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with this man, and release unto us Barabbas : (who, for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison :) Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. But they cried, saying: Crucify him, crucify him. And he said unto them the third time: Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him. I will therefore chastise him and let him go. And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucifiedand the voices of them and the chief-priests prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. And be released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they desired : but be delivered Jesus to their will." Or as in Matt. xxvii. 24, 25, 26, “ When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just person : see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said : His blood be upon us, and our children. Then released he Barabbas unto them. And when he had scourged Jesus, be delivered him to be crucified.”
To these things the destruction of Jerusalem, and the present circumstances of the Jews, bear witness; as also to the resurrection of Jesus, and his ascension to heaven, and to the plentiful effusion of spiritual gifts afterwards upon his apostles, and others; whereby they were enabled to preach the heavenly doctrine, in which their Lord and Master had instructed them. He commanded them to“ preach repentance and remission of sins in his name, beginning at Jerusalem,” Luke xxiv. 47. And that they did so, preaching repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ:" or, that they did earnestly call upon the Jewish people in Judea, and elsewhere, to repent of their sins, and believe in the Lord Jesus; and that they did not receive their instructions and warnings, but killed some of them, scourged
others, and persecuted them from city to city;' To all these things, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and other calamities brought upon the Jewish people, bear witness: and thus they filled up the measure of their iniquity.
The argument, upon which I have now insisted, is not new; it is old; and has been well managed by divers ancient christian writers. I shall place below the observations made upon the long captivity of the Jews by Jerom 2 and by Pru
* Multa, Judæe, scelera commisisti ; cunctis circa te servisti nationibus. Ob quod factum ? Utique, propter idololatriam. Quumque servisses, crebro
dentius b in their own language. I believe they will be perused with pleasure by some of my readers : and I refer to a place of Chrysostom which was formerly quoted more at large. I likewise refer to d Origen,
Nor can it be said that God hias been unrighteous in bis dealings with them. All these judgments befell them, according to the original plan of providence concerning them, and according to the prophetic denunciations of their lawgiver Moses. Nor can it be said that their continued dispersion is unrighteous, since they persist in the sin which first occasioned it, and reject Him whoin God has sent unto them; and not only reject him, but reproach and revile him, so as no other people do. And, finally, whenever they repent, they may obtain forgiveness, and be received into
inisertus tui est Deus: et misit judices et salvatores, qui te de famulatu Moabitarum et Ammoritarum, Philistiim quoque et diversarum gentium liberârunt. Novissime sub regibus offendisti Deum ; et omnis tua provincia, gente Babylonicâ vastante, deleta est. Per septuaginta annos templi solitudo permansit. A Cyro rege Persarum est laxata captivitas. Esdras hoc et Nehemias plenissime referunt. Exstructum est templum sub Dario rege Persarum a Zorobabel filio Salathiel, et Jesu filio Josedec, sacerdote magno. Quæ passi sitis a Medis, Ægyptiis, Macedonibusque, non enumero. Nec tibi adducam in memoriam Antiochum Epiphanem, crudelissimum omnium tyrannorum; nec Cn. Pompeium, Gabinium, Scaurum, Varum, Cassium, Sosiumque replicabo, qui tuis urbibus, et præcipue Jerosolymæ, insultavere. Ad extremum sub Vespasiano et Tito urbs capta, templumque subversum est. Deinde civitatis usque ad Hadrianum principem per quinquaginta annos mansere reliquiæ. Post eversionem templi paullo minus per quadringentos annos et urbis et templi ruinæ permanent. Ob quod tantum facinus ? Certe non colis idola ; sed etiam serviens Persis atque Romanis, et captivitatis pressus jugo, ignoras alienos deos. Quomodo clementissimus quondam Deus, qui nunquam tui oblitus est, nunc per tanta spatia temporum miseriis tuis non adducitur ut solvat captivitatem, et, ut verius dicam, exspectatum tibi mittat Antichristum? Ob quod, inquam, facinus, et tam exsecrabile scelus, avertit a te oculos suos ? Ignoras ? Memento vocis parentum tuorum. Sanguis ejus super nos, et super filios nostros. Et : Venite, occidamus eum, et nostra erit hæreditas. Et: Non habemus regem, nisi Cæsarem. Habes quod elegisti; usque ad finem mundi serviturus es Cæsari, donec gentium introëat plenitudo, et sic omnis Israël salvus fiet; ut qui quondam erat in capite, vertatur in caudam. Hieron. ad Dardan. T. 2. p 610, 611.
b Quid mereare, Titus docuit: docuere rapinis
Pompeianæ acies, quibus extirpata per omnes
Prud. Apoth. ver. 238, &c. c Adversus Judæos Or. vi. T. i. p. 652, 653.
d Contr. Cels. I. 2. sect. 13. Bened. p. 69. Spenc. 1. 4. sect. 22. Bened p. 174. Sp. et sect. 73. Ben. p. 212. Sp. l. 8. sect. 42. Ben. p. 405. Spenc. seu Cantab,
the church of Christ, and partake in all the privileges of it, and in the end obtain everlasting life, which God through Jesus Christ has promised to all those who love him. God has not cast away his people whom he foreknew; and if they abide not still in unbelief,” they will be graciously received. Rom. xi. 2, and 23.
The circumstances of the Jewish people deserve the attentive regard and serious consideration of all mankind, Jews, and christians, and the men of all nations and religions, where their history is known: as it now generally is, from the books of the Old and New Testament, and from Josephus, and other writings.
The writings of the apostles and evangelists, contained in the New Testament, are faithful records of the life of Jesus, and the promises of the gospel. And the continued subsistence of the Jewish people in a dispersed condition, all over the earth, bears testimony to the truth of every thing related by them. Thus God, the Sovereign Lord of all, in his great wisdom, has provided a perpetual and universal living monument to the memory of the transactions and sufferings of Jesus in Judea ; and of bis own veracity in “performing the mercy promised to their fathers, and the oath wbich he sware to Abraham ;" Luke i. 72, 73, Gen. xxii. 15—18, and, that " when the fulness of the time was come, he sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem" mankind from idolatry, and all vice, and from all burdensome rites, whether of Jewish or heathen original. Gal. iv. 4, 5.
The circumstances of the Jewish people confirm the faith of christians, and are a loud call to themselves to think, and consider, and repent, and believe. And it should in a like manner affect and awaken all other people. It is a voice which may be heard by those who have not yet seen the gospels, and perhaps are averse to them; and it should induce them to look into them, and carefully examine them.
That Jesus is the Christ, is manifest from his agreeing to all the prophetic descriptions conceruing that great person, which are recorded in the Jewish scriptures, that he might be known when he came. He is the seed of Abraham, and the son of David : “ the rod out of the stem of Jesse-And the spirit of the Lord rested on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and of might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. And to hin the Gentiles have sougbt," Is. xi, 1, 2, 3, 10. He was born of a “ virgin," Is, vii, 14, “at Bethlehem in Judea," Mic. v. 2. “ In him all the families of the earth have been
blessed,” according to the promise made to Abraham, Gen.
Jesus, then, is the promised Messiah who was to come.
I have formerly repeated e this subject. But the large and copious testimony of Josephus to the fulfilment of our Saviour's predictions concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and the miseries coming upon the Jewish people, and the repeated acknowledgments of the destruction of the.
e The circumstances of the Jewish people an argument for the truth of the christian religion. Vol. ix. p. 60–91.
temple in the Mishnical and Talmudical writers, Lave compelled me to enlarge here, as I have now done.
Finally, to put an end to this long argument; if we have cbtained the invaluable treasure of the gospel, that “ pearl of great price," let us be thankful to God who has so enriched us by Jesus Christ. And let us be careful to keep it entire, and in all its purity, unalloyed with base mixtures, and undisguised by false colourings. Our own glory and the credit of our religion depend upon this.
As for the Jewish people, I believe all good christians will readily join with the apostle Paul, and say:
66 Our hearts' desire, and prayer to God for Israel, is, that they might be saved,” Rom. x. 1. Nevertheless I acknowledge that I see no immediate prospect of their general conversion; and must assent to what the same apostle says in another place, who had great dealings with them, after his conversion to the christian faith, as well as before, and bad full experience of their untractable temper, which is still too much the saine that it was in his time : “But their minds were blinded ; for until this day remaineth the same vail, untaken away, in the reading of the Old Testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away,'
" 2 Cor. ii. 14-16.
God grant that we may all know and mind the things which are conducive to our true interests both here and hereafter!