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stantial as to afford evidence as valuable to Christians as it is interesting to Hebrews. We will, however, illustrate some particular points of the prediction, from the involuntary testi
your great historian, trusting to your candour in verifying the rest.
The immediate occasion of the prophecy was the pride which the disciples of Jesus naturally felt in the grandeur and beauty of their temple. They pointed to it as it crowned the brow of Moriah, springing from the valley below to the height of from five to eight hundred feet-its battlements, its courts and porticos, its ranges of priests' apartments, its holy places and inmost sanctuary, forming together such a pile of sumptuous buildings as might well be the glory of the nation. “ And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
The Roman prince who besieged Jerusalem sought by all means to preserve this temple, but in vain. Its destruction was complete, notwithstanding every effort on the part of the soldiers and people to stop the conflagration. Nor were even the walls left standing, nor did any portion of them long remain. The very foundations were ploughed up; verdure sprung up where the pavement of the holy courts had been trodden, and the lamb browsed unharmed on the spot where the smoke of the morning and evening sacrifice had risen for ages.
The exhortation to the believers to flee to the mountains when the foe should be known to have entered the holy parts of the land, was borne in mind by the Christians, who were thus brought out and separated from the guilty and blind among their countrymen, and saved by their faith, as had been promised. They departed from the city amidst the wonder and derision of their unbelieving brethren, and sought a timely refuge among the mountains, where tidings were brought them from afar of the strife and famine and utter desolation which laid waste their beautiful city, and the house where their fathers
had worshiped. The Passover was kept with its accustomed pomp, when the Roman army had withdrawn for a time from before the city. The glittering roof of the temple rose like a mountain of snow in the noonday sun; music was wafted on every wind; there were greetings in the streets, and at the various gates, as throngs of worshipers approached to keep the feast. The followers of Jesus alone were thoughtful amidst the joy of these greetings: they alone went forth from the city, when all others were crowding into it; and those of them who dwelt in the country were the only Hebrews who refused to join in a pilgrimage to the sanctuary, And why? They had on record the words of Jesus:
“ As the days of Noah were, so will the appearance of the Son of Man be. For as in the days which were before the Flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered into the ark; and understood not until the flood came and destroyed them all: so will the appearance
of the Son of Man also be. Then will two men be in the field; the one will be taken, and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; the one will be taken, and the other left," &c.—“Let those that are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let those that are within the city depart out; and let not those that are in the country-places enter therein. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.”
When we read of the brutal pillage and the horrible slaughter which the citizens inflicted on one another, of famine which drove a maddened mother to slay and eat her own child, of the blood which drenched the holy courts, of the cries of woe which reached the ears of the invading army, and of the deathlike silence which succeeded, appearing to them more ominous still; when we observe that a man's worst foes were those of his own kindred, and that each faction in turn proved a greater scourge than the foreign enemy-we see the application of the words of Jesus: “Then will be great affliction, such as hath
not been since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever will be.”
Lest the believers should share the superstitions of their infatuated brethren, warning was offered them to give heed to no signs but those which were foreshown, and which were too important to be mistaken.—" Then if any say unto you, Lo! here is the Christ, or there,-believe him not. For false Christs and false prophets will rise, and will propose great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if it were possible, even the chosen. Lo! I have foretold you this. Wherefore, if men say unto you, Behold, Christ is in the desert,-go not forth: Behold he is in the secret chambers,-believe them not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth to the west, so will the appearance of the Son of Man be.”
This warning was needed. Impostors arose here and there who led the people away to destruction, while the real testimonies from God were unheeded: so that their own bistorian exclaims concerning them, “How easily were these superstitious wretches seduced into a belief of false oracles, counterfeits, and impostors!” While disorder and faction were apparent in every department of the state, these false prophets drew the people after them in shoals; from him who came out of Egypt, appearing “in the desert,” and promising that the towers of Jerusalem should fall at his word, to him who reported that one was in the secret chambers" of the temple, who should deliver all who took refuge within its walls. While their deluded countrymen were perishing beneath the swords of the Romans, or amidst the flames and crashing ruins of the sanctuary, the Christians were peaceably worshiping, far from Gerizim and from Jerusalem, in the depths of distant valleys, or among the groves on the hill-side. There they acknowledged how this day of vengeance had “come as a snare upon all who dwelt on the face of the whole land." There they heard, with grief for their nation, that there was “great dis
tress in the land, and anger upon the people: that they must fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem be trodden down by the Gentiles.” There they uttered thanksgivings for themselves and their companions, that they were accounted worthy to escape all those things which must come to pass, and to “stand before the Son of Man ” when so many had fallen in this his promised retribution,
The accomplishment of the whole series of the prophecies of John and Jesus being thus complete, it only remains to be proved that these predictions have been faithfully preserved from the time they were delivered,-i. e. from about forty years previous to the destruction of Jerusalem. The chain of evidence from prophecy will then be entire, and must be acknowledged by the Hebrew to be as satisfactory a testimony as the evidence of miracles is already found to be to the Gentile. As Moses sanctioned Abraham and was sanctioned by him, Jesus sanctioned Moses and was sanctioned by him. They were united by one spirit of prophecy, in a mediation between the Almighty and the human race.
SECTION V.-Historical Evidence respecting the De
livery of the later Prophecies. The circumstances attending and succeeding the life of Jesus might be originally attested by three different classes of historians : Hebrew writers who believed on him; Hebrew writers who did not believe on him; and Gentile historians, (As the Gospel was not originally offered to the Gentiles, it is evident that contemporary Gentile writers could not be believers.) Let us estimate the value of the various evidence of these three classes.
Of the first class, there were eight writers who witnessed the events they related. Of the second class, there were none who were contemporaries of Jesus, and only one who wrote within
a century after. Of the last class, there were none who, living in Palestine, witnessed the life of Jesus and the actions of his followers. Of such as could, within a short period, have been informed respecting these circumstances, there are many who confirmed the testimony of the eight writers of the first class; some, who like Josephus, are silent respecting Jesus and the Christians; and one, Tacitus,—who attests the history of Jesus, without admitting his claims. It is clear, on the mere enumeration of numbers, on which side the quantity of testimony preponderates. In considering its quality, we will begin with the class most insignificant in point of number.
The silence of your historian Josephus on the subject of a life so remarkable as that of Christ, is very striking, and forms of itself an evidence for or against the claims of Jesus to be a Divine messenger. It is denied by no one living that Jesus advanced extraordinary claims, pretended to do extraordinary deeds, and was believed on by your countrymen to the number of many thousands. These circumstances, be the claimant who or what he might, are too remarkable to be passed over entirely without notice by so voluminous a writer as Josephus, without special reason. Since the occurrences were, at all events, not insignificant, it is clear that they ought to have been either confirmed or denied; and that they must have been so, if they had been regarded by the writer in the light of ordinary history. He had some strong feeling respecting them. If he had known the pretensions of Jesus to be false, he would have denounced them, as he has done those of many impostors whose claims and influence were comparatively insignificant. We all know that he was not an avowed Christian; and the only supposition remaining is, that Josephus could not confute the claims of Jesus, and was therefore wisely silent respecting them. The silence of Josephus respecting Christ was not the only testimony which he unwittingly afforded to the Christian claims. The coincidences of his History with that of the apostolic writers are so numerous, so inartificial, and so complete, as to constitute him a secondary witness to the truth of the evan