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and tenderness, and contained so distinct and so moving a description of impending calamities, that nothing could have been better suited and adapted to prevent them, than by inducing men to repent: and if they did not repent, he assured them, that "then would be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to that time,. no nor ever shall be," Matt. xxiv. 21. And when he was led away to be crucified, "and there followed him a great company of people, and of women, who also bewailed him and lamented him, Jesus turning unto them said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.-For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?" Luke xxiii. 26-31.
And we plainly perceive by his words, that the desolation, which he foresaw, would be of a long duration, as we also see in the event: which added to his concern for that people. It was not a single judgment, a calamity of one day, though great and terrible, but a long scene of affliction and darkness, which he foretold and bewailed. "And when he was come nigh, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying: If thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes," Luke xix. 41, 42. And, "how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings! and ye would not: Behold, your house is left unto you desolate," Matt. xxiii. 37, 38. Once more," then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let them which are in the midst of it, [meaning the city of Jerusalem,] depart out, and let not them that are in the country enter therein: for these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled-For there shall be great distress in the land, and much wrath upon this people: and they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled," Luke xxi. 21—24.
The great and punctual accomplishment of these and other words of our Lord, concerning the sad ruin, the wide dispersion, and long captivity of the Jewish people, afford a strong argument for the truth of the Christian religion; and assure us, that Jesus spoke with divine authority, and that the doctrine taught by him, and contained in the New Testament, the writings of his apostles, and their faithful companions, is true and of God.
2. The state of things, formerly observed, is also conformable to ancient prophecies found in the books of Moses and other parts of the Old Testament.
In those books are contained prophecies of the general conversion of the nations of the earth to the acknowledgment and service of the one living and true God, delivered when the worship of God was confined to the one nation of the Jews alone, or to a few men only, their patriarchs and ancestors, and a very small number besides. The way or means, by which this blessing should be conveyed to the world, was also intimated. To Abraham it was declared, that in him, that is, through him and his posterity, all nations, or families of the earth should be blessed: that confines the accomplishment of the promise to his family; some one or more of which must be the author, or authors and instruments of this general blessing. The same promise is solemnly renewed to Jacob. Gen. xxviii. 14. Afterwards there were prophecies delivered, containing limitations and restrictions relating to the tribe of Judah, and the family of David. The descendants of Abraham in general, or many of them, may some way contribute to this design: but the tribe of Judah and the family of David are often spoken of with special regard. In Isaiah particularly, it is foretold: "There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots-In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign to the people, to it shall the Gentiles seek," Isa. xi. 1, 2, 11. Again, I will give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth, ch. xlix. 6. And it is out of the tribe of Judah, and the family of David, that our Lord arose: and by him, as is manifest, the knowledge of God has been spread over the earth; and the promise made to Abraham, that " in him all the families of the earth should be blessed," has been fulfilled.
But beside this there are intimations given in the Old Testament, that when this event should happen, the Jewish people would be in some circumstances which are disadvantageous.
Observable are the words of our Lord when he foretels the destruction of Jerusalem. "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled," Luke xxi. 22. It is not improbable, that our Lord has here an especial reference to some prophecies in the book of Daniel, relating particularly to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, which he fore
saw, and was then speaking of; but he might also have an eye to some other parts of scripture: and we may without much difficulty perceive divers things said in the Old Testament, which are prophetical, not only of the destruction of Jerusalem, but likewise of the long captivity and dispersion which were to ensue.
Jacob foretelling the condition of his posterity in future times, says, "Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise. Thy hand shall be upon the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down unto thee," Gen. xlix. 8. The tribe of Judah, as we find from the history of the people of Israel, usually had some distinction among the rest. At length David and his descendants, who were of that tribe, sat upon the throne of government among them and from Judah the kingdom of the two tribes was called: and indeed from that tribe all Israelites in general were stiled Jews.
It follows in the place just cited: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come: and unto him shall the gathering of the people be," ver. 10. The sense of which prophecy may be briefly taken in this manner: The royal 'power and authority, which shall be established in the posterity of Judah, shall not be takenfrom them; or at least they shall not be destitute of rulers and governors; no, not when they are in a declining condition, until the coming of the Messiah: but when he is come, there shall ⚫ be no distinction between the Jews and other nations who shall be obedient to the Messiah: * and after that the posterity of Judah and people of the Jews shall have neither king nor ruler of their own, but the commonwealth of Judah shall lose all form of civil government and • authority.'
This we know to have happened about the time of our Saviour's coming. From David to the Babylonish captivity the tribe held the sceptre for several ages. After seventy years captivity the Jews returned to Judea, or the land of Canaan, where they lived again according to their own laws: their temple was rebuilt, and they sacrificed and worshipped there, for the most part, with great freedom, according to the appointments of the law of Moses. They were a distinct people, and had among them civil government and authority: but at the time of our Lord's birth, and afterwards, they were in some measure subject to the Romans: and the Jewish power and authority declined, till it was quite abolished and overthrown by the emperors Vespasian and Titus, about forty years after our Lord's ascension: and so it has been to this day.
Moses assured the people of Israel: "The Lord thy God will raise thee up a Prophet, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me: unto him shall ye hearken," Deut. xviii. 15. And God himself said to Moses: "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee: and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him," ver. 18, 19.
Some understand this to be an express prophecy concerning the Messiah himself, that great Prophet who would be in an especial manner like unto Moses. Others have supposed it to be a promise of a constant succession of prophets among them.
Allow this last to be the meaning, it implies a command to hear Jesus, if he were a prophet; and a threatening of punishment, if he were not heard and obeyed: and that Jesus was a prophet, is evident from testimonials surpassing not only those given to other prophets among them, but even to Moses himself. Consequently disobedience to him was a thing for which God would certainly reckon with them.
I shall cite a passage or two more out of later prophets. In Daniel it is said: “ Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgressions, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself. And the people of the prince that shall come, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant
* See Patrick upon the place.
with many for one week, and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease: and for the overspreading of abomination he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate," Dan. ix. 24-27.
Here is a promise made to Daniel, that the city of Jerusalem with its temple should be rebuilt and that they should for some while there worship and serve God, as we know they did after the return from Babylon. And here is a promise of the appearing of the Messiah, and a prediction of great desolation afterwards: which also we know to have happened soon after the time of Jesus, who was a great prophet, and anointed of God in a most extraordinary manner, and was generally rejected by the people to whom Daniel belonged, and to whom he prophesied.
In Malachi, the last of the prophets of the Old Testament, are these words; " Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, in whom ye delight. Behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts: but who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appears? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap: and he shall sit as a refiner of silver," Mal. iii. 1-3. And afterwards: "For behold the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea and all that do wickedly, shall be as stubble and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing under his wings, and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall: and ye shall tread down the wicked, and they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet, in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts," Mal. iv. 1—3.
Certainly these are not insignificant words in the mouth of the prophet; and these emphatical expressions do evidently appear to relate to a great person who should come among the Jews whilst their temple was standing: whereas their temple was destroyed, and they were led into captivity soon after the time of Jesus our Lord.
John the Baptist, who well understood these prophecies, and knew his own character, says therefore: "And now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. I indeed baptise you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I.-Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor. He will gather his wheat into the garner, but will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire," Matt. iii. 10, 11.
And Simeon, who when he saw the child Jesus at the temple, doubted not but he was the Lord's Christ, and spoke of him as such, and that he was "a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of God's people Israel,” Luke ii. 32, said to Mary his mother: "This child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel," ver. 34.
The conversion of the Gentiles then, and the low condition of the Jewish people, are not only agreeable to prophecies of the Lord Jesus, but likewise to many ancient prophecies contained in the books of the Old Testament."
3. The present state of the Jewish people, particularly their afflictive circumstances, affords good reason to believe, that Messiah, that great person spoken of in the Old Testament, but still wished for and expected by them, is already come.
For the prophecies concerning him speak of his being of the tribe of Judah, and family of David. He must appear, therefore, whilst the registers of their tribes and families are in being: but now they are lost. If any one should now arise, claiming that great character, it could not be known what tribe he was of, and therefore there could not be any good assurance that his claim was just.
This is an advantage in the argument for the truth of the Christian religion: for we know that Jesus was of the tribe of Judah, and family of David. But since the long captivity and numerous dispersions and removals of the Jewish people from one place to another, oftentimes under the greatest difficulties, it is impossible that their registers should be preserved, or the families of particular persons be known.
Another thing clearly intimated by the latter prophets of the Old Testament, is, that the Messiah should come during the time of the temple built after the return from Babylon. God zas pleased, by the prophet Haggai, to encourage the people to go on in rearing up the temple
a If any should find this discourse too long for a single reading, here is a proper resting¡ lace.
after this manner: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Yet once more, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts," Hagg. ii. 4, 5. Again, "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, saith the Lord of hosts," ver. 9.
That temple wanted some things, which were in the temple built by Solomon; particularly, the symbol of the divine presence, the cloud of glory overshadowing the mercy-seat. By the "greater glory of the latter house" therefore seems to be meant the appearance of the Messiah, who is Emmanuel, or God with us: in whom the Deity dwelt and manifested himself in a peculiar manner by which means alone, that is, by whose presence alone, this second temple could be rendered more glorious than the former.
The coming of the Messiah to that temple is also promised in Malachi before quoted. "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, in whom ye delight. Behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts," Mal. iii. 1.
Since therefore the temple, where the promised messenger of so great eminence and distinction was to appear, is now no more, but has long since been destroyed, and continues to be in ruins; we are assured, that he is already come for it is impossible for God to fail, or that he should alter the purpose he has so solemnly pronounced and declared.
Have any of the promises or threatenings delivered by the prophets failed of accomplishment? Did not the posterity of Jacob descend into Egypt, a few in number? And were they not brought thence again, a great host, by mighty power and an outstretched arm, at the time before appointed and promised?
Were not the threatenings with regard to Saul; David, Solomon, accomplished? Were not the threatenings concerning the ten tribes, and the tribe of Judah, fulfilled? Were not the former, the ten tribes, sent into captivity, and scattered, so as to return no more?
And when the kingdom of Judah took not warning by the judgments inflicted upon the kingdom of Israel, the threatened captivity was brought upon them: and the promise of their return from Babylon was also wonderfully and punctually accomplished. They settled again in the land of Israel, they were increased and multiplied, and became once more a great people. The temple, which had been laid waste, was raised up, and its worship restored, according as God had before said by his holy prophets.
Why then should it be thought by any, that the promise concerning the coming of the Messiah to that temple should not be performed? It must have been fulfilled. The desire of all nations did come to that temple, and the nations have received him, and believed on him, and have partaken of his fulness. They have received grace for grace. They have gained through him the knowledge of the one living and true God. He is their God, and they are his people. They worship him in spirit and truth: and the law of Moses, introduced since the Abrahamic covenant, and ordained for a time only, as to all its unnecessary and burdensome appointments, is no longer in force, or of any use unto them.
4. The time and circumstances of the present captivity and dispersion of the Jewish people afford an argument for the truth of the Christian religion for their afflictions appear to have the marks of divine displeasure against them for rejecting and crucifying Jesus, and for persisting to reject him and his apostles.
Their present afflictions began soon after, and have continued ever since. It was not more than forty years after our Lord's crucifixion, that the people of the Jews underwent the dreadful calamities of the siege of their city: when also it was taken, and their temple consumed, and they slain, or scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
Nor can we avoid observing the estate and condition of this people, the posterity of Abraham, the friend of God; the children of Jacob, whom God preferred to the children of Esau; whom God had chosen to be his people above all the people of the earth: as Moses reminds them in that solemn and pathetic address at the end of the book of Deuteronomy: "When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord's portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance," Deut. xxxiii. 8, 9.
It is not reasonable to think, that God would carry it unkindly toward them, or stand at a distance from them, without some just ground of offence and provocation.
Moreover, we know, that he promised to bless them abundantly if they hearkened to his *prophets, and walked in the ways he prescribed them: declaring at the same time, that if they were disobedient, he would not leave them unpunished, "If ye will walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them," Lev. xxvi. 3. "I will set my tabernacle among you, and my soul shall not abhor you: and I will walk with you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people," ver. 11. But if ye will walk contrary unto me, then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you," ver. 23, 24. "And if ver. 23, 24. “And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; then I will walk contrary unto you in fury, and will chastise you yet seven times for your sins," ver. 27. And his treatment of this people in all ages has been agreeable to these, and other like declarations.
Since, therefore, this favourite people, so long called by the name of the Lord, and so distinguished by him, are under tokens of divine displeasure: since they are no longer in the land of Canaan, which had been given to them, and lie under many disadvantages in the places where they live, there must be some ground and reason of it. And a very likely reason offers, when we consider, as before hinted, the time when the present affliction commenced, even soon after the appearing of Jesus in this world.
And we shall be confirmed in the supposition, that this dispersion is owing to their sin in rejecting the Lord Jesus, if we consider farther, when he appeared, and who he was.
He came at the time appointed for the Messiah, when the temple, built after the Babylonish captivity, was in its glory, when the registers of their families were in being, and when the Jews themselves and all nations around them were in expectation of such an eminent person.
And must we not think, that since Jesus answered the character of the promised Messiah, or the Lord's anointed, it must be a great and heinous sin to reject and crucify him? If there be any truth in the evangelical history, (as certainly it is all matter of fact, and but a part only of the great things done by Jesus are there related) he was a most excellent person, and a most eminent prophet. Must not any people, the Jews especially, be accountable for such a privilege? Must not their guilt in rejecting Jesus appear aggravated, when we consider that they crucified him, and repented not: though he rose from the dead, and his apostles continued a good while afterwards preaching among them?
It is also remarkable, that when Jesus was condemned as an impostor and malefactor, they imprecated the guilt of his death upon themselves and their children, Matt. xxvii. 25.
And the long continuance of this affliction is very striking, so far beyond any thing they had before undergone and yet they are not guilty of idolatry, as in times past: but all false gods, and all images in worship, are an abomination to them.
When Solomon consecrated the temple he had built he prayed: "If thy people sin against thee, and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them captive into the land of the enemy, far or near: if they shall bethink themselves, in the land whither they are carried captives, saying, we have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness and so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them captive, and pray unto thee:"-then "hear thou_their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee," 1 Kings viii. 46–50.
And long after this Nehemiah, mindful of the measures which God had openly declared he would observe with this people, prays after the same manner: "O Lord God of heaven, that keepest covenant and mercy with them that love thee;-remember, I beseech thee, the word which thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: but if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them: though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of heaven, yet I will gather them from thence, and will bring them to the place that I have chosen to set my name there," Neh. i. 5—9.
Since then they still continue, under many disadvantages, in the dispersion, which began so long ago, it leads us to conclude, that there is some sin they have committed, which they have not repented of, the guilt of which therefore still lies heavy upon them.
St. Chrysostom in one of his homilies to his hearers, the people of Antioch, discoursing upon