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11. A second head of argument from prophecy, is founded upon our Lord's predictions concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, recorded by three out of the four evangelists.
Luke xxi. 5-25.
" And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And they asked him, saying, Mafter, but when shall these things be? and what sign shall there be when these things shall come to pass ? And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived, for many shall come in
my name saying, I am Chrift; and the time draweth near, Go
ye not therefore after them. But, when ye shall hear of wars' and commotions, be not terrified for these things must first come to pass, but the end is not by and by. Then said, he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and great
earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines and pestilences: and fearful sights, and
great signs shall there be from heaveri. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's fake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in
your hearts, not to meditate before what
shall answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye
shall be betrayed both by parents and brethren, and kinsfolk and friends, and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And
ye shall be hạted of all men for my name's fake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. And when
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compaffed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the moun-' tains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are
in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give fuck, in those days; for there shall be great distress in the land, and 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 time of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
In terms nearly similar, this discourse is related in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, and the thirteenth of Mark. The prospect of the same evils drew from our Saviour upon another occasion, the following affecting expressions of concern, which are preserved by St. Luke (xix. 41): “ And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadit known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace; but now they are hid from thine
for the received
the days shall come upon thee, that thiñe enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every fide, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee, and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” These passages are direct and explicit predictions. References to the same event, some plain, fome parabolical, or otherwise figurative, are found in divers other discourses of our Lord *.
The general agreement of the description with the event, viz. with the ruin of the Jewish nation, and the capture of Jerusalem under Vespasian, thirty-six years after Christ's death, is most evident: and the accordancy in various articles of detail and circumstance has been shewn by many learned writers. It is also an advantage to the enquiry, and to the argument built upon it, that we have
* Mat. xxi. 33–46. xxii. 1-67. Mark'xii. 1=-12. Luke xiii. 1-9. xx.9.-20. xxi. 5-13.
received a copious account of the transaction from Jofephus, a Jewish and contemporary historian. This part of the case is perfectly free from doubt. The only question which, in my opinion, can be raised upon the subject, is, whether the prophecy was really delivered before the event. I shall apply, therefore, my observations to this point solely.
1. The judgement of antiquity, though varying in the precise year of the publication of the three golpels, concurs in affigning them a date prior to the destruction of Jerusalem *.
2. This judgement is confirmed by a strong probability arising from the course of human life. The destruction of Jerusalem took place in the seventieth year after the birth of Christ. The three evangelists, one of whom was his immediate companion, and the other two associated with his companions, were, it is probable, not much