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only the common feelings of humanity, but all sense of the honour and justice of a ruler, by ordering a man to be crucified, whom he himself declared to be without fault: and one of his successors, above twenty-five years afterwards, even in the moment of quitting his government, for the very same purpose of doing the Jews a pleusure, left Paul in bonds and imprisonment, though fully satisfied of his innocence. When, therefore, we consider, that it was the great body of the Jewish nation assembled at Jerusalem, to keep the festival of the Passover, who, having accused him to the Roman power, as one who endeavoured to excite a rebellion against Cæsar, rejoiced in having unjustly accomplished the ignominious, cruel death of the meek and innocent Jesus, the messenger of heaven, and the mediator of that new covenant, which God, by Moses and the old prophets, had assured their fathers he would make with their posterity; and that it was at the very same national assembly forty years afterwards, that they themselyes, on account of their own atrociously criminal, infatuated conduct, and being in actual rebellion against Cæsar, began to suffer every possible destructive cruelty of a siege, in the end of which, Jerusalem was rased and
levelled with the ground, by that yery Roman power; not only the completion of a prophecy, which, at the time of its prediction, seemed so unlikely to come to pass, but so signal an instance, of retributive justice, in the course of the divine providence over the affairs of men, must surely strike every rational mind with the most awful and important reflections.
In the beginning of the 18th chapter, which is a continuation of the conversation we have just been considering, a parable is introduced, by way of instructing his disciples that they should never fail to offer up their daily prayers to almighty God: and the inference deduced from it is in these words;:, “ Hear what the unjust judge saith. And “ shall not God avenge his own chosen ser- ..
vants, who cry day and night unto him,
though he bear long with them? I tell you 56 that he will avenge them speedily,” or rather suddenly. The sudden and hasty destruction of the Jewish nation, just mentioned above, was one memorable instance of God's severely avenging the unmerited sufferings and cruel persecution of Jesus himself, and his apostles and first faithful followers, after bearing with them for forty years; and is an
earnest of the full completion of the divine vengeance, according to this and many other predictions, upon the enemies of his Gospel, and the persecutors of his conscientious disciples, at that now not very distant period, which the scriptures denominate his coming.
This prophetic assurance is immediately followed by an affecting, tender exclamation, recorded only by Luke, but of a naturo equally prophetic, and so peculiarly expressive of the present state of true and rational Christianity in the world, that it affords a most convincing testimony, both of the divine authority of the prophet, and the correct fidelity of the historian. “ Nevertheless," exclaims our blessed Lord, “ when the son of
man cometh, shall he find faith on the “ earth?” The extreme paucity of his faithful disciples to be found in the world at that great predicted æra, so clearly foretold in this pathetic ejaculation, is very strongly marked also in the Apocalypse, by the expression,
my two witnesses,"* that is, a number only just sufficient to bear legal and credible tes. timony to the truth of his Gospel; for under the law of Moses, the regulation ordained by God himself, was, “at the mouth of two or
Apoc. xi. 3.
" three witnesses, shall every matter be estab“ lished."* If indeed those professed Christians, the members of the orthodox imperial church of Constantine, have really adopted the true Christian Faith, our Lord, when he cometh, can have no difficulty in finding what he so feelingly prelaments the want of. He may find it tolerated by the Mahomedans in Asiatic and European Turkey, and reigning triumphantly under the protection of the civil powers in all the rest of Europe, from Lapland to Gibraltar, and from Muscovy to the Azores; he may find it in Africa, America, and in the Indies of the East; and the witnesses in favour of the orthodox Faith, appear upon the earth, not by twos and threes, but by millions; so that, on this supposition, there is not the least foundation for our Saviour's sorrowful foreboding; and, as far as predictions of the scarcity of his faithful disciples are concerned, he must be pronounced a false prophet : but the truth is, the religion of that imperial church is so far from being the faith of his Gospel, that it is diametrically opposite to it; and when we deduct in our investigation Jews, Pagans, Mahomedans, the members of the orthodox church, and all those speculative, reflecting minds, whom the gross absurdities and contradictions, which that church represents to them as the doctrines of Revelation, have driven to the entire rejection of all revealed religion as fabulous and false, well indeed may we adopt the words of our Lord's pathetic ejaculation, and exclaim, “ where shall we find Faith on • the earth ?" !!
* Deut. xix. 15.
The parable of the ten poạnds, recorded in the succeeding chapter, is said to have been delivered expressly to teach his disciples, (who, notwithstanding his having repeatedly foretold them of his death, with all the particular circumstances attending it, still persuaded themselves that he would immediately assume the sovereignty of the predicted kingdom of God) that he must first go into a region far from the limits of the earthly globe, to receive from the supreme Majesty of Heaven, the earthly kingdom promised him, and was not to take possession of it till his return; but that then he will cause all his enemies to be destroyed, who refuse to acknowledge his authority, and will reward those faithful servants, who, waiting patiently, in full confidence of his actually returning again, invested with supreme power and glory, have made