صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

denounced against the faithless and disobedient, by being admitted members of the kingdom of God, that is of the society of true and faithful Christians? he advises his hearers to endeavour to enter into that kingdom through the lowly, narrow entrance of the persecutions, difficulties, and discourage ments which awaited them, for that great numbers would seek to obtain the name of Christians by very different 'means, but that though they should call themselves his disciples, and plead that his Gospel had been preached amongst them, he would reject them as strangers to his religion, because they had been workers of iniquity : yet that the members of his Church and faithful subjects of God's earthly kingdom should be composed of people of the different nations from every quarter of the globe. And, in the 28th verse, he seems to predict, that at the prophetic period, denominated Christ's coming, to destroy the opposers of his Gospel and to establish his promised kingdom over the earth, not only those faithful Christians who have suffered persecutions and violent deaths, for his sake, shall miraculously be restored to life again before the rest of the dead, as the pro phets Paul and John assure us, but that the

H

three great Patriarchs also, and all the distinguished Jewish prophets, will partake of the same happy, glorious pre-eminence. To this honourable, happy event the Angel seems also to allude, when, at the close of the prophetic visions vouchsafed to Daniel, he says to the Prophet, “ But

go thou thy way till the end be: “ for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the "end of the days.” But the force of the testimony of these, like that of all other unaccomplished prophecies, cannot be felt before the time of their actual completion shall arrive. :: In the conclusion of this thirteenth chapter, our blessed Saviour, replying to some who advised him to depart out of Galilee for fear of Herod, assures them, that he should securely continue working miracles in that district for three days longer, for that his death could be accomplished only at Jerusalem; and apostrophizing the inhabitants of that metropolis, in a pathetic commiseration of the desolation so soon to come upon them in consequence of their obstinate incredulity and rejection of his mission, he adds, that, nevertheless, they should not see him till they should say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. When he predicted this circumstanee, he was at a considerable dis

tance from Jerusalem, attended only by the Apostles and a few other disciples who folHowed him from Galilee; but as he approached the metropolis, we may easily conceive what crowds of its inhabitants the fame of such an extraordinary prophet would draw forth, to see him and his wonderful works, and to hear his instructions; and upon his entry into the eity, Luke informs us*, that this whole multitude burst forth into a spontaneous completion of this prediction, exclaiming, Blessed is the king that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven and glory in the highest. To those who had heard his words in Galilee, this event must have afforded a convincing proof of the divine gift of prophecy with which their master was endowed from heaven: but since this history was penned, long after that event had come to pass, it can, in itself, be of no important use to us, except to shew that the Apostles and first disciples of Jesus Christ, having received proofs of his heavenly mission, by means of completed prophecy as well as miracles, had every requisite and possible means of being fully and rationally convinced of the truth and divine authority of that Gospel, which they preached after his

[ocr errors]

death, and for which they willingly sacrificed all their interests in the present world.

V. We have seen that in the 11th chapter, our Lord predicted that the total destruction of Jerusalem would happen within forty years from his preaching the Gospel to the Jews; and in the 17th chapter, from verse 22. to the end, he foretells, that its destruction, which is here described as one instance of his coming with power to establish his promised kingdom, by the signal, providential extirpation of the first inveterate enemies and opposers of his religion should be sudden and unexpected, like the flash of lightning that frequently begins a widely destroying storm; and when the people should as little think of the fatal danger impending over them, as the men of Noah's age thought of being overwhelmed by the deluge, or the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, of perishing by sulphureous showers of fire.'. Accordingly, Josephus informs us, that such a calamity was so little expected at the time when it befel them, that Jerusalem was then filled with multitudes who were come from

every quarter to celebrate the Passover; and that Titus himself, far from intending to destroy the city, much less with the shocking circumstances with which the siege was attended, took every measure in his power to prevent it, till impelled to it by the irritating, wicked conduct of that miserable, devoted people. In the last verse of this chapter, to the question, where is this unexpected slaughter and devastation to happen? our Lord replies, where the great carcase of the nation, their metropolis, is, there will the eagles, a phrase peculiarly expressive of the Roman armies, be gathered together to its destruction. That this prediction, respecting the actual destroyers of the city of Jerusalem, within so short a space as forty years, was literally accomplished, we all know, and many of those who heard it uttered, must have lived to see: but according to all appearances, at the time when it was given, nothing could be more improbable. Judea was already a Roman province, and the Jews, in peaceable submission to the mild yoke of their conquerors, enjoyed tranquillity and prosperity; and their chief magistrates were upon so good terms with the Roman Governors, that, to comply with their earnest solicitations, after having in vain repeatedly endeavoured to dissuade

them from their request, Pilate sacrificed, not

« السابقةمتابعة »