος ημιών speodoricus; Quod si quis Servatoris nostri verba cum iis comparet, quæ ab eodem scriptore de universo bello commemorata sunt, fieri non potest quin admiretur præscientiam ac prædictionem Servatoris nostri, eamque vere divinam et supra modum stupendam esse fateatu. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. iji. 7.
tion of those who doubt or disbelieve, Whosoever is of a studious and inquisitive disposition, and not of a sanguine complexion, has probably known what it is to doubt ; and lias perhaps been offended at certain writers, who are incapable of owning or of feeling a difficulty, and who convince none, except those that stand in no need of conviction, and to some of whom it might be said, Urbem proditis, dum castella defendidis : but here is a prophecy, and here is a completion, to which, if we can make no reasonable objection, we ought to admit the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to endeavour to know, and to do his sacred will, accounting this to be the best foundation of our present hopes, and of our future happiness.
If the illustrious and most important prophecy which I have considered, and some others which shall be mentioned, have been evidently delivered, and e. vidently accomplished ; and if the miracles of Christ and of his apostles may be proved, as I shall endeavour to shew ; it is a fair consequence, that Christianity is a true religion, and that it cannot be made false, or ambiguous, by any arguments drawn from the notions, or from the behaviour of believers after the times of the apostles.
Much may be said, and something shall be offered, in behalf of the fathers and Christians of the three first centuries, who suffered so greatly for so good a cause, and whose abilities, if they are over-valued by some, are as much depreciated by others, .
No Christian would willingly give them up in any point, where there is room to defend them : but the imperfections and mistakes from which they were not free, (and who is frec ?) and their credulity in some things, and in
ages which were not critical, and a kind of crednlity, to which an honest mạn, as such, is more liable than a crafty impostor, can never invalidate the proofs internal and external of the truth of Christianity.
The confirming and settling these great points, upon which our faith is founded, without a view to any particular systems and controversies, as it is the most agreeable employment to an ingenuons mind, so is it usually the most disinterested of all occupations. Whosoever is resolved to employ his hours and his labour in this manner, should consider himself as one who lays out his fortunes in mending the high-ways: many are benefited, and few are obliged. If he escapes obloquy, it is very well :
- Triumpho, si licet me latere tecto abscedere. I have only this to add concerning the present subject, that Christ having said of the city and temple, One stone shall not be left upon another, learned men have taken pains to shew that this was exactly and literally fulfilled, either under Vespasian, or under Adrian, or in the time of Julian.
If any one should be of opinion that they have not proved this point, I desire he would observe, that the words are proverbial and figurative, and only denote utter ruin and desolation, and would have been truly accomplished, though every single stone had not been overturned ; as a house or city is said xxidoxaçãvær, when it is destroyed, though its foundations be not
Malachi, foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem, says, The day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble : and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord