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From the time of the Maccabees, the rigour
of the fabbath had been relaxed; and it was deemed lawful for them to defend themselves on that day against an aggressord. But the arm of flesh was a feeble support, when it did not fight under the shield of the Almighty; and to Thew more visibly, that He had rejected them, the days consecrated to his honour and service, which of old were days of peace and of joy, were now marked, above others, with calamity and woe.
The war itself was begun on the fabbath, and in consequence of an insult offered to their law, by an opprobrious sacrifice at the entrance of a fynagogue in Cefarea. On another fabbath they massacred in Jerusalem a Roman garrison, that surrendered on terms to them “; and while they were imbruing their hands in the blood of unarmed men, who attempted no defence, and used no fupplication, but only called out on their violated oaths ; the self same day, and the very
fame hour, as it were, says Josephus, by a particular judgement of providence, more than twenty thousand Jews were killed at Cefareas.
1 Maccab. ii. 41. A. J. L. XII. c.vi. 8.2. L,XIV. c.iv. §. 2. • B. J. L. II. c. xiv. §. 4, 5. f B. J. L. II. c. xvii. g. 10.
xviii. $. I.
& Ibid, c.
At the feast of tabernacles, Cestius marched with an army against Jerusalem ; and
appearing before the city on the sabbath day, the Jews rushed out against him with mad but unavailing fury h. Not long before the war, twenty thousand Jews perished at the passover, in a tumult in the temple': and at the same feast, in a subsequent year, the city was finally invested by Titus k.
If these things are but the beginning of forrows, O thou afflicted daughter of Zion, how shalt thou endure the extremity of pangs, and the bitterness of death? Cast off by thy God, forsaken by thy friends, thy mighty men armed against each other, who shall support, or who shall comfort thee in the day of indignation ? In vain wilt thou spread forth thine hands to the Lord, in vain wilt thou offer to him thousands of rams; he hath no delight in thy burnt offerings, his soul abhorreth thy folemn feasts, in them he multiplieth affliction
Jerusalem hath grievously sinned, she hath finned against the most High; she hath slain
b B. J. L. II. c. xix. §. 1, 2.
within her walls his servants the prophets ; she hath shed the blood of the just and holy One. Yet now, even now, if it be not too late, turn unto the Lord, and to his Anointed, “ with all thy heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning'.” For “ the lion is come up from his thicket, the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he
gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate, and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
S E R M O N V.
LUKE XXI. 20, 21.
When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with
armies, then know that the defolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains.
HE disputes among Christians are by
some writers set forth as the ground of an objection against Christianity; and from the mistakes or prejudices, the weakness or wickedness, of particular men, is inferred the uncertainty of the general system. The argument, if it proved any thing, would prove a great deal too much. If whatever has been doubted' was in consequence to be thought doubtful, there is no propofition, however evident, that must not be questioned; no truth, however certain, that must not be